Afterwards Sangeet stayed at the Gurdwara whilst I popped to Sim Lim Square, just to have a browse. The electronic gadgets are fascinating and worth browsing. Whilst there I met a family from England who were debating whether to buy the iPad 2 or iPad Mini, I suggested that if they are going to the USA they should buy it from an Apple shop there. In my opinion Sim Lim Square is good for buying accessories. Expensive items such as cameras sometimes only come with a local warranty. So please check before buying. As I was leaving Sim Lim Square I noticed a shop selling a rubber Bluetooth keyboard which would be perfect as the keyboard on the iPad sometimes gets a bit tiring to use. The cost was SGD$20, any other time I would have snapped up the bargain, as we have been traveling , every dollar does count!
I met Sangeet back at the Gurdwara.
As I wanted to show Sangeet Sim Lim Square we had a wander into town. Our last experience in Sim Lim Square in 2005 was not that brilliant. We were looking to buy a camera, sounds easy but in this case we just could not get the information we needed and all the deals seemed dodgy!
On the way we passed the art college:
It looked amazing all lit up at night.
After passing Sim Lim Square we went to Bugis Street
Bugis, in the city-state of Singapore, was renowned internationally from the 1950s to the 1980s for its nightly gathering of trans women, a phenomenon which made it one of Singapore’s top tourist destinations during that period.
In the mid-1980s, Bugis Street underwent major urban redevelopment into a retail complex of modern shopping malls, restaurants and nightspots mixed with regulated back-alley roadside vendors. Underground digging to construct the Bugis MRT station prior to that also caused the upheaval and termination of nightly transgender sex bazaar culture, marking the end of a colourful and unique era in Singapore’s history. This change helped improve Singapore’s international image as it began to be globally recognized.
Today, the original Bugis Street is now a cobblestoned, relatively wide avenue sandwiched between the buildings of the Bugis Junction shopping complex. On the other hand, the lane presently touted as “Bugis Street” by the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board is actually developed from New Bugis Street, and is billed as “the largest street-shopping location in Singapore”. An attempt by the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board to bring back the former glamor was unsuccessful. Although the street is not a well-known tourist destination, it is frequented by many Singaporeans.
A brand of clothing!!
On the way back we passed a shop selling fruit
I bought some durian fruit
The durian is the fruit of several tree species belonging to the genus Durio and the Malvaceae family (although some taxonomists place Durio in a distinct family, Durionaceae.
Regarded by many people in southeast Asia as the “king of fruits”, the durian is distinctive for its large size, stomach-churning odour, and formidable thorn-covered husk. The fruit can grow as large as 30 centimetres (12 in) long and 15 centimetres (6 in) in diameter, and it typically weighs one to three kilograms (2 to 7 lb). Its shape ranges from oblong to round, the colour of its husk green to brown, and its flesh pale yellow to red, depending on the species.
The edible flesh emits a distinctive odour, that is strong and penetrating even when the husk is intact. Some people regard the durian as pleasantly fragrant; others find the aroma overpowering and revolting. The smell evokes reactions from deep appreciation to intense disgust, and has been described variously as almonds, rotten onions, turpentine, and gym socks. The odour has led to the fruit’s banishment from certain hotels and public transportation in southeast Asia.
The durian, native to Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia, has been known to the Western world for about 600 years. The nineteenth-century British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace famously described its flesh as “a rich custard highly flavoured with almonds”. The flesh can be consumed at various stages of ripeness, and it is used to flavour a wide variety of savoury and sweet edibles in Southeast Asian cuisines. When cooked, the seeds also can be eaten.
There are 30 recognised Durio species, at least nine of which produce edible fruit. Durio zibethinus is the only species available in the international market: other species are sold in their local regions. There are hundreds of durian cultivars; many consumers express preferences for specific cultivars, which fetch higher prices in the market.
