In early September, I indulged in a pink ice cream fantasy at the newly-opened Museum of Ice Cream (“MOIC”) Singapore. Located at the historic Dempsey, the MOIC is hard to miss, seeing as the once monochromatic barracks that lined the district are now rendered a shocking shade of pink. Here, there are photo opportunities at every turn, dedicated to the celebration and experience of enjoying ice cream.
The opening of this wildly anticipated attraction was in the works for close to three months due to pandemic restrictions, but it seems like the wait was well worth it, as MOIC has brought the never-before-seen attractions to its first international location outside of the United States.
It’s really a good place to be – I was happy throughout and I could forget about what’s happening outside when I was here. It also helped the creative side of my brain, helped me forget about things. So I definitely do think that it is beneficial, allows people to take a break from things that are happening outside.
My The Netherlands Photo Series《荷兰柔情似水》Published in LianheZaobao 联合早报光影之“世界未戴上口罩时”版 on 12 September 2021
周末愉快！疫情前我的最后一趟旅行是荷兰，我在荷兰以棕褐色摄影这组照片《荷兰柔情似水》刊登在今天（九月十二日）的 “世界未戴上口罩时”【光影】版 。感谢 Lianhe Zaobao 联合早报。
Happy Sunday! My photos on The Netherlands are published in full coverage today . After returning from The Netherlands winter trip in December 2019, I didn't expect that it will be my last trip for a long time before I was forced to take a break from traveling due to the pandemic.
When will travel recover?
The million-dollar question. When will we be able to travel again? The short answer is nobody knows for sure. At the moment, we see travel recovering in stages without the need to be quarantined—first locally, then domestically between regions, and international travel is probably going to be the last, save for the Vaccinated Travel Lane currently between Germany & Singapore.
Many of us hope to travel again at some point in the near future, even if not immediately. I guess when that day finally comes, by then I will be all set to be a wanderlust again to travel in the new normal.
It’s natural to associate playgrounds with childhood and to feel nostalgic for the particular brand of whimsy that comes with early exploration and risk-taking. Maybe that’s why these spaces appeal to audiences as colourful and dynamic as the structures they are made up of. But that spirit of playfulness isn’t solely reserved for kids — nor should it only exist in outdoor spaces. Because of the creativity these public areas encourage, architects often incorporate incredibly surprising, non-traditional design elements into their construction that we’d happily have in our homes.
Rotterdam in The Netherlands is known as a playground for leading architects and has a long tradition of modern architecture in Europe. The bright yellow Cube Houses in Rotterdam designed by the late architect Piet Blom in the 1970s, are probably some of the most famous buildings in the Netherlands and attract people from all over the world. Based on the concept of "living as an urban roof", Piet Blom wanted to design a kind of village within the city and saw the houses as trees and the whole development area as a wood. I had a chance to visit them in December 2019, and have found its architecture to be utterly amazing.
While Rotterdam is known for radical architecture and forward-thinking city planning, architects around the world are also finding ways to integrate “Living in an urban roof” in their own cities too. There is an ever-growing interest by a new generation of ambitious emerging architects. So based on Rotterdam's Cube Houses concept design, I explored the idea of whether there is any similar cube house architecture in Singapore. The answer is, in my view, yes there are indeed cube house themed playgrounds in Singapore, hence this post today. An ideal playground should be a mixture of architecture, aesthetics and play value - something that both the designers and people who patronise the playground can be proud of. #dontsayinevershare
Do you like to visit art galleries? There are many different types of art galleries around the world. If you like art, science, or history, there are galleries that will inspire and delight you.
I visited an interesting art gallery recently filled with surprises. Located in a nondescript corner on the second floor of Singapore Raffles Hotel Arcade, Art Now is a gallery that makes creative designs and intriguing art pieces accessible to the public with free admission. For those who enjoy both art and culture, why not visit Art Now gallery that offers both.
The whole space is cosy and filled with a bewildering array of creations that run the gamut of pop art and the contemporary to 2D and 3D fine art, as well as fashion and other unique lifestyle items. From the architecture to the interior design, the gallery also includes bespoke furniture.
