Sunday, June 30, 2019

Joyce's Birthday 2019

Jovyn's birthday celebration has not even passed the two weeks' mark but here we are again celebrating another birthday of an immediate family member! 

Birthday girl is Joyce, the mother of Jovyn! Actually, i do enjoy birthday celebrations so long it's not my own and it's a pity that i am getting a bit too lazy to bake. Maybe i should attempt a home baked carrot cake for my parents' birthday in September.

I digress. Don't you just love the message on my shirt of my brother in law? "My wife made me fat so that no one else would want me"! According to my sister, this design was chosen by my brother in law; a sneaky way of pushing the blame away! 

With Jovyn; her split image. When we attended events by extended family, relatives always commented how Jovyn looks just like her mum at that age! Well, i can't remember although i must admit she has indeed inherited her mom's death stare. 

Happy XXth Birthday, Joyce!
p.s. i didn't reveal your age. 

Replacement for My Loss - Another Nikon D750 #nikond750 #alanphotosg #funanmall

After three months of consideration since the unfortunate loss in China, i knew i had to do something as i clearly wasn't satisfied with pictures taken from my iPhone Xr and the old Nikon D7100.

Eventually decided on an exact replacement, the Nikon D750; it was a tough call for me as i couldn't decide on the brand / model. On one hand, i would love to try something new yet on the other hand, i do have some Nikon lenses which would be left redundant should i change brand. 

Unravelling the prize in the box; similar to buying a new car, there's this new camera smell fresh out of the box that excites the mind! For me personally, the contour and the feel of the camera also brought forth a strange sensation; like i have gotten back the D750 camera i lost in Kaili, Guizhou

Attaching the strap to the two eyelets on the sides of the camera; this is by far the most tedious stuff for any new camera! Can't they just do it at the factory?! 

So why did i decide on purchasing the same camera that i lost? Reason is simple; i am cash strapped and for the amount i could afford, it's a fight between the newer, more expensive D500 and the older, cheaper yet full-frame D750. 

I was almost ready to get the D500 despite people telling me that it's more for sports (which i honestly have no interest in) but the game changer is this website i chanced upon a few days ago; cameradecision.com. Right on this page, it weighs the pros and cons of each camera and it's obvious that for the purpose i have for phototaking; D750 is the preferred choice. 

Now, i have to read the user manual more carefully to at least have a better idea of the functions and features of the camera. As of now, i am amazed that i didn't know that there's this time-lapse function! 

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Purchased From
Alan Photo,
107, North Bridge Road,
Funan Mall, #03-29,
Singapore 179105

Additional Information
The camera was purchased from Mr Rod Foong, a friendly product specialist at Alan Photo, who doesn't hard sell, is knowledgeable about cameras (as versus to me) and able to offer options for the limited budget i had. 

Saturday, June 29, 2019

SOOK Siam - The Indoor 'Floating Market' @ Bangkok's Iconsiam [Thailand] #iconsiam #sooksiam #indoorfloatingmarket

Even though i didn't manage to check out ICONSIAM back in November last year, a few friends went and already told me the most amazing thing in Thailand's largest shopping mall would be the indoor floating market.

There was indeed a water component at the basement of the mall but i must admit my expectations were a lot higher as i thought the boats, synonymous with floating markets, would be traversing all over the man-made waterway.

As you can see from the above picture, the vessels were literally 'placed' at their position like any permanent structure! I was expecting some row, row, row your boat action. 

While i was a tad disappointed with the 'floating market', i was still pretty impressed by the literal sheerness of the space that seeks to bring together food and cultural heritage from "four main geographical regions" across 77 provinces in Thailand! 

It was bright daylight outside the mall yet here in Sook Siam (the name given), it was as if we were walking on a cooling night, surrounded by traditional two-storey shophouses in Thailand and in the midst of a bustling crowd similar to Huamum night market

Without further ado, it's pictures' time! 

Street food and snacks are popular with Thais and you can see them everywhere in Sook Siam! The good thing is that the vendors came from all over Thailand and if you have the stomach space and tenacity to stuff in as much as you could, do indulge! 

Prices were obviously not as cheap as those along the streets although it's not as expensive as those typically sold in the shopping malls. Taking my favourite tender grilled pork as an example, it's 15 baht a stick compared to 10 baht at a street vendor and 20 baht at terminal 21.  

