[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

[Building up]
One of the more exciting events of 2006 was the General Elections.

What's more exciting after elections then, you ask.

And something that will be more exciting in 2007 than taking your medicine (that will be Budget Day in February) is as exciting as the redrawing of electoral boundaries.

This one is a yearly tradition. All constituency offices that are organising lunar new year dinners do it. It is the drawing of lots for tables.

Grassroots organisations take this very seriously. Every year, without fail, they go through a fair and democratic process to determine who gets to sit where. The difference, however, is the mechanics. Last night was the all important event apart from the meeting for the dinner itself.

It is exciting seeing all the enthusiastic chairmen drawing lots. The system is a bit different this year. The number that you choose is your queue number. The larger the number, the earlier you get to choose your table.

So amid haggling and murmurs, each lot meant a score on the floor plan of the tables.

[Meeting the other bloggers]
The people at Youth.SG invited the first and second batch of winning 11 finalists of the Youth.SG blogging festival for food and drinks.

Guess where we went?

Still can't? We went to the TCC (yes, TCC again) at Clarke Quay and had drinks and scrumptious food. Their variety of sandwiches are mouth-watering. The come in erm, well, many shapes, sizes and flavours.

Just like the many bloggers present. Some outlandish, some quiet and some just like to talk. For me, I'm a mix of everything and a little overly enthusiastic. Just like the sandwiches. No two sandwiches are similar. They have different ingredients and taste differently.

I look serious here though. And no, I'm not signing autographs lah. Just filling in some survey questions.

Some really wierd photos. This one looks like a scene from Face Off. Just kidding.

Don't stare, stare. Blogger Gutter Cat looks like an ah beng but he's not really that bad. Bonus points for having a cute daughter. He would have scored more points for flaunting his tattoos. But alas, he didn't.

And so, here are the bloggers on the verge of fame.

Monday, January 29, 2007

[Patron's Day]
The President came calling on SMU today.

It's Patron's Day today, so I decided to check out the grand event.

Many students crowded the display booths at the Concourse area and wanted to get a glimpse of the President of Singapore.

The President also presented awards to outstanding students and was treated to a special performance title "Fourth World".

I didn't stay throughout and didn't join in the fun. But yeah, there was a big party. Next year perhaps.

[i am @ Youth.SG]
I am obsessed with the word youth. But perhaps, it's because this post in conjunction with the Youth.SG blogging festival. I am in the running but still, I decided to give another shot.

And yeah, since it's a youth thing, why not talk about youths?

Our youths are creative these days. But detractors argue that society has to loosen up more to breed more creative minds - at least that's what some say for Singapore.

Pop quiz:

Can you guess what this is? (Answer will be revealed later in the post)

The Business, Government and Society module that I am taking this semester has lots on ethics.

And one topic we had touched on was rude young Singaporeans. Who is to blame for the little tykes' unruly behaviour?

Is it the duty of the parents? Or do we blame it on our teachers? Or is it the maid?

One thing for sure, kids are climbing on top of their parents' head. Just like how in Primary Six, I was asked to climb the Bukit Timah Hill. I didn't go in the end since my doctor asked me to rest after my asthma relapse.

Back to the maid. Did you ever hear kids speaking to their maid? It's just like talking to the robot: "Do this. Do that. I want this. Give me that." No please, no thank you, no manners.

Then do you ever hear adults (not all of them do that by the way) speak to their maids? It's like ordering food at the hawker centre: "Mariaaaaaa! Pick up the phone. Mariaaaaaa! Ah boy finished his homework? Mariaaaaaaaa! Come here. Why you do this?"

Manners aside, let's talk about civic-mindedness.

Littering - one of the biggest problems we are facing so far.
"Anyway got cleaner to clean up what. Don't litter how the cleaners get jobs? Must spare a thought for them."
"Don't care lah. Just throw it. Someone else will pick it."
"Government got money mah. See they spend so many millions on cleaning litter. Just a few peanuts only lah. Can afford."

On the other side of the coin, we have the angels.