Though many of the current generation (born in the late nineties and 2000 onwards) may not realise it, they are rather lucky in the matter of choices than any of the earlier generations. Not only do they have options like the fine dining, cafeterias, delicatessens, fast food joints and pubs but they also have the option of eating at food courts. A food court can be defined as a smorgasbord of immense proportions offering many food choices at one place with several small eateries offering you different cuisines at one place and that too at affordable rates. That is why the decoration and arrangement of food courts has become of tantamount importance today. We have to admit that while many of us may not give that much weightage to the décor of the food court with a conscious mind, it does weigh on our decision to eat there. If you know all about restaurant decoration, then you realise it does have an impact and it is the same way with food courts and the way they are decorated.
So I decided to explore something many diners at Food Republic outlet, Basement 1 @Shaw House in Orchard Road Singapore realise but are unable to put their finger on – the creative theme behind the décor. In its own understated way, this Food Republic outlet is considered an art exhibition itself with each food stall beautifully styled using these large scales wallpaper murals. The typography is perfect and really fits well with the décor. You may already have experienced dining there before, but didn’t recognise the art works at the first glance. That’s because they are masked in unique decor and visual interest like never before. The cute and simple illustrations spread across the murals are actually inviting and interesting, adding some hipster vibes to the whole dining place. I couldn’t take my eyes off of the artworks while enjoying my meal, hence this blog post today to share the murals. #dontsayinevershare
The Housing & Development Board ("HDB") designed a range of playground designs for its public housing estates in the 1970s. Most of these playgrounds have been demolished for modern ones which are easily distinguished by its plastic and metal features, as well as rubber mats. Only a handful of the iconic playgrounds still stand today. For an alternative itinerary, I took a peek at the charming vestiges of its past – like these dragon playgrounds of yesteryear.
Many Singaporeans would remember them as exciting playgrounds when they were very young, that offered thrilling fun play spots where one could climb up the dragon’s spine, slide down the terrazzo slides and dart about playing police-and-thief with friends. The dragon is a symbol of power, strength, and good luck for people who are worthy of it in Asian culture, and it was turned into a place where children can run along its spine and slide down its head. Even if you have yet to see these iconic playgrounds in person, I’m pretty sure you have seen some on your Instagram feed. These dragon playgrounds are the poster child of retro playgrounds in Singapore.
With no signs of any possible overseas travel in the near term due to growing transmissible delta variant around the world, there is no better time to explore our own backyard more and not forgetting these dragon playgrounds which have warmed the cockles of many Singaporeans back in the good old days. Lets head on down for a dose of nostalgia and get ready for a major throwback !
Everyone loves flowers; they make people smile and tend to cheer up even the most somber of occasions. When you think of iconic flower-filled destinations, the Netherlands and its tulips probably come to mind. Lots of people travel to the Netherlands in the spring, in order to see the famous tulips fields and the Keukenhof gardens. If you’re a flower lover and are wondering if you can see some blooms, there’s some flower experience you shouldn’t miss in Singapore. It's around the corner of Marina Bay, No, I am not referring to Gardens By The Bay - it's actually located at the open field facing directly opposite the Marina One Residences. Although it’s technically not a flower field, this huge open space is home to many potted bougainvillea flowers. The best part is that access is free and as there are not many people around, you don’t have to wait to take the perfect picture!
In case you are lamenting all those lost pandemic vacations, ✈ or if you have been craving a holiday or want to escape into another "country", this amazing field of blooming bougainvillea flowers could be a sight to behold. I know that we are unable to travel out of Singapore to enjoy such sites due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but hopefully these bougainvillea flower field photos will make you stare in awe as much as they did for me.
It was a sunny day as I wandered through the field, a quiet place to walk and see huge array of colours. Flower field make gorgeous backdrops for photos and Instagram posts. But they are also great stress relievers because they offer a peaceful and relaxing ambiance. Walking along the ticklish bushes, grouped in rows, gives me an immense sense of joy as it shows nature at her prettiest.
The big, bright red apple…spinning, spinning, spinning, that’s the memory I remember most about my favourite playground as a child. Can you think back to yours? And how often nowadays do you see kids at the playgrounds around your neighbourhood?
