Showing posts with label singapore. Show all posts
Showing posts with label singapore. Show all posts

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Somewhere Somehow

Waxing Crescent Moon
Somewhere far beyond today
I will find a way to find you
And somehow through the lonely nights
I will leave a light in the dark
Let it lead you to my heart

* Lyrics from "Somewhere Somehow" by Michael W. Smith feat. Amy Grant

* Forgive me the cheesiness. :)

Image: Woodlands, Singapore

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Green Roof at Marina Barrage

One of the recreational parks in Singapore of high regard is The Green Roof at Marina Barrage. Long before I went there, I only knew that that elevated, curved, green, perfect-for-kite-flying park as nothing but Marina Barrage, when in fact it’s just a small part of a bigger area. Many people go there on picnics with the city’s awesome skyline in the background. But more importantly, Marina Barrage serves as one of the reservoirs providing water supply to the city.

Singapore is such a beautiful thing -- it conscientiously attends to nature despite its obvious further modernity. I appreciate how the city maintains its greenness with all those densely forested areas, lush green parks, and gardens, typically defining the city’s landscape.

On a side note, if you’re traveling along the Expressway, central area, chances are you get to see monkeys in the trees. That’s not too Singapore if you think about it, my dear first-timer tourist.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Funny Turkish Ice Cream Man at Clarke Quay, Singapore

If you want some Mado Turkish Ice Cream, go to Clarke Quay, but expect a little twist. The Turkish man selling ice cream is funny, naughty, very playful. He flips the ice cream using his long scoop, gives it to you, takes it back, leaving you with an empty ice cream cone, does it for a couple rounds, fakes a high five, and, finally, you'll have what you pay for. You'll enjoy watching him doing his tricks and antics. :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Have These People Ever Read John Maxwell's?

When you expect too much from people who, you thought, were to show good leadership, of course, you get disappointed, you carry yourself a heavy burden, you don’t miss to be a mess yourself, you find yourself getting mad unwittingly, you curse. Need I say more? These are the marks of how unhappy you could be in an environment that capitalizes on delivering results while forgetting the right way of attacking the issue and dismissing the importance of just being a human. All they ever want and make sure is for you to follow their own voice as they only hear it, spread yourself too thinly with their little or zero help, stressing yourself out too much.

There are a number of scenarios wherein you want to scream at the top of your lungs because something’s amiss in your little environment. Something mishandled, mismanaged is a legit cry for foul. When mismanagement occurs, you can’t expect too much from your own people. Those at the top got to be kidding for faring poorly in that aspect, and the ripple effects aren’t forgiving. From accomplishing things on time to the simple treatment of your people, they couldn’t get any worse.

How you see your followers matters in a no-nonsense manner, for good leaders beget good followers. Let us start with misusing the word in everyday conversation, which gets us in some real trouble. Trouble is a bubble, it blows up. In the case of those people who are supposed to guide, to lead, misusing the word is as powerful as a punch straight in your face. Can’t you be careful with the choice of words or the tone of your voice? That’s the same question being repeatedly hoped for by a follower who tries to peek through any degree of sensitivity where the leader should know better about it.

It is a fact that some people can just be plain mean. It is probably how their system works, that’s basically how they survive in the first place. Being mean, rude, is bullying, which brings you back to your old childhood enemies. You rationalize why; you try to understand the hostility because they are probably just being cruel only to be kind. That’s the heart of a good follower, to see the good in them. But there is, of course, an area of hurt as you tire yourself of trying to fathom their meanness.

It is ludicrous to think how these people have risen to the top. Through plain tyranny? It doesn't make sense because Hitler has long been pronounced dead. Through their genius? But it’s obvious how their low EQs overwhelm their high IQs. That said, it doesn't make them all the worth of respect. I am a follower myself, not the easiest you can call a leader, but I could grade myself those people down to the bottom. Sometimes, a funny thought comes to mind, telling them, ‘Where is the John Maxwell in you? Haven't you read one of the leadership guru’s books? How about Robin Sharma’s The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’. I laugh at myself to pale off all the worries.

I remember a book I've read 4 years back by Thomas à Kempis. It is The Imitation of Christ. My good boss wanted me to read it and let me borrow. I haven’t read the whole book, but I remember the first few chapters. What sticks to my mind is to always treat others as your betters, to keep on improving yourself and no matter how bad some people are, you have to see in them a different light, or at least the good through them. But triggered emotions flare up, and you get emotional sometimes because you respond to what they press hard on you. Even if you are the most patient person that you are, there is a tipping point wherein you just can’t take all that you perceive as against you as a person, trespassing or violating your peace.

I wish I have the powers in my command to be at peace all the time.

