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The good thing about Singapore.

I need to get this off my chest actually because quite often, I get branded by some people or friends that I hate Singapore.  (Countless time actually) I think the main reasons is that I complaint too much about our gahment's policies or other little aspect of our country.  Moreover, I realise most(actually all of them I guess) of the articles I have written are actually something bad about my mother land.

So let me be frank, I do love my country and I do enjoy certain perks of being a Singaporean.  So this post is actually what I do love and really appreciate when I am back in Singapore.   

1) The diversity of food.  Period.  It may not be the best, but being a cosmopolitan and multi-racial country, we get to have different varieties of food available at our convenience.    The choices we have are really quite astounding.  From Middle Eastern food all the way till South Korean cuisine, you name it, we have it.  Not authentic you might say but at least there is a choice.

2)Our Internet.  Fast and considered reliable.  If you have been staying in Thailand you wouldn't have complain much.  Price point is also consider affordable for that speed.  And most important of all, it's not blocked or filtered like in Thailand. (maybe some porn sites but at least not a 100% block)

3)Our passport.  Practically can go any other countries without applying a VISA.  

4)Efficient gahment services (applying new accounts for utilities, getting married, certified and etc).  Surprising to see I praise this, well... its actually quite efficient when we go by the book.  That means no oddities or special requests.  You can consider it to be way more efficient than the Thais or even Malaysia (try applying for a lost passport in Thailand or Malaysia... tons of hurdles)  But of course when if you are applying something not under the SOP (Standard Operating System)  then prepare yourself for high blood pressure replies and services...

5)Public utilities (electricity,gas and water).  Very very little screw ups.  Way better then Thailand of course and I appreciate that.

6)Clean streets.  Some like it, some don't but I do appreciate the clean environment.  All thanks and kudos to our foreign friends who took the task to keep our place clean.  It's a tough job to keep such a dense city clean and surprisingly we are doing that quite well....

7)Our police and efficient SCDF.  (This is actually a mixture of good and bad....) but I'm leaning to the like side (even though they really screw up big time on certain things)  at least the low ranking cops don't take bribes or abuse their power like they do in Thailand.  Overall, my impression on them are still quite professional.  But they are some silly incidents like CSJ and the Mas Selamat incident.  But overall, I still trust them (so far)if I need help and that is quite essential.

8)Our taxis.  Another surprising entry but actually our taxis are one of the better public transport I would say.  Yes, it's difficult to look and book for one during peak hours but at least if the service is not up to standard you have a means to complain.  And moreover,  you get to hear some very interesting and entertaining conspiracies/rumours from the uncle or auntie.... :P

9)Our CPF.  (another big surprise!) To be frank, it's actually a good system for us to save money for retirements and for purchasing a house.  But I kind of think it's being abused by our current gahment right now.    I still think it's a good vehicle to save our money.  The idea is good, but the implementation wise is a bit errrrr....

10) Our people.  (Older generations in their 60s or older) These are the pioneers who made SG today and most of them are being left out of our gahment's so called progress.  Most of them are kind hearted, down to earth, hardworking people and I really really enjoy talking to them.  Just talk to one of them and you would know how come PAP still wins every election.  It's because they are just so nice.....

and lastly a bonus... hehehe

11)Our exchange rate!  Singapore money more expensive, the merrier I am.  I can buy more things cheaper from the states and I could change more money to spend in Thailand :P

Ok.. I can think of some more but this are the 1st 11 things that came into my mind.  So don't ever say I never say good things about SG hor!



My New (Used)Ride

Fully UnfoldedMy first foldie was the Strida 5.1 I bought in 2008.  I sold it away in 2010 when I decided to quit my job and return back to Maesai.  Fast forward to the beginning of March when I decided to come back to work.  I started to miss riding a a bike in Singapore.  After 3 weeks of bus rides to office.  The excruciating pain of the bus system here compels me even more to get one.  At first I plan to get a normal bike but my new flat (currently staying at my sis's new HDB flat) is just too small to house a full size bike.

As the idea of getting foldie comes back to me, I started to think about the Brompton folding bike and other brands such as Dahon and Birdy. I have a friend who is also using a Dahon and I asked for his opinion on his bike and he's quite pleased with it.  I started to do more research about the bikes.  I would prefer something that would folds neatly and perform better than my Strida.

