Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hello Ubin! I'm BACK!!

The last time I went Ubin was with my JC friends some 7-8 years bacK (may have been even earlier), definitely prior to 2005.

Organized by Kit, we (Lip, Jimmy, Kit & I) embarked on a journey to Ubin to do some adventure cycling!! Wow, how time has changed alot of things! THe Changi jetty is now so nicely furnished and built up! I remembered when I last went, u just hop onto the bumboat at the jetty which was just along the bridge/coast. Now it's a nicely built terminal!! And 2.50 per pax per way..

And Ubin itself has kinda upgraded and more developed, in the sense that more trails and routes are available now! It was rather crowded with people when we arrived. So Ubin cycling is still very much alive and hip! Even tourists go there to cycle!

Onboard the bumboat with the bikes

It was a lovely day to cycle in Ubin today, not too hot, abit overcast so it was rather cooling and not too sunny.

Armed with just our bikes and no maps, we just ventured into Ubin, taking whatever path was ahead of us, led by Jimmy & Kit! Every now and then, we ventured into the dirt path. My 1st true experience of dirt/trail biking. FUn & interesting.

Apparently, this is the Durian season, so we were also trying our luck, hoping to find some durians FOC!

Unfortch, they were all up in the trees, and whatever has fallen has been eaten/taken by villagers or others in front of us.. So no lucky. Can only look but no taste..

Beautiful Quarry lake! Too bad cannot swim in it

Dirt trail biking

Some amazing views from Ubin

My bike is courtesty of Kit

I must say, Ubin is nice!!! THe views from the coastal area of Ubin is amazing!! Wow, even the trails are beautiful too! With coconut trees lining the path. You can even kayak along 1 part of the river!! Amazing!

Didn't go in Chek Jawa (Mangrove swamp) cos you can't cycle in and have to leave your bikes outside at the bike stand, and we didn't have locks. So the bikes being expensive, we didn't wana risk it! So next time, either bring a lock or just rent from the bike stores (cheapo bikes and almost e'ryone rents the same bike so lower change of being stolen) Been told that the best is bring booties to walk in the swamp, unless you want your sneakers to be drenched in mud...

I think the next time, when pple ask me where to go in Singapore, I'll suggest Ubin :) I think it's a great place for tourists to explore. Abit of adventure (biking) and scenery, and coastal area (you can dip in the water along the coastal beach at the jetty area). Some kampungs inside as well... Somehow, the Changi beach looked good from the bumboat view.

Only thing - Bum damn pain after 3+ hrs of cycling.....

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Singaporeans have 'Unhealthy Level of Self-Centredness'

Fresh out of the papers and I'm being Gracious to share it with you guys, lest you say I'm being self-centred...

More Singaporeans think that they are doing acts of kindness and graciousness then being on the receiving end!! Haha.. So does it mean we're more of a giver than receiver?? Or are we helping the same group of people all the time, hence the % of receiver is so small compared to % of giver?

I guess it's not wrong to say that the environment in Singapore indirectly (or directly??) affects the attitudes and behaviour of SIngaporeans. The hectic, everything also must strive to be number 1 mentality imbued into all our minds and lives have made us all very results oriented and focused on delivering. So in a way, it makes us self-centred cos it's a 'Survivor of the Fittest', "Dog eat Dog" world out there! Kill or be killed, right? We have to fight for everything in this small little country!!! No freebies at all!

Then again, I think we should give Singaporeans a chance. After all, the Courtesy campaign had been around for so many years, it has to have some effect on us!! If not, government lose face! But seriously, I think we've become more kind, courteous and gracious, be it on the road (more drivers seem to drive better nowadays and give way to pedestrians....), or just day-to-day communication. The 'Reserved Seat' on MRT seems to be working much better now than earlier!! Yes, some people still turn a blind eye towards the needy, but we're improving! Maybe the companies should all adopt normal working hours to ensure their employees get enough sleep so that they don't dose off on the train and 'miss' the pregnant woman standing in front of them!

Of cos, I would say the westerners seem to be much more gracious and courteous on the road (the drivers give way to other cars and not rush ahead when they see you signal change of lanes), they greet you every morning and every day with 'How are you today', 'How was your weekend' etc. It all boils down to the culture. It's in their culture to respond and behave that way. In Asian culture, we're more reserved, less expressive of our feelings and more wary about trying to invade other people's privacy, so we don't usually do that. Of cos, you see the Japanese being extremely, sometimes overly polite and they were brought up that way, to always give respect to seniority or elders. Maybe in Singapore, being a melting pot of all cultures, we're not really into that.

That being said, I think I'm a courteous person :) I respect people, I say thank you, I give way, I give up seats to the needy, I don't litter (ok, I guess 99% of Singaporeans are brought up NOT to litter). Ok, maybe I don't say 'Please' in front of most sentences all the time (it didnt bother me at all until Mad Max started giving me a 'hard' time in Philly..) but I use a nice tone when I request or ask for things to be done. So am I self-centred? Haha, I guess everyone in one way or another has a certain degree of self-centredness, assuming their always right etc.. Maybe at times, it is inevitable. I don't think I'm a self-centred person, I do acts of kindness often enough & I do receive acts of kindness every now and then, sometimes it even surprises me that Singaporeans are so gracious!!

