Thursday, 29 November 2012

The 'Prairie House' along Bukit Ayer Molek

‎House 1A at Bukit Ayer Molek.
Came across this house on the expressway on my way back from school the other day and went back to make paint it. I love its 'prairie house' proportion and how it is built on a slope, following the land's natural contours. I didn't see any bodies of water so I don't know where the air molek (beautiful water) is.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

People watching at Starbucks (as usual)

People watching at Starbucks, Liat Towers.
It was a rainy day today and the cafe was empty when I arrived...

... and then it filled up as the evening approached and the rain fizzled off.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Commonwealth Estate

The iconic block 38 at Commonwealth Avenue.

Commonwealth Estate is an estate in the Queenstown Planning Area (which includes the Queenstown Housing Estate). It is bounded by the Ulu Pandan Canal, Ghim Moh Housing Estate and the former Tanglin Camp area to the north, Alexandra Road to the east, Clementi Road to the west and the sea to the south. It covers an area of approximately 2,188 ha.

The total population (1990 census) is 126,071 with 31,131 housing units.[4] It consists of 16 subzones, namely: Ghim Moh, Holland Drive, Commonwealth, Tanglin Halt, Margaret Drive, Mei Chin, Queensway, Portsdown, Buona Vista, Singapore Polytechnic, Dover, National University, Kent Ridge, Pasir Panjang, Pasir Panjang II, and the Port.

The main housing areas within Queenstown include:
  • Princess Estate is the first sub district of the Queenstown District consists of several precincts like Strathmore, Dawson
  • Duchess Estate is the second subdistrict of Queenstown district which consists of Queenstown Centre and Margaret Drive. Several blocks of 2-storey and 3-storey flats are located in this area.
  • Tanglin Halt consists of rows of ten storey flats, fondly remembered as Cap Lau Cu十楼厝). Many of the flats in this area are currently undergoing upgrading. Several 40 storey flats are built.
  • Commonwealth Estate is located near the Commonwealth MRT station and consists of precincts like Commonwealth Close and Commonwealth Crescent. It is best known for having a fantastic view of Singapore's Downtown.
  • Queen's Close is a cluster of flats bounded by Mei Ling district, Portsdown Road and Alexandra Road. Queen's Crescent is now demolished.
  • Mei Ling/Mei Chin is built from the excavation of two hills, Hong Lim and Hong Yin Hill which are used for cemetery purposes. It is also where Queenstown district got its name Boh Beh Kang, or a river with no source.
  • Buona Vista is the last district built in Queenstown. However, it has developed a distinct and unique identity today that is commonly not linked with Queenstown.

Friday, 23 November 2012

This dinner rmarks the end. Woo hoo!

End-of-Year staff dinner at Tiffany's

Last day of work! Hello holidays!

Can you tell that we're all excited?
It's finally the last day of work!

Marina Bay

Gardens by the Bay - one of the attractions at Marina Bay.

Marina Bay is a bay near Central Area in the southern part of Singapore, and lies to the east of the Downtown Core. Marina Bay is set to be a 24/7 destination with endless opportunities for people to “explore new living and lifestyle options, exchange new ideas and information for business, and be entertained by rich leisure and cultural experiences”.[1] It is here where the most innovative facilities and infrastructure such as the underground “common services tunnel” are built and where mega activities take place. 

In 1970s, land reclamation was carried out at Marina Bay, forming what is today the Marina Centre and Marina South areas. In the reclamation process, Telok Ayer Basin was removed from the map, while the Singapore River's mouth now flows into the bay instead of directly into the sea. In 2008, Marina Barrage was built, asin into a new downtown freshwater Marina Reservoir, providing water supply, flood control and a new lifestyle attraction.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Make-A-Difference Day.

An onslaught of presentations and sharing.
Yes, you read it right: it's MAD day in the office.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Urban Sketchers SIngapore: November Official Sketchwalk

This saturday's sketchwalk will be around Stirling Road. We will meet at Blk 49 Stirling Rd at a small Nasi Padang coffeeshop in the morning at 9.30. The food there is not too bad. But their breakfast mee goreng is so-so only. So order other things if you want to eat there. This is the picture of where we will meet.