For NDP 2006, the committee was struck by "cash for trash". They made school students pick up litter. Imagine you are an adult and some kid catches you littering and frowns. "Sorry uncle, cannot litter hor. Littering fine $500." The student then picks up the piece of litter making the adult embarrassed. I mean, if he really is not embarrassed, he is inhumane.

In Qatar, you cannot lose things. Perhaps the punishment for stealing is too high. Some cannot afford it. When I was in Doha, one of the volunteers left his bag behind at a shop. After touring the whole market, he realised it and went back. It was still there.

The recent report on the Youth Challenge fiasco asked if youths' spirits would be dampened towards doing community work. A post on tomorrow.sg lamented on the compulsory CIP hours. Perhaps, if one does it from the heart, that would not matter. But of course, if I can choose where to volunteer and not be forced to do what I do not like, it would be better.

SMU has this compulsory 80 hours of community service that undergrads need to complete. The efforts to engage students to do community service is commendable. But the only drawback is that do the students do it just for the sake of doing it to fulfill their 80 hours? How many continue to stay engaged after doing their 80 hours.

What is the objective of SMU getting its students to do community service? Is it because we want to be different? Or is it just part of SMU’s corporate social responsibility?

I am not sure what other students do or think with this community service program. To me, it is the passion to serve that is important.

I enjoyed my time doing arts volunteerism. I learn to appreciate art, photography and film more. In fact, I even exceeded the 80 hours that we were supposed to hit. Come 2008, I will be involved in the next Singapore Biennale. It's a passion. Maybe I'll enjoy the biennale more than the Beijing Olympics (I'm still contemplating whether to fly there to volunteer).

So I guess it all boils down to the heart.

And here's the answer to my earlier question:

Creative dustbins - putting your litter in the right place just got funkier. And yes, these are done by secondary school students.

This post is in conjuction with the Youth.SG blogging festival.

Read more about the blogging festival on Youth.SG

Sunday, January 28, 2007

[Support your Favourite Blogger Ephraim]
I think the title is crap but if you do love this blog, please put your hands to work.

To show your support and vote for my I am@Youth.SG post to be the winning entry of round two of the Youth.SG blogging festival, just follow two simple steps.

1. Compose a new email with the header: i choose B8 - (insert your name here).
2. Send the email to iam@youth.sg with your Full Name, NRIC/Passport Number and Contact Number. You can only vote once and repeated votes will be disqualified.

Stand to be one of the five lucky voters to win a $10 Kinokuniya Voucher. Voting will close at 2359hrs on 1 February 2007. So hurry, let your fingers do the voting!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

[Unlicensed to Kill]
1. A book by Ustaz Mohd Haniff Hassan countering the justification of Imam Samudra for the Bali bombing was launched this morning at the National Library. It was appropriately entitled 'Unlicensed to Kill'. Citing authoritative sources and by clear argument, Ustaz Haniff has made an important contribution to the struggle for the soul of Islam. The book is intended to be read by both Muslims and non-Muslims. For non-Muslims, Ustaz Haniff explained simply why Islam is a religion of peace and jihad the struggle for what is right and just.

2. The session on inter-faith and intra-faith dialogue was organised by the Singapore Institute of International Affairs which is headed by Simon Tay. I was invited by Simon to deliver a keynote address. Earlier, my old MP colleague, Mohd Maidin Packer, had spoken to me about Ustaz Haniff's book. I told him that I was honoured to be associated with the launch of the book.

3. I spoke about my recent trip to India and how, in different ways, Hindus, Parsees, Catholics, Sikhs and others help the poor of all religions. If we start from theology, we are very different. But if we start from the human being and centre our actions on the individual, then we immediately find a large common area. It is the area of our common humanity. While human beings are unequal in almost all aspects, we are spiritually equal. Because we share this common belief, murder is murder whether it is the killing of a wealthy man or the killing of a pauper.

4. Members of the IRO gave full support to the seminar and the launch of the book. Our IRO is a treasure. Embracing ten religions in all, the IRO helps to promote inter-faith dialogue and understanding. Leaders of different religions in Singapore routinely reach out to one another helping us solve problems as they arise. We have a good thing going here which is gradually being noticed by others.

