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August 27, 2006

A Trip To Johor Bahru

I've not yet explored much of Singapore, but here I was already taking a tour of nearby Johor Bahru, the southern trip of Malaysia along with friends (Dennis, his wife and a sister-in-law).

A great Chinese cuisine
After Sunday mass, we first had lunch at a nearby Chinese restaurant, West Lake. The black peppered crab was superb and the tiger prawns were nice and crunchy. The chicken nuggets and wings were tasty too (and now I begin to remember Jollibee Chickenjoy. Ah those were truly to die for).

Somewhat like Manila here in Malaysia
Off we went to Johor Bahru via bus from Bugis. During the trip, we had a chance to chat with fellow Filipino Ferdinand Marcos. No really, the guy's name is that of the late (infamous) ex-president Marcos. He told us he was going to process some documents in Malaysia and he just passed by here in Singapore (or so I could still remember).

Upon arrival, I took at once the bustling cityscape of Johor Bahru. Frankly, the place looks very similar to Manila, specifically in Chinatown, Manila.

Cityscapes in Johor Bahru
I took the shot above while we were about to cross the street to get to the Royal Museum. A local told us that it's a few walks from the immigration building we came from.

Roasted duck signboard
Here's something fascinating I took a picture of. A roasted duck signboard. I spotted this one far away while we're walking along sidewalks.

Malaysian flags
Some malaysian flags here.

Huge palace
We chanced upon this huge palace-like building. There was no guard in sight, but the gates were closed. We were thinking that, since it was a Sunday, everybody must be at home. Only a stray black cat greeted us when we arrived (the cat kept circling and pressing its furry body against my ankle; meanwhile my friend's wife kept shoving it away for she hated cats).

Stretch of highway
We finally decided to take a taxi drive to the Royal Museum. We had to change some Singapore dollars to Malaysian ringgits.

The Royal Museum
The Royal Museum. No pictures were allowed inside. We had to remove our shoes; we were given some plastic bags for our shoes. So we walked inside the museum either on foot (the women) and socks (us guys). Much of the relics inside were of the countless furnitures, kitchen items, weapons, jewelries of the sultan and his large royal family. One particular exhibition we were so fascinated with was that of the sultan's museum of hunted wildlife. You could say it's both an interesting and grotesque exhibition of stumps of elephant feet turned into umbrella cases, or unidentified animal skulls turned into amalgamated ashtrays, or numerous deer antlers turned into trophy displays and even hunted and killed water buffalos, tigers and crocodiles preserved for display.

Mini-Christmas trees?
These small trees lining a pathway remind me of little versions of Christmas trees bright with reddish leaves.

A large building with beautiful architecture
I like this building for its cultural architecture. We could see these from the large field of the Royal Museum. I don't know what this building's name is.

And now for some crazy and stupid moments...

Stupid crane kick
I was doing here a stupid rendition of the Karate Kid's crane kick in front of the Royal Museum, oblivious of the fact that some guards were already watching me and my friends.

I don't know what my friend was doing here
Here's my friend doing something I could not discern. I just suddenly spotted him posing for his wife (who earlier did a "Sound of Music" pose complete with wind-blown scarves) who's taking his picture. I just took a photo of him from afar, at a different angle.

August 18, 2006

Other Pictures I've Taken

On National Day, August 8, these were the pictures I took:

Flags Galore
I took this while I was strolling along the sidewalk towards East Coast beach. I saw the Singapore flag along with other colored ones, waving in unison.

Buoy At Sea
I was raring to take someday a picture of this every time I sit down and meditate on a constructed rock bed by the beach. I like the simplicity of it - the buoy gently rocking over the slightly cobalt waters. The ships at the back added some interesting background to the picture.

Into The Canal
From the sea, there is this "canal" going towards somewhere into the city. I sometimes would find a fisherman busily doing his work over the shallow waters of this area early in the morning.

Garden As Seen By My Window
This is the garden I see by my bedroom window. The scenery never fails to calm me or provide me that inner peace of mind every time I need some time to relax with my thoughts running wild.

Singapore Red Lions - Skydivers
I took this while watching the live TV broadcast of the National Day celebration held at the National Stadium in Kallang. These are the Singapore Red Lions Skydivers doing their formation at thousands of feet in the air (obviously, heck).

