Happy National Day Singapore

A big happy 47th National day to all my Singaporean friends and any other Singaporeans who may be celebrating today around the world.  Today marks the day of Singapore’s independence from Britain 47 years ago.  Today is a special day in Singapore and being a public holiday I was lucky to have the day off.  Many Singaporeans would be celebrating this special occasion at Marina Bay Sands watching the National Day Parade with many performances from local police, fire services and army marching.  Also there will be local talents singing and dancing and ending with big fireworks display.  This is my second Singapore National Day and unable to make the National Day Parade to report on the event, however this time am luckier to watch the event at home instead of work.  So am afraid all you readers will have to wait another year for me to report on this special day.  So to all you Singaporeans out there, have a good day celebrating with love ones and do not get to drunk 🙂


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Fei Fei’s First Month

A big congratulations to my colleague David and his wife Pei Pei on the arrival of their beautiful daughter Fei Fei.  Last Sunday Fei Fei celebrated her one month.  In Chinese tradition, a ceremony is held to celebrate her first full moon (满月).  This also coincides with the end of the mother’s confinement period, a ceremony where the mother and the baby is formally introduced for the first time.

It is tradition that during the first month after birth, the mother and baby is to stay indoors to re-energies after giving birth.  During this period of confinement, the mother is giving a chance to rest and she is looked after by her mother or mother in-law.  The theory behind this is that after child birth, both the mother is in a ‘cold stage’ due to loss of blood and energy used during labor and this time is used to re-energies the mothers body with the warmth lost.  Different cultures have different duration of confinement period.  A month of resting may sound cool, however there are a number of restrictions.  Again different cultures have there own restrictions however in Chinese confinement the mother is forbidden from:

  • Washing there hair, with some mothers getting around the rule by using dry shampoo.
  • Exposure to cold elements such as cold water and food that are cooling, not a problem in Singapore :o.
  • Heavy chores such as house work.
  • Only allowed to bath with specially prepared warm water that is infused with herbs.

These restrictions are believed to help ensure that your body is not made any cooler and is believed to help prevent health problems later on in life such as arthritis and body pains.  Special meals are also prepared to ensure that the mother gets all the nutrition she needs to fully recover.  So after a month at home and following these rules, you can imagine the big sign of relief on Pei Pei’s face that the confinement period is over.  

During the full moon party, David and Pei Pei invited their close family, friends and colleagues to show off Fei Fei to them.  Like Chinese weddings, it is traditional for people to give hong bao (red packet) to bring good luck to Fei Fei and her parents.  A delicious Chinese buffet was prepared with traditional red eggs.   Throughout Chinese history, red eggs were commonly given during special events from people who could not afford to give money.   Like hong bao’s, red eggs are boiled eggs dyed red and is also a symbol of good luck.  Even though we live in a modern world, it is nice to see that some traditions are not forgotten even if it is not enjoyable.  Fei Fei is really cute with her mother’s looks and I have no doubts that she would grow up into a fine young lady.  I wish Fei Fei and her parents all the luck and happiness for the future.


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A Couple of Surprise Birthdays That Will Never Be Forgotten!

It has been a while since my last post, and since then I had celebrated two birthdays, been to Brunei, got engaged, working hard and learning at work and got scolded a few times in CT (Computed Tomography).  For my birthday, I did not really intend to do much.  I did try and plan something but all my friends were busy so instead I stayed at home and watch the ONE Fighting Championship fight night instead.  Joanne kept annoying me all week prior to my birthday asking if I was doing anything or not and I kept making things up to keep her quiet.  However while half way through the fight night, she caught me by surprise and red handed by knocking on my door and showing up to celebrate my birthday.  I was a little angry at first because I told her not to waste money but it did not take long for me to forget that especially after spending so much to come over.  I also told her you were lucky that I was in between fights because I would most likely not have answered the door if it was in a middle of a fight :o.  I was happy to see her and spent my second birthday in Singapore similar to the first one, shopping, eating and getting fat :o.  Even though I did not spend it with my friends but I had received many birthday messages which meant a lot, I thank you all.

