Saturday, August 15, 2015

77. THE SG50 MRT 'MARATHON'

Singapore turned 50 this year, and it has been raining offers countrywide –Shops screaming out 50% discounts, concession for entertainments, museums, zoos, amusement parks and other activities -you are literally spoilt for choices. However, all these offers happen at the same time for a limited time, and you get so confused which ones to go for, that by the time you zero in on one, the offer is no longer valid. K


On the National Day, it was announced that we could enjoy free public transport the whole day. It was Sunday, and all I had scheduled for the day was church. Nothing much was planned for the evening, because the whole nation would be in celebration and plague like crowds were to be expected everywhere.

I was feeling a little guilty for not being able to utilize the free rides, except for the couple of trips to and from church. Little did I know this random crazy thought that zipped past my mind, would transform into a 5 hour long MRT-marathon.

Small as the country may be, there are still a lot of areas of Singapore that still remain to be explored by me. So I just thought of dragging a friend along and go to all the MRT stations, explore the area a bit and click a few pictures and chill. It took some effort and a lot of bull-crapping to get a friend to buy this idea –we would have to wait another 50 years to get a similar offer;  It would be a lifetime achievement; think about the money we could save and blah blah..

And that inspired him. Inspired him so much that in a couple of hours, he came along with two other friends, equipped with DSLR and a tripod! Woah looks like he took that a bit too seriously...

So off we went!

We still couldn’t get used to the open gantries. My hands kept reaching to my purse for the ez-link card as I approached the gantries




First Stop: Jurong East. The station was way too crowded and we had trouble finding a proper place to set up the tripod and the camera. So we contented ourselves with a selfie. The passerbys stared at us quizzically, trying to figure out what's there in an MRT sign board to take picture of!

Bukit Batok… Bukit Gombak….by the time we reached Choa Chu Kang, we were quite exhausted… that was only the 4th stop! We had 21 more to go!


The trains were mostly crowded. And just climbing up and down the escalator and running back to catch the next train drained us. We took a water break at Yew Tee and then continued….

Kranji…Marsiling…Woodlands…Admirality…

We tried to give funny themed poses at each station, and gave cool(read lame) captions for each. For example at Newton, we posed with our iPhones. (Netwon=Apple=Iphone…..smart eh?:P)

Sembawang…Yishun…Khatib…Yio Chu Kang…

Half way through I was so tired that I started losing my interest and regretted having come up with this stupid idea. I couldn’t wait for this to be over!

Ang Mo Kio…Bshan…Braddel…

At Toa Payo, we realized that by the time we reach the last station, the SG50 parade would have finished and we would have to face the plague like crowd. So we went to Marina South Pier directly and came back to where we left. The station was still crazily crowded! It was with great difficulty that we managed to get back inside the station after taking the picture.

Marina South Pier.. Marina Bay…Raffles Place…City Hall…Doby Ghat…Somerset…Orchard…Newton…Nouvena…Phew! It was finally over!

We were thoroughly exhausted when we finally checked in at the last stop and my friend suggested taking a cab back home. That would so not serve the purpose of utilizing free MRT rides and I strongly opposed the idea. They couldn’t stand another MRT ride. So after a bit of arguing and debating, we took a bus, which crawled its way to Clementi.

Total Money saved: 0.73x25=18.25$ each!
Total Hours lost: 6hrs each!

I got so used to not tapping at the gantries, that the next few days I found it so inconvenient and annoying having to use the ez-link card to access the MRT. K



Our 'Trophy'

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

76. UKELELE

For the want of things to write about, posting a video of one of my first experiments with the ukelele. Any suggestions and tips to learn to play better are welcome :) 


video

Monday, March 2, 2015

75. DEAR NON-INDIANS..(and some Indians too..)


Over the past couple of years that I have been outside India, I have come across many people from different countries and cultures. It was great to find out how people across the globe know Shah Rukh Khan, and Modi and the 3 Idiots movie. All izz well…. It was indeed heartening to know that I come from a famous country, but it was also disheartening to find that there are a lot of preconceived (and mostly untrue)  notions about India and Indians.  Some of them are ‘harmless’, but some of them are quite annoying. So here goes the list of common myths about India.


#Dark skin doesn’t imply you are from the South, and fair skin doesn’t imply you are from the North. There are fair skinned people all over India, and the same goes for dark skinned people. 
I have had countless people ask me if I am from the South and if my roomie who is also a Mallu(Malayali), is from the North. But the worst came from a Gujju(Gujarati) friend who commented on my neighbor that she was way too good looking to be a Mallu! :-|

                           
#Not all Indian men are rapists. Yes, from the insane number of rape incidents that make headlines everyday, rape seems to be a favorite pastime for Indian men, but decent and respectable men still exist in the country. 
I have friends who have been asked how come they haven’t been raped after staying in India for so long!

#This one is especially to Singaporeans and Malaysians: Tamil is not the national language of India. I know that majority of the Indian population in Singapore is Tamil, but in India, Tamil is spoken by less than 6% of the population. We do not have a national language, probably because of the hundreds of native languages we have in different parts of the country.

                                
#Hindi is the language. Hindu(ism) is the religion.
Please don’t ask an Indian if he/she speaks Hindu.

#Speaking of Hinduism, not all Indians are Hindus. There are Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Zoroastrians, Jews and Free Thinkers.

                                                        
#Not all Malayalis get drunk everyday. 
(Interestingly, one of the most disciplined and lengthy queuing systems in India can be found in front of liquour shops in Kerala:P)

                                 


Friday, February 27, 2015

74. SAWADIKA! -The Bangkok Trip

The City:  The city seemed to be quite developed. Roads and public toilets were relatively clean and maintained.  A few beggars could be seen near the MRT stations. 7-11 seemed to be the national shop of Thailand as you can find one or two after every kilometer. The general architectural style of the city seemed to be that of the temple one – most of the buildings, houses and even bridges have roofs with ornamented gabled-ends.  The entangled mess of overhead electric lines would have baffled Mr. Kirchhoff himself :P



Traffic: One word for it –Horrible! The worst experience was that of the 1-hour bus journey for a 2 km distance. So taking MRT wouldn't be a bad idea, for traveling to MRT accessible places during peak hours. 

Public transport: MRT and sky train systems are so poorly integrated, and have poor connectivity to places.  They are not cheap either. Sharing a cab by 3 or 4 would be cheaper and advisable for traveling during off peak hours. Patience bears a metered taxi. Wait for it.  We never tried the public bus. 

Food: Again, one word for it –Awesome! I guess Thai is one of the few cuisines that suites Western, Indian and South-East-Asian taste buds alike. Also it has a lot of options for vegetarians as well.



Weather: it's better to always carry a rain guard with you. Weather is similar to Singapore and Kerala.

Safety: If you take care of yourself and travel in groups and go around at the right places, it's decently safe.

Thai vocab: Sawadika - hello (for females); Kab koon - thank you (for females)

My takeaway: The trip was quite nice and educative. It made me realize that I really really need to travel more. Travelling can really modify your perspective and make you grow. Being in a group, the members of which I wasn't really close with, I learnt that different people have different preferences, concerns and skills. There are foodies, shoppers, explorers, photographers and aimless people. Timely and good food is important to some. Enough rest for others. Leisurely pace for the others. I can't chop chop everyone every time. Planning beforehand saves a lot of time, effort and money. Raincoat makes walking around in rain more comfortable. Shelling out a few bucks for a local sim-card with data is not a bad idea. Travel adaptors are a must. Don't hesitate to speak up your ideas and wants and needs. And don't get disappointed if they are not heeded to. Helping others always helps you. 

Kab Koon! :)