This morning we went to Wilkie Road Gurdwara for the Sunday programme. It is interesting to see that different Gurdwaras around the world finish the Sunday programme at different times. The Gurdwara’s in California finish around 3pm. Australia around noon and this one on Wilkie Road Singapore at 11am.
Afterwards we had a wander to the Esplanade, walking past the infamous Raffles Hotel.
Raffles Hotel is a colonial-style hotel in Singapore. It was established by two Armenian brothers from Persia—Martin and Tigran Sarkies—in 1887. In later years they were joined by younger brothers Aviet and Arshak and kinsman Martyrose Arathoon. With their innovative cuisine and extensive modernisations, the firm built the hotel into Singapore’s best known icon. It was named after Stamford Raffles, the founder of modern Singapore, whose statue had been unveiled in 1887. The hotel is currently managed by Fairmont Raffles Hotels International and houses a tropical garden courtyard, museum, and Victorian-style theatre.
As we carried on walking towards the esplanade we saw the last few marathon runners. This part of the marathon was on the formula one track.
The Singapore Marathon is an annual international marathon race which is held on the first Sunday of December in the city of Singapore. It is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race. It has grown significantly since its inaugural race in 1982 – the 2009 event attracted a total of 50,000 entrants for all competitions (including the ‘half’ and 10k) in 2009; the upper limit established by the organisers.
There are four separate categories of competition: the full marathon, the half marathon, the 10 kilometres run, and the 10 km wheelchair race. Furthermore, 10 km team competitions as well as a number of short running competitions for children.
Prize money for the full marathon race is divided into three categories: the open prize (for all competitors), the Singapore prize (open to national competitors), and the veteran prize (which acts as a masters competition). In the 2009 edition, a total prize pot of US$193,900 was available, with $35,000 going to both the men’s and women’s open race competition.
Between 2004 and 2008, it was part of “The Greatest Race on Earth” series of road races, sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank (the other three legs being the Hong Kong Marathon, Mumbai Marathon and Nairobi Marathon).
The times recorded at the Singapore Marathon tend to be slower than those at other marathons as Singapore’s climate is usually hot and humid. Kenyans Luke Kibet and Salina Kosgei are the men’s and women’s course record holders, respectively. The 2006 edition also acted as the country’s national championships, with Elangovan Ganesan and Vivian Tan Yoke Pin taking the honours.
Afterwards we went on the Singapore Flyer
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The Singapore Flyer is a giant Ferris wheel located in Singapore, constructed in 2005–2008. Described by its operators as an observation wheel, it reaches 42 stories high, with a total height of 165 m (541 ft), making it the tallest Ferris wheel in the world, 5 m (16 ft) taller than the Star of Nanchang and 30 m (98 ft) taller than the London Eye.
Situated on the southeast tip of the Marina Centre reclaimed land, it comprises a 150 m (492 ft) diameter wheel, built over a three-story terminal building which houses shops, bars and restaurants, and offers broad views of the city centre and beyond to about 45 km (28 mi), including the Indonesian islands of Batam and Bintan, as well as Johor, Malaysia.
The final capsule was installed on 2 October 2007, the wheel started rotating on 11 February 2008 and it officially opened to the public on 1 March 2008. Tickets for rides on the first 3 nights were sold out for S$8,888 (US$6,271), an auspicious number in Chinese culture. The grand opening for the Flyer was held on 15 April 2008.
Each of the 28 air-conditioned capsules is capable of holding 28 passengers, and a complete rotation of the wheel takes about 30 minutes. Initially rotating in a counter-clockwise direction when viewed from Marina Centre, its direction was changed on 4 August 2008 under the advice of Feng shui masters.
Once you have bought the tickets (if you fly with Singapore airlines please hold onto your boarding pass, as this and many other places give you a discount. At the time of writing the Singapore flyer gives 20% discount for showing them your Singapore airlines boarding pass). You head through a ‘departures gate’ where you go through a metal detector.
Being Sikhs initiated into the Khalsa (an order committed to living a conscious and pure lifestyle) we wear our Kirpans. The Kirpan is a ceremonial sword carried by ‘baptised’ Sikhs. It is a key part of the Khalsa identity which was given by Guru Gobind Singh (the tenth Guru of the Sikhs) at the very first Vaisakhi Amrit Sanchar in 1699 (a holy ceremony that formally ‘baptises’ a Sikh whereby the Sikh gives his or her head to the Guru thereby surrendering the ego and committing to a life lived in accordance with the Sikh code of conduct or Rehit Maryada, making a Khalsa duty bound to act consciously and righteously at all times). All Khalsa are duty bound to wear a kirpan at all times (along with other Articles of Faith)..
