On 16 Jun 05 (Thu), my family went to the Science Centre. It was our umpteenth visit there. (Where else could we bring our children to during the school holidays?) As always, at the ticket booth, I asked to purchase 2 adult tickets and 2 children tickets. The ticket seller took a glance at my elder son and promptly asked, "How old are your children?". I did some quick mental calculation and said "13+". "I'm sorry Sir, but the children ticket is for 12 years and below only", came the polite but firm reply. Quite embarrassed, I paid up for 3 adult tickets and 1 children ticket immediately.
Children grow up so fast that sometimes it takes an incident like this to make you realise that they are fast growing up into adults.
This is Clarke Quay. It is on the bank of Singapore River. It used to be a part of old Singapore until it was redeveloped into a commercial/shopping area some 20 years ago by Capitaland. The facades of the old buildings have been retained so that the area maintains its old world charm after redevelopment. This place brings back many wonderful memories for me. In the early 80's, there used to be a stall in one of the coffeeshops there which served very delicious Teochew minced pork noodles.
I have since learnt that this is called a "folding camera". About 15 years ago, I gave it to a good friend whose passionate hobby was to collect antiques (it still is). He appeared extremely delighted with the gift. Although my camera was not in as good a condition as the one in the photo, he promised me that he would restore it to its former glory. But I don't think that he has done it yet as this friend is known to be a good procrastinator too. But it is just as well... because the antique could only grow older and hence he fonder of it.
This was the same Singapore city skyline circa 1970s, except that this aerial photo was taken from a different angle. It is almost impossible to find such an old photo taken from exactly the same angle as the new photo below because the latter was taken while I was standing on land (Marina Promenade) which was reclaimed only a decade or so before.
From the above photo, you can make out Asia Insurance Building (tallest beige building on the left). Compared to the modern photo below, the same building appears just above the boat in the sea. The Fullerton Building (now a hotel) is visible in both photos on the right hand side (the building with columns and a terracota roof).
I have been taking pictures since I was a teenager back in the 1970s. I used my father's antique camera (I think the brand was Agfa). It had a retractable lens that could be kept within the camera body. The lens was mounted on an accordion-like contraption that made retraction possible. Last year, I bought a Panasonic FZ-20 digital camera for a holiday trip to Shanghai with my family. Though it was not the first digital camera I owned, it was one of the most expensive. I paid close to S$1000 for it. As professional photographers would tell you, this price is actually 'peanuts' to them. But it's okay for me because my standard is nowhere near that of a professional photographer. I recently took a photo of the skyline of the central business district (CBD) of sunny Singapore so that people who have not seen my country will have an idea on how it looks like. This skyline is very different from that in the 1970s. There were not so many skyscrapers then. The tallest building then was Asia Insurance Building which was just 18 storeys high. Now we have several buildings in the CBD that are more than 40 storeys high. It just shows how fast Singapore has developed over last few decades. You can see more of my photos taken last Christmas in Orchard Road (Singapore's main shopping district) at the following URL:
Today, I am reflecting on what made me set up this blog. I have said that Chris prodded me to do so in my first post. But today, I am reflecting on what and not who. I have mentioned 'taking up the challenge' as one reason. So after that burning desire fizzles out, then what? Already I have learnt how to create a new post, insert a photo and commenting on other people's blog. The challenge has been diminishing for me if it has not vanished altogether. When I feel that I have overcome the challenge, I must find other convincing reasons to justify this blog, otherwise I know that I will not have the passion to regularly update it.
I know that strangers are unlikely to be bothered to read my blog, let alone post comments on it. This means that I must find other compelling reasons for me to keep this blog going. So far only Chris reads my blog and posts comments. Chris alone is not a compelling reason enough. Because if he is the lone visitor and reader of my blog, I might as well communicate with him via e-mail. But even doing that is overkill because I see him almost everyday in the office and could have communicated whatever with him, whenever.
Chris has mentioned that blogging is very therapeutic although I am still wondering what ailment it cures. Boredom and loneliness perhaps? Maybe he meant that blogging has a calming effect on people. I certainly agree that blogging makes you know yourself better. It also makes you write better.
Or does blogging provides the satisfaction of an unfulfilled desire to be an accomplished writer for some? After all, your scripts are always accepted by your publisher blogspot, including all the typographical, syntax and grammatical errors that you made. No questions asked, standards to meet or deadline to fulfill. You play the role of author, copywriter and publisher too.
Perhaps blogging is trendy - everybody seems to be doing it. Alright, maybe not everybody but at least the young and trendy seems to be very much in it. So is my real motivation for blogging is to be seen as being hip as trendy by others or is it just trying to act young to remain young, at least in spirit? I really don't know. Maybe I have to think much harder to come up with more justifiable reasons. Otherwise one of these days, you may just find me submitting my resignation letter to blogspot.
My first car, a turquoise 1970s Mini Clubman was similar to the one in the above photo.
Reproduced below is an article which I recently contributed to asiaone.com.sg. It will help explain the comment by Chris over his 'confusion' about what name to call me. You see, Edmund Khoo is my pen name. You may also access the article from the following URL:
My first car was a Mini Clubman 1000cc which I bought for the princely sum of $5000 in 1979. It was a 'reward' for passing my driving test at my second attempt. I figured that I had to have plenty of real practice driving without the instructor by my side because if I did not, I risked forgetting all my driving skills. I bought a 9-year car instead of a newer one because I felt that a new driver was likely to bend a fender or two, not just of my own car but others too. It was registered in the 1970s and bore an archaic number plate starting with the characters 'EB 173x'.
The car did not have an air-con so I installed a 6-inch sweeping fan. I could not install it on the dashboard because it would obstruct the driver's view so I installed it on the floor in the centre front. My friends used to tease me that my ulterior motive for placing the fan in that strategic location was to blow up the skirt of my female front passengers (à la Marilyn Monroe). This allegation was untrue, of course.
Driving the car in the hot sun gave me a free sauna session, especially on hot sunny days in a traffic jam. It also gave me a free massage because the engine had quite strong vibrations. On rainy days I had to wind up all the windows to keep the rain out. Mist would form on the inside of the windscreen, obscuring my view of the road. I had to use a cloth to wipe the mist off with one hand while holding the steering wheel steady with the other. (Funny how there seemed to be less traffic police those days to catch people for dangerous driving habits like this.)
The car was real low, so much so that you felt like you were almost sitting on the road while driving. But I managed to pretend that I was driving a low-profile sports car. To compound the problem, I was almost 6-ft tall so I must have looked like Mr Bean. (It was fortunate that the 'Mr Bean' character had not been created yet.)
I liked the Mini so much that my second car was also one. Looking back, I have many fond memories of the rusty but trusty little car. I eventually grew out of the fetish and am now happily driving a Toyota Corolla."