Archive for February, 2013

Journey To Haw Par Villa

Posted: February 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

Captain’s log                                  Stardate: 63991.8 (Feb 24th, 2013)

Its been seven years since I’ve last visited this place. Can’t recall much back then. So in order to recap, I join in for another one of SPI historical tour to this once popular theme place. Lead by our SPI historian, who was a former employee of the place, he shall share with us the history, the Chinese folklore, legends and Confucianism teachings to 11 excited participants who had join in the tour. 3 members, including myself will assist him with the tour. At the same time, learn about the place.

The park was built in 1937 by the Burmese brothers, Aw Boon Haw and Aw Book Park. They were the developers of Tiger Balm and back then, Haw Par Villa was originally known as “Tiger Balm Gardens.”

In 1988, the Singapore Tourism Board took charge of the Tiger Balm Gardens and renamed it “Haw Par Villa Dragon World”. The “Haw Par” is to reflect the memory of the Aw brothers. The “Haw” and “Par”, which literally mean “tiger” and “leopard”. The dioramas and statues were restored, while plays, acrobatic displays, and puppet shows were organised and held there. There’s over 1000 statues and 150 dioramas that dramatise Chinese legends and folklore. Haw Par Villa is like no other place in the world for most people.

The management imposed entrance fees but the high fees discouraged visitors, so the management incurred a loss of S$31.5 million after 10 years. The park management made profit during its first year of operations after renovations in 1994, broke even in 1995, but started making losses over the next three years and was forced to provide free entry in 1998.

In March 2001, the Singapore Tourism Board renamed it “Tiger Balm Gardens” and entrance fees dropped. The park is now open every day from 9am to 7pm and admission is free. However the name “Haw Par Villa” was heard pretty often. So to many, its still Haw Par Villa.

Now its easily accessible to the park since there’s the Haw Par Villa MRT named after it. Its one of the stations from Circle Line. It will lead you right to its doorstep! =)

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As I remembered back then, the park was so quiet. So peaceful and calm. And I remember how my younger brother, who was only 5 years old that time started crying to some of the statues there which terrifies him. Some say there’s a lot of scary things there.

And when comes to scary stuff, the place was known to become the source of popular ghost stories. Most of it were been shared by former employees, as to how they had experience like they had been “watched” by some of the statues. Some even claimed that the statue heads will turn. Others will claimed that a statue will “disappeared” and “reappeared” again the next day. True?

Main attractions you can find were dioramas of scenes from Journey to the West, Fengshen Bang, The Twenty-four Filial Exemplars, Legend of the White Snake and Romance of the Three Kingdoms. There’s statues of mythological figures such as the Laughing Buddha and Guanyin, and historical personages such as Jiang Ziya, Su Wu and Lin Zexu. There’s even the 12 animals found in the Chinese zodiac. There are also monuments dedicated to the Aw brothers and their parents.

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But one of the most popular attractions were the Ten Courts of Hell. Its all contained in a dimly lit long tunnel in a shape of a dragon. But sadly you will no longer find the dragon there. Now covered by grey stone walls. I wonder why it was been taken out…. Seriously, the dragon was awesome!

The Ten Courts of Hell will introduced you the various gruesome depictions of the punishments in hell you will get for the bad deeds you had committed when you are on Earth. Its based on Chinese mythology and Buddhism. Inside the tunnel, there are exhibits in the form of figurines to depict the Ten Courts of Hell. Seeing how scary some of the exhibits were sure freak out some kids. Like how terrified my younger brother was back then.

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Most people will ask, whether Haw Par Villa will be demolished anytime soon. Well, certainly the future of the theme park is in doubts. But I really hope the Government can preserve this place for future generations to learn more about it.

Sure, the place does look old, rundown. But overall the garden is well-kept and clean. But as told by our historian, one has to first understand the stories that inspired the creation of the statues. It is only when one starts to understand the stories, that one can know the language that these statues speak and perhaps even a message from the Aw brothers legacy.

Nevertheless I’m satisfied to join in this historical tour. Who knows, I might visit this place again. Its really a good educational place for younger generations to learn about its culture, philosophy and the legend behind all this. It might have lose its glorious moment before it was left emptied. But as long as it attracts people, and where it should be, it will never lose its trademark =)

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Captain’s log                                  Stardate: 69914.7 (Feb 18th, 2013)

Had a whole lot of fun yesterday the 17th, where eight of us were at Boat Quay for a Mighty Morphin Power Rangers photoshoot. But not entirely in full suit. Just in our ranger hoodies. Casual form. Of course, with the helmets along! =) Yes, we managed to get a full crew for the original 6, especially for the pink and yellow. But among us one of them will suit up as the Gold Ranger hoodie.

Gold Ranger was seen in Power Rangers Zeo, which is the 2nd generation after Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Its that special 6th ranger with a large gold chest plate warped around his chest. He was portrayed by Austin St. John who played as Jason Lee Scott, who was also the same character when he was the Red Ranger from Mighty Morphin.

The photoshoot may be for Mighty Morphin. But we regard more of him as a special appearance in the shoot. Why not? =D

3 photographers were with us to help out in the shoot. The weather appeared kinda dull, looks like its gonna rain though. But thankfully it not. Other than that the weather is windy. So at least we ain’t gonna sweat so much.

Before we arrived there, I already expect there gonna be a lot of people there wanting to take a photo of us. The kids especially. We are out in an open. Obvious isn’t it? Hahaha! But hei, we won’t mind at all! Its like when we are in a cosplay event. Especially me! =D

The photos will speak for the fun that we had! =D

POWER UP!!