Do also read my posts on Beyond SG

[The Golden Temple]
1. In my recent trip to India, I decided to fly home from Amritsar via SIA's direct flight. Amritsar is the holy city of the Sikh people where the Golden Temple is located. Although we were only scheduled to visit the temple the morning after the day we arrived, I decided to see it first at night. Many years ago, I saw the Taj Mahal in Agra both in the daytime and at night under a full moon. The two experiences were completely different. And so it was too for the Golden Temple at Amritsar.

2. We had first to remove our shoes and socks and cover our heads. Then hands and feet had to be washed in running water before we entered the temple. After descending some steps, we reached the tank, a large rectangular pool in which near one side was the Golden Temple linked to it by a causeway. Hymns were sung continuously twenty-four hours a day. Surrounding the pool were buildings housing offices, rooms for the priests and a large kitchen which served food free throughout the day and night. The Temple provides free shelter, food and medical treatment for anyone who visits it. You don't have to be a Sikh. Temple guards were everywhere dressed in saffron robes and carrying arrow-tipped lances. The Sikhs are a martial race. Bank notes donated to the Temple in the sanctum santorum (the holy of holies) were flicked with a sword to a central pile.

3. Our host, one Mr Kuldip Singh (who happily cracked the cool-dip Sikh joke to me) was wonderful. He was friendly, patient and perfectly helpful. He had worked as an official of the Temple for over 30 years. In 1984, when Indira Gandhi ordered the Indian Army to storm the Temple after it was turned into an armed redoubt by Sikh separatists, he was there. He pointed out to me the gateway through which the tanks rolled in and trained their guns at the headquarter building. He narrated the harrowing events more in sadness than in anger. All those responsible, he said, were themselves killed in the end. I remember visiting the house in Delhi where Indira Gandhi was shot by her Sikh guards. Those were days filled with anger and pain. That Indira Gandhi's daughter-in-law Sonia chose two Sikhs to lead India today shows how much the wounds have healed. It is testimony to the spiritual depth of Indian society.

4. I saw Kuldip again the following morning. He was surprised that I went back a second time and happily showed me around again. When the visit was over, he gave me some presents including an iron bangle which Sikhs wear on their right wrists.

Read my post on The Wagah Crossing on Beyond SG

Planning for this year's Chinese New Year celebrations for the grassroots organisations in Bedok Reservoir-Punggol has started.

And since I love to write, the organising chairman requested that I be the secretary for the committee. And I agreed. I am also part of the programme committee as well.

The committee had two chill out sessions just now - one was at Compass Point and the other was at Changi Airport. Work aside, I managed to pose with my RED MOTORAZR V3 just for fun at The Coffee Bean outlet at the airport.

Project Superstar's finalist Nat was also there having a late chat.

It has definitely been a long day for me. I am still awake at the wee hours of the morning. But it is a common thing.

Earlier today, I was at the inaugural Lee Kong Chian Ministerial Forum 2007. The Conference Hall at SMU's School of Accountancy was packed to the brim. The audience was engaged by Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

This report and more will be published in SMU's campus magazine Vie.

Vote for me for Round 2 of i am @ Youth.SG and win some prizes for yourself

Friday, January 26, 2007

[Singapore happening]
I caught One Last Dance by homegrown Raintree Pictures yesterday.

It was a different and funny feeling seeing myself on the big screen.

Two years ago, in December, I was in the town area. I had a little part in the filming of the movie One Last Dance. It is finally released now. According to the people at Raintree Pictures, they wanted the film to premire at the Cannes Film Festival before releasing it.

The film was shot in Singapore and it's quite fun to spot places that you have been to before as you watch the movie.

Since I went to catch the movie yesterday, the cinema hall was pretty empty. But yeah, I do like quiet places.

Just like when I went sightseeing alone during a lesson break this week.

I travelled from Raffles Place MRT to One Fullerton.

Visited the two merlions (yes, there are two) at the Merlion Park.

The baby one was cute. It spouts water too but not as much as it's father (or is it mother?). Their grandfather must be Lee Kuan Yew. He opened the park on 15 September 1972 when he was the Prime Minister of Singapore.