Just to prove I did eat it! Sangeet could barely cope with the smell as we chatted to an Australian chap from Sydney who is married to a Singaporean. He gave us some useful information on Durian and how to pick a good one.
Whilst Sangeet spent a few hours reading, I had a wander to Sim Lim Square. Sim Lim Square (Chinese: 森林商业中心), commonly referred to as SLS, is a large retail complex that offers a wide variety of electronic goods and services ranging from DVDs, cameras, phones, video cameras, computer parts and servicing.
Located at 1 Rochor Canal Road, Singapore, SLS is opposite to historic features such as the Little India district and close to one of the earliest HDB developments. SLS is accessible via MRT at Bugis or Little India.
On the way, in the corner of my eye something attracted my attention. I saw two men around something. At first I thought somebody had fainted, the temperature today was 32 degrees C and around 80% humidity. But something did not look right as the men were jumping on this person/thing. Curiosity took the better of me and I crossed the road to have a look. It was a python!! It came out of the gutter and was moving along the path!!! Now I have a fear of snakes, but I just had to get close for a photo. The lengths I go to for my readers!
I asked an Indian guy who was standing nearby how it came to be here. He said it came to eat rats. I was shocked, you are telling me there are rats here! (For anyone who does not understand sarcasm – that was an example!)
Nervously I continued to Sim Lin Square, avoiding gutters, only sometimes having a look down and wondering what else is there. Once I entered Sim Lim, it was amazing to see. I love electronic gadgets and seeing what new gadgets are out on the market. Please note I said seeing, buying is totally different!! I have been after a stylus for the ipad, I think it would make me look more sophisticated!! The prices in the plazas have been around SGD$50 which is very excessive. I was surprised to see the same named shop sell the same stylus here for SGD$22! What a price difference but still, not what I want to pay. I found a shop selling the stylus for SGD$4 now that is in my price range! It pays to shop around! Me being me, I still tried to bargain at that price, I offered him SGD$3. He refused.
Would you pay SGD$50 for this?
On the way back to the hostel I popped into a taekwondo class and booked a session for this evening at 8pm. I am so looking forward to the class.
When I got back to the hostel Sangeet and I visited the Gurdwara two houses away from us.
Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha
90/92 Wilkie Road,
T: +65 6337 6301
F +65 6337 5160
E: [email protected]
A groups of ladies were singing Kirtan
Sangeet stayed on to read the Sukhmani Sahib. I popped back to the hostel to work on the blog. In the background the news was on, this made me chuckle.
Around 6:30 pm I visited the Gurdwara to listen to Kirtan and Rehraas Sahib. The rehras sahib is the evening prayer of the Sikhs. It is recited at the end of a working day. Its purpose is to add energy to one’s being and living environments. It is intended to help with physical weakness and feelings of hopelessness, unsuccessfulness or worthlessness.
Afterwards we walked to the taekwondo class.
I was expecting a very strict class, this one was very relaxed but still a good class. They teach in English. Which was perfect for me. At first people were not so friendly, after a while they became friendly. I just get the feeling that Asians and Indians do not mix in Singapore. Not sure why, so me going and mixing must have felt strange for the Asians.
Please note Asians are the Chinese, Japanese, etc. Indians are obviously the ones that come from India.
After the class we had Guru Ka Langar at the Wilkie Road Gurdwara.
[email protected] is a wireless broadband programme developed by the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore as part of its Next Generation National Infocomm Infrastructure initiative, being part of the nation’s 10-year masterplan called Intelligent Nation 2015 (iN2015).
It will be run and developed in the next two years by three local wireless operators, SingTel, M1 and iCell who will deploy a wireless broadband network in Singapore. Users can enjoy free, both in-door and outdoor seamless wireless broadband access with speeds of up to 512 kbit/s at most public areas under the “basic-tier” package.
