Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Journey Continues

In the flash of an eye, 5 years have passed. It's now 2015, and the speed with which it's zipped past both amazes and horrifies me. So much has happened and changed in between, yet needless to say, many things haven't either.

If anything, the wanderlust has not dampened, and still finds opportunities to rear its head and prod me into sojourning, amidst the hectic and frenetic lifestyle here. Living in Singapore initially seemed to make this impossible to do... Being on a small island and predominantly metropolitan city, where would you find places to wander and to let your soul find space from the daily drivel and ever-growing population? Yet, in the past few years, I've found little treasure troves of hidden spots, quiet places for reflections, streets and sights to explore, and a myriad of eating places to settle cravings as well as to increase the repertoire of gastronomic experiences.

And so, let's see if little snippets of some explorations can find their way here. Not as a food blog or travelogue, but just as a place to keep and share memories of the little things which remind me that there is definitely more to Singapore than what we often limit ourselves to seeing. When you want to know a country well, don't just spend your time on its main streets. Immerse yourself in its heartlands. Walk and look around you. Sit and listen to the conversations that go on in the surroundings (haha yes, I do eavesdrop and watch random people at times). Look for the little overlooked sights and hidden corners. Then all these experiences would help you to put together a bigger, wider, and more colourful picture of the life that goes in on that place. Whether in Singapore, or in another country or region.

Maybe there'll be more posts about life here. Or maybe I'll get caught up with life outside of social media again, and the next time you see an update might be after another couple of years from now... who knows, hey? :)

Bon voyage.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Durian Season

Came across this sign while roaming around another patch of forest here, and was happily reminded that...


Yum ;)

Friday, July 02, 2010

Another Giant Visitor

Almost a year after "Lucky", the giant praying mantis flew into my room, we had a visit from another giant beauty of the insect world.

As I returned home from supper several nights ago, I spotted a
Tropical swallowtail moth (Lyssa zampa), which was flying at one of the lights just outside our door. With a wingspan of 10 - 12 cm, "fluttering" wouldn't have been the most appropriate word to describe the flight of this large-winged beauty, as it flapped around the light with strong and very audible wingbeats. Every half a minute or so, it would pause to fly to an adjacent wall to rest, groom itself (by rubbing its forelegs against its antennae, which you can vaguely see in the photo), then return to flying around that light again.

Several times, as I stood directly under the light to watch, it would fly across my face or around my head, with an audible whup whup whup of its wings. That was quite an experience, although it took a bit of effort to stifle the instinctive urge to duck or flinch.
I guess knowing that the moth wouldn't bite or sting probably helped, and it probably wasn't poisonous either (at least if I didn't try to eat it, heh).

Upon Googling to identify it, I came across Habitat News, a newsletter from the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research. Turned out that they were trying to collect information on sightings and distribution of the Tropical Swallowtail Moth in Singapore. Thus, if anyone out there has also spotted one of these moths, could you help them by
filling out their online form and submitting it as well? Having worked with other colleagues who were field biologists in uni, I think any assistance in collecting information about these winged beauties would be readily appreciated :)

On a slightly different and whimsical note, I came home one night during the Chinese New Year period, to find a small juvenile praying mantis perched at the entrance of our front door. "Maybe it's one of Lucky's little kids, coming to visit for Chinese New Year", I thought :) Even the way the little mantis held out its forelegs reminded me of the way kids hold out their hands in the traditional CNY greeting. However, before I had a chance to sprint to my room to get my camera, the little fella turned to look at me, jumped up, and flew off into the night.

Hope they're all doing alright, wherever they are :)

"A butterfly lights beside us like a sunbeam
and for a brief moment, its glory and beauty
belong to our world.

But then it flies again,
And though we wish it could have stayed...
We feel lucky to have seen it."

- Author Unknown

Sunday, April 04, 2010


What usually comes to mind when we think of Easter?

Most people associate Easter with ...
Easter bunnies. Chocolate. Decorated Easter eggs. Long weekends.

However, even if we combine all of the above, wouldn't they sound like trivial reasons for such a major celebration? (Although the choc-a-holics may beg to differ :)

Therefore, why do we celebrate Easter in the first place, and why is it such a big celebration?

In celebrating Easter, we celebrate Christ's resurrection, after His death on the cross for our sins. He died and rose again, which heralded an incredible change...
From old to new. From mourning to celebration. From despair to hope. From defeat to victory over sin and death.
From death to life.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." - John 3: 16

Not because of who we are or what we can or cannot do, but because of who God is and what He has done.

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved - and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." - Ephesians 2: 4-6

Because of His great and perfect love, we have been saved. Far greater than any painted egg or chocolate bunny :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Savoured Moments

The past few weeks have been peppered with meet-ups and gatherings with many friends who'd flown in from overseas, to spend their Christmas and Chinese New Year holidays back home in Singapore. In the typical Asian fashion, we'd get together over various meals, attempting to catch up with one anothers' lives, while trying to satisfy a multitude of cravings for the foods that they had missed.

