Before the start of my blog story on a place visited in Taiwan last December, i would like to first express my sympathy. I have learned with profound sadness over the earthquake in Hualien in Taiwan which has caused loss of lives and enormous devastation of properties. I encourage all of you to please dig deep and let's stand strong behind the people who need it the most and those who have given up the most to be there for others in their greatest time of need.
The Light to Night Festival is back this year with an even bigger line-up! The annual Light to Night Festival has returned to the Civic District over the weekend as one of the marquee events of Singapore Art Week 2018.
In its second edition based on the theme of Colour Sensations, you can expect a sensory overload as major cultural institutions and parks in the Civic District, including The National Gallery, The Arts House, Victoria Concert Hall, Asian Civilisations Museum and the Esplanade, will be transformed into dazzling, multi-sensory art exhibitions. Besides a stunning multimedia projection show on the buildings’ stately exterior, you can chase literary happenings and performances for an all-round artsy experience.
If you only have time for some exhibits at this year's Light to Night Festival, be sure to make a beeline for these few.
For me, travel and photography have always worked in perfect harmony. They go hand in hand. Capturing great moments and transforming what I’ve seen into something new and artistic while strolling through a new city with fresh eyes is a rewarding experience.
Hong Kong is famous for its distinct urban skyline, comprised of towering skyscrapers and futuristic office blocks – some of the tallest in the world. For this reason it's long been a favourite subject of artists and photographers, eager to capture the sprawling, bustling metropolis.
I develop a passion for photographing the striking architecture of Hong Kong a few years ago. I took these photos last year while on vacation. Being interested in architectural photography, I always see various attractive buildings in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas around the globe. Faced with this limitation and the impossible prospect to expand horizontally, builders are forced to look simply upward. Buildings, housing apartments and condominiums are stretching more into the skies as developers hurry to provide more living space.
寻访台北城市的老树、老屋、老青田街 Tranquil Times at Qingtian Street in Taipei City With Old Trees, Old Houses and Humanity
Taiwanese people are entirely accustomed to having residential and commercial spaces mixed together, as is evident in the presence of convenience stores at every street corner. Some streets in Taipei bear such historical vestiges that one forgets time. The verdantly shaded Qingtian Street for example, is still flanked by wooded dormitories built during the Japanese Ruling Era.
Qingtian Street is where noise fades into tranquility, and leafy giants stand quietly before rustic wooden houses of the Japanese style. While time passes by, Qingtian Street still retains its elegant look in a gentle attitude. Not only you can feel the historical inheritance, but also feel its vitality.
We always want the New Year to bring bigger and better things, and 2018 will be no different. Every year, we make resolutions. Every year most of us break them. But, it seems that keeping resolutions that are tied into things that you enjoy and appreciate, like travel, are much easier to keep as they’re achievable and you want to accomplish them. Travel New Year resolutions are in fact fun, encouraging and exciting. Making minor changes and creating goals can help travel infatuated humans achieve and tick off the biggest bucket-lists to date and help set you up to do even more. How satisfied and stoked will you be?
One ultimate list of travel tips for the budding adventurers is to stay in the moment. To me, that’s most important thing. Take your time and enjoy yourself. Travelling should be fun not hectic, so have a simple plan and stick to it. While you can sightsee all seven wonders of the world in a month, you can’t really experience their majesty if you are on a plane every four days. Find a place where you can truly enjoy yourself and stay there for a time. Look up information about the place you are in and learn something new, even if no one cares but you, it will be worth the effort. A month in a single country is better than running across an entire continent.
Last but not least, i always remind myself to be happy always. Happy travels in 2018 :)
I know Taipei is not well-known for being at the top of many Asians’ travel bucket lists. I haven’t visited Taiwan since the last in 2013. But after almost two weeks affair with Taipei, I really love Taipei. So what made Taipei special to me? It’s just a feeling that I get; a feeling of knowing a place even though I’ve only been there for a while; a feeling of belonging somewhere. I collect such places, as someday I’ll settle down and I’ll do it in a place that I feel like I belong to.
I stumbled upon a sort of street art park, the gray skies making the colorful murals pop. I knew then that Taipei and I were going to get along just fine. It reminded me of Tokyo, where as a foreigner you feel like a fly on the wall even when you're in the middle of the action. You overwhelm your senses trying in vane to absorb your surroundings. I remember thinking, "I should move here to live and work" with so little trepidation that it scared me.