Yesterday was my day off and I started a round island trip looking at the bikes from 3 different shops.  I narrowed down to the Brompton and Dahon.  I was leaning towards the Brompton as it really really folds up into a very small package (which is my 1st major citeria).  Then I learnt about a Brompton clone called Flamingo Nex 7 which looks mightly similar of the Brompton fold and at least half the price point of the Brompton.  Money was still a major issue, I'm willing to spend but I have a limit as I still have not earn enough OT to get such big ticket items yet.  I was planning to go down to another bike shop in the West that has the Flamingo Nex 7 to take a peep but that silly old me went to the local bike forum  Itchy hand I went in and searched for a WTS (Want to Sell) thread for a Brompton.  Bing!  Returns 1 under utilised black Brompton M6R at a pretty good price.  Still above my budget but out of curiosity and (trying my luck).  I messaged the guy and asked for the best price (which is my budget).  Took a minute and he replied he is willing to let it go at my price!! Whee... took a cab down and checked out the bike.  Paid and left :P

Folded My first encounter with the Brompton was actually in 2008, when I visited Diginexx to get my Strida.  The owner of the shop showed the Brompton to me but the price tag was just too high for me to justify one at that time as I was only planning to use the bike mainly for commuting between my house and office.  After riding on the Strida for a year plus,  I found that the size of the folded Strida is not as elegant and also it's a bit big and cumbersome to carry around (I could only wheel it).  Not the case for Brompton.  It's slightly heavier but because of it's compact size, I could carry it easily when folded and even wheel it by just extending the seat post.  The other thing is the 6 speed gear which means climbing a hill (around Bedok Reservoir Road) is no longer a pain the ass for me old fat arse.  I always have a hard time along that stretch on my single speed Strida.

I bought the bike at Senkang near Hougang and there was a bike connector.  I took out my handphone and was pleased to find out that the connector would lead me to Hougang Ave 10 which I could hitch a bus back to my office in Kaki Bukit.  I unfolded the bike (many thanks to Gary who sold me the bike and provided some good tips in folding and using the bike) and took a short ride to the bus stop via the park connector.  Its good!  The initial acceleration is less then the Strida but much smoother ride.  Even though its on 16" wheels.  It was a 10 min ride to the bus stop.  I was taking it easy as I was trying to get used to the gearing system.  

I folded the bike and board the bus and dropped off at Ubi.  I decided to take a test ride home on the bike.  The whole journey was about 40mins.  I was not speeding, just crusing along the pavement as I was really testing out the bike and looking out for a better path to get back home.  

I think the current construction around the area meant I have to take a big detour to get back to Bedok Reservoir Road.  There were a lot of rude speeding cyclists I met along the way and I don't really dare to cycle on the road as I did not have my helmet on with me.  Moreover, I have not been cycling on SG's road for more than a year.  All in all, I enjoyed the ride and the bike as well.  Some people disliked the mustache handle bars but I kind of like it a lot.  It allows me to have a much upstraight riding position.  There are some minor peeves on the bike I wish it could be better.  First are the cheap plasticky shifters for the gears, seriously, for this price I hope it could be better, it looks like it would snap easily.  I think it would be difficult to swap them as I have read that most of their parts are proprietary.  Another peeve is the umarked seatpost.   Think I need to use a marker to mark my height.  I stopped twice just to adjust the height of the seat.   Other than that, its a good buy.  Ride is really smooth and the frame is well formed and sexy.  All in all, I love it.  I planned to get a few upgrades.  First, I need some lights!! Then a Brooks seat for my butt.  The seat is good but those Brooks leather seats just look awesome!!  Then a bag or luggage carrier!  I guess I still need to spend a lot more than I expected :P

Parking Mode

PS: Apologies for the lousy photos of the bike in my room, I was actually hiding it from my mum.  Well, let's just say she still sees it in the end and immediately after that was followed by a barrage of nagging of how dangerous it is to commute with a bike on SG road.... :P     


Some site revamp

I have just made some changes to the site template to make it more easier for my old eyes to read.  I also spent some time making a banner picture for the site.  It's a long overdued process which I couldn't do it in Maesai as my kids would barge in and take over my computers. :P

Anyway, I do hope you like the new scheme.  I choose a darker background as I planned to post more photos here in my blog.  This would make a better viewing experience.  If you do find some funny hiccups in the stylesheets... Do drop me a message and let me know about it.

Thanks for reading!

Two fuzzy eyes doing a double.

I've known Ndroo, the owner of  (and a lot of uber cool toy cameras) many years ago while I was still teaching part time photography in SLCC.  I think we got to know each other because he was looking for a a Pentacon CZJ Flektogon 50mm and I gave one to him.  I just sold my Kiev system and it's a lens I bought cheap over ebay.  Anyway long story short,   we still have not actually met in person.  

One boring day in Thailand.  I just messaged him in FB to see if he wants to do a double exposure with me.  For those not too sure about film photography.  A double is actually I shoot the roll first (slight underexposing each shots) and then pass the finished roll to him.  He would then reload the film and shoot again.  Hence, the term doubles.

We have no idea of what each other is going to shoot so its actually a hit and miss game.  :P  Anyway, the results is out and we have a pretty cool shot! (the one you see above) .  You can see the rest at his website.   

So now I will be waiting for his roll....... which I think it might take some time because he has a lot of backlog to clear.. hehehehe...