I caught upon one of the skydivers (now using parachutes) gently descending down. Good thing my camera has an excellent optical zooming function.

I zoomed in further, and luckily caught more of the skydivers.

August 15, 2006

On The Eve Of National Day

Here are other pictures I took on the eve of Singapore's National Day (anniversary celebration of this nation's birth) last August 8. I tried to be early at Marina Bay, but since next day is a holiday, thousands of people came in and decided to stay and make the most of the rest of the night with families, friends and loved ones.

Fireworks At Eve of Singapore National Day (1)
It's a good thing I had an excellent camera zoom function. Actually, I had a not so good position to watch the fireworks as there are two trees blocking my view.

Fireworks At Eve of Singapore National Day (2)
I was taking some shots while my hands were quite shaking. But the photographs that came out became more interesting because of the shaky effects.

Fireworks At Eve of Singapore National Day (3)
These look like forking red lightnings.

Fireworks At Eve of Singapore National Day (4)
And these look like camp fires gone wild.

Fireworks At Eve of Singapore National Day (5)
Sunburst fireworks. I heard may “waaaahs” at that night.

Fireworks At Eve of Singapore National Day (6)
Too much light here.

Throngs of People at Marina Bay
Too many people around the bay area.

City Nightscape
The beautiful Singapore nightscape. I took this after the fireworks display.


August 07, 2006

Images Using My Own Camera

I'm using a Canon Powershot A700 digital camera. I had bought one and I'm still giddy in using it. It's my first foray into digital photography. Since I'm a newbie, I'd ran some test shots, so I went at the nearby beach at Marine Parade. And here are some of them:

Singapore Flags For The Coming National Day
Singapore flags for National Day. Tomorrow is their nation's birthday celebration.

The Beach
The beach area, near East Coast Park. I suddenly remember our Manila Bay.

A Terrier And His Loving Masters
A Terrier and his loving masters. Cute scruffy dog.

Waiting For Godo
Waiting for his Godo. Or something. I like the image of contemplation especially at nearby water areas.

Filming Their Dog
Another couple with their pet dog. This time, the couple is filming their playful dog.

Nature Along The Pathway
I trudged along back to my flat using this pathway. I could not find the mushroom beds underneath the trees since I last saw them in May this year.

August 05, 2006

Things I Learned So Far Here...

And here comes the list again. Here goes:

  • The more I talk and act as non-Singaporeans do (accent, quirks and all), the more the locals know I am a foreigner. Even if my skin color almost matches theirs, my accent and clear spoken English still mystifies them (by the way they look at me in surprise or what). Beats me, but they would readily ask me if I'm a Filipino (and that lyrical way of saying English comes to mind again).

  • Just like Filipinos, seems the locals here have that colonial mentality when it comes to conversing with a foreigner (especially the "white people"). They may deny, but really they seem to give that "awe" and "respect" to the "white people" (which they fondly call here as "kaypo"). I couldn't say the same thing when it comes to treating each other or other Asian-looking individuals. Beats me again, but it's a phenomenon nonetheless to think the Western people are far greater than the Eastern ones. Ah, we're not being bigots here, are we. It's just that I see the same kind of "Fascination with the West" back in the Philippines.

  • I learned you can't really get to explore well this colorful country no matter how small it may seem to be in the Atlas map. This island nation belies its small size when it comes to colorful and cultural activities one can stumble upon. I'll let you know in my next posts (and hopefully with pictures once I purchase my own digital camera one of these days). Yes, you heard it right, I am planning to buy one, lah.

  • I keep on saying "Salamat" (or pronouncing it as "Selamat") to Singaporeans here especially to those who I know of Malaysian descent (like those serving in restaurants and behind the cash counters). It's a good thing that the word actually meant I "something good". Because I had this belief that whenever Malay locals here speak "selamat" after a conversation, I thought the word is similar to the Pinoy word "salamat" meaning "thank you". What it actually meant is a greeting of goodwill similar to "good morning" or "good day" or "wishing you a good trip". Ah, now I know. :-)

  • Conversation is a nightmare here. I need to learn Mandarin, Malay or Indian as soon as possible (or in any other way). There is something in their English that I still cannot understand at all. Even the British guys here intimidate me with their brand of "English" accent. Such a bloody hell, hehehe. :-D

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Known to be the webmaster of the defunct Taym Matsing website (well, that's old news now...)