In the movie One Last Dance, there is a scene of a pub. The water flickers in the night and there are shades of blue. This was shot under the Esplanade bridge. And I visited the site too as it was close to the Merlion Park.

But instead of shooting what was under the bridge, I decided to capture a part of the blue sky flanked by the two carriageways of the Esplanade bridge.

The journey continued to Victoria Theatre and Hill Street. And it ended back at my school, Singapore Management University. It's great to have a city campus.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Brennan wrote an entry on clubbing portal Whosgoing.sg. And I happened to come across it by chance while scrolling through the comments on this blog. He writes that it is the current in-thing to hit the tertiary students. And it is a platform for social networking and clubbing fans. The crew behind Whosgoing.sg also organizes club events for the local Polytechnic (the main target), Junior College and University students.

The portal allows members to indicate which parties they are planning to attend. It also serves as a sort of party committee. There's even a counter function that show the proportion of guys versus girls for a particular event. It's pretty cool to attend such parties (no harm drinking a little). After signing up as a member, I found out that they were also looking for ambassadors there, so I jumped at the chance.

The difference between being an ambassador and a member is this. Members get to invite a friend along for the party. As an ambassador, I get to invite 10!

And my first party was at Butter Factory at the Robertson Quay area last night. But since it would be boring to go along, I dragged eight other friends from the SMU social science faculty along.

The entrance has a huge mouth with juicy read lips.

The club is unlike your usual Zouk and MOS. There are no long queues (I never like to queue to get to clubs) to spoil my mood. It is divided into two main areas - a sit down area with tables and a big screen and the main area has a dance floor with tables littered around.

Usually I don't dance on the dance floor. During previous clubbing trips, my dancing has been limited to only little movements. But last night, I was wild. Some of us stayed till past two in the morning.

We had a few drinks and some Martell. And loads of fun.

Thought of the day: Wonder how many invites I will get for the next event. The Dream D8 contest that shot Xiaxue to fame is back with a second installment and will be held at Zouk. That sounds so fun.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

[Zooming cars]
Car fanatics should race to the finishing line at the Victoria Theatre now.

Especially if you love the racing machines by BMW.

I happened to chance upon the media preview of BMW Art Cars - Singapore 2007.

Smack outside on the grasspatch that Sir Stamford Raffles overlooks, there are two structures. And inside are works of art and beauty. Firstly, the models are gorgeous. They sported a black dress and skirts that are way too short. But you can't blame them, it's their job.

I managed to chat with one at the door. She mentioned in sweet tone that it was only open for the media. Inside, georgeous people sipped drinks in champagne glasses. I managed to get upclose with number 76 - a green and red car.

Secondly, the cars are beautiful. But you can't get too close though. Surrounding the cars are glass barricades that stretch up all the way to the hip area.

Best of all, did I mention that is it free?

Monday, January 22, 2007

[Two museums]
I wanted to visit two museums close to school today since I had a 2 hour break in between class and meeting.

Recalling the free entry that SMU students have, I made my way to the Singapore Art Museum. But it was disappointing as I found out that it was only open to students of specific modules. Entry costs $2.50.

Since I wanted to make full use of the entry ticket, I decided to go another day when I have more time. I crossed over to the National Museum of Singapore instead.

Having been there a couple of times for the Singapore Biennale, I knew how to get around. Their marketing postcards are cool. You have to fill in the blanks for some.

The History Gallery that traces Singapore's past is a paid exhibit. So was the special exhibition at the galleries at the basement.

A wierd local sea creature lurks around. It's like a seal with a merlion's face.

There are four living galleries - Fashion, Film, Food and Photography.

It transports you to the past. The film gallery boasts three screens. Black and white still and moving images are projected. Three huge sofas in the room allow you to have a relaxing experience.

The food gallery is pretty interesting too. I liked the bottles and bottles of different colours with spices that you can sniff.

For the fashion gallery, be prepared to check out women's fashion from the 1950s to the 1970s. Glittery costumes greet you as you enter.

