Till the next time, onto the world and beyond.
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Till the next time, onto the world and beyond.
Sunday, May 8, 2016
You can get more insights into this national monument at http://www.nhb.gov.sg/places/sites-and-monuments/national-monuments/changi-prison-gate-wall-and-turrets
Will suggest that those interested in this part of history combine this with another travel up to Kranji War Memorial - http://accidentalsingaporetourist.blogspot.sg/2012/06/end-of-empire-changi-museum-war-walk.html
Till the next time, onto the world and beyond!
Sunday, March 13, 2016
- Part of Kallang bigger estate stretching up to Guillemard Road
- 4 types of blocks found in Dakota estate i.e. (1) butterfly block - one of a kind block that is not found anywhere in Singapore. You can see the unique shape in the photo of the maps shown. To ensure privacy for the end unit with adequate ventilation in the tropical heat. The middle area is always an open courtyard area for community gathering and social interaction. (2) 8 storey blocks - original blocks no. 10 and 20 with the kitchen near the walking corridor - idea likely imported from British and Blk 28 being the only block with a common refuse chute (instead of the refuse chute inside the house) and 3 storey blocks and 2 storey blocks
- Designs of the blocks are intended to help residents to identify their houses with the old folks recalling their inability to go home as all the blocks look too similar to them (back then, there were no block numbers) with reported deafness due to old airport located close to the residences
- Unique feature of the area is that there is no void deck at the bottom of the block with various shapes like those of butterfly (not modular cookie-cutter designs of current flats) with many flats differing in height and shapes standing next to each other
- Former namesake of the Hyde park of Singapore that was situated next to old airport
- Dakota was also the holiday zone back during British times with palm trees still lining the streets and named after the logistics airplane, Dakota DC-3 that used to land in old Kallang Airport nearby
- Previously one of the largest estate built by Singapore Improvement Trust back in 1958 (predecessor of our current Housing and Development Board) with some 20 blocks (now 17 are left)
- Back when the old airport was still functioning, residents were woken up in the morning not by alarm clocks but by the sound of the Concorde plane landing at 6:30 am with the accompaniment of walls shaking and cups/ plates rattling
- There is only 1 Lift repairer in Singapore who is able to repair the remaining lifts in Dakota - he will retire once the last of the residents move out end of the 2016
- Showcased Singapore's progress from slumps to 1st Pioneer HDB flat with its residents having been at least displaced twice due to the modernization of Singapore with many having first moved here after the fires in their previous abode in slums. This intention to move out the Dakota residents marks their 2nd exodus.
- Mountbatten Pink comes from a story when Admiral Mountbatten who observed that the sunset color along the shores around the area and thought that ships will not be spotted if they were painted pink. ore info available via Wikipedia. Incidentally, Admiral Mountbatten had accepted the Japanese surrender after WWII - more info here
Till the next time, keep exploring!
Monday, January 25, 2016
Accidental Tourist of Singapore - List of Singapore National Monuments Visited so far....and many many more to go.....
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Accidental Tourist of Singapore - 2016 - Celebrate Monuments! The Fullerton Hotel Tour: 9 January 2016
Known as Mile 0, it was the nerve centre of Singapore in which all roads and distances in Singapore were measured as leading up to the Fullerton Building. We were told that the use of such reference dates back to the Roman times.
Whoever governs Singapore must have that iron in him. Or give it up. This is not a game of cards! This is your life and mine! I've spent a whole lifetime building this and as long as I'm in charge, nobody is going to knock it down.
We had the chance to prod around the Fullerton Hotel’s Presidential Suite (which is the former card room of the elite Singapore Club) located on the 2nd floor. Occupying a grand total of 2,142 square feet (normal hotel rooms are a pale 323-334 square feet), it has all the furnishings worthy of its guests (for which we were informed on a no-named basis, statesmen and dignitaries) with its white marbled flooring, private elevator, Baby Grand piano, two intricately carved solid wood chairs with inlaid mother-of-pearl, private study and bathrooms complete with Bulgari bathroom amenities. You can enjoy a night's stay at this Presidential Suite for a grand S$6,888.
This tour is part of Celebrate Monuments! by the Preservation of Sites and Monuments (PSM) Division of the National Heritage Board. Conducted by PSM Volunteer Guides, each hour-long tour is specially crafted to celebrate a milestone in the history of a National Monument. Each tour is priced at S$20 per person, and fully redeemable for food and beverage at any of the restaurants located within The Fullerton Hotel Singapore and The Fullerton Bay Hotel after the tour.
Hop over this link if you are keen to take this tour of its interior, exterior etc. and learn about its history from one of PSM Guide: http://www.thefullertonheritage.com/tours#celebratemonuments!thefullertonhotel
You will need to hurry if you want to book as this round of tours ends on 7 Feb 2016.
Saturday, September 19, 2015
Gazetted in 1987 as one of Singapore's national monuments, this grand lady of the far east was first made into a hotel on 1 Dec 1887 by the Sarkies brothers who were Armenian hoteliers. The Sarkies Brothers were successful hotel proprietors - they owned Strand Hotel (Yangon, Myanmar) and hotels in Penang, Malaysia including the Eastern and Oriental Hotel.
The tour started inside the hotel lobby, which dates back to 1899. We were given many glimpses into rare historical facts of the hotel as we walked through its ground such as:
- it being the first building in Singapore to have electric lights and fans.