Frame 1 photoshoot

And at the end of the day we thank one another to how awesome this Rangers photoshoot has been. So happy to finally get the full crew of the old school MMPR, even just hoodies! And especially, many thanks to the photographers for being there. Couldn’t have done it better without you guys! =D

Indeed, it has been a great Morphenomenal Sunday! =)

Credits:

Power Rangers
Md.Ariffin (Me/Red)
Zaidi (Green)

Muharram (Black)
Nadia (Yellow)
Raymond (Blue)
Melissa (Pink)
Chazzy (White)
Syafuan (Gold)

Photographers
John Kwok
Sephora
Ismadi

To Valentine Or Not?

Posted: February 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

Captain’s log                                    Stardate: 68131.4 (Feb 14th, 2013)

I just have to blog this down…

Valentine’s Day: Falls on Feb 14th, is a day to celebrate love, the most beautiful feeling in the world. And for some people, it’s that time of the year where they will even propose to their love.

But for most people, they think that (or some believe that), is the day where the guys especially, will blow out their money in buying the most expensive gifts for their lover. Just to shower the relationship between them with all the love and attention.

Of course, I did not say its wrong to celebrate. A friend says, you can celebrate. But no point if you ridiculously spend too much money on such gift. I’m inclined to agreed on that. But on the other hand, its still nice to give some kind of a present or perhaps a greeting on V-Day. As the saying goes, there’s no harm in spending that once in a while, especially on this special occasion. Like dining out at the most luxurious restaurant once in a blue moon.

For me, I can’t and will not because of my religion. I rather not talk about it as I might attract certain kind of conflict if I were to bring out this issue. I rather you google it yourself and research as to why.

If you were to ask me about V-Day, I would say its like celebrating someone’s or your loved one’s birthday. Or like an anniversary. Seriously. I don’t see any difference at all. Its still like bringing your love one and spend time with her on any other day. On the other hand V-Day can be a everyday thing if both were happy. Can be possible.

So for those people, out of the 365 days per year, why must it have be on this day if one were to being too oblivious and ended up wasting money?

If one were to celebrate, its best to do something meaningful from the heart. Rather than just always spending a lot on gifts and chocolates and stuff unreasonably. That can be done on any other day isn’t it? Do it like how you would treat your date like any other special occasions. For marry couples, even a romantic dinner at the comfort of your home would be splendid too. True love is better than materialistic items. After all, it only comes once a year!

I’m saying this as NOT to offend or to lecture anyone whose celebrating it. Go ahead, no one stopping you. No one has the rights! Cuz I know for some of you had take this golden opportunity to celebrate with your love one and to had as something special, something meaningful.

The problem is I see many of my friends keep whining and complaining in Facebook that they don’t have a date, feeling single or “forever alone” or whatsoever. For most people just can’t be bothered. Sorry to say this but I couldn’t help seeing how annoying this can be.

Come on! Complaining that you are “forever alone” on Valentine’s Day, don’t have a date, or whatsoever, doesn’t mean it will left you to rot on your butts! Its not like the world will fall onto you. And seriously, how you define “forever alone?” What’s that mean to you? Cause as far as I can tell, you will most likely be whining the same thing on any other day.

And being single doesn’t mean that you need to find V-Day a depressing occasion. Infact, you can spend time with those you love instead. Your friends and family especially. V-Day doesn’t always count for couples only. Catch a movie, dining with friends and family. Its still bonding with love. Not necessary to be in a romantic relationship to enjoy V-Day =)

And for those who celebrating it, I can only wish you all the best! Take this golden opportunity to enjoy a splendid time with your love one. The day is yours to embrace! =)

And as for me, its just a normal ordinary Thursday. And its a wet Thursday since morning. Infact, it has been quite a storm since the start of Chinese New Year. Probably this whole week will be a monsoon season….

A Wet Day….

Posted: February 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

Captain’s log                                  Stardate: 62101.9 (Feb 10th, 2013)

Since morning the weather had been raining non-stop. And it’s the 1st day of the Chinese New Year. A wet start of this year of the snake. I was actually up at around 8. Seeing how nice and perfect the weather is, I resume back to dreamland….

3 hours later, at around 11, I woke up. Weather still crying. The bed is calling me…. I dozed off again…

Then another 3 hours later, around 2, I woke up. Weather still crying. But I’ll be damn if I fall asleep again. This time I resist that temptation of falling asleep again and drag my ass up from bed.

NO BED! I AIN’T FALLING FOR YOUR TRAP AGAIN! I MEET YOU LATER AT NIGHT!

Besides mom has been nagging to get out from there….

Also, I wouldn’t want to waste half a day. I’m currently off, and there’s nothing much to do around. That’s where I realized I could keep myself occupied by finishing a prop that was for a friend of mine. Yeah, at least I had something to do and keep myself busy around the clock. And listen to the old songs from the boyband NSYC at the same time. Boredom really kills!

Weather was heavy and light randomly throughout the day. Now its 9. Not sure about the rest of the neighbourhood islandwide, but from where I resides is still raining. But drizzling though. Its gonna be a cold and pleasant sleep tonight if the weather still drags….

Happy Chinese New Year 2013!

Posted: February 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

Captain’s log                           Stardate: 62101.9 (Feb 10th, 2013)

From everybody’s lips, sms, twitter, facebook and many other social websites, everybody is wishing one another a Chinese New Year greeting. So here, I would like to take this opportunity to wish every readers, bloggers, the Chinese citizens around the world a Happy and Prosper Chinese New Year! May this year of the snake brings you good luck, good fortune and happiness in this coming life! Firecrackers sparkles all around! GONG XI FA CAI! *bows*

HUAT AH!!