I write about my travels all the time. When I write for this site I delve into my discoveries, feelings and learnings. For most, a journal is the place to hold both kinds of memories. You’ll want the details of what you did and where but at the end of a trip, it’s also nice to have a journal rich with the meaning of your travels. I found the journey to Mt Hehuan in Taiwan soul inspiring. Mountain climbing is something you have to experience for yourself, and once you have, it’s unforgettable.
Mt Hehuan means mountain of harmonious joy in Chinese. And you will totally experience this joy when you reach the top. When I was there, the weather was surprising good albeit windy. The sky was vibrantly blue, forming a stark contrast with the passing white clouds. At the top, the actual scenery is far more beautiful than a photo can depict. One should really should pay a visit to witness and enjoy the spectacular view and feel the sense of joy.
A few months ago, when i learnt that i had to fly to Tokyo in early December on a work trip, i was extremely excited. I've just returned to Singapore recently after spending a few days in Tokyo. After a full day of presentations, I thought it might be a good idea to head out into the hustle and bustle of the city to wake myself up and brush away the cobwebs.
Almost exactly two years ago, I headed off to Yoyogi Park to look at the golden ginkgo leaves, I was unable to forget their beauty. Since then, I made a mental note to myself that I would always visit the place when the leaves were turning. So I decided to go to Yoyogi Park again this time round. To my consternation, the sky was already turning dark at 5pm. Nonetheless, the golden ginkgo leaves were still there. One of its highlights at the Yoyogi Park is seeing trees change color and be filled with “momijis” (red maple leaves). What is unique in Yoyogi is the ginko forest that turn into a breathtaking golden shade in autumn. From mid November to mid December is the perfect period to enjoy the unique colorful leaves. The main entrance of Yoyogi Park is located only 5 minutes walk from JR Harajuku Station.
Are Sapporo Snow Festival and snow activities like skiing and snowboarding the only winter highlights of Hokkaido? No, not at all. I will count in “Shiroi Koibito Park”. It is less known but a must-see sightseeing spot with fantastic illumination. Shiroi Koibito Park (White Lovers Park) is a theme park by Ishiya, a local chocolate company. The company's flagship product is the Shiroi Koibito cookie, two thin butter cookies with white chocolate in between, a mandatory item on the souvenir shopping list of most visitors to Hokkaido.
I love chocolate factories. When I was a kid, I used to read Roald Dahl’s Charlie & The Chocolate Factory. I also visited a local chocolate factory as part of a school field trip and I remember warm sweet smell of chocolates and us peeking into giant vats of chocolates, just like in the movie.
Of course, I didn't miss a chance to visit one in Hokkaido last year Christmas. Shiroi Koibito Park is a cool place to visit, not your usual factory space as it has a big park outdoors that feature some miniature gardens, houses, bridges, a clock tower, and interesting decors where kids and adults alike can discover. There is even a show of mechanical dolls as well as a working miniature train that runs every hour. The main building is tudor-style and tucked deep inside, you'll find a store, a cafe, a gallery, and the chocolate assembly line where you can only look from above. If you wish, you can opt to try your hand at making your own cookies.
我很喜欢吃北海道知名饼干“白色恋人”，没想到在北海道首府札幌居然真的有一个主题乐园，Shiroi Koibito Park。去年圣诞节，我探秘北海道白色恋人巧克力工厂。工厂并不像我初想想像的常规工厂那样，反而像个美丽的童话世界，古色古香的连体英式城堡、掩映在绿树花丛间的小桥、定时的钟楼表演、会转动跳舞的“厨师”、美妙的八音盒音乐，似乎一下子把我带回童年虚无的幻境中。白色恋人巧克力，是北海道一种着名的巧克力，其背后有一个美丽的传说，代表纯洁的爱。
Given Hong Kong’s surging home prices, public housing flats are increasingly sought after by residents whether or not they are genuinely needy. But how many of us know how the public housing concept works, let alone its history?
The 60-year-old Mei Ho House in Hong Kong stands out in the aging district of Shek Kip Mei with its bright orange exterior that is easily discernible from afar. As the only building left in a defunct housing block that once resettled thousands of squatters made homeless by a fire in 1953, it is an important relic of Hong Kong’s early public planning. Mei Ho House marked the beginning of Hong Kong’s public housing policies, making it an ideal site for setting up a museum focusing on the history of the local community and the evolution of public housing and folk life.