It's an experience for visitors to Singapore. Modern and sleek - it's a must to visit.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

[Mother Teresa of Calcutta]
I. I attended Mass at Mother Teresa's House in Calcutta this afternoon. It is hard not to be moved by the will of this tiny woman from Albania. When she died in 1997, people of all religious faiths mourned. There were many nuns there who would soon be taking their final vows. The first vow is taken after five years. Thereafter, the vow is renewed every year. Upon the tenth, the final vow is taken which is for eternity.

2. One of the two nuns welcoming us with a big smile was Sister Maria Tony from Singapore. She had been in Calcutta many years. They live a life of poverty, caring for the sick and dying. Despite good economic progress in the last 10 years, there are still a lot of poor people living in the city. Many are migrants from the backward states of Bihar, Jarkhand and Orissa. These Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity are dedicated to serving the poorest of the poor.

3. Worldwide, there are about five thousand of them running hundreds of Houses in many countries including Singapore. I know Dr Lau Teik Soon did some voluntary work with them after he retired as MP. (Maybe he still does, I am not sure.) He told me once that Mother Teresa did not want money, 'she wanted you'. It is a tough call to which only a few are able to answer. Or, perhaps, only a few are chosen.

Visit Beyond SG where I blog too

Saturday, January 20, 2007

1. Taking up an invitation from Tata Steel, I was flown in a small Beechcraft propeller aeroplane to visit the steel town of Jamshedpur in the Indian state of Jarkhand today. I had to study Jamshedpur years ago in Secondary Two Geography class. I never thought that I would one day see the furnaces and mills there for myself.

2. Established a hundred years ago by Jamshedji Tata (hence the name Jamshedpur, city of Jamshed), it was the first steel-making operation outside the UK in the British Empire. The Tatas are an enlightened Parsee business family who have always believed in treating employees well and contributing to society. Years before it became commonplace, Tata Steel had an 8-hour workday for its employees and provided free medical treatment. It even established a scheme similar to our CPF before the Second World War. All kinds of social and sports facilities are provided in the town. It is probably the only town in India where you can drink water directly from the tap. The workers are paid way above market. Union leaders participate in the making of all important decisions. Two years ago, Tata Steel celebrated 75 years of harmonious industrial relations with not a single strike.

3. For years after India became independent, steel production was under direct control by the Government in Delhi, both quantity and price. There was therefore no incentive to improve. It was only after the reforms in 1992 that the company was freed to innovate and expand. It is now one of the most efficient steel producers in the world. A major capacity expansion is underway. Tata Steel is also making a multi-billion dollar bid for Corus, one of the world's biggest steel companies operating in the UK and the Netherlands.

4. As India grows, it will become a major consumer of steel the way China has become. China today uses some 300 million tons a year. India will need at least 100 million. Manufacturing is gradually becoming more important in the Indian economy. As a lively democracy, India can't move as fast as China in many areas. But, for the same reason, there is a deeper stability in Indian society which protects individual and property rights. Each has the weakness of its strength.

Does the 21st Century belong to Asia? Find out more on Beyond SG

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

[Sports and arts]
Today was an impeccable mix of sports and the arts.

After my classes, I took a walk down to the Esplanade (the luxury of studying in town).

Along the journey, I saw loads of artworks that adorn the underpasses. Although some were in black and white, it was eye-opening. Further down, there were colour portraits of disabled people.

The Esplanade is a good place to relax. There are cosy sofas around. It is mostly quiet (except for the occasional murmur of passers-by or the staff making their rounds). I managed to complete reading a chapeter of my marketing textbook.

In the evening, I was at the Philips NBL Championship. The basketballers pitted their skills against each other at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. There was also a Team Singapore Pre-Appreciation Reception to acknowledge the efforts of the volunteers, officials and athletes for the 15th Asian Games in Doha.

The match was between Melbourne Tigers and the Singapore Slingers. And it was stunning. Both teams managed to keep up in the scores department. By half time, their scores were nearly equal.

It was a platform for catching up with friends and the athletes that competed at the Asian Games. I chatted with my friend, swimmer Leonard Tan and also caught up with swimmer Marcus Cheah (who I interviewed last year) as well.