From there, we will spread out in any direction we like, free and easy. There is a lot of variations here. That's why we picked this place. Old HDB flats and two-storey terraces lay side by side around this area. Lots of high and low structures. There is the Queenstown swimming complex and Mei Ling hawker centre just a little further up the road. If you like to revisit the demolished and revamped Queenstown area just cross Commonwealth Ave and you will see a giant field where Blk 38 is still standing. Oh! The Queenstown library is still standing along Margaret Drive. Probably the oldest library in Singapore now. It's a simple but interesting area to draw. Talk, walk, relax and sketch. We will meet again at 1230pm on the left side of block 49 Stirling Rd (shown above). There is an open area next to the block suitable for show and tell.

CAUTION: Stirling Rd is small but it is a TWO way road. So please look both ways when you cross!

Here is the link for the map on google maps. Click HERE.
The closest MRT is Queenstown MRT. Or else, just find a bus that goes along Commonwealth Ave.

Call Urban Sketcher Andrew at 91070735 if you can't find your way.

See you there!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Thursday, 15 November 2012

A River Runs Through It...

Whampoa River along McNair Estate
The Whampoa River that flows through my estate. This used to be a natural river that was widened into a canal and then improved to its current Active Beautiful Clean state.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Herb Garden at Masjid Penempatan Melayu Sembawang

The herb garden at Masjid Penempatan Melayu Sembawang
While I was exploring the grounds of the mosque at Sembawang, I found this herb garden within the compound. The place was filled with medicinal and culinary plants. It was such a joy to look at the variety of plants - pandan, buah ceri, aloe vera, etc. I couldn't resist but did a quick outline sketch of the place. I finally found time to fill it with colour today.

Bottle Tree Village and Jalan Mempurong

The tranquil scenery of Jalan Mempurong.

Sembawang Park

Sembawang Park, a 15 hectare tranquil park developed in the 1970s and maintained by the National Parks Board, is situated at the Northern tip of Sembawang Road. One of the few parks in Singapore with a natural beach, the Wak Hassan Beach, this park is a heaven for city dwellers who are tired of the never-ending concrete buildings and sky-scrapers. It's a popular spot for campers as well as families who wish to spend an idyllic day by the beach. One can dine at the Beaulieu House, built in 1910, which was the residence of Admiral Sir Geoffrey Layton (Commander-in-Chief British Eastern Fleet, 1940–1942). A wide range of fauna and flora awaits visitors, ranging from the spectacular Cannon Ball tree (Couroupita guianensis) to the many species of birds which have made the park their nesting grounds

While fellow-sketchers focussed on the local landmark of Masjid Penempatan Melayu Sembawang, I decided to turn my attention to the tranquil scenery of the road that leads to the mosque and subsequently the beach overlooking Johor Bahru, the road that is named Jalan Mempurong.

Bottle Tree Village and Jalan Mempurong

The Bottle Tree Village is located at the end of Jalan Mempurong and is known for its Bottle Trees (Brachychiton rupestris) flown in from Queensland, Australia. Apart from these, other Australian flora can be spotted in the surroundings.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Like a beacon pointing to the Heavens

Roof details of the Sultan Mosque - like candles lit and pointing towards heaven.
These details echo the minaret of the mosque. The earliest mosques were built without minarets, the call to prayer was performed elsewhere; hadiths relay that the Muslim community of Medina gave the call to prayer from the roof of the house of Muhammad, which doubled as a place for prayer. Around 80 years after Muhammad's death the first known minarets appeared.

Minarets have been described as the "gate from heaven and earth", and as the Arabic language letter alif (which is a straight vertical line).

Return to Kampung Glam: Malay Heritage Centre

This main building at the Malay Heritage Centre used to tbe official residence of the Sultan of Singapore.

Detail: Potted plant at the main entrance.
Officially opened by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in June 2005, the Malay Heritage Centre (MHC) provides wonderful cultural exposure and learning opportunities for visitors of all ages and interests. Situated amidst the Istana Kampong Gelam, Gedung Kuning and the surrounding Kampong Gelam precinct, the Centre acts as a vital heritage institution for the Malay community in Singapore. Through its exhibits, programmes and activities, the Centre hopes to honour the past while providing a means for present-day expression. The Malay Heritage Centre is presently under the management of the National Heritage Board in partnership with the Malay Heritage Foundation.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Kampong Glam Sketchwalk with Kiah Kiean on Saturday, 10th November 2012

Sketch of Sultan Mosque from 2 years back.

