Blog To Express

A blogosphere learning experience to express with blog

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Location: Singapore, Singapore

A "recycled teenager" learning to blog.

Jul 30, 2014

Queenstown Heritage Trail on July 27, 2014

Former Queenstown Driving Test Centre

It was raining heavily when I arrived at the Queenstown MRT station on July 27 2014 at about 8:10am.

Since I was almost an hour earlier, I recce the surrounding areas under the sheltered linkways near the station.

The first colorfully painted building which caught my eyes was the former Queenstown Driving Test Centre at 15, Commonwealth Avenue.

The SLA (Singapore Land Authority) signboard at the locked gates to show that the place is "State property reserved for future development".  That means its "akan datang" ... and not left there for doing nothing, to be neglected for wild lallang to grow and "bochap" by the SLA.  Every little plot of land to utilise is precious in land-scarce Singapore.  Land cannot be grown like plants or trees in our garden city or "Garden by the Bay".  Many places have been developed and redeveloped, build and rebuilt in Singapore over the decades.  Planning to use land (eg MRT network) on the surface, underground, underwater and with buildings higher and higher in the air.

I grew up in Bukit Ho Swee where large areas of land centuries ago were used for cemeteries to redevelop for public housing.  The corpses of our buried ancestors were respectfully cremated according to their respective traditional religious rituals.  In other countries with more land, the cemeteries were untouched for land burial.  Many places in Singapore, including the busy shopping tourist belt of  Takashimaya at Orchard Road, once upon a time, were Teochew cemeteries, land owned by the Ngee Ann Kongsi.

Thanks to Kwek Li Yong, founder of My Community, a civic group that champions the preservation of history and heritage in Singapore to invite fellow bloggers to the media preview of the Queenstown Heritage Trail.

It was cold and chilly in the morning's rain, which drizzled and the rain subsided at 9.00am. The gloomy dark clouds disappeared and the sun arise brightly in the sky. 

The warmth and smiles of fellow nostalgia bloggers who recognize us in person or from our blogs was glad to meet them.  A blessed day indeed.  So nice to say "hello" to everybody.

I am pleased to meet in person for the first time,  Andy Lee, "Daddy of the Sengkang Babies" who posted this blog .

Courtesy of Andy Lee for the "selfie" photo.

My long-time friend and blogger Philip Chew who blogs here

Philip said:  "I was a little disappointed with the Heritage Trial. Blogger James Seah and I were the only two elderly people in the group. The rest was young people interested to know the history and changes of the place".

I  disagree with Philip though.

The younger generation of nostalgia bloggers who are interested in collective memories of Singapore would keep our fond nostalgic memories of Singapore alive.  They would be inspired by old stuff which are worthwhile to remember and learn about the history of Singapore long before the young ones were born.

One of our young energetic and enthusiastic friends, Cheng Pei Yun, blog at "My Queenstown Heritage Trail: The charms of the Queenstown Community".

KL Lee, our "like-minded" nostalgia blogger friend who blogs in Chinese here .

Li Yong describe the coffin-shaped market in Queenstown

 The kinda morbid description of the "coffin market" when the lady covered her nose on hearing this  ...

Not everyone, (especially the non-Queenstown residents in the past) who attended the heritage trail could visualise this empty plot of land at Queenstown in this photo once was the Queenstown Bowl, the NTUC supermarket and the shops in the Queenstown heartland.

Tour leader Li Yong had many stories of this place to share with us at the entrance of the Queenstown Public Library.

The young librarian had more stories to share the history of the Queenstown Library which was built over four decades ago.  She showed us the archived photos which were displayed on the walls of the library at the staircase.

Me too, to share the 40th Anniversary celebration of the Queenstown Library here .

Next on the itinerary of the heritage trail were decades-old church and a Hindu temple at Tanglin Halt, located side by side in multi-religious Singapore.  These places of worship of different religions in Singapore are found common in many places of churches, temples, mosques and religions of various denominations.

The Church of the Blessed Sacrament – Queenstown’s first Catholic church opened on 9 May 1965.  The Church’s most striking feature is the dramatically structured slate roof, which was constructed in folds in the shape of a tent that symbolised the “tent of meeting” in the Old Testament of the Bible.  The Church of the Blessed Sacrament was also gazetted for conservation.

Just beside the church, you will find the Sri Muneeswaran Temple at Commonwealth Drive which is believed to be Southeast Asia’s largest shrine for the Sri Muneeswaran deity.   Many years ago when I worked at the HDB Queensway Area Office at Tanglin Halt, I remember that the Sri Muneeswaran Temple was just a small shrine.  The temple devotees have donated generously to the building fund over many years to build this temple with faith and gratitude.

My memories of Queenstown are shared on these blogs here , here and here .

Happy fond memories of Queenstown shared by all our nostalgia bloggers.  The young generations of Singapore are looking forward to better memories of Queenstown for everyone, the pioneer generations and the current generations to build and develop them for the future.

Happy 49th National Day!  Happy Birthday, Singapore!