However two weeks later for Joanne’s birthday, I decided to give her a bigger surprise.  We went to the famous Empire Hotel in Brunei and sat by the sea watching the sun set.  I wished her happy birthday and decided to give her birthday present.  However before I did, I wanted to set a mood and passed her some headphones.  She had no idea what I got her and was under the impression I had got her an ipad.  She unwrapped the present while listening to Bruno Mars – Marry You.  I wrapped it a few times hoping that she would take the hint from the song and I wanted to see her desperate face unwrapping it.  However a puzzled look on her face told me she still has not figured out what I got her and most likely still believed that I got her an ipad :o.  After watching her rip off all the wrapping paper revealing a box, I was starting to get nervous because I knew what was to come next was going to change both our lives and there were no turning back.  She opened the box to reveal paper heart sitting on top of the another box, and on the paper heart it wrote, ‘Will You Marry Me?‘  Joanne opened the second box and there it was, months of research and weeks of shopping with my good friend Jia Hui, was a diamond ring sitting there looking up at her.  I believed she was gobbed smacked and burst into tears, her face looking at the ring already gave me the answer  I was looking for.  I took her hand and asked her again and she said yes and from then on our facebook status changed :o.  Who would have thought a simply question followed by a short answer would change two people and luckily for me it went the right way.  After that we watched the sunset before shooting off for a birthday meal with her family.  The whole thing was recorded and am thinking if I should upload the video, give me your answer in the comments if you think I should.  After six years of ups and downs, we have finally reach the next chapter of our lives.  My adventure had just got bigger and better so do keep following to see what I get up to next :o.


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Night Cycling In Singapore – A Night To Remember

Ever since I got my first bike, I loved cycling.  To a boy having a bike was like a man having a car, you are free to venture out at your own will.  I remember I used to ride it everyday when I finished school on the street and around the estate and I never stopped cycling even when I had a car.  While living at Victoria Dock I would cycle in the morning or after work for an hour around the estate, along the River Humber and the docks.  I loved it especially in the morning an hour before I set of for work.  Cycling while the sun was rising even though the temperature were about 5 degrees and UK had cold mornings, but have the wind and fresh air blown onto my face woke me up even if I had a late night.  I had done a couple cycle trails in the Lake and Peak district.  Although they were hard work with many uphill track in the Midlands, I thoroughly enjoyed them and got great satisfactory and achievement from completing them.

One of the girls from work was organised a night cycle cycling through Singapore last night, so I tagged along.  Our planned journey for the night started at East coast Park (ECP) heading towards Garden by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands, Harbour Front, Henderson Wave, Geylang and then head back to ECP.  I had never done a night cycle before so I thought it would be a good experience.  I never did a night cycle in the UK because once the sun goes down, so does the temperature.  I thought that it would be quite hot and humid riding at night, however the temperature could not be any better, it was warm and not humid.  I actually enjoyed cycling in these condition with limited cars on the road.  I was surprised to see there were actually quite a lot of people at ECP, running, cycling, roller blading, bbq, fishing etc.  Also we were not the only ones cycling, there were many other cyclists on the road.

I enjoyed the cycle, seeing a quieter and peaceful Singapore compared to the busy scene relating to a big city until when we reached the centre and it was like any Saturday night with people out drinking, vomiting, passing out in the streets and peeing in public as well.  One of the girls were disgusted, I said it a normal scene in the UK.  Funny thing is I remembered I have done it before lol, when you need to go and no toilets around you go find a dark alley to do your business.  However this guy did it by the streets which I can understand the way she felt.  Unfortunately we did not complete the cycle trail due to a few unforeseen circumstances.  Firstly one of the bikes ended up with a puncture ending one of my colleague’s night early.  We continued without him, however later on one of the other girls fell and sprained her ankle badly which later on we discovered that she had a really bad unstable fracture which required immediate operation.  We had to go back to ECP to pick up the cars and return to the bikes, on the way back one of the cars broke down three times.  Luckily a taxi driver was willing to bring the bikes back and after that we accompanied my injured colleague to A&E, by this time it was 9 am.  I shortly left after that because I knew I would have to cover my injured colleague’s night shift.

