Monday, June 28, 2010

Mum caught the travelling bug!

You know ladies just love shopping. They can shop till you drop lol. On our many shopping stops I observed something rather fascinating. Mum was either shy or slow to decide or perhaps still retaining the thrifty habits of the older generation, not to spent unnecessarily. My wife and her sister would be extremely enthusiastic as if trying to make a sale, more so than the sales person present. They were trying so hard to pick the design/color which they think was nice but mum just wasn't interested. After a few days of shopping I found out that mum have a mind of her own. In their excitement to push their choice selection the girls were oblivious to this. On one occasion after all the usual suggestions by the girls and mum turning down all of them and the frenzy have died down; mum pointed to a particular piece from her wheelchair and said she liked that one lol.

All in all I'd say mum had a "Rolling Good Time" on this Shanghai holiday trip. She discovered that with the wheelchair it's possible to travel, Osteoarthritis of the knees not withstanding. She have became more cheerful and now without hesitation she would ask when is our next holiday.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Mahjong in the middle of the day

I am not sure if you could call this a gambling den. I came across this place where people were playing the game of Mahjong, a favorite past-time for the Chinese. And this was in the middle of a working day. It's a surprise for me because Shanghai being a big city, one would expect people to be caught up in the rat race and such leisurely pursuit would have been reserved for a non- working day like a Sunday or Public Holiday.
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I never thought I would find an establishment with my name on it on this trip to Shanghai, though
I must admit I was quietly hoping to spot one. This fantasy was planted when my nephew came back from Shanghai a couple of years ago with a picture of a Cafe literally named after him. This picture was taken in ShuZhou. I am not too sure what business they are in and there aren't anybody around for me to find out. Possibly some cultural or art centre, as there are some old items on display which looks like antiques.
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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Toddler's Split Pants

Disposable Diapers? What disposable diapers? In China the Toddler's split pants 开档裤 kāi dàng kù allows babies and toddlers to answer nature's call with neither hindrance nor hassle. This great Chinese invention allows little kids to do their business anywhere. At first sight it may seem bizarre, perhaps a little embarrassing to foreigners, particularly Westerners to see baby's little Willy or naked butt exposed. I was surprised to have spotted a number of these toddlers in a modern city like Shanghai in this day and age. The Split Pants isn't totally alien to me. I remember when I was young, one of my younger brothers wore them. Not everyone of us wore them. I believe those who were hard to "potty train" were made to wear them. And I remember it's only a small slit at the front for peeing only, not all the way to the back.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pet Dogs in Shanghai

Regrettably, I wasn't able to make contact with any local doggie business people while in Shanghai. The one new Kennel that I have arranged to visit didn't materialised because the business venture was called off. All I have is a couple of encounters on the streets with dog owners.

I met this lady walking her Spitz puppy "BAOBAO". Obviously Baobao is not trained, as he have difficulty obeying even a basic command such as 'SIT'. And I have to tell you it wasn't because of language barrier cos I do speaka his language lol, Mandarin. The lady owner actually offered to sell me her puppy for 800 yuan would you believe it! I kept telling her that I don't live in Shanghai but she kept up with her sales pitch and wouldn't listen.

I met this lady with her Toy Poodle at Yuyuan. It's comes naturally for me to connect with dog owners cos I am able to get the doggie's attention. This Toy Poodle named NANA showed off  her "Paw" trick. A security personnel for the Shopping Complex kept warning her owner not to her  dog out, as it is forbidden. That is China for you, still not very dog friendly in public places. However I am aware that there is already tremendous improvement.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Funny Signs in China

In China, as those who have been there will tell you, the English signboards can be bizarre, wacky and weird.
or Chinglish is Chinese mistranslated or translated into bad or broken English. They can be seen on signboards at Tourist attractions where great number of English-Speaking Tourist go to. The war on mangled English by the authorities have met with little success. Some examples:

"Please take advantage of the chambermaids" on a hotel brochure.