Dear fellow sketchers,

USK-Sg is very privileged to have Kian Kiean from Penang for this special sketchwalk to Kampong Glam this coming Saturday (10th Nov). They are very eager to sketch along side us.

We will meet and start 9.30am at Kampong Glam's Sultan Mosque main entrance (facing Baghdad road). At 12.30pm we will gather again near the mosque for a show-and-tell session.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Christmas is here...

Tea and macaroons at Canele
Passed by Marks and Spencers and saw their Christmas merchandise on display. I came across their specially-packaged tin boxes of Amaretti and was rather tempted to buy them until I saw the ridiculous price tag of SGD29.90 for a 200-gram tin. While having tea and macaroons at the nearby Canele, I searched for the recipe and was tempted to try it out.

The result is this:
My first attempt at making Amaretti. Not too shabby, eh?

Red Anjous in Season!

I absolutely adore Red Anjou pears with their deliciously soft and sweet flesh and October marks the beginning of their season all the way to Spring! I got some from the neighbourhood supermarket yesterday and thought they were too good to be just eaten and decided to sketch them for posterity...

Red Anjou pears are much like their green counterparts in all respects other than color. Their shape, flavor and texture are similar, and it's their deep, rich, maroon color that sets this variety apart, particularly as a showy pear among pears in a fruit bowl or basket.

Identifying Red Anjou Pears

With a silhouette identical to Green Anjous, Red Anjous are just as easy to identify by their shape. Although there are other red varieties of pears available, such as Red Bartlett, Red Anjous are recognizable for their egg-shaped appearance; having a large spherical lower potion that begins a gradual and even taper above the mid-point to a smaller, rounded top. The color of Red Anjous varies from pear to pear, however they are generally dark maroon in color, sometimes with light vertical streaks of color that were naturally created by the sun while the pear was still on the tree.
back to top

Seasonality of Red Anjou Pears

The popularity of Red Anjous has brought a great deal of attention for this variety. Planting of Red Anjou pear trees in the Pacific Northwest has been on the increase, and they can now be found in markets from late September or early October through the spring months.
back to top


Red Anjous show only slight change in color as they ripen, which is another characteristic shared with their Green Anjou counterparts. The best indication of ripeness for any pear is the thumb test: gentle thumb pressure near the stem will yield slightly when the pear is ripe.
Red Anjous, like all pears, ripen when held at room temperature. Depending on their level of ripeness when purchased, it may take several days before they are ready to eat. The results, however, are well worth the wait. Red Anjous develop a mild, sweet flavor with very smooth texture and abundant juices when ripe.
back to top

Beautiful Red Displays

Although they share most characteristics with Green Anjous, Red Anjous do possess one very distinctive appeal - their color. Displayed in a fruit bowl or basket on a counter or as a table centerpiece, their color sets a brilliant tone. Consider a full display of Red Anjous for Valentines Day. During the winter holidays, combine Red and Green Anjous to create a display with the appropriate colors of the season.
back to top

Culinary Uses

Because their red color is only skin deep, you'll notice no difference in cooking with Red Anjous than using Green Anjous if the recipe calls for peeling the pears. However, in a recipe calling for fresh pears (if leaving the skin on) the red color can add striking contrast and eye appeal. Consider a garden green salad tossed with slices of Red Anjou pears!
back to top

History of Red Anjous

Red Anjous originated as naturally occurring bud sports found on Green Anjou trees. "Bud sports" are spontaneous, naturally occurring transformations that crop up on trees, and they are most often unnoticed. Red Anjous, however, are an exception. Actually, they are an exception that occurred twice, as the first red sport of Anjou was discovered in the early 1950's near Medford, Oregon, and a second red sport was discovered in the late 1970's in Parkdale, Oregon.
back to top

Thursday, 1 November 2012

New Starbucks: Reopening at Plaza Singapura

The newly reopened Starbucks at Plaza Singapura.
Starbucks has reopened at Plaza Singapura with a bigger floor space and a more defined layout for various activities. The newly extended shopping mall itself which has taken up the neighbouring Atrium@Orchard now has its visitors spoilt for choice when it comes to cafe hangout with familiar brands like Canele and Dome as well as a couple of new Japanese entrants. It also boast a more upmarket line-up of tenants like Kiehl's, Gap, etc.