However, now that the holidays are over, most of them have returned to continue their studies or work in different countries, and it'll be almost a year before I get to see them again. I'm already beginning to miss many of them, and know I'll probably be suffering from mild post-overseas-friends-withdrawal symptoms soon :)

Therefore, an old friend and I spent our evening at the 2am: Dessertbar at Holland V today, making the most of our time left together, before she had to make her way back to Australia too. The place was filled with a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere, while the desserts were extremely rich and decadent. Despite their relatively small size, the chocolate desserts oozed a thick molten chocolate filling with each bite, while the sorbets were refreshingly light, and balanced the richness of the chocolate. Furthermore, the desserts weren't cloyingly sweet, and both of us agreed that these were some of the best chocolate dishes among any of the cafes we've visited so far. We enjoyed the ambience too, and sat there chatting for most of the evening. And it was a "fine dining" experience indeed (i.e. dainty food portions, large plates, and huge prices ;)
However, when it came to the company and conversation that we shared there, those... were priceless... :)

"We savoured our moments together, and we would gather in out-of-the way places, ostensibly to talk at great length about inconsequential matters, but in fact to cement faces, the sounds of voices, and very personal connections forever in our memories."
- The Hidden City, by David Eddings.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Dove in the Window

I woke up to a beautiful sight today. Seated at my windowsill, a pair of spotted doves were gently grooming each other, their eyes closed in silent bliss. It was a scene of such tenderness, intimacy, and serenity, that I continued watching for several minutes, while standing stock-still and silent behind my curtains. After some time, the pair finished grooming, paced along the sill a little longer, and flew off.

What a great way to start the day :)

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"
- Matthew 6 : 25-27

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Nuggets of Gold

Another nugget of gold (pun intended :) ... A treasured gift brought all the way from the US, by another dear one who remembered my love for Hersheys chocolate.

So blessed...

God always brings the right people and forms of encouragement, to help us along when we most need them :)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Half Full or Half Empty

"Do you think the glass is half full, or half empty?"

In life, there may be at least 3 types of people :

1) Those who would ponder if the glass is half full.

2) Those who would ponder if the glass is half empty.

3) And those who would drink up the water immediately, without letting the question bother them. For them, thirst is the most immediate and pressing need. The question and its answer don't matter as much.

Literally, and figuratively.

Take education, for example.

Some people praise the merits of a country's educational system.
Some people wax lyrical about its faults.
And there are some who long just for the privillege of being able to go to school to study, nevermind its strengths or weaknesses. Philosophy isn't something they have the luxury to indulge in at the moment.

We can take far too many things for granted sometimes, the same for other examples as well. Do we continue to debate 'half-full or half-empty' in blithe ignorance of those who long even for a sip of water?

Sunday, July 05, 2009

An Unexpected Visitor

A low-pitched humming filled my room, and an audible "Twack!" punctuated the silence.

I looked up from my work, and turned around to find myself face to face with... a HUGE 10+ cm long praying mantis! The fella had apparently flown in
through my window, and landed on my bed. Talk about knowing how to make itself feel at home, heh :)

Immediately, I grabbed my camera and started snapping numerous photos of it, as it scrambled up the headboard and watched me from there. Absently wondering how to get it off my bed, I went to search for a container to catch it with. Several years ago, I had also caught a large stick insect by picking it up and holding it by its mid section (wanting to bring it home to rear as a pet, before realising that I didn't actually have anything large enough to keep it in. Silly me :) and released it in a park several streets away.

However, I couldn't catch the praying mantis in the same way, as they've been known to turn around and bite or claw.
The fella didn't appear to be aggressive, but I didn't want to provoke it either... those pincer -like front legs looked quite sharp and formidable.

When I returned, it had flown from my bed to the adjacent wall, close to the ceiling. At least that solved one problem :) But it was now too high for me to reach. So, I went back to my desk, updated friends with more news of my 'unexpected visitor', and was inspired by them to nickname the fella 'Lucky' :) A search on Google revealed that 'Lucky' was a Giant Asian praying mantis (Hierodula membranacea), and judging from its size, a full-grown adult too.

Captivated, I continued watching from my desk for almost an hour, as it walked to and fro across the wall, grooming itself occasionally. And it turned to watch me too, staring intently with an inquisitive gaze, its expression reminding me almost of a curious dog at times.

However, at 4 am, I decided to finally remove 'Lucky' from the wall. It was late, but didn't want to risk hurting it or getting bitten if it decided to fly back onto the bed while I was asleep.
So, I took a broom, gently coaxed 'Lucky' to climb on, carried it out the window, and let it scuttle onto the wall outside. And silently whispered, "Go forth and multiply," before it turned the corner and disappeared :)

In the past few months, quite a number of critters have entered my room, including the usual moths, beetles, bees, as well as lacewings, geckos (house lizards), and even a bird. But this was by far the most interesting 'guest', a beautiful and fascinating creature to watch. I guess it's one of the things about living near a nature reserve :) My windows are still open, hopefully he/she will come visit again some time :)

All things wise and wonderful,
All creatures great and small,
All things bright and beautiful,
The Lord God made them all.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Louder Than Words

Over the past few months, I've often had to stay cooped up in my room, reading and writing in front of the computer for days on end. My family knew it could get quite depressing and frustrating at times, so they bought a little something to cheer me up (and to provide some sugar to keep me going :)
Japanese Mochi !!! :)

As well as biscuits for me to munch on while I think and write, heh.

The smallest tokens can say the biggest things...