Image: Lucky Plaza, Orchard, Singapore

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Monday, December 27, 2010

Live, Laugh, Love (It's Christmastime)

LIVE. Because one’s arrival is no accident. I have to remind myself all the time of my purpose in this foreign land. I am working my ass off here to fill in the gap described as poor man’s destiny. I have to live as I ought to live – stay healthy, frame my mind rightly, and keep homesickness at bay (Ugh, it sucks when homesickness takes over).

LAUGH. Because happiness is majorly a choice. The current circumstances of being miles and miles away from home don’t deserve to make me any less happier. I have to forget that I am celebrating Christmas differently this time. I may not be with my real family on Christmas Eve, but I am with old and new friends anyway, who themselves have the same degree of wishful thinking. It is not the easiest to tell myself that, though, but knowing who I am with on this very special day is more than enough reason to smile, which is infectious per se, making me laugh at the simplest to the silliest of things.

LOVE. Because thriving in hate is an everyday time bomb. Most of the time, if not always, you subconsciously become what you hate; and for that, you are unlikely being congratulated, which makes you hate yourself in the end. I might dislike something or someone for that matter, but at the end of the day, I let it pass for what it is worth. I just have to. I can’t afford to let it waste my time sulking in for something which is way beyond my control, thinking that I can turn the tides the next day. Moving on is the only way to see the brighter side of things. I just want to spread my arms loving all there is in life. Life is so beautiful, let the Zen radiate in me.

Merry Christmas!

P.S. I am writing because I am inspired by Takashimaya’s (Singapore shopping mall) “Live Laugh Love” Christmas bears. They have a meaningful message for everyone.

Image: Orchard, Singapore

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Go Fly Kite (Uniquely Singapore)

We were strolling around Clarke Quay when we saw a multi-lighted debris spiraling down the ground. That easily magnetized our attention, drawing us closer to what had just fallen, a falling star it could be.

Following what seemed to be a falling star (nah, just exaggerating) led us to a feast of lights, buzzes, and science in Riverside Point, just right across Clarke Quay. On the ground and in the skyline, there were a number of modern kites called GFK kites (Go Fly Kite), which are motor-driven and remote-controlled. So enjoyable to watch were the flying machines we had to spend the rest of the hours that night watching such a great show. It made a great nightlife. There were kids, men, and women who comprised the group in the show.

The show was orchestrated and organized by the owner of Go Fly Kite, Mr. Michael Lim. This one-of-a-kind kite is his own innovation.

"The Show"

GFK kites
Mr. Michael Lim in action
IMAX charger. Laser lights. One cell batteries. Tool box. Transformer.
Remote control
Go Fly Kite shop

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sardine-like Congestion

Sardines. Sardinas. The food of the masses that is only second to my all-time favorite pancit canton. I just miss it! Be it 555, Ligo, Mega, or Señorita, sardines in tomato sauce are the best -- pocket-friendly, easy to cook (I’m reminded of my experiments with it. Ha ha!), and great for one’s health. Tomato is an anti-carcinogen, and sardines have nutrients essential for protecting one’s heart. It’s worth-mentioning here Spanish sardines as well, especially those from Zamboanga, which are equally tasty, though more expensive.

Singapore MRT
OK, this post isn’t about my longing for Filipino food. Hmm, my weekday mornings have actually taken over me now! Walking to the train station for about 6 minutes, queuing, and waiting for 2-6 minutes are part of my daily routine. As the train door opens, I am usually, if not always, greeted with a sardine-like congestion. Jurong East Interchange is a fine example. You can’t help but gush about the crowd. It seems impossible to get in. Oh well, just find a space meant for standing, shrink yourself to maximize the train’s capacity and for anybody’s sake, and the train is off speeding its way. Standing for 1 hour is worst.

A common sight in remote areas
The Filipino commuting scene is more subtle. Jeepneys are designed for maximum profit and not for comfort. The aisle and the back portion never fail to generate extra money. So long as the driver or conductor sees a passenger desperate to get home, an extra seat in the aisle is always ready for seating. And so long as the jeepney is with rear grab rail or even just a step board, guy passengers don’t mind hanging off the back at their own risk. And did I forget the top? It’s also an asset to the money making machine, too. The driver or conductor is as busy as a bee, always on the prowl for prospect passengers where money only matters.

By the way, I don't mean all jeepneys are true to what I have described here, but the majority.

Photo source credit:

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Day 1, Realities, and the Merlion Park

Stepping into a new land will have you finding where you can be at peace. And you do it relentlessly just to have you grounded, that you’re finally in a place that had you imagine big things, denying the worst version of them.

When we (alright, I was with a co-risk-taker!) arrived in Singapore on September 11 almost midnight, the excitement became more real. You heard me right, I was thrilled, excited, and oh well, it was mission accomplished for a first international flight. There was fear of endless discouraging possibilities at the back of my mind, but entertaining such thoughts would never help. The ultimate perennial optimist that I am.