"Carefully Slide" (Be careful of slippery floor)

"Look out , Knock Head" (Watch your head)


On my trip to Shanghai I was on the look out for such signs. These are some funny signs that I found, although not so much the Chinglish type. The notice on top right picture sort of rhyme in Chinese. Translated into English it rhymes too "Come in a rush, go with a flush" lol. Enlarge the other photos and try and spot bad English.
Drinking water dispenser at the Shanghai Expo
Astounded, Confounded, Bewildered? Don't laugh. A mainstay of spoken English "long time no see" is a typical word-for-word translation from a Chinese expression.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

East-West Fusion Music at Xintianti Shanghai

East-West Fusion Music at Xintianti 新天地 Shanghai. It is a car-free shopping, dining and entertainment district. The area comprised of restored traditional Shikumen 石库门 (stone gate) houses on narrow alleys and some adjoining houses which now serve as tourist souvenir kiosk, cafes and restaurants, and shopping malls.

Beautiful Fusion Music played on a nice sunny morning in front of a shopping center. It's clearly an adaptation of Peking Opera music. Note the drummer is a black guy. The girls on the Chinese musical instruments were pretty and chic.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Brazilian Baby Dances Samba

Now you know when it comes to doing the Samba nobody does it better than the Brazilians; Samba the Rio De Janeiro style. The little toddler still in disposable diapers is already dancing like a pro. Pure natural and unadulterated : ) Excellent musicality, perfect rhythm and great styling lol.

Chiropractor for Knee OA (Osteoarthritis)?

The TCM treatment in Shanghai have produced a slight improvement for my wife's knee OA (Osteoarthritis). I noticed her posture have improved somewhat. The pain in her knee is still there though. She only experience some relieve the morning immediately after the treatment. We are thankful for that. I know the fact is we have to be realistic about it. For anything to work it's got to be a fairly long term follow-up. My search for a cure for her continues...

I am very tempted to let my wife consult a Chiropractor but at the same time there is doubt about it's efficacy. I have yet to hear solid evidence of people who have had their ailments cured through Chiropractic treatment.
Have you been to a Chiropractor or know someone who have? What was you experience like? Have Chiropractic help you? Please share your experience if you have been to one or share any other treatment that have produced good results for knee pain.

I have also been reading with great interest Prolotherapy (Reconstructive therapy). Injections of simple solutions such as dextrose, glycerin, and phenol is used to stimulate the growth of connective tissue. Other more advance technique involve the injection of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP).This is supposed to strengthen the weak or damaged joints, cartilage, ligaments and tendons. However there are still very little information to confirm it's effectiveness, rate of success and side effects if any; and it seems this is still unavailable in Singapore.

Other options we may explore are Yoga and Pilates. Any practitioner out there who previously have knee problem? Have Yoga or Pilates helped?  I would really love to hear from anyone out there who may have had their knee pain healed or know of someone who have.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Shanghai Roadside Bicycle Repair

This is a video clip of the whole process of patching a punctured bicycle tyre by a roadside tyre repairman. Prior to this patching process is to find the punctured spot. This is done by immersing the inflated inner tube into a pail of water. Bubbles will be released from the location of the puncture. As you can see it is a very very simple set up with basis tools, Eco friendly too.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Youtube upload frustration

The last few days have been pretty frustrating uploading videos to Youtube - Error, Failure or Aborted! It seems to be quite a prevalent problem for a segment of Youtube users. On Youtube website there are some video clips offering help for workaround but they does not necessary work for all. It's probably some software conflict, but what do I know, I am not that savvy technically. Regrettably, I may not fulfill my target of at least one post every two days cos I love to include videos and pictures.

Friday, June 11, 2010

FIFA World Cup - South Africa 2010

Well although I am not a soccer crazy person I do pay some attention to major matches. Same for other games like Table Tennis when our Singapore women's team upset China to become world champs in Moscow. 

The final count down to World Cup! In a few hours time South Africa plays Mexico in the opening match. Soccer fever hits the world. This is most certainly going to be much bigger, more feverish than the 1995 rugby World Cup especially for the people of South Africa. 

Here in Singapore the 5 Community Development Councils (CDCs) and People’s Association (PA) have forged a partnership with Singapore Pools, SingTel and StarHub to screen the 2010 FIFA World Cup matches “live” at 16 Community Clubs island-wide from 11 June to 12 July 2010.

