Saturday, June 24, 2006

Princess Cruise – Seattle to Alaska

Leaving Singapore for Seattle on Monday 26 June 2006. We hear that Seattle is a nice city for tourists so we plan to do a little sightseeing before the cruise. After the cruise we will again stay in Seattle for 2 nights for a rest before we return to Singapore.

I shall be bringing along my camera for the cruise and hopefully take many picture of the beautiful scenery we have been promised. Ours is a 7 night cruise and we will be on board when the World Cup quarter and semi finals matches are played. I am hoping that there will be live coverage on board. I will be very disappointed if I have to miss the matches.

I am not too sure what to expect during the cruise. Information from the itinerary suggests that we will be stopping at various ports for sightseeing and learning about local customs and way of live. We could even go whale watching or to see the seals. Looking forward to all that. Should be educational and interesting.

I shall be posting here, if possible along the cruise and if not it will have to wait till I return to Singapore.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Father’s Day – Sunday June 18 2006

Is this a day for celebration or a day just like any other? Is this day too commercialized by retailers just to encourage sales and bookings at eateries? Fathers whose children take time out of their busy schedules on this day to say “ thank you “ are very fortunate. There are many children these days who are too busy to spare a kind thought to their parents on special occasions such as birthdays and parent’s days. To these I say, remember, one day in the future you too will be parents.

I am one of the lucky ones. Saturday evening was spent with Carrie and Gary. We were treated to a wonderful Indonesian dinner. After dinner we watched one of the World Cup matches at Carrie and Gary’s flat at Tiong Bahru. It was a wonderful evening, spent with loving children. On Sunday Denise who happened to be in town took us for a buffet lunch. Again, a very happy occasion with much love and merriment.

Martin our son from London remembered and send a email wishing me Happy Father’s Day. Much appreciated.

All in all, better than expected. To the fathers around the world who were forgotten on this occasion, cheer up, maybe next year your children will remember you. Expect nothing and you will then not be disappointed.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Singapore - I am here

Arrived in Singapore after a 13 hours flight. Not a bad journey afterall. Business class travel is a far cry from the economy seats where you are packed like sardines with very little leg rooms - especially on a BA plane. Flat bed travel is surely a luxury on any long haul flight. The food, even in business class is pretty tasteless. However, I cannot fault the service of the cabin crew. They were quite marvellous. In fact they were at time over attentive which makes me feel rather uncomfortable.

Singapore is still the same as when I left about 2 months ago. Nothing ever change here, well, not at any speed, although I am under the impression that the Singapore authority is slowly allowing more "modern" style of advertising. I was in Orchard Road today and walking along Wisma Atria I did notice numerous large posters of very scantily cladded ladies. This would have been totally banned a few years ago. Even on the local TV advertisement one can see the trend that things and lightening up and more body part are allowed. Not a bad thing really.

A strange event is being launched in Singapore, by the Government no less. It is the " 4 million smiles " project. All Singaporean, PRs, foreign workers currently in Singapore have been encouraged to send to the Singapore Government a smiling photograph of him/herself. All collected photographs will be made into a mural which will be used to impress the oversea delegates when they come to attend the World Trade Congress in September this year. Singaporeans are famous for their unsmiling expression when dealing with foreigner visitors. They are considered quite discourteous to visitors to their shores and often to the point of being rude. The Singapore government hopes that this mural will take away some of this bad publicity and visitors will go away with a better impression of the people of this tiny island. From first impression, I think this project is doomed to failure. Singaporeans are not going to change overnight, mural or no mural.

Hurray!!! good news regarding the World Cup. Just found out tonight that the McDonalds near our place is showing all World Cup matches on their in-store TV. I can just go there at 9 pm, 12 am and 3 am to watch all the 3 matches of each day. England v Sweden will be the next match to watch. However, I will be away on a cruise to Alaska from June 26 to July 13. Hope they have World Cup matches on the cruise or I will miss the most important matches.

Watched the Iran v Portugal game tonight. The Iranians really got trashed. Well, they have only another match to play and they will be on their way back to Tehran. Pity really, would have like to see them get to the next stage.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Singapore - here I come

Today we leave UK for Singapore. I am sad because I will not have the BBC and ITV television channels to watch the remaining World Cup matches. Back in Singapore some of the matches will be played at some ungodly hours of the morning. Well, lets hope England gets far enough to warrant me either paying for a sport cable channel or just have to go to some clubs to watch the matches.

Another regret I have for leaving UK at this time of the year is the weather. I am leaving the glorious sunshine with temperature at a comfortable 25 deg C average to go to a place with temperature of around 34 deg C. The Singapore humidity is the killer. I just hate venturing out of the house because I get soaked in sweat all day long. After a few trips to Singapore the initial excitement has worn off and I do not look forward to my trip to this clinically clean island. Don’t get me wrong, I do not dislike my trips back to Singapore. In fact I quite like it here, now that I have got used to the weather and the Singaporeans. Having lived in UK for the past 40 years I have a great respect for the system here. Here in Singapore everything works. If one abides by the rules and obey the law, you can be sure that you will get things done. Another great thing about this island state is that one feels safe day or night and in whatever part of the island you are in. There are no such places as no-go areas. There are no groups of threatening teenagers or gangs. There is hardly any graffiti, minimum litter on the streets and everywhere you go you will find people sweeping after you. The country runs like a well oiled machine and the Singaporeans are almost robotic going about in their daily quest for money and assets. One word of advice though, be very careful what you say in public, especially where politics are concerned. Another thing, if you drive in Singapore, forget about courtesy.

Got to pack and leave for Heathrow.

Continue later……