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Jul 19, 2014

Scenes of the Markets in Early Singapore

This archived photo from the National Archives of Singapore (NAS) inspired me to blog on this topic on scenes of the markets in Singapore.

I was just like this little boy in the 1950s when I would tag along with my mother to the market every morning when I have not started schooling.  At that time, my mother goes to the market daily to cook for the family because we do not have maids to look after the kids at home or for her to do the marketing.

We did not have fridge to store a week's food in the house as fridge was a luxury, not a necessity.

Our neighbors in the kampong would have to go to the market as a daily chore.

These archived photos of the scenes of markets in early Singapore are curated from NAS with thanks and acknowledgement for sharing collective memories of pioneer generations of Singaporeans.  They would recollect with amusement our trips to the market as an adventure everytime.

The markets I remember vividly are the markets in Bukit Ho Swee and Chinatown in the 1950s.

With the courtesy of the SittingInPictures video, there are some scenes and video footage of the wet market to watch.

Ellenborough Market in 1953
Beo Crescent market after the Bukit Ho Swee fire in 1961

Roadside Hawker Stalls at Chinatown

Please take a look at "Ways Done in the Past - Wet Markets" blog .

The current young generation of Singaporeans have grown up to a new generation of modern marketing  lifestyles supermarkets here and here .


Jul 13, 2014

Camp Spectrum 2014 (Racial Harmony Hub)

In 2004 when I posted the blog "Colour of Harmony" , I did not know that the research resources published 4 years ago could be used and shared on 6 July, 2014 at the "Racial Harmony Dialogue" at

An event initiated by Ethan, Eunice, David, Hezekiah, Isaac, James, Qian Hui and Xin Ting. The Camp Spectrum 2014 profile page on Facebook  for more information.

It is heartening to note that the young Singaporean students of various schools meet together in a 3-day camp to share their experiences in multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural Singapore.

We are not a homogeneous society. There are three major races, ethnic Chinese, Malays and Indians. Each race has its own unique culture, language and also generally shares a common religion. Without understanding and tolerance, these cultural, linguistic and religious differences between the groups can sometimes cause tension and lead to conflict.

In any society, people differ in their nature, attitudes, ideal, interest, aspirations, community values and religious beliefs. - Our Strategic Thrusts

    Champion racial harmony initiatives, working with organisations celebrating racial harmony nation-wide, coming up with joint themes and messages, which can be brought across in our various celebrations, programmes and daily lives, with a view to nurturing a bottom-up movement in racial harmony;

    Engage youth with focus on developing youth leadership, initiative and commitment in promoting racial harmony and social cohesion;

    Engage stakeholders and partners (including community organisations, schools and government agencies) to widen outreach, and develop the capabilities of organisations, community leaders, teachers and everyone who is passionate and committed about racial harmony to enhance the effectiveness of racial harmony programmes and initiatives;

    Be the leading repository and first-stop centre for research and resource materials on racial issues in Singapore. Develop knowledge base on race relations, and proactively share information and resources, making them available to not just all Singaporeans here and overseas, but also to foreigners who look to study Singapore's experience in promoting racial harmony.

Our Mission:

To nurture a harmonious society through cross-cultural education and further contribute to the success of multi-racial Singapore .

Professor Michael Heng also emphasised the importance of racial harmony for a peaceful country with political stability.

The National Pledge:

    We, the citizens of Singapore,
    pledge ourselves as one united people,
    regardless of race, language or religion,
    to build a democratic society
    based on justice and equality
    so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and
    progress for our nation.

One Pledge:

We, the people in Singapore, declare that religious harmony is vital for peace, progress and prosperity in our multi-racial and multi-religious Nation.
We resolve to strengthen religious harmony through mutual tolerance, confidence, respect, and understanding.
We shall always
Recognise the secular nature of our State,
Promote cohesion within our society,
Respect each other's freedom of religion,
Grow our common space while respecting our diversity,
Foster inter-religious communications,
and thereby ensure that religion will not be abused to create conflict and disharmony in Singapore.

Please watch this meaningful experiment by Ms. Jane Elliott's "brown eyes, blue eyes" experiment in 1970 (the third one after her first in 1968).


Jul 5, 2014

Teaching Aids in Grandfather's Era

Eniac - The First Computer

Would the computer technology  be used in the grandfather's era as teaching aids?


 Bill Gates:  " A computer on every desk and in every home"

“When Paul Allen and I started Microsoft over 30 years ago, we had big dreams about software,” recalls Gates. “We had dreams about the impact it could have. We talked about a computer on every desk and in every home. It’s been amazing to see so much of that dream become a reality and touch so many lives. I never imagined what an incredible and important company would spring from those original ideas.”

History of Microsoft's founder Bill Gates .

Steve Jobs:  It turns out people want keyboards ..."

The ideas and experiences of Steve Jobs .

 Top 10 Reasons to Use Technology in Education

Teaching aids used by the current generation in Singapore ... over 3 decades ago.

Children with smartphones everywhere they go for learning, playing and entertaining with games to enjoy.

I wished to be a kid again like my grandchild to learn and play a smartphone game everywhere I go!