Thought of the day: How can sports and the arts be integrated? Can there be an element of both in a product or event? Email me your suggestions at ephraim@singnet.com.sg

[India in Ferment]
1. I had a busy day today in Bangalore. The optimism among Indian business leaders is palpable. One of them whom I've known over 10 years thought that India's real growth rate last year was higher than the official growth rate of 8%. A sizeable part of the economy is grey and would not be captured in the official statistics.

2. The real estate sector is booming. Here in Bangalore, real estate prices have shot up because of the lack of urban land. Satellite townships are being built to accomodate the growing population.

3. India's highway construction is changing the pattern of economic development. This was what happened in China and, on a smaller scale, in Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia. When I met the Chief Minister of Karnataka, Shri Kumaraswamy, he wanted Singapore companies to explore opportunities in the second tier cities of Mysore, Mangalore and Belgaum. Our companies have a good reputation in India. During tea with Singapore businessmen today, many of them expressed optimism about prospects in India.

With the Chief Minister of Karnataka and our High Commissioner Calvin Eu

4. India has many entrepreneurs, some of whom are world-class. India's steel makers, for example, are now global players. At lunch, I met a young entrepreneur who makes a cute electric car called Reva, named after his mother. It was fun test-driving it. He said it was the only economically viable electric car in the world today. All you need to do is to plug it into your electrical supply at night and it will be all charged up for some 100 km of driving the following day. It can go up to a speed of 70-80 km an hour.

Visit Beyond SG where I blog too

[8 Days enigma]
There is something about this week's 8 Days.

Nope it is not Korean superstar Rain's hotbod.

8 Days has this page about the Boos and Bravos - the good and the bad moments on TV.

I was reading that issue early in the morning (when my senses are most of the time not fully awake). Something caught my eye while I flipped the pages.

It was a familiar word.

It started with a capital 'E'.

Surprisingly, I found out that the rest of the letters in the word were 'a', 'h', 'i', 'p', 'r', 'm'.

"a hip rm?" My room's kindof hip, yeah.

Maybe my mind was not functioning well. After putting much thought to it the letters made sense. Here's what I got.

I exclaimed: "Ephraim!"

Now that was why it looked so familiar. Maybe because Rain's hot bod failed to make me fully awake.

There's also an 8 Days education guide in the centre portion of the magazine. As I l browsed through, I came up with some random thoughts about education.

The world has become a global village and we must understand how other things elsewhere affect us. For example how things like bird flu affect Singapore, or even the impact of the vast number of university graduates from China and India. Even though I am taking a social science degree program at SMU, the university encourages us to take multi-disciplinary modules including Economics. An engineer cannot just focus on the mechanics of a product. An good engineer does not only create a product that works but will take into consideration and will pay attention to other aspects such as how to appeal to the mass market and how it should be marketed. A good product, when marketed well, will sell like hotcakes. It's just like how the iPod appeals to the masses. A good product may be a good product but will sell if it is marketed well. Similarly, a broad-based multi-disciplinary approach is the key to getting the edge over other university programs.

Our schools have been at it for some time. It started in small steps by introducing robotics to primary and secondary schools. The polytechnics have general electives or courses that are related to creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. You can take interesting classes like art, music and yoga in universities.

Many concepts I learn in my sociology classes can be applied to my business, goverment and society classes. I can use my psychology concepts in my marketing class too. Having inter-disciplinary learning gives one a different perspective. For example, a business student will present his point from a business perspective with business lingo, whereas a political science student looks at it in a different light.

I reckon that such an education will give us an edge over others.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

[Kota Tinggi Floods]
1. It is heartbreaking to see the scenes of flooding in Kota Tinggi again, coming so soon after the flooding before Christmas. It must be terrible for those living there.

Photo credit: http://gallery.thestar.com.my/default.asp?id=640

2. I flew back from Cebu with Malaysia's Foreign Minister Syed Hamid last Saturday evening. Kota Tinggi is his constituency. He was very concerned for the inhabitants and had decided to rush back directly from Changi Airport. He knew that the road to Kota Tinggi was inundated. I offered a boat or a ferry from Changi to Tanjong Belunkor but the route from there to Kota Tinggi was also affected. He told me that the Malaysian Army would get him there from Majidi Camp one way or another, by a five-ton truck and boat if necessary. After getting a pair of shoes and a jacket, he sped off to the Causeway.