We had been out for almost 12 hours and most have only cycled half the time.  It was a shame that we could not finish the trail and all the occurring mishaps, however we agreed that once my colleagues ankle is better we will do a part 2 and complete the trail.  Even with the mishaps, I enjoyed the night a lot.  We were like a bunch of kids still out playing on the streets way passed our curfew.  We even saw a couple making out in a car and kept cycling pass disturbing them, I believe the British term for this is ‘Cock-blocking’ (unofficial term) lol.  If you never tried night cycling and a big fan of cycling then give it a try.  Cycling at night gives you a different view of the city because everything looks different at night.  Also the empty roads give you more freedom and a stress free ride with limited number of pedestrians and cars.  I can not wait for part 2, so to my colleague I hope your ankle gets better soon so we can finish what we started off :o.


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A Sunny Afternoon Walk In Singapore

Singapore is full of walk and hiking trails, from heritage trails taking you through different cultures in Singapore to nature trails showing you the greener side of Singapore.  This weekend a few of my friends and my self thought we would spend our Saturday afternoon going for a walk along the southern ridge trail.  This is a 9km trail made up of eight different trails.  We took the to MRT and got off at Kent Ridge station, that was the start point and hopefully we ended at VivoCity shopping center at Harbour Front where we already a table to have steam boat for dinner.

From the MRT station we headed off to Kent Ridge park, a 47-hectare public park in Western Singapore and is a popular location for nature lovers and tourist.  The park was big, with many hills which reminded me of Sheffield.  Not long from the start we thought we would take a short cut through the woods, which were down hill.  We thought since we went up, why not go down and there were an impressive man made path which can be seen in the photos.  I enjoyed walking through the woods with my improvised machete made from a branch, walking through the woods reminded me of my childhood playing in the woods, climbing trees and making a den.  We must have been in the woods for about half an hour going round in circles until we saw a main road and then decided that we were lost and better stick to the road.  Following Jen Yun’s trusted satnav on her phone we ended up after walking up more uphill roads, until we reached another entrance into Kent Ridge Park.  Huh!  I thought we were supposed to be in Kent Ridge Park, how did we ended up getting out of it.  To make things worst, we were walking in Singapore’s afternoon sun and Singapore is not a cold country.  My t-shirt was soaking wet, like I just finished a muay thai class.  O well, I guess it will make the day more interesting.

The park was big, and we found an area of the park which had like a natures version of the gym.  With pull up bars, logs and ropes.  Being like a kid in a park I had to have a little play, climbing on beams, attempting pull ups and embarrassing myself climbing up a rope.   Later on, we came across a garden with exotic flowers and plants and also art displays with nature theme, there were even a car sawed in half with plants growing from the inside. What’s that all about?  Heading into the eastern side off the park we came across a 280m canopy walk with information boards providing educational information on the flora and fauna in the park.  There were even a warning sign warning people about monkeys within the area what what to do if one approaches, however I was a bit disappointed that we did not see any monkeys.  The canopy walk showed me a more tropical side to Singapore, being high in in the forest surrounded by trees and nature.

After the canopy and more uphill walking, we ended up at Henderson Wave bridge.  A 274 meter bridge high above Henderson Road.  The bridge is a popular locations amongst photographers due to its wave form design making it popular for wedding and model shoots.  There are LED lamps which light up the bridge every evening with shelters where we chilled out a bit after 3 hours of walking.  After a quick break we continued our walk and heading towards Mount Faber via the Faber Trail.  When we reach Mount Faber we thought we could cheat a little by taking the cable cars down the hill to VivoCity, but we had to abandoned the idea because it would cost us s$100 (50 pounds) each to ride it so we thought forget it and head downhill along the Marang Trail.   Before we did though, we enjoyed the night view of Singapore for a little while before heading down hill taking us through another forest.  It was late by this time and the trail had no lights, we all had to use the torch on our phone to light up the path and being TRicky I could not resist but to spook the girls a few times :o.

After four and a half hours of walking, VivoCity was in sight and I was so happy reaching the final destination.  I could not wait to go into the shopping mall to enjoy the air conditioning even though I must have smelt like a baboons back side.  We made it to the restaurant a little later than expected but that did not spoil the night as there were good food, great company, the restaurant is located by the sea and we enjoyed the fireworks display from Sentosa Island.  We finished off the night sharing a ice cream fondue from Haagen Dazs before heading off home for a well deserve cold shower :o.


