Thursday, April 05, 2007

My new blog address:


Saturday, March 31, 2007

blessed with good friends
(story about my car battery & air con)

i am so thankful that i have been blessed with good friends. a fortnight ago, i was stranded at woodlands road because my battery went flat. i had parked my car by the roadside. when i was about to drive off, the engine just refused to come to life. i suspected right away that the battery was the cause. my first thought was to contact victor, my former monk's hill colleague, who lives at marsiling.

he told me that he would get help and asked me to contact him again ten minutes later. before the ten minutes was up, the mechanic called me to ascertain my location. i forgot about calling victor, so he called me instead. he told me he would be taking bus service 178 to my location. the mechanic came and jump-started the car. when victor showed up, the engine was already well and running. i drove victor home and declined his invitation for tea.

i then drove to dairy farm road - where i had originally planned to do my nature walk - and parked the car outside the moe adventure camp while i took to the trail. when i returned and tried to start the car, i got this sickening feeling - i would be stranded again. there was no point in calling the mechanic because the solution he could provide would be a temporary one only. i called victor again. he would get the aa man to come with a new battery. i waited nearly an hour because victor had to travel by bus to upper bukit timah road. when the aa man finally got the battery replaced, it was way past 7.00 p.m.

i have been plagued with another car problem. the car air-conditioning system had not been working properly. when the engine was idling at low speed, the air-conditioner would give way or give up. i had to get a car air-conditioner specialist to fix it because my regular mechanic could not rectify the fault.

i mentioned the problem to my friend kok weng, my ex-colleague from balestier hill secondary. he took me to sin ming avenue, to a workshop called king's auto. alex, the owner, checked and told me that the problem was with the water pump. he gave me an option: i could have it replaced - which would cost me $500 plus - or i could settle for a repair job and hope for the best. i decided on the cheaper option.

we left the car at the workshop and went for lunch at jalan pemimpin. after lunch, we browsed at pan west, a speciality shop selling golf equipment. i got a lift from him to junction 8, where i intended to take the mrt home. i ended up browsing at the shopping complex. when alex called me, i was supposed to call kok weng so that he could come and pick me and send me to king's auto. i decided not to trouble him and took a feeder service bus from bishan to sin ming avenue.


Sunday, March 25, 2007

miniature pineapples

pictures of my two miniature pineapples. no picture of other miniatures.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

cheapest driving @ cdans bukit batok

bukit batok cdans has this offer: drive as many balls as you can within one and a half hours for $5.00. at toa payoh driving range, i was paying the same amount to whack 100 balls. this works out to 5 cents per ball. at bukit batok, within the given time, i was able to hit 200 balls. my friend kok weng averages about 100 balls in thirty minutes. so, he hits about 300 balls for $5.00.

although the parking rate is 90 cents per hour, you can redeem the charges for the first two hours. so, parking is literally free.
other driving ranges normally charge about 6 cents per ball during peak hours and 5 cents during non-peak hours. orchid country club charges about 4.5 cents during off peak period. at the executive course at mandai, the rate during non-peak is 3 cents per ball.
i like the golf range at bukit batok because it simulates an actual fairway. you get a nice view of waterfall, flowing streams and undulating landscape. they even have bunkers lined with coconut trees.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

seafood paradise at defu lane 10

i enjoy seeking out makan places in unexpected locations, like the bottle tree village at sembawang and botak jones at tuas. last night, we went to another - the seafood paradise at defu lane 10. this restaurant is tucked away in an industrial area in hougang.

to get there, travel along upper serangoon road till you reach the turning to tampines. turn right onto this road and travel on it, pass hougang avenue 1 before making a right turn into hougang avenue 3. keep left and look out for the turning into defu lane 10. turn right and keep on going until you come to swee hin building.

parking is free within the compound of this industrial building. there were ample lots on a weekday. i would not know the situation on a weekend. you can choose to sit in the air-conditioned room or opt for al fresco in the open. we were there on a tuesday night and i counted at least sixteen tables occupied.

we had the signature butter crab, cheese prawns, tofu, oyster omelette, sambal sweet potato leaves and yam basket.

the butter crab ($28 per kg) is served with fried buns (man tou). made of butter and skimmed milk, the gravy is spiced up by the white pepper that is added for fragrance. do not know if the tofu was the homemade version. anyway, it was good. the sambal sweet potato leaves dish had to be good because we had two plates of it.


Saturday, March 10, 2007

abandoned vehicle near the railway track

this morning, i went back to the moe campsite at dairy farm to walk the disused road that leads to the singapore quarry. i armed myself with a walking stick, just in case i should encounter any dog or any wild creature along the way. it was as quiet and as deserted as the previous time.

however, when i came to a cleared area next to the railway track, i saw this old and dented van. it turned out too be a foreign vehicle, bearing a malaysian number plate. one of the window glasses had been removed. the seats also appeared to have been removed. there was nothing of value left inside the van. a notebook was left on the dashboard.

how did the van end up there? they must have driven it to the spot via jalan asas, just in front of the ramen ramen restaurant. during my last walk, there was a barrier to prevent vehicles from venturing beyond that point. but, that had been taken down. could the vehicle have been used in some clandestine activity?


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

waving leaf/plant

i was on my way up to the summit of bukit timah when i came across this phenomenon - a waving plant, or rather a waving leaf. the rest of the leaves were static but this particular one was waving like a pendulum. i stood there for a full ten minutes studying it closely but there was no wavering of its movements. it continued to 'wave' at the same speed, not slowing down a bit at all.

i tried taking some pictures but the images were blur because of the 'waving'. next, i tried using the flash to capture the actions but it was not possible to capture the 'wave'. later, as i was making my descent, i met my fellow retirees. i told them about the waving leaf. when we went back to the spot, it was still waving. my friend, a former science teacher, figured it could be the draught blowing against the leaf that caused it to sway from side to side.

when we looked around the area, we spotted a few other leaves exhibiting similar movements, though not as vigorous as this particular one.
if you look at the three pictures carefully, you will realise that the elongated leaf with a brown patch on it shifts its position in relation to the other leaves. in the first picture, it is partially hidden by the longer leaf. in the second picture, it appears right in the middle of the photograph and in the last picture, it has shifted to the left.
this morning, i went again, to check on the waving leaf...and it was still at it. other leaves sway in the wind but this one is different. its movement seems to be mechanical and the wave is a wide one.
if you want to avoid the fumes from the mini buses and trucks that use the road to the summit, time you walk before 8.30 a.m. or after 9.30 a.m. also avoid the 11.30 a.m. to 12 noon slot because during this period, there is one vehicle making the downhill trip.