3. Earlier last year, I attended Syed Hamid's son's wedding reception in Kota Tinggi with many of my grassroots leaders. It was a beautiful day and we were welcomed with great hospitality by the people there. Our hearts go out to them. I hope the weather will quickly improve for the people of Kota Tinggi.

Visit Beyond SG to read more about my Journey to India

Sunday, January 14, 2007

[The Trumps]
I visited The Trumps today after emceeing for the last installment of the Bedok Reservoir-Punggol Division's scholarship and bursary presentation ceremony (a little about that later).

In case you are wondering, I am not talking about Donald Trump. It's about the high life - dollars and cents.

For the uninitiated, The Trumps is situated next to Frankel Avenue and Kembangan MRT station. And it is brilliantly beautiful.

My impression of visiting condo show apartments is the scenario of a marketplace. But this one was different. Apart from it being the apartment that is distinctively me, it was a quiet affair. Entering the sales office, we were greeted by a huge model of the condo and a friendly marketing associate from OrangeTee.

The friendly guy, who seemed to be in his late-40s, brought us around the showflats. What we wanted to know: tell me (more about the) condo, condo, condo. According to the marketing guy, the studio apartments and two-room flats were sold out. Only the amazingly larger 3-room ones were left - we visited two fully-funished egg nests there.

It was a spree as we experienced 20 minutes of living the high life. Damn luxurious. It was not that we were too free but the trip there was spurred by an ingenious idea.

The first was type C4 - a 126 square metre one located on the second floor.

As you make you way through the door, a dining table with glittery table ware greets you. A few steps later, you are in the hall area that is completely air-conditioned. It is cosy. Carpets fill every nook and cranny, that warm touch intesifies your senses even though the marble floor leaves a chill on the feet. As you lift the blinds, the view of the canal greets you. Water flows and reflects the rays of the glistening sun.

The bedrooms on the other hand are furnished with parquet flooring. There are built in wardrobes in white that complement the white blinds. The bedsheets blend in with the surrounding colours. A sheen of light blue from the sky, illuminated by the sun, leaves a blue glow on the white blinds. It is a picture of calm and traquility.

There are two bathrooms. They are a mix of white and grey tiles complete with a long white bathtub (for those who prefer long baths) and glass shower (for those who like a quick wash). There are no fancy sinks (like those in upmarket hotels in the city area) and the thrones are ordinary. No gold-plated taps as well.

In the kitchen, the cupboards are white with a touch of glass. There's a little utility room after you walk through the kitchen. Tucked in the corner is a inconspicuous cosy little bed (for the maid) and an attached low-key shower. The service yard boasts a blocked but still quite managable view of the swimming pool downstairs.

The other one was type C5 - a 133 square metre nest.

It has the view of the outskirts of eateries nearby, the road and the MRT station. All the apartments have windows that are from floor to ceiling. This particular apartment's window allows you to see the private playground and gym at your feet.

Type C5 is slightly larger and has a little short corridor as you make you way in. The walls are lined with white wallpaper with slight creases that form vertical strips. Two bedrooms are flanked by the hall and dining area. Tucked in the corner is the master bedroom with an attached bathroom like the previous one.

The kitchen, utility area and service yard is of the same concept as well.

We then proceeded to the fourth floor and took a look at an unfurnished apartment.

What excitement.

One of the reasons why we could visit The Trumps was because we were in the vicinity. I had just finished my duties at the Damai Secondary School nearby.

My good friend Mike 14, was by my side for three hours. Coincidentally, today was also the 14th! To some, 14 may be an unlucky number but it don't matter to me. At least, it stayed by my side and worked well.

The ceremony seemed similar to the MTV Asia Awards minus the fanfare and the celebrities. There were times when Evelyn said: "And the award goes to..." I wanted to add in by saying: "And the nominees are..."

The guest-of-honour was Minister of State for Finance and Transport, Mrs Lim Hwee Hua.

Her departure from the school hall signalled the start of the reception. The food was finished in one full swoop. By the time I reached the canteen downstairs only crumbs were left.

I did manage a small cup of coffee though and I am sure the residents loved the food.