For information of live screening matches visit People’s Association (PA) website -
The 16 community clubs:
Braddell Heights CC
Address: 50 Serangoon Ave 2 #01-01, S(556129)
Phone number: 62867876
Person in charge: Mr Kuo Jeng Nam (SCM)
District: South East
Cheng San CC
6 Ang Mo Kio Street 53, S(569205)
6458 8222 / 64571172
Mr Chua Lip Teck (SCM)
Central Singapore
Chong Pang CC
21 Yishun Ring Rd, S(768677)
Jessie Heng (SCM)
North West
Chua Chu Kang CC
35 Teck Whye Avenue, S(688892)
Mr Damien Tan (ACM)
South West
Clementi CC
220 Clementi Ave 4, S(129880)
Mr Goh Ah Soon (DCM)
South West
Fengshan CC
20 Bedok North Street 2, S(469644)
Ms Loretta Tan Mui Ling (SCM)
South East
Gek Poh Ville CC
1 Jurong West St 74, S(649149)
67920095 / 67922750
Ms Michelle Koh (DCM)
South West
Jurong Spring CC
8 Jurong West Street 52, S(649296)
Mdm Jenny Koh (DCM)
South West
Mountbatten CC
35 Jalan Satu, S(399479)
Ms Chen Xiaoyi Grace (DCM)
South East
Sengkang CC
2 Sengkang Square, S(545052)
Razak Abd Rahman
North East
Tampines Central CC
Blk 866A Tampines St 83 #02-01, S(521866)
Shawn Lee
North East
Telok Ayer Hong Lim Green CC
65333260 / 65330646
20 Upper Pickering Street, S(058284)
Mr Wong Teck Yu (ACM/CM)
Central Singapore
Toa Payoh East CC
160 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh, S(319380)
6256 7601 / 62516515
Mr Kelvin Thong (SCM)
Central Singapore
Vacant Land near Temporary Mkt (Organised by Eunos CC)
Eunos Temporary Mkt (Bedok Reservoir Rd, next to Blk 632)
6448 6071
Mohan Dharan
North East
Woodlands CC
1 Woodlands St 81, S(738526)
Kho Lilian (SCM)
North West
Zhenghua CC
1 Segar Rd, S(677738)
Agnes Lim (SCM)
North West

FIFA website:
World Cup fixtures with Singapore broadcast timings here: 2010 Football World Cup Fixtures and Groups

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Visit to Shanghai Expo 2010

The Expo ground is huge and requires a lot of foot work. Motor vehicles have to stop quite a distance from the entry point.

Multiple long queues with massive crowd formed at the entry point. We were lucky, my mother-in-law being on a wheelchair got us all preferential treatment; we were directed to "Barrier-Free Passage (Express Lane).

We visited the Brasil Pavilion, USA Pavilion and the Joint Pavilion for Central and South American Countries. Because of the big crowd and long queue, visitors are allowed into the respective Pavilions in batches. We didn't make it to our planned exhibits - the Swiss and China Pavilion. The number of people was just overwhelming and the queuing time a crazy 3 - 5 hours.

Inside the American Pavilion a replica of the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange)

Central American


The majestic China Pavilion

Tired visitors taking breaks

Latest information is that the average count of visitors has now reached 370,000 a day!!! from 220,000!!! On weekends it goes up to 550,000 visitors!!! The common gripe is the exasperatingly long queuing time and it is just not worth the trip. That said, the rural folks from the provinces aren't too unhappy cos the Expo visit would just be a small part of their itinerary. Senior citizens gets subsidized tickets and it is an opportunity for them to travel; for many of them a rare treat.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Food Glorious Food

How can a blog not talk about food? And undeniably one of the most exciting experience in travel is to taste the food of the country one visits. For you foodies out there waiting in anticipation, here goes...

The most memorable dish and the one I liked most during our trip was the Famous Wan San Pork Knuckle at Zhou Zhuang. Super tender and rich in flavor. We were all going wow wow.. yum yum... as we savour the juicy meat which melts in your mouth. It was the biggest pork knuckle I've ever ordered and the best I've tasted. For a bunch of us who are pretty health conscious we were attacking the fatty pork knuckle without a care. I was zooming in on the skin, minus the fat underneath and passing some to my wife as we were told by Western Doctors that the skin can be beneficial to the musculoskeletal joints and the skin elasticity. "The proof is in the eating" We ended up ordering another piece. I just couldn't believe it!

