Friday, April 18, 2014

In my own Backyard

The green forested areas around the neighbourhood are fast disappearing and it its place sprung high rise apartments. Fortunately for me, living along the Sungei Tampines, there are still plenty of flora and fauna remaining. This morning, I took the camera out and went for a stroll and these are what I caught after just 1 and an half hour of strolling from Street 51 to Pasir Ris Park.

I think this is an yellow nape oriole. (somebody correct me if I am wrong in my guestimation)

A monitor lizard on the bank of the Sungei Tampines. Too bad didn't spot any otters

The Grey Heron flying next to the HDB flats. The herons have prove resilient to the many constructions going on around the neighbour and are still abundant.

Is this a waterhen?

Common kingfisher

A squirrel scrambling all over

White collared kingfisher

And first time ever I spotted owls in Singapore! And 3 of them some more. Not too sure what species are these though

And nearby the owls, a woodpecker was displaying its beauty and renovation skill to the group of admiring photographers

Common Mine? A flock of them were flying around but it was kinda difficult to shoot with my long lens

Last but not least, a little birdie that flew and landed just in front of me before swooping off again. 1 chance was all I got and thank goodness it came out right!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Its just a movie!

There is a new movie in town and there is a mini hooha surrounding it. The movie in question is Noah. The Christian are up in arms against it for depicting Noah as a swashbuckling hero. The Muslim in the neighbouring countries has gone one step better. They just ban the movie! 

I find all these chest beating about a movie amusing and yet at the same time irritating. Why are people so sensitive and read so much into a movie. To me, a movie is pure fiction and for entertainment only. I do not think any producer will want to weave a hidden message or retell a historical story without shouting the message out loud like in the movie, Passion of the Christ which was the last movie about a religious figures that claims to be true to its source.

In the current movie Noah, which I must confess I have not watch yet, very obviously from the blurb and what has been put in the trailers, it is not meant to be a faithful retelling of the story of Noah. So I don't understand why everybody who is slightly religious, be they Christian, Jews or Muslim are making so much noise about it.  It just a movie for goodness sake. Just like Transformer, Harry Potter, X-Men, Bruce Almighty and the last movie about a modern day Noah, Evan Almighty.

If people can watch a movie and accept that pig can fly, cars can transform into robots, there is a parallel world where wizard lives with modern day mankind and God is a black guy, then why can't they accept that the Noah in 2014 is not the Noah in the Bible? Just like the monk XuanZang in the 2013 Journey to the West movie is a totally fictitious character from the real monk of the Tang Dynasty.

I find it real sad that people read so much into an innocent movie - like the Golden Compass which was supposed to be anti-Christianity or anti-religion, the Da Vinci Code which offended the Catholic with its so called exposé on Jesus Christ remaining living "relatives". Even the Teletubbies (gay) was not spared!

Seriously for those who really want to watch a real show about some religious guys, go watch a documentary and leave the rest of the world to watch our movies in peace.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Liang Kee Teochew Restaurant

If there is anything this Teochew uncle likes to eat more than Japanese food, crab and steak, it is Teowchew food. And Singapore has a whole lot of good Teochew food. But good fine Teochew food and not the Teochew porridge type is expensive and so far I have only went to a handful like Ban Seng, Huat Kee, Hung Kang, Ar Oh,  Chin Lee and Chao San Crusine etc Too bad that Mong Hing has closed. That was a place that I had wanted to go but never got the chance to go. Interestingly, we almost always order the same few dishes and the occasion was inevitaby Mum's birthday.

This year we wanted to go Chin Lee but it was fully booked so we tried Liang Kee which we have never been to. The place was packed when we arrived around 8 pm. We looked at what other people were ordering and we asked for recommendations and finally we ordered about 8 dishes which included the following:

1. Egg omelette

2. Pork Ribs

3. Ngoh Hiang

4. Clayfish

5. Chicken

 6. Kong bak pau

7. And of course Or Nee or Yam Paste

I try to think back to the other places as a basis for comparison. I remembered a single pomfret at Ban Seng cost us $99 which was so expensive. Ah Orh was a bit disappointment. Considering it location and set up, it wasn't cheap cheap. I don't remember much about Hung Kang except that they had the absolute best goose meat I ever tasted. Huat Kee was simply too expensive for me to rave about. Chin Lee used to be a regular visit when my late Mother in Law was alive and it had one of the best egg omelette and yam paste. So how did Liang Kee fares against all of them.

It was not as expensive as we expect. It was much cheaper than the Chao San Cuisine that we went to last year. And certainly much much better quality and quantity of food. This will be one place that I will be happy to come back again. Next up?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Changing Shift!

I think taxi drivers in Singapore are the most freaking idiotic unreasonable workers in the whole of Singapore. They claimed they are underpaid, has to drive long hours and pay big bucks to the taxi companies and cannot make a living. Yet all of us who have ever taken taxis will know that getting a taxi is like striking 4-D. Where is the taxi when you need one? There are plenty of taxis all right but all of them are forever either on calls or changing shift and 9 times out of 10, they are not going in the direction that you want to go.
Photo from http://fuchsia.com.sg/
Just today I was trying to catch a cab from the taxi stand at Cecil Street. It was 5.20 pm. There were a lot of cabs calling at the taxi stand. In fact I could describe it as continuous. I was like about fifth in the queue. Yet I only managed to get onto a cab after more than 20 minutes of waiting. Why? Because every freaking cab that came had either a changing shift sign displayed with a destination that was not anywhere near where I was going. Those that don't have a changing shift displayed was no better. The driver rolled down the window ask where and pick and choose. It was like a bladdy mad auction with al the passengers at the queue shouting out their destination. And they don't even bother to pick up those going near their way. One cabby had a sign displaying Bugis. Other passengers in the queue wanted to go to Garden by the Bay. A small detour but no he didn't want to ferry them. Another had a sign for Tampines. A passenger wanted to go Bugis. No dealt! I wanted to go Thomson. This guy was going Yishun. Also no!

When I finally managed to get on board, I spoke to the driver. He told me he there are more than 100,000 taxi vocational licence issued and more than 20000 taxis. On that count, there should be more than enough taxis to meet the need of Singapore? Right? Wrong!

My analysis of taxi drivers are that they (and here I dare say the majority) drive not for the money but to pass times and do not need the income from the driving. If not, why are they changing shift when it is peak hour. Isn't that the best time to earn more money, what with all the various surcharge. Changing shift will involves topping up the car, washing it, handing it over to the relief driver - easily a duration of at least 1 hour or more. In any other retail line, the staff will get their breaks during the off peak hours and not during the peak because very simply that is the busiest and by implication the most profitable time zone. And just look at how many taxi drivers prefer to queue up at the airport for the hope of a long haul rather than drive to nearby malls to pick up fares. And don't get me going on the disappearing drivers during the bewitching hours of 10 pm to midnight and rainy days! 

If driving a taxi is really that difficult to make money, can some bladdy drivers out there enlighten me why it is so difficult to get one and why are taxi drivers so bladdy picky?


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