The estate underwent another major facelift in 2000, except Mei Ho House or Block 41 which was preserved for historical reasons. It is listed as a Grade II historic building and has been used as a youth hostel and heritage museum. Hong Kong movie director John Woo was one of Mei Ho House’s former residents and he made his first film at age 26, when he was still living in the housing block. A touching essay about the estate by Woo is now displayed at the museum.
My photo essay under pen name 蓝天游 on the former residence of Soong Chingling in Shanghai and The Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, a.k.a Wan Qing Yuan in Singapore《走访孙中山夫妇上海与狮城故居》is published in today's LianheZaobao 联合早报缤纷版 dated 23 November 2017! 感谢、感恩! Thrilled to see it being featured nationwide in print! Special thanks to Lianhe Zaobao, you have made my day! :)
Multi-disciplinary Arts Village & Performing Arts Centre housed in Hong Kong's Former Shek Kip Mei Factory Estate, Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre (JCCAC) 香港石硖尾艺术村: 赛马会创意艺术中心
The old Shek Kip Mei neighbourhood may not be an obvious tourist hotspot in Hong Kong but the eclectic Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre (JCCAC) building alone warrants it a visit. The former 9-storey factory estate was built in 1970s. It has been successfully transformed into a community arts centre and turned the building into studio for artists and designers to pursue their creative work. It made a good use of the decommissioned factory building as an arts and cultural hub for the community. In addition to studio space for artists and art groups, the Centre features a black-box theatre, art galleries and communal studios/workshops for resident artists and the community to use.
The inauguration of JCCAC surely is a good start to nurture the local upcoming artists and to introduce arts to the public; it is also a milestone of developing the art and design industry in Hong Kong. I give it a 5/5 because I think this place deserves to be more visited, especially if you're into art. It's a building full of little ateliers / exhibition spaces for local artists. I found it very interesting to see the corridors, as there were interesting art pieces here and there.
My Photo Essay《 创意老街一座城市的记忆, 新加坡与上海创意文区哈芝巷与田子坊》Published in LianheZaobao 联合早报 Newspapers Dated 2 November 2017
My photo essay under pen name 蓝天游 on Shanghai's creative hip place Tian Zi Fang & SG's Haji Lane《创意老街一座城市的记忆, 新加坡与上海创意文区哈芝巷与田子坊》is published in today's LianheZaobao 联合早报缤纷版 dated 2 November 2017! 感谢、感恩! Thrilled to see it being featured nationwide in print! Special thanks to Lianhe Zaobao, you have made my day! :)
When it comes to the street art scene, Hong Kong is not a name that is usually among the most talked about. In the ensuing years, mural art has ballooned in Hong Kong amid a growing scene with local and international artists and increasingly favourable attitudes towards art in the public, by the public. Murals spread across Hong Kong, with diverging degrees of style, quality and message.
2013 saw the launch of HKWalls, a street art festival that has helped ferment discussion about public art spaces in the city. The following year saw the Occupy movement and its accompanying flurry of creative expression in public spaces. The protests turned out to be a rife platform for the creation of street art, with students, activists and citizens leaving their marks on the city’s concrete and turning the streets into extraordinary art installations. Their visual messages and rebellions were catapulted into the world’s consciousness via the international media reporting on the protests. I always remind people to look up in Hong Kong. If we only pay attention to the street level, we’ll miss so many wonderful things. Here take a look at some of the pieces that brightening up Hong Kong walls.
One of the earliest forms of business in Hong Kong, pawn shops are situated in almost every district of the city. Pawnbroking in Hong Kong has a history as long as that of the city itself. Before major banks established themselves in the then-British colony and won the confidence of local residents, pawn shops served as early Hongkongers’ main financial institutions. Customers would invest their wages in valuables that could then be stored at pawn shops and used as collateral against which they borrowed sums of money. Within a certain contractual period of time, the pawner could then redeem the items for the amount of the loan, plus an agreed-upon amount of interest. If the customer does not repay the loan with interest then the belongings are kept and sold off to second-hand and jewellery shops. Jewellery, watches, fur and clothes are the most common items pawned.
In Hong Kong, you'll see an occasional glimpse of a pawn store sign featuring an upside down bat holding a coin. You may also notice that these signs are colored in vibrant shades of neon red and green. These signs are used by Hong Kong's pawn shops and have been for well over two hundred years. The colors and symbolism of these signs have special meanings in both Hong Kong and Chinese society as a whole.
A freelance Singapore-based travel photographer / photojournalist. I seek the extraordinary, but finds beauty in the everyday. Life is interesting, capture it.
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