Gotong Royong

20140518-114442-42282993.jpg

Had the privilege of bringing this author around the Gardens. We exchanged books that we wrote and of course she got the shorter end of the deal.

My, this was one of those books you don’t want to finish so fast, so as I was reading it, I kept eyeing the remaining pages with anguish that it wasn’t many times thicker. Do books come with different speeds? Why did I read the 236 pages in such a short time? It was such an enjoyable book, like kachang that once you started eating is very hard to stop.

I was transported in time to a kampung in Potong Pasir set in the 1960′s mainly where the author lived and grew up as a child. Little things like how her mum cooked nasi lemak and how she described the smells but yet could not have the satisfaction of eating it because it was meant to be sold off as a means to make ends meet really gave the book the “dramatic arc” the author had mentioned about writing to me.

You also get a glimpse of the political history of Singapore as the stories and struggles of kampung life she writes weave the kampung peoples’ lives with Singapore’s independence and how aspects of their lives are affected by the riots, konfrontasi, elections and separation from Malaya. Tan Howe Liang’s sporting achievements are featured especially in the last chapter “The Lion must learn to roar again, 1965″.

Not only did I appreciate water running from taps, books that litter my home and flushing toilets after reading her book but the greatest take-away from the book was mostly about soul, the kampung spirit, friendship where no one is afraid or inhibited to lend a hand or to share in burdens and joy. The paperback is light in the hands but you can feel its weight in its words and stories.

Steve Vai and the Stick of Destiny

The stick came tumbling in the air and it was the last one that the drummer tossed into the crowd. Finally all those years of playing catch with whatever objects was going to prove itself. It rolled, it yawed but my eyes were fixed on the axis of the spin. My hand shot up and the stick surrendered itself to the gravitational and destined grip of my pentadactyl limb. I could hear people behind me gasp in awe that I could make that catch with nary an effort. It was the stick of destiny, thrown by Steve Vai’s drummer – Jeremy Colson. I bequeathed the battered pola to Josh and in that moment passed down to him the love of the music of Steve Vai.

What a concert and what showmanship he engendered in the concert. The climax was really at the end of the show, after the encore when the lights of the hall were turned back on and he was on stage without a mike and talking to the crowd. There he was – one of the best guitarists of our time and immediately made everyone feel the camaraderie that was the love for his music.

20140322-082308.jpg

20140322-082336.jpgThat’s one battered Vater drumstick with Vater grip tape. 

20140322-090321.jpg

20140322-124016.jpg

Garcinia nigrolineata – The beaked kandis

This is a wild mangosteen in cultivation at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

Mangosteens belong to the family Clusiaceae (or formerly Guttiferae).  Some characteristics:  Opposite leaves without stipules, yellowish sap, branches emerging almost at right angles to the trunk.  More curiously is the “beaked” end of the fruit.  The bark is quite dark and makes this plant very distinctive. 

It is native to Singapore.

 

Garcinia nigrolineata

Garcinia nigrolineata

 

Garcinia nigrolineata

 

Garcinia nigrolineata

 

Garcinia nigrolineata

Garcinia nigrolineata

Riding the Bishan-Kallang PCN to Gardens by the Bay

Today I cycled the Bishan-Kallang PCN from Bishan to Gardens by the Bay.  It took me about 50 mins to reach the destination.  Not too bad considering how its all the way in Marina South.  The pictures say it all and since I am going to work, I need to think about the alternative routes there.  Its either I cycle and enjoy the quiet park connectors (there was no need to go on the road at all).

Bishan-Kallang PCN

Or hère below are the alternatives.

Crowd in MRT stationBishan-Kallang PCN

 

After the entire recce trip, I wondered why I haven’t been cycling more.  I really felt great and could feel how happy my circulatory system was.

Bishan-Kallang PCN

I was pleasantly surprised that I was on the PCN most of the time.  For some stretches, due to repairs, I had to go on the pavement for just a bit.  The nicest stretch of the PCN was by Kallang River.  There were a few turns to note but the home stretch to GB was sweet.

Bishan-Kallang PCN

Bishan-Kallang PCN

Bishan-Kallang PCN

One can navigate using the Singapore Flyer.

Bishan-Kallang PCN

Kallang Riverside Park is really quite peaceful.

Bishan-Kallang PCN

I will get to see the new stadium being finished.

Bishan-Kallang PCN

 

The stretch from here on is nice.  It skirts the F1 track and the Flyer and leads to the DNA bridge.

Bishan-Kallang PCN

 

The DNA bridge – lovely…

Bishan-Kallang PCN

And finally to the eyes of the dragonfly that is the Flower dome.  Very picturesque welcome.

Bishan-Kallang PCN

As a treat, I bought 30 sticks of satay and put it in my bike bag that is attached to the front.  The satay peeps were curious and enjoyed looking at my Tern P18.  I forgot how nice the bike looks.  I told them the bag was waterproof and ideal for transporting satay.

Bishan-Kallang PCN

The ride home seemed faster as I was familiar with the route… I think I could easily do this route in 45 mins.  The distance I travelled today was about 27km.

Bishan-Kallang PCN

 

There are 4 bridges to cross.  Two of them have narrow slopes for the bike to roll so no need to carry.

 In reference to the overall map, 

The place mark 1 is a bridge across Braddell Rd and has  narrow slopes at the sides so you can roll your bike up. 

2 is a monster bridge across Jln Toa Payoh, PIE, Woodsville Flyover and PIE slip road into the CTE!

3 is the bridge across Serangoon Rd.

4 is the bridge over Bendemeer Rd - it has a slope on one side for bikes to roll.

Bishan-Kallang PCN

The monster bridge is this one near St Andrew’s.

Bishan-Kallang PCN

Satay in the bag!

Bishan-Kallang PCN

 

 

 

Beautiful blue fruits of the Lasianthus shrub

Lasianthus attenuatus RUBIACEAE from Macritchie

Lasianthus attenuatus RUBIACEAE

Picture taken by Lim Cheng Puay, Sunday 20 Oct 2013

This is a shrub found in Macritchie.  It belongs to the coffee family Rubiaceae which has opposite leaves and interpetiolar stipules on either side of the stem.  The striking metallic blue fruit is a drupe (a fruit that is fleshy and surrounding a pit or stone which has a hard shell with a seed inside) and is crowned by the calyx which shows that the ovary is inferior.

It’s challenging to identify plants from a tropical rainforest as diverse as that found in Macritchie but knowing family characteristics can help narrow down the identity. Its a pity we don’t know the forests we have better as they are much more diverse than many forests elsewhere.  But the diversity can be overwhelming and limit our understanding if we do not try to get to know it better.

More pictures and info from the websites below:

http://floraofsingapore.wordpress.com/2010/12/11/lasianthus-attenuatus/  (Flora of Singapore)

http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=117649 (Flora of China)

http://wikis.wheatonma.edu/rainforest/index.php?title=Rubiaceae (Wiki page on Rainforest plants from Wheaton College, Norton MA.)