Sunday, October 30, 2011

Thoughts about my travels

I do not consider myself a writer, but a traveller who happens to write.
I am not a hardship traveller, or at least no longer so. I hardly climb mountains; I do not camp in the outdoors these days; And I don't do much trekking. I am essentially a city guy who enjoys café, shopping in flea markets, checking out local supermarkets and browsing in local bookstores.  As a keen observer of politics and economics, as well as a history bluff, I enjoy historical sites, political oddities, conversation into local issues and a back-of-the-envelope assessment of local business opportunities.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Orang Seletar: A Blast from Singapore’s Past

On Saturday, I visited Kampong Sungai Temon, a tiny village in southern Johor (20+ km west of Johor Bahru) inhabited by the Orang Seletar tribe, which is officially classified as part of the Orang Asli (“original people”) ethnic group in Malaysia.  We arrived early evening, as the sun set over the Straits of Johor.  At this point, the strait was only 2km apart.  We could see the electric tower at the northern tip of Lim Chu Kang, at the far northwestern corner of Singapore.  We had a wonderful and affordable seafood dinner (about RM 16 per person) at Restoran Asli, built on a large stilt structure over water. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Brief Moments @11 Nov 2011: Salar de Uyuni: Wonderland of Desert & Salt

Brief Moments @11 Nov 2011: Salar de Uyuni: Wonderland of Desert & Salt - by Matthew Goh

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mok Ly Yng on “Horsburgh Lighthouse: 160th anniversary” (Sat 15 Oct 2011) « Otterman speaks…

The Horsburgh Lighthouse is located on the island of Pedra Branca, awarded to Singapore by the decision of the International Court of Justice in 1998. The anniversary of the lighthouse's operation is important as a key factor of the award, which effectively confirms our maritime boundary all the way to where the Straits of Singapore meets South China Sea. This not only extends substantially our exclusive economic zone but confirms Singapore as the southern guardian of one of the most important waterway in the world, the Straits of Malacca, through which most of the fossil fuel that powers China, Japan and Korea passes through.

Wee Cheng


Click the link below to read what Mok LY tells us about the history of this famous lighthouse.

Mok Ly Yng on “Horsburgh Lighthouse: 160th anniversary” (Sat 15 Oct 2011) « Otterman speaks…

From: Mok Ly Yng Subject: Horsburgh Lighthouse: 160th anniversary Hi everyone, Today (15 Oct 2011, Sat), or rather tonight, marks the 160th anniversary of the start of regular operations of the H...

We need to delink heritage from tourism

Friends asked me why bother to preserve places that few tourists are likely to visit. My reply: We need to delink heritage from tourist attractions. Heritage sites are what define us as a people and nation. Most countries preserve heritage sites for national education and identity. We must stop looking at everything from a profit perspective. We are a nation, not a mall and certainly not a corporation.

Let's use the UK as an example.  Apart from the top tier attractions such as the British Museum, Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London (plus maybe five to ten other attractions), London has over 300 other museums and numerous other historical homes and conservation sites, most of which attract hardly any non-British and indeed even few locals. Why are they set up or conserved? Certainly not for tourism, but because they are important nationally or locally. Many of these do not attract the foreigner because they are not of global significance. A good number are not even of UK-nationwide significance but are of local/municipal significance.  

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Next Gathering: 11 Nov 2011: Tibet by Patricia

Friday 11th November 2011

Potluck & Chat @ 7:30pm
Just bring a small box of pastries, or a packet of noodles for about 3-4 people,
or a bottle or 2 of soft drinks.

Presentation @ 8:30pm
Brief Moments - TBD
Spectacular Tibet Journey on The Friendship Highway
by Patricia Lee

@ [Venue TBD]

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Muay Thai at Lumpini Boxing Stadium, Bangkok (2011)

Vegetarian Festival at Wat Mangkon Kamalawat, Bangkok

Went to Wat Mangkon Kamalawat, Chinatown to watch the bustle of the Vegetarian Festival, known as Nine Emperor Gods Festival in Singapore and Malaysia. It is interesting to see that what began as a ethnic Chinese folk Taoist festival in Phuket is now in full rage all over Bangkok. Even posh Western restaurants and major supermarket/department chains in Bangkok's main malls fly small yellow festival flags to indicate that they sell vegetarian food encouraged to be consumed during the festival week.

Random Bangok 2011

Random photos of my October 2011 visit to Bangkok, one of my favourite cities in the world. Visited the Shrine of Goddess Tubtim for the first time - this is Bangkok's penis shrine...people come here to pray for fertility, hidden at a corner of Swissotel Nai Lert near Chit Lom station at the heart of the city. Dropped by the Victory and Democracy Monuments as well - always love their magnificence whenever I passed by them on my annual visits to Bangkok. Also visited Khao San Road many years after my previous visit. No, too old for backpacker districts but it's fun to see what has changed (nothing!).

Erawan Museum of Samut Prakan, Thailand