No time for drama or anything that would impair a good shot. So, I did my assignment, as if I was on a deadline and preparing for the final exams in college. I needed to refresh my mind anew, becoming a typical student. Honestly, I was somehow cramming (not a friendly word). Because when I was still in the Philippines, I had less time studying. It was less of a priority than work responsibilities to anyone who’s leaving a job. I had to finish things first. I only knew the struggles that I had to go through. Sweet remembrance! To anyone who’s Singapore bound, put your best foot forward.

On September 12, our official first day in Singapore, we went to see the original statue of the country’s very own sea legend, the Merlion at the Merlion Park. Half-lion, half-fish, it roars under the sea (smiles). Anyway, it’s homing to be welcomed by Singapore’s national symbol. Thanks, it had me grounded, at peace, and acknowledged my circumstances. It made it less dismal, the fact that I’m anchored far away from home.

Merlion Park: The Merlion has been erected as a symbol to welcome all visitors to Singapore. It was formally installed at a ceremony on 15th September 1972 by Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, the Prime Minister.
Merlion Park: The Merlion has stood as a symbol of Singapore as well as an icon of welcome to visitors since 1972. It was formally unveiled at this new vantage point on 15 September 2002 by Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew.
Sculptor: Lim Nang Seng

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Faces of Singapore

Diversity is welcomed in Singapore, or is it safe to assume that, given the variety of people that you will meet anywhere? I could only hope that this will go on as an optimistic atmosphere. Something that feels like everyone appreciates and respects each other’s culture, and keeps friendly mutual relationships with people of different races while preserving this nation’s own identity. I’m still in the process of finding out what Singapore really is. I mean, I want to find the uniqueness that this country has.

Orchard Road

Singapore is a melting pot (video taken at Orchard MRT Station)

I sense that Singapore is fast becoming into an Asian version of an American melting pot (though I have never been to Uncle Sam’s myself). Chinese, Malays, Indians, Caucasians, and Asians from various backgrounds constitute the faces of Singapore. And not to discount foreign workers from all around the world. Singapore does very well in attracting foreign professionals and those hoping to find just any kind of job. FYI, I am part of the 150,000 Filipinos residing in this country, and have thus far met people from Myanmar, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, India, China, Thailand, and a few Caucasians in the office.

For multi-cultural immersion? Definitely this is an excellent place.

I talked to a Singaporean of Indian descent while waiting for the bus going to Church of St. Mary of the Angels in Bukit Batok. Our conversation surprised me as it was the kind of perspective I had always wanted to hear, and so he went on talking about his own people and even compared them to Malays, Indonesians, Filipinos, and Thais, his own travels around Southeast Asia (said he used to work for Philippine Airlines), their food, government, economy, army, and Singaporean companies in general. It was probably out of pure honesty, but it wasn't all that pleasant to hear.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Where Sunrise and Sunset Come Too Late

Doing things differently from what you are accustomed to (for better or for worse), exchanging smiles with random strangers that look no way the same as your old-time people in your neighborhood, following rules and regulations too religiously that ought to be embedded in your system, as if an unquestioned norm, of course, minding to be always on the “right” side in public, which polarizes you entirely if you’re from the Philippines, and eating at a place offering a variety of not-too-familiar or novel cuisines becomes a “taste experiment” for a first-timer, which is actually either a love or a hate relationship and can have an absolute change of appetite for sure (I once ordered minced meat noodle. When served, I already knew it wasn’t just pork, and that made me less excited about my meal that day. I wasn't sure about eating the rest inside the bowl.) – all of these tick you off every time, as they become the average dosage to your regular day. Give yourself a week or two to get used to.

It has finally sunk in, that I am miles away from home since 9/11 and trying to digest all things new to me -- most things around me here are. Although adapting to this highly urbanized city is just easy, I cannot help but be in awe of its multi-ethnic population, shiny skyscrapers, crazy architectural designs, virtually pollution-free, immaculately clean environment, and the many birds (I still haven’t figured out their names) that are very tolerant of people or seem to be comfortable with their presence. Back in the Philippines, birds don’t go near to humans lest they be killed or on a starving note, be eaten. And talking about real independence, well, this might just be it. I am embracing both opportunities and uncertainties here. I am crossing my fingers that the universe will conspire in achieving my goals. The journey that brought me to this first world reality is a constant reminder that I am moving forward, that I am chasing my dreams or more so dreams that are yet undefined, unnumbered that would make my story here. With fervent prayers, hard work, and God's help in the equation, things are a possibility. God, you’re always beyond amazing.

So this is it, for crying out loud (no pun intended), I am automatically an OFW (overseas Filipino worker) trying to become a provider, at the same time, enjoying this beautiful city-state, where sunrise and sunset come too late. The sun breaks into morning light at around 6:30 A.M. and rests at 7:00 P.M. There are slight differences in what we call as day and night in reference to Philippine time despite being framed in the same time zone. Well, this is Singapore, the Lion City, just southwest of my home country.

Image: Choa Chu Kang, Singapore