Monday, November 29, 2010

Old Gramophone at Sungei Road

I spent last Sunday afternoon at Sungei Road thieves/flea market. Every visit to Sungei Road is always fascinating browsing through the many old, odd, quirky and at times offbeat merchandise that could have come from somebody's discarded rubbish after a spring cleaning.

Photo credit: Wikipidia
On this occasion I striked out a conversation with a Mr Koh Ah Koon who sort of specialise in sound systems like gramophones, turntables, amplifiers and speakers besides other odds and ends. Mr Koh was an event organiser. Not the type that does conventions and exhibitions but "pasar malam" (night market) or what is sometimes referred to as trades fairs. Due to intense competition in the trade fair organising business he started to deal in secondhand goods.

Among the items on sales at his stall was an old gramophone. It was a familiar one because my family had an identical one when I was a child.  This was an early 1930s portable wind-up phonograph from His Master's Voice. The familiar trade mark of the picture of a Jack Russel Terrier listening intently to the sound coming out of the horn of the gramophone goes way back then. EMI and RCA used to own the trade mark. It is now the trade mark of HMV.

Photo credit: Wikipedia
An item like that attracts a lot of attention without fail. And to add to the excitement of the moment was the sound of an old familiar Cantonese song from a 78 rpm record being played. The casing had some dents, but other than that it works fine. A short while after I took this video clip a Eurasian looking gentlemen bought it. He seemed to be a regular and a familiar figure with the stall holders. As soon as he appeared a number of stall holders greeted him and started chattering.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia;
The phonograph, record player, or gramophone is a device that was mostly commonly used from the late 1870s through the 1980s for playing sound recordings. Usage of these terms is not uniform across the English-speaking world (see below). In more modern usage, this device is often called a turntable, record player, or record changer. When used in conjunction with a mixer as part of a DJ set up, they are often called decks.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Grandma sunning baby for Jaundice

I was on my way to my usual Sunday morning Tai Chi class at Clementi Community Club when I caught sight of this lady sunning her grandchild at the foot of a HDB flat nearby. It was 9.30am and out in the open. I was concerned that baby may be over exposed to the sunlight, so have I to kaypoh (singlish for busybody) as I always am. I casually remarked "baby having Jaundice huh?". And then I asked the lady if she may be over-exposing baby avoiding sounding too intrusive. She replied that because of overcast sky earlier in the morning the sun wasn't shinning.

It common practice among many Singaporeans to sun baby with Jaundice. In fact our elders recommends a little morning sun helps keep Jaundice away; and that what we did for our daughter when she was a baby. We took care to exposed only very short duration in early morning sun that shine through the window. I read with great surprise when I goggled on this subject to find on SingHealth website ( that such a practice is NOT recommended.

What's your experience with your children?

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Singapore Wonder Girls - "Nobody but you"

I was at the SAFRA AGM 2010 on Sunday 31 October 2010 at SAFRA Mt Faber. In the entertainment segment after the meeting a cute version of  the Korean Wonder Girls song "Nobody but you" was presented in Mandarin/Hokkien dialect by Singapore's Wonder Girls "BIG" - Big, Intelligent and Glamorous. Pay attention to the chorus - everybody mei you (mandarin=do not have) bak chew (Hokkien=eyes).

For those of you who likes this catchy tune, here's a pretty cools cover version done by a Vietnamese boy living in Singapore. Enjoy : )

Friday, November 05, 2010

Checking out the The Subaru Challenge at Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza

Last Sunday I decided to check out the action at The Subaru Challenge at Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza Orchard Road for the first time since it's inception nine years ago. This year it is called Subaru Impreza Challenge 2010 - The Asian Faceoff, with challengers from Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, China, Thailand, Taiwan and for the first time10 new challengers from Vietnam. The prize - Subaru Impreza WRX 2.5L Manual worth SGD 80,000!

I spoke to the guy holding up the placard "DO NOT GIVE UP". He was himself a challenger who have dropped out earlier in the day from car  No.9 and was back to give support.  It was  interesting to see camaraderie developed among the contestants. This guy too have not  been there ever before to witness the competition and yet he decided to enter it.

 Friends and family members were there to lend their support. Some camped overnight.

And the winner for this year is ........46 year old technician Aloysius Lim, who lasted 75 hours and 17 minutes.

Afterward I took a stroll down the pedestrian mall and came across a two piece band busking. It was a pleasant surprise for me to see a large group of people mostly Filipinos dancing merrily to the music. The band "D' Highlights" comprises an organist and a vocalist. They played mainly lively disco music. They were good. I couldn't resist, so me and my wife did a rock and roll. I would love to see more of this including the HDB heartland. In Shanghai and Beijing people would get together in a neighborhood park to dance freely.

Monday, November 01, 2010

A new road named Albert Winsemius Lane

A new road has been named after Dr Albert Winsemius, Singapore's Chief Economic Advisor from 1961 to 1984.So who is Albert Winsemius?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Albert Winsemius (1910-1996), a Dutch economist, was Singapore's long-time economic advisor from 1961 to 1984. He led the United Nations Survey Mission to Singapore,[1] and was to play a major role in the formulation of Singapore's national economic development strategy. In 1960, Dr Winsemius led the United Nations team to examine Singapore’s potential in industrialization. At that time, Singapore had just attained self-government and was facing high unemployment and growing population. He presented a 10-year development plan to transform Singapore from an entrepot trade port into a centre of manufacturing and industrialization.

Albert Winsemius Lane as it is called is located off Clementi Road/Sunset Lane. It is not quite a road as you would expect a road to be. It starts from the entrance to the soon to be completed Centre for Aquatic Science Research CASR Blog, squeezed between the NEA South West Regional Office and the Eastlodge Hostel.
Set up by Singapore-Delft Water Alliance (SDWA) at the bank of Sungei Ulu Pandan along the the Park Connectors, the centre is set to be the hotspot for freshwater research and is the first if it's kind in Asia. It will be open to the public showcasing their projects and technologies for public education.

Credit: SDWA

SDWA is multi-national, interdisciplinary research Centre of Excellence for Water Knowledge involving PUB (Singapore), National University of Singapore and Deltares (The Netherlands), established through an initiative of the National Research Foundation in Singapore. SDWA is hosted by National University of Singapore and provides research home to scientists and engineers from all partner organizations. 

View CASR location in a larger map