In an urban landscape like Singapore, kids find themselves going from classes to malls to school and home. Hence, it's my personal mission to scout out the best creative playgrounds locally so they can enjoy a bit of fresh air in their daily lives.
First, here are three airplane playgrounds where aviators can let their imaginations soar. Lamenting all those lost pandemic travels? That’s no reason to let your wings be clipped. Instead, take flight at some airplane themed playgrounds. After which, you'll see railway train and military vehicles themed playgrounds which I managed to find in Singapore too. Planes, trains and automobiles are a big hit in any community. Kids love the creative play that all types of transportation provide, and there are transportation-themed components that make-up imaginative themed playgrounds in Singapore.
Do you remember how you used to like going to playgrounds as a child, hanging from bars, running up the slides, or playing hide-and-seek?
Playgrounds are a welcome sight for weary parents looking for a place for their kids get a chance to expend some energy. While a simple park with a slide and swing set will usually do the trick, visiting unique play spaces can also be an interesting way to explore new destinations. Beyond high-tech features, many modern playgrounds feature unexpected and unusual architecture.
I’ve rounded up various themed playgrounds island-wide just for you; each with a unique adventure to offer! This "project" took me a few months to finally complete. From whimsical, transportation, housing to play sets featuring oversized animals, these wow-worthy playgrounds in Singapore are worth adding to your islandwide travel bucket list. Here's the first today where you can bring back that innocence and fun at these two whimsical playgrounds.
Street Art In Singapore: Little India, Armenian Street, Kampong Glam & Orchard SCAPE YouthPark (Revisited)
What’s an artwork without an audience? Without getting bogged down in philosophical discourse, let’s just assume artists create their works to be seen by others. I think street art photographers, bloggers and supporters who document street art play a key role in sharing street artworks that might disappear tomorrow.
I am always on the lookout for new art showing up on the walls and surfaces of cities. I capture, exhibit and provide context for these artworks and I think this is a great way to feel the pulse of a dynamic city’s street art scene. Singapore’s bustling street art scene is evident every single month of the year. Often times, art extends itself past the traditional canvas. We see this in the world's most beautiful public sculptures, or even sandcastles along a beach. Yet, what can be a bigger space to express ones creativity than the sides of buildings? It's with these murals we see in neighborhoods throughout the world that the thoughts and fears and dreams of a city come to life. They show us that something as simple as painting a mural on the front of a building really could make a difference and bring so much joy to passers-by.
Today's blog post showcases more street art in Singapore, specifically at (1) Little India; revisited (2) Armenian Street; (3) Kampong Glam district (including Haji Lane); and (4) Orchard *SCAPE YouthPark. There is no reason why we shouldn’t revisit existing murals (in fact, all the more the reason to revisit them). I hope the new murals would bring lots of hope and inspiration, especially during these challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Heads up. This is an image-heavy blog post.
Hats in portraits of women reflect all of these functions and etiquettes. A hat is a flag, a shield, a bit of armor, and the badge of femininity. A hat is the difference between wearing clothes and wearing a costume; it’s the difference between being dressed and being dressed up; it’s the difference between looking adequate and looking your best. You may own a bag, a bottle of scent, or a pair of shoes bearing the label of a famous fashion house, but you are perhaps less likely to own a hat - which we should have at least one. Hats have always been a complementary part of a woman's attire. It's a very beautiful expression of one's self.
Being inspired of that, I am happy with how things have pan out for my painting journey of this series since last year. I am so glad that I have created a mini art studio for myself for whenever possible to break away from a busy day job. It is just so therapectic to see all of my paintings and it is really an indesribable accomplishment feeling. This entire painting series is truly my labour of passion. I started this series since April 2020 and I finally completed all of them recently. I wrote a short commentary on the Part I series in July 2020 and today's post showcases all of them together.
Christian Dior himself wrote in his Little Dictionary of Fashion: "A hat is essential to any outfit. It completes it. In a way, a hat is the best way to express your personality." Through this series, I got to know the different types of hats. I have been looking through fashion magazines and websites to get ideas about the different shapes women can look with hats. There are hundreds of hats styles, so I always take a bit of time to explore before painting each and every piece. Each painting features a lady with hat and the wide brim gives the wearer an edge, a confidence boost, a simple reassurance.