- it was originally facing the sea which by the 1930s was facing reclaimed land.
- the name of the hotel was given during the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria of England - it coincided with the year the statue of Sir Stamford Raffles was unveiled at Padang in 1887.
- it started as a 10 room bungalow before undergoing several renovations over the century into what we now see, a 3 storey main building.
- the main building was designed by famous architectural firm, Swan and Maclaren. This firm also designed other national monuments, such as the Victoria Memorial Hall and Goodwood Park Hotel.
- the main lobby was once its main dining hall, which converted to a dancing (and even skating) hall after dinner.
- the tiles that were previously in the main lobby are now displayed at the Tiffin Room and the Raffles Grill
- the now famous tag-line of 'Feed at Raffles' was originally coined by famous English writer, Rudyard Kipling who visited the hotel in its 1st year of operations. He actually said, 'Feed at Raffles and sleep at the Grand Hotel de l'Europe.' Grand Hotel de l'Europe was another grand hotel back in those days but in the passage of time, his quote was shortened to 'Feed at Raffles'.
- the famous Tiger incident in 1902: The real story is that the tiger escaped from a nearby performing circus and hid under an elevated restaurant with raised platforms called the Bar and Billiard Room although many would recall this story as one of the tiger hiding under one of the Billiard tables instead. Riding on such an amazing story, the hotel had, on the 99th anniversary, made a live tiger was part of the hotel's celebrations in 1986 to coincide with the lunar new year of the tiger.
- The story of how the silver beef wagon in Raffles Grill was buried by the staff of Raffles during the Second World War in order to preserve it from the enemies and we were allowed to admire its beautiful silver in pristine condition.
- I learned that the Raffles gift shop was once the Horse stables as the guide said that a skeleton of horse was found on the location during the hotel's restoration.
- The origins of the signature cocktail of Raffles Hotel (and a key drink for those visitors to Singapore), the Singapore Sling. It was concocted back in 1915 by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon, a Hainanese bar captain for the ladies who were not allowed to drink alcohol in public. That gave a reason for why the drink is colored like fruit punch.
- Singapore's famous late Orang Utan, Ah Meng was chauffeured here to eat breakfast with the late Michael Jackson who visited Singapore in 1993.
My good fortune continued as I was allowed to go into Sarkies Suite, one of its 2 Presidential Suites where Queen Elizabeth II and Michael Jackson may have resided when they were in Singapore. I and the rest on the tour, wooed and wowed at all the beautiful furnishings (including the original carpet that lined the main dining (now lobby)) and ornate pieces of furniture and marveled at our good fortune to have visited this room which would have cost around S$1,300 to stay each night.
- get more facts and figures about this grand dame at http://www.nhb.gov.sg/places/sites-and-monuments/national-monuments/raffles-hotel
- access a Youtube video on this tour here.
Monday, September 14, 2015
I realised that I have not done a single food entry even though I am just like every true blue Singaporean out there who values cheap and good food and craves for excellent food that starts off our day and ends our nights.
Here is my list of recommendations if you are out and about this little island:
Nasi Lemak (fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf, with condiments like sambal, otak-otak and ikan billis or in coupled with a cup of teh tarik (pulled milk tea). My pick is International Nasi Lemak at Changi Village or Salera Rasa at Adam road food market although we frequent Selera Rasa at Adam Road Food Centre often.
Here are 2 lists of places where you can get this dish: http://rubbisheatrubbishgrow.com/2014/08/31/best-nasi-lemak-in-singapore/
> f you are keen to have a go at making this, here’s the Kaya recipe: http://nasilemaklover.blogspot.sg/2010/05/homemade-pandan-kaya.html
My usual place for kaya toast set is either at Ya Kun (http://yakun.com/ a Singapore brand which started back in the 1940s or Killiney Kopitiam (http://killiney-kopitiam.com/coprofile.html) another Singapore brand that started back in 1919 from a small foodshop at Killiney Road.
For those wanting to have a go at making this, http://ieatishootipost.sg/how-to-make-roti-prata-aka-roti-canai-everything-you-need-to-know/ has a recipe. For me, I prefer to leave it to the professionals at Springleaf Prata Place located at 49 Jalan Tua Kong (which opens from morning till 11 p.m. so this works well as a supper dish too). http://ieatishootipost.sg/singapore-famous-five-best-roti-prata-2/ has his list of top 5 locations serving roti prata.
/span> As for the next question of where is the best place to have the chicken rice in Singapore? This is an on-going (sometimes raging) debate for Singaporeans known to be extremely passionate about their food so I will give you at least 2 lists to help you decide:
List of places serving Laksa: http://www.thebestsingapore.com/eat-and-drink/the-5-best-laksa-in-singapore/
A final plug for dinner involves the Peranakan cuisine. Peranakans themselves often keep many of their family recipes within their family and truth be told, their recipes often involve at least 1 full day of labor of love (many actually require more as there are different sauces prepared for different dishes). CNN has a good way of explaining this food art: http://travel.cnn.com/getting-know-singapores-oldest-fusion-cuisine-187406. For those brave souls wanting to try out, Amazon has a few books on sale – just search ‘Nyonya recipes’ in their book section.
Here you go, my tip of the iceberg in Singapore culinary cuisine. I have provided the links to other lists (from CNN and the Guardian UK) to baffle you further on the wide range of food that we have in this little dot:
Till the next time, onto the world and beyond!