Shops selling take-away local Tim Sum (snacks) can be found in most neighborhood in Shanghai. Duck parts are local favourite - head, neck, webs, wings, heart, gizzard and liver.... and yes even tongues. Those crazy about tongues can consume a plateful of it in one sitting.

This local salad which I believe is made from garlic chive (known as ku chye in Singapore) and peanut is very popular among locals and is commonly served in restaurants. I did not particularly liked it, tasted rather bland.

Generally, we found the food there tend to be slightly more salty and oily than what we have in Singapore. The meat buns (we call it Pau in Singapore, they call it Mun Tuo) are thick skinned. It is very oily inside and have very little fillings. Our meat buns here in Singapore are the opposite.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) knee osteoarthritis treatment

A large part of our visit to Shanghai were spent on visiting the TCM doctor to seek treatment for my wife's and my mother-in-law's knee pain. We made 9 visits in the 10 days we were there. The doctor recommended daily treatment without break. This resulted in Hangzhou being dropped from our planned itinerary.

Treatment entails Acupuncture, Moxibustion, Cupping Therapy and Massage and then finishing off with a herbal patch to the treated area.

Indirect moxibustion. An acupuncture針灸 needle is inserted into an acupoint and the tip of the needle is then wrapped in moxa and ignited, generating heat to the point and the surrounding area. The moxa is a Chinese herb Artemisia Mug wort, a type of Chrysanthemum. The leaf of the Artemisia is bitter, pungent and considered to be thermal and warming in nature. Moxibustion is known for providing relief to stubborn musculoskeletal pains. In ancient times a small, cone-shaped amount of moxa is placed on top of an acupoint and burned. Another method is holding a cigar like stick over the acupoint to deliver the heat.

Fire cupping facilitate improved blood-flow and generate qi movement in the patient. Specially made bulb-shaped glass cups are heated, creating a vacuum and applied against the patient’s skin. The suction is so strong that the skin is pulled out creating what looks like "extra large nipples" lol, and we really had a good laugh.

I decided to have a go myself, just for the experience so I told the doctor about my occasional numbness down my right arm to the fingers and stiff neck. In my case the doctor did not apply burned moxa to the needles but held a lighted flame to the tip of the needle. It was quite an experience and spectacle : )

Friday, June 04, 2010

The positive side of Shanghai

Shoppers providing their own Eco friendly bags

On a positive note, Shanghai is really a nice place overall. I would have no problem settling there. You can sense that the Shanghainese are really putting in the effort to project a good image to foreigners for the Shanghai Expo. The notorious habits of spitting in public and the pajama papas and mamas walking in the streets can hardly be found. The streets are clean, trees and flowers in bloom lined most major traffic junctions. People are approachable and are Eco friendly. :) At the supermarket shoppers brought their own Eco friendly bags. An old electric cable bus still run today to cut carbon footprint as I was told. Bicycles and tricycles are widely used.

Wheel Power                                                            Bicycle Rental                                                              

Flower power

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Extraordinary Shanghai

Something quite extraordinary about Shanghai is that a vast majority of people speak rather loudly. In fact you may say they do not speak but they shout. You can be walking in the street and suddenly there is shouting going on. At first I thought there was a squabble but after awhile I realised that this is a very Shanghainese thing; it's normal to speak loudly.

And then once in awhile you'll come across a real quarrel which is almost a daily feature you'll find on the streets. At least it's true for the duration of my stay. This loud verbal combat can be really dramatic. Enjoy the following video clips : )

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Depart for Shanghai

I am back! As I've mentioned in my earlier post I wasn't able to access Blogger from Shanghai so this journal is 10 days late. It is pretty frustrating not being able to visit my favorite websites which I habitually do on a daily basis. Anyway let me start with our departure from Singapore Changi International Airport. Sister-in-law who works in the airport helped with the checking in.