Should you have the time to spare, you can even catch a few performances!

Food is but one main component of Sook Siam; you can also find Thai handicrafts and Thai-made products! I was drawn to the piggy banks as always but the one i had the most interest in was the terrariums! Pity i figure it would be hard for me to haul back to Singapore.

Looking for Naraya? There's a super huge store (cutting across two or three floors) at ICONSIAM where the ladies would go crazy, i presume! 

Plenty of instagrammable photo spots which was created by 200 local artists from the four regions; namely the North, Central, Isan (Eastern-Thailand), and South. The one that left a deep impression was the escalator that's flanked by two of the mythical creature; the Naga! 

I don't recognise these two creatures though; their appearance would best be described as long haired deer. The QR code indicated that the taller one on the left is an "animal belonging to the mythical forest of Himmapan" and came from the legends of the Thai Yai tribe (also known as the Shan people).

Feeling tired after all the walking?! You can have your massages even though i find the concept to be too open for my liking. Foot massages would be fine though. 

Lastly, the views from the second floor! According to the website of ICONSIAM, there are over 3,000 business operators in Sook Siam spread out over 7 zones (which i didn't know until now)! Guess i would have to make another trip to Sook Siam in the near future.

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Address,
299 Charoen Nakhon Rd, 
Khwaeng Khlong Ton Sai, Khet Khlong San, 
Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10600, Thailand

Website

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Revisiting the German Girl Shrine [Nadu Kuniang aka Berlin Heligtum Shrine] at Its Rebuilt Site @ Pulau Ubin [Ketam Mountain Bike Park]

I promised an update to the German Girl Shrine at Pulau Ubin back in 2015 and i can't imagine it took me more than 4 years to do so! Oh well, the western side of the island isn't as popular and most people i went to Ubin with didn't have the stamina to cover so much in one trip.

Except for the group i was with last Saturday! One of them, making her first virgin trip to Pulau Ubin despite being Singaporean all her life, is utterly interested about this German Girl Shrine and i thought it's a good opportunity to bring her there!

Furthermore, i could also take the opportunity to update the "new" building that was completed at the tail end of 2015. Back when i blogged about the shrine 4 years ago, it was still housed under a temporary tentage. 

L
ocation of the "new", permanent shrine is literally a few meters away from its temporary abode and as you can see, the interesting yet morbid origin of the shrine had brought quite a number of curious visitors although they didn't stay long and were in fact hesitant to step into the building. 

I thought this was the signboard with the words "Berlin Heligtum" / 柏林苑 was new; watched a video regarding the shrine before it was rebuilt and it appeared that the signboard was already in existent then! 

Classic - a stone incense stick holder.

Stepping in for a closer look; the "new" place didn't look big from the outside and was indeed rather small. If this is your typical shrine honouring deities found elsewhere, i can guarantee you it wouldn't attract any non-devotee. 

The stones on the side of the main altar that were honored with offerings and incense sticks; as mentioned in my original post here, this reminded me of the stone that gave 4D numbers at Loyang Tua Pek Kong temple

By the way, i have yet to explain how this German Girl Shrine came to be named as such. In a nutshell, back in the first world war, a German girl living on the island fell while escaping from the British and villagers started praying to her remains, with some winning lottery; hence, contributing to her popularity on the island. 

As she died at a supposedly young age, devotees assumed she would like things more befitting her age; hence the offerings that consisted of perfumed water and face powder popular a few decades ago, toys, sweets, nail polish, cosmetics and shoes. 

Main statue of the resident deity; this is definitely new as the one i saw previously was a typical barbie doll you can easily buy and replace from toy store! 

My friends were intrigued with the blending of religions at the German Girl Shrine; a Taoist practice yet imbued with traces of Catholicism coming from the angels and rosary beads! There's even a small Christmas tree on the side! 

For someone who had been accustomed to following both Buddhism and Taoism since young, i wasn't that surprised with such blend. There's actually a term for this interesting blend and i got to know this from this friend who came with us and whom had a master in history; syncretic religion! 

Now, can someone enlighten me? 
What do the words on the stone mean? 



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Location 
Ketam Mountain Bike Park,
Pulau Ubin, Singapore

Click here for my first post on the shrine! 

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