The targeted users of this wireless broadband network are broadly classified as “people on the move” – people who require wireless broadband access while away from their homes, schools and offices. These include students, tourists, business travellers and enterprise users such as insurance agents and real estate agents who use widely-available and wireless-enabled devices such as notebook PCs and PDAs. Once connected, users will be able to access all Internet-based services e.g. online gaming, web surfing, instant messaging, VoIP and email.
In addition to the free “basic tier”, there will be a paid “premium tier” for those seeking bandwidth beyond 512 kbit/s, or for connectivity options with higher-quality of service. The three operators have different packages to suit different needs and there is no limit on the number of premium accounts users can sign up for.
On 16 June 2009, the government announced an extension of the programme till March 2013 and enhancement of speed up to 1Mbit/s.
IDA issued a Call-for-Collaboration early 2006 for interested operators to provide such coverage. Late 2006, IDA has accepted the proposals from iCell Network Pte Ltd, QMAX Communications and Singapore Telecommunications Ltd, to kick-start the nation’s progressive deployment of a widely-available wireless network by September 2007.
The CFC on Wireless Broadband Market Development has the following two main objectives:
1. To accelerate the deployment of wireless broadband by providing coverage in locations where users out of their homes, schools and offices can conveniently access wireless broadband services using data-centric computing devices.
2. To catalyse the demand for wireless broadband services by increasing the number of wireless broadband users.
On 31 May 2007, Network deployment for all Primary Catchment Areas in all Regions was completed with the Secondary Catchment Areas in all Regions was completed on 30 Sep 2007.
The CFC is scheduled to be completed on 31 Dec 2008.
Accessing and Registration
To connect to the [email protected] wireless broadband network, a user just needs a WiFi-enabled device, such as a laptop computer, PDA or wi-fi enabled mobile phone, and a registered [email protected] account. With this registered account, the user is able to roam within any of [email protected]’s coverage areas, regardless of the operators’ network.
Users are encouraged by the IDA to install and activate a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or other encryption mechanism, Personal firewall; and Anti-virus software with the latest signature files. The IDA also encourages users to avoid ad-hoc wireless networking to safeguard their security. [email protected] is powered by the networks of three wireless operators: iCell, QMax and SingTel. Following the announcement on October 10, 2006 by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, that Singapore will get to enjoy two years of free wireless broadband connections from January next year, the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) announced on November 30, 2006 that the three [email protected] operators have extended this free offering to three years. Users started to enjoy wireless connectivity from December 1, 2006, one month ahead of schedule at selected hotspots.
To gain access to the free basic-tier Wi-Fi connection, with connection speeds of up to 512kbit/s, starting 1 December 2006 users could sign up with any of the three [email protected] network operators. [email protected] is available for all Singaporean residents. Users can sign up with any operator to access all the hotspots in [email protected]
There are various ways users can register for this service:
Online Account Application
Users with access to the Internet can log onto any of the three operators’ websites and complete an online registration form. Alternatively, they can click on the ‘New User Sign Up’ link found on the [email protected] log-in page when they select the [email protected] network at the coverage areas. The account will be activated immediately and a password sent to them via SMS.
Customer Service Centres
Those without mobile phones or online access can visit any of the operators’ customer service centres to register and collect their passwords. Users can also check with their operator of choice for other registration methods.
Visitors to the country can receive free 24 hour [email protected] accounts by calling a computer-operated phone number at SingTel. An SMS with a username and password will be sent shortly afterwards.
To access [email protected], users need to be located within the respective [email protected] coverage areas. The latest coverage areas can be found at Google Earth and at the IDA portal.
This morning we went to Katong Gurdwara to hear the closing of the Akhand Paath. They have two halls, one is slightly smaller where they did the Akhand Paath. So in the big hall they first sang Asa Di Vaar. Asa Di Var is a collection of 24 pauris or stanzas written by Guru Nanak Devji (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, page 462-475).Some people argue that the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev ji wrote the first 9 together on one occasion and later wrote 15 more stanzas on a different occasion but Professor Sahib Singh and some of the foremost Sikh scholars believe that the whole Var was written at the same place as the Var itself proceeds in a definite uniformity. The whole Var was compiled by the 5th Guru, Guru Arjan Dev ji in 1604 AD.