We may not be as smiley and approachable as the Thais (they're known as the country of 1000 smiles, for god's sake!) but I think we're all very nice and helpful people! Yes, we chope seats with tissue paper, but that's a sort of cultural display of Singaporeanism! Does that downgrade us into ungraciousness? I'm sure other countries have weirdness mannerism or culture but that cannot be a criteria for graciousness (americans and even british swear from the minute they wake up, shldnt they be labelled extremely ungracious?).

So I say, give Singaporeans a chance! Dont' be so quick to label us as Self-Centred. It's probably too harsh a word to use from the results of the tiny survey! Yes, we may display signs of kiasu-ness often enough, but self-centred? Hmmmm.....

Monday, July 04, 2011

Dear Diary....

Dear Diary,

I've finally finished the book 'One Day' by David Nicholls. Well, the word 'finally' should not be taken in the wrong meaning. By finally, I meant finally getting to starting the book after looking at it sitting on the table for a few weeks (about 3 weeks). But I finished it within 5 days (I know it sounds slow, but I was only reading it during my daily commute to work so it's not a bad record!). Thanks to Max, and thanks to someone he knew, I was introduced to this book which I must say is a GOOD read! Most fantastic book? Maybe not, but you kinda know what the book is about just by the title and synopsis and you kinda knew where it was heading to, but the ending is a little surprising.

Basically, it's about this particular day in live of 2 connected people (who started out as ambigous then became friends and best of friends, then you know what...) over a span of 18 years. The highs and lows of their lives and the people around them on this particular day, their feelings etc etc... Moral of the story? I guess it's Carpe Diem? Seize the day! I guess also it's like you only learn how to appreciate something when you have lost it, so don't take things for granted and go for it at the moment in time rather than hesitate, cos once you lose that moment, it could be many years later when you realize that you were being stupid for not taking it when it first present itself! After all those years, the 1st thing/person/opportunity/whatsoever was still what was meant to be.

I like this kinda story, stories about live and what happens when you miss the 1st train. Of cos when you read too much of these kinda stories, you have a skewed vision of live, so once in a while you have to switch lane to keep u sane (for me, it'll be crimes, thrillers, detectives, fantasy). I think I'll track down other David Nicholls books. Yes, I like to do it once and for all :)

Enough about books (although I may not look like it, I read alot just to kill time on the train while commuting to work which takes about 1.5-2hrs return trip). I've started a new phase in my life! Yes, new job started immediately after my paradise trip so it took some time adjusting from sunny beautiful beaches and islands to indoor, air-conditioned desktop bound laptop gazing 8-hour workday. But all was smooth and lazy the first couple of weeks as we got down to adjusting to new environment and understanding of the business (i.e. alot of online reading). New office is cozy and nice, department is small but warm colleagues. Location much better than previous (at least I don't have to travel as far) and seems to have quite a number of food stalls around!! Got around to decorating my desk (which is now filled with my travel photos) and clustered with stationery and stuff. I think I've settled down quite comfortably! Small HP laptop with a big desktop monitor and docking station (nice), blackberry which makes me feel so business-like and professional.

Been sitting in office for the past 3weeks and 3 more to go, the longest ever time period for me of NOT FLYING/TRAVELLING!! So not used to it and my bum is itching to settle into the 'comforts' of aircraft seats! But it'll have to wait till mid Aug. Starting on Singapore audits for the next 4 weeks. Abit of travelling but just on the SMRT buses or trains to different locations.

So while being a little relaxing in office, the mind naturally wanders around alot of things and ideas. Some of it being - I think I want to get an IPAD2. Haha surprise surprise! Didnt think I would be getting myself Apple products eh? But suddenly got the urge to get IPAD2 after my Nokia got drowned. So now, if i go travelling I wldnt have much of an entertainment (i.e. watch movies/TV series). IPAD2 sounds like a good idea though a rather costly investment. But maybe I should treat myself once in a while?

Another thought is - BRACES! Yea, been really thinking about this for the past week. My lower jaw needs some work as they are slightly crooked. Maybe I should brace them up to perfect my smile even more?? Though my ex-colleague commented that I look stunning enough (heehee). It's yet another expensive investment but if I can just get lower jaw done, it'll be half the investment. But the clinics aren't available till late aug, so I'll just have to wait till then!

Would I be going to New York? Maybe but details have yet to be worked out, so still waiting for it. I hope so. I have a few shopping items to buy (i want my oakley!!)

It'll be China, China, China and China for the rest of the year. So once again, I'm China bound for a long period of time! But this time, it will not be just Shanghai. Beijing included, and possibly Guangzhou?? Nice. I hope i get a weekend in Beijing, so I can head to Great Wall at Si Ma Tai! Weekend in Shanghai is also good, so I can go CongMing Island....

Then what next? My year end trip is still in limbo. Dono where to go, when to go, and what to plan... Thought of Red Center in Australia, hope it is.. Or maybe I should go somewhere more happening so I can have a more havoc Xmas & NY celebration!

Something big is going to happen to one of my groups (you know who you are) cos something big always happens after we meet up. Haha, what is it going to be? We have an inkling of what it might be, but will it be what we think it to be??