The word Kirpan has two roots – the first root is: Kirpa, which means “Mercy, grace, compassion, kindness” and the second root is Aan, which in turn means “Honor, dignity”.
Sikhs embody the qualities of a “Sant-Sipahee”—a saint-warrior. One must have control over one’s internal vices and be able to be constantly immersed in virtues clarified in the Guru Granth Sahib. A Sikh must also have the courage to defend the rights of all who are wrongfully oppressed or persecuted irrespective of their colour, caste or creed. Both aspects must be present in perfect balance – saintliness in all actions and the courage to defend the weak and oppressed from wrongdoing. The Khalsa is referred to as Akal Purkh ki Fauj (The Army of the Deathless or Eternal Being Personified i.e. of the highest order), guided at all times by compassion and righteousness. The Kirpan serves as a constant reminder to live in accordance with these duties. At the time a Sikh is initiated into the Khalsa, the duties and responsibilities of wearing a Kirpan are thoroughly explained.
We explained that we wear Kirpans before we went through the metal detector and that it is not something we can remove as it is an article of our faith. The chap managing the metal detector said ‘it’s a dagger right?’, we explained that this is not correct, it is a small sword. He said we could not go through with the Kirpan with it being a metal object, and that the Singapore Flyer is just like a plane!? We turned back to leave and secure a refund but were told by the lady at the turnstile about the no refund policy!!! After further discussion where we made it clear we were not prepared to pay for something we could not use, another member of staff was called up, she may have been the manager. We again explained the importance of the Kirpan and why we just do not take it off and that if we were unable to go through, we would have to insist on a refund. She listened to us and then said come with me…….we were fast tracked through security setting off the alarms which she ignored. She walked us up to a capsule and said this one is for you. Sangeet and I had our own capsule! Other people walking down watched as we set off in our own capsule, wondering how we managed that. Maybe they thought we were VIPs!
Now thinking about what just happened, it would have been very easy for us to take off our Kirpans get crammed into another capsule with a few people and been miserable, not only would we have taken off our Kirpan like some jewellery but also been stuck in a capsule trying to find the ideal spot to look out of. Instead, we stood by our faith and Waheguru came through for us as always…..!
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Views from Singapore Flyer
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Views from Singapore flyer
After a fantastic time in our ‘private capsule’ we had a wander around the shops and restaurants.
Afterwards we popped to
Suntec City Mall
Sky Garden #03-016 @ Tower two(location of shop within the mall)
T: +65 6238 6755
We ordered a couple of starters, as we we eating the delicious food we started getting other treats. The owners sister had just come back from Germany and was sat behind us. They just piled the treats on our table! Very tasty and very nice of them!
In the evening we had booked the night safari. Sounds like fun, the night safari is a very convincing safari, in which they make you feel like you are walking through a jungle. In fact the animals are still held in small enclosures. So basically you could call it a glorified zoo! Also with the way people were acting rushing ahead of you in the queues, tapping on the windows where the animals were kept and making strange noises, makes you ask the question who are the real wild animals here? People were very taken back at the sight of the lions, leopards, elephants. This got me thinking on how lucky we have been to see them in their natural habitat. A habitat where you see lions roaming the jungle, heads held high and truly looking like the kings of the jungle. A habitat where an elephant walks ten yards in front of you and at anytime it could just charge at you. I thank Waheguru for that amazing journey.
You can book tickets to see the night safari from the hotel or information centre. In my opinion this is a better option as transport to and from the night safari is included, also you do not pay more for transport. The coach picked us up from the night safari at 11:15pm which gave us plenty of time to take a tram around the park, see a show and walk various trails.
(1) Details about Singapore Botanical Garden:
The Singapore Botanic Gardens is a 74-hectare (183-acre) botanical garden in Singapore. It is the only botanic garden in the world that opens from 5 a.m. to 12 midnight every single day of the year, and does not charge an admission fee, except for the National Orchid Garden. The garden is bordered by Holland Road and Napier Road to the south, Cluny Road to the east, Tyersall Avenue and Cluny Park Road to the west and Bukit Timah Road to the North. The linear distance between the northern and southern ends is around 2.5 km (1.6 mi).