When Guru Arjan Dev ji was compiling the Holy Granth, he added a few Sloks of Guru Nanak and in some cases Guru Angad Dev ji, the second Guru of the Sikhs. These Sloks are tied together in a way that they relate to the same theme as highlighted in the pauri. In its present form, the Asa Di Var contains a few more shabads recited by Guru Ram Das, the fourth Sikh Guru.
The Asa Di Var kirtan is recited in the early morning hours in a very melodious way and style as mentioned by Guru Arjan Dev Ji called “Tunde Asraje Ki Dhuni” after the name of the contemporary brave and pious king Asraj. One of the hands of the king was amputated, so he was called Tunda meaning (one hand amputated) . The deeds and the ode of this king was sung by the bards in that typical fashion which then was extremely popular and melodious and was therefore adopted to performing Asa Di Var.
At the Gurdwara I met Gurutej Singh Khalsa who now lives in Singapore. Gurutej Singh is a other fantastic inspirational Sikh from the 3HO community. Gurutej Singh was one of the founders of Akal Security. Here is some information from the Akal Security website:
SANTA CRUZ— Gurutej Khalsa had always dreamed of being a cop, a dream he chased by attending the federal law enforcement academy and graduating at the top of his class.
But police agencies in New Mexico— unable to see beyond his turban and long beard— weren’t eager to hire him.
Unwilling to shed the trappings of his Sikh religion or to give up his dream, Khalsa turned to four friends, and together they launched Akal Security back in 1980. Akal comes from Sanskrit and means “undying” or “deathless.”
“We borrowed $1,200 on a used pickup truck, and that’s what capitalized the company,” said Daya Khalsa, one of the five founders.
Those were the company’s humble beginnings, he said. Today, Akal is one of the country’s leading private security firms, employing thousands and attracting federal contracts worth hundreds of millions. Despite its success, the company has kept its headquarters in the small village of Santa Cruz, just south of Española.
Devinderjit Singh Khalsa, 23, a college student and Akal employee, said he thinks the company has remained loyal to the Española Valley because that’s the community that nurtured it.
“We consider ourselves to be an integral part of the Española community …,” he said. Twenty-four years ago, Akal Security had no administrators— just five friends working as guards and trying to keep their business afloat. Because he was the only one of the five who could balance a checkbook, Daya Khalsa said, he was handed the tasks of keeping the company’s books and handling its payroll. He carried out those duties when he wasn’t on guard duty.
From Day One, the company’s philosophy was simple: Provide a level of service that’s a cut above what others in the industry provide, Daya Khalsa said.
The quality of service has left an impression on its customers.
“Akal is just head and shoulders above as far as I’m concerned,” said Mick Miller, public safety director for Expo New Mexico. Akal has been providing security at the State Fair since at least the mid-1980s.
“I’ve seen them grow,” Miller said. “They’re incredibly successful. They have a client servicing standard that is unheard of in the industry.”
I called my credit card who arranged, to have out visas for Vietnam sorted in Singapore. The cost was SGD$300 each and would be processed within 24 hours. A bit out of our price arrange. Something we can discuss at the hotel.
In the morning I went to the Indian High Commission, we are trying to add on a few days in India.
The location of the Indian High Commission in Singapore is:
High Commission Of India
31 Grange Road
T: +65 6238 2537
You get a ticket from the machine on the way in
Luckily the wait was not that bad, as a lot of people had taken tickets but could not be bothered waiting.
Once your number shows up on the terminal, it will also tell you which interview room you are in. I walked in, said hello and asked if we could get a visa. As we do not work and reside in Singapore there is no way we can get an Indian visa here….we will have to try getting the visa from another country…….
From previous experience, we have found the best way to see a city is by walking.