Here's how you can display my portrait painting elegantly and gorgeously in your house. Each painting's size is 16" (40cm) x 18" (50cm) on canvas.
Most of us had studied History as a subject in our secondary schooldays and learnt about the Japanese occupation of Malaya and Singapore during World War II (WW11) but little did I realised how much emotions that this visit to the revamped Changi Chapel and Museum had evoked.
The Chapel and Museum have been here since 2001. The Museum honors Allied prisoners-of-war (POWs) held in Changi Prison camp during the Japanese Occupation in WWII. Their stories are told with an impressive collection of personal artifacts and news coverage. In 2018, the museum was closed for a complete revamp. It was reopened recently on 19 May 2021 with an expanded collection of artefacts, a more immersive experience to tell the heartwrenching personal stories of the POWs held at Changi Prison during WWII. The stories suddenly became a reminder of how much sufferings there was during the war.
Remember the atrocities of Japanese occupation and the treatment of the prisoners. Least we forget what occurred here. With objects that hold such riveting tales to tell, there was no dull moment in my journey through the Museum.
Construction Site-Turned Southeast Asia's First Official Graffiti Hall of Fame at Singapore's Kampong Gelam
People who are familiar with urban art would have heard of the Hall of Fame, which refers to a space legally dedicated to street art. In the graffiti world, a Hall of Fame is a vibrant hub where artists new and renowned can hone their craft. Some of the major cities in the world – including New York and Sydney – have said spaces where artists can work their magic; and now, Southeast Asia’s first official graffiti Hall of Fame can call Singapore home.
Southeast Asia’s first official graffiti Hall of Fame was recently launched in Singapore by precinct association One Kampong Gelam and the Singapore Tourism Board on 28 April 2021 on an unprecedented scale. The Hall of Fame is set to be one of the most prominent street art experiences in the region. There are altogether 17 Singapore-based artists unleashed their works on tall metal canvases along Bali Lane and Ophir Road. The enclave has long been famed for its colourful street art splashed across its back alleys. In 2019, it also welcomed Singapore's first outdoor gallery, Gelam Gallery (click here to read my post on Gelam Gallery).
But the interesting part about Singapore’s Hall of Fame is that a construction site has become an unexpected canvas for art. Originally erected as noise barriers for ongoing construction works, the tall metal canvases have become the stage for the best muralists from Singapore. Each mural comes with a handy QR code, allowing you to check out artwork descriptions and artist info through the Hall of Fame microsite.
If you have been following my blog for a long time, you'll know that I travelled to Hong Kong faithfully every year for street photography (before the COVID-19 conquered the world), as often as twice or even thrice a year. I get asked all the time why I love Hong Kong so much, and I have a hard time explaining it. I don’t know, I realised I’m all over the place, because I can’t actually put into words why I love Hong Kong. And I think that’s actually what makes travel beautiful. If I could put into words what I love about it so much, then it could be experienced “virtually” and there would be no need to visit at all.
If your memory serves you well, I wrote a commentary about the iconic pawn shops in Hong Kong after I returned from a trip there in October 2017. Pawnbroking in Hong Kong has a history as long as that of the city itself and are situated in almost every district of the city. Click here to read my photo commentary if you had missed it.
A whisky specialist cum collector based in Hong Kong, Mr Freeman Ho contacted me via Facebook in February this year, offered licensing fee to obtain one of my Hong Kong pawn shop photos as whisky label, so I agreed. He read my blog and felt that the photo is very nostalgic and serves the purpose of a personal whisky collection which he had created with his group of friends. I supported his passion and felt it was a pleasure to help other people in their passion, while I pursue mine at the same time. Today I finally received the Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky in Singapore shipped from Hong Kong ! I placed the whiskies against the backdrop of a Mona Lisa pop art poster at home, and fancy seeing Mona Lisa tasting it :) The whiskies are exclusively for sale in Hong Kong only.