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My First Year Working Abroad

I have just hit the one year mark away from home and working in Singapore.   365 days is not a long time, however I feel I had done and achieved so much.  While looking back at previous blog posts where I was worried before I came out and struggling to fit in at first, I realised that it was a thing of a past.  Now like a ninja blending into their environment, I live life like I have been in Singapore for a big part of my life.  Do not take me wrong, there is still a lot to learn and do however now I do not feel out of place or tourist.  I know what to do and how to speak in order for me to get through the day hassle free, and this applies to both in and out of work.  Although most of the time I speak like a Singaporean, there had a been times when I do revert back to my ‘Proper English’ lol.  Especially when I want someone especially doctors and nurses to follow my suggestion, a very simply but effective method to get what you want and sometimes out of work :o.

I had just found out that a friend of mine from home is going to work in Perth for a year, also hopefully a cousin of mine will make it out to Singapore for a year to study and do her work placement.  However I can tell them now that their one year will fly by and before they know it, they will be back home on UK soil.  I do miss home, my family and friends especially my two brothers.  Technology in the twenty first century is amazing, allow me to chat and play on the playstation with them.  However it is not the same as doing it face to face.  I still do get home sick now and again which I think is natural for anyone to be away from home, but I believe that everyone should go out and explore the world or do something that they would not regret doing.  I would rather regret doing something than regret not doing it.  Reason being is that if I regretted coming to Singapore, fair enough I can say I tried it and did not like it.  However if I did not come, I would most likely regret it.  Why?  You only live once, so why limit your life if you do not have to.

I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to my family and friends from both UK and Singapore for their encouragement and support for my journey to the east.  This blog is for you, as a sign of appreciation and share my experience.   I had spent much of my first year exploring Singapore and many of Singapore’s different cultures, I have decided that  for the second year I will go explore the rest of Asia and hopefully there will be more exciting new learning experiences to come.  So watch this space 😮


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Vesak Day :o)

Even though it is a Saturday today, in Singapore people are celebrating Vesak (Vesākha) Day.  A public holiday and a tradition followed by Buddhist to celebrate the birth, enlightenment and passing away of Gautama Buddha.  Also known as ‘Buddha’s Birthday’, the exact date varies every year depending on the Chinese lunar calendar which is the 15th day of the 4th month.

On Vesak day, Buddhists would attend their respected temples before dawn for the ceremonial, and honorable hoisting of the Buddihst flag and singing hymns in praise of the holy triple gem: the Buddha, the Dharma (his teachings) and the Sangha (his disciples).  Followers may also bring simple offerings such as flowers, candles and joss-sticks to lay at the feet of their teacher.  These symbolic offerings represent the meaning that even though life is beautiful, however it is also subject to decay and destruction.  Also followers are encourage to refrain from killing of any kind, are expected to partake in vegetarian meals for the day and releasing birds, insects and animals as a symbolic act of liberation, giving freedom to those who are imprisoned and/or tortured against their will.  Devoted Buddhist would also make efforts to bring happiness to those who are unfortunate, this is another meaning to celebrating Vesak day.  Cash and gifts would be distributed to charitable homes throughout Asia.

It is said that just before Buddha died, he saw his faithful attendant Ananda weeping.  In response, Buddha asked him not to weep but to understand the universal law that all compounding things must disintegrate (including his body).  Buddha also stressed that paying homage to Buddha was not just by offering flowers, incense etc, but by truly and sincerely striving to follow his teachings to respect and value life.  Buddhist are expected to celebrate the day by using the opportunity to reiterate their determination to lead noble lives, to develop their minds, practice loving kindness with each other and to bring peace and harmony to humanity.

So to all my Buddhist friends and every other Buddhist and to those who are celebrating Vesak day, I hope you have a happy Vesak day while enjoying and value the company of others around you.  How did I celebrate Vesak day?  Not doing much to be honest lol, however reading up on this public holiday had made me think about my family and friends from home who I miss really much and can not wait to see them again.  Also not to forget about my friends in Singapore who make life easy for me in Singapore.  Hopefully I will be skype-ing my two brothers later because I do miss hearing and seeing them.  So take this opportunity not just love and respect those around you but cherish your own life.  You only live once so why not live life to the fullest with no regrets.  Take care……………….


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