So, after breakfast we visited the park
Afterwards we walked through the CBD (central business district)
The poles sticking out, are clothes pole – space is a premium!
Ship on the skyscrapers??!!
The city-state of Singapore has over 4,300 completed high-rises, the majority of which are located in the Downtown Core. In the city, there are 59 skyscrapers that rise higher than 140 metres (459 ft). Three buildings share the title of tallest building in Singapore: United Overseas Bank Plaza One, Republic Plaza and Overseas Union Bank Centre. The three towers, which share the title of 106th-tallest building in the world, are each 280 m (919 ft) tall. There is a height restriction of 280 metres (919 ft) for structures in the central business district (only Raffles Place, Marina Bay Sands, Kallang River, Kallang and Mountbatten) of Singapore because of the proximity of Paya Lebar Airbase.
Singapore’s history of skyscrapers began with the 1939 completion of the 17-storey Cathay Building. The 70-metre (230 ft) structure was, at the time of its completion, the tallest building in Southeast Asia; it was superseded by the 87-metre (285 ft) Asia Insurance Building in 1954, which remained the tallest in Singapore until the 100 m (328 ft) Shaw Centre was completed in 1958. Singapore went through a major building boom in the 1970s and 1980s that resulted from the city’s rapid industrialisation. During this time, the Overseas Union Bank Centre became the tallest building in the city-state; the 280 m (919 ft) structure was also the tallest building in the world outside of North America from its 1986 completion until 1989, when the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong was completed. The skyscraper-building boom continued during the 1990s and 2000s, with 30 skyscrapers at least 140 m (459 ft) tall, many of them residential towers, constructed from 1990 through 2008.
Since 2000, there has been a sharp increase in the number of skyscrapers under construction in the city area, particularly in the Marina Bay district. One project under construction in Marina Centre is the Marina Bay Financial Centre, which includes 3 office towers offering 3 million sq ft of prime Grade A office space, 2 residential developments offering 649 luxurious apartments and a 176,000 sq ft retail mall, named Marina Bay Link Mall. First phase of MBFC was completed in 2010. The second phase which includes MBFC Tower 3 will be ready by 1Q 2012. Marina Bay Suites which is part of Phase 2 will attain TOP in 2013. There are also several new developments in the city’s shopping hub, Orchard Road. The Orchard Residences is an under construction 245 m (804 ft), 43-floor tower being built in conjunction with ION Orchard, a planned shopping mall. In addition, the 218 m (715 ft) Ocean Financial Centre, a planned 43-floor skyscraper, has begun construction in Raffles Place.
We had lunch at
50 Market Street
Golden Shoe Carpark
T: 6844 6868
As the name suggests everything is vegan, people with the coeliac condition please be very careful as some patties DO contain gluten but the owners are not sure. I cannot recommend this place as we both felt a bit worse after eating! The patties seemed to be processed.
We carried on walking through the CBD.
26 degrees C (cooler today) 60% humidity. Still cannot get over it is nearly Christmas!
The rains cool the weather by a couple of degrees
In the evening we went to Katong Gurdwara:
Sri Guru Nanak Sat Sang Sabha Katong Gurdwara
17 Wilkinson Road
T: +65 6348 5125
The sangat here are all either working in good professions or have their own successful businesses. Also they are very much into the Sikh way of life which is great to see. I had to go home as the lunch had taken it’s toll on me. Sangeet stayed on at the Gurdwara. Singapore is a very safe country, a lady traveling alone whatever time of day or night is very safe.
Hi, thanks for visiting my blog, feel free and have a look around.Here is a bit about me, as you may or may not have guessed my name is Mandeep,I work to travel as opposed to work to pay bills and die!Every trip for me is an adventure, I have been very fortunate to stumble across amazing places and meet awesome people along the way.
Why gaygoat? When I first started this blog I was a vegetarian, so gaygoat – happy goat! Also you have to admit it is catchy and a URL you will not forget!