Sunday, July 17, 2011

Singapore Trip 2011 - Reunited and Reacquainted

Flu, fever and unexpected call from JPA last week sort of hindered me from writing this post earlier. But then again, I felt my mood to update my blog seemed deteriorating with age hahaha ... I felt older living here in Penang (where sits one of world's heritage site) "ditambah pula dengan" living with senior citizens. Memang heritage!

Okay, the Singapore trip was unexpected but timely. I traveled a lot last year so I thought I wanted to cut down on the travelling, save the money for London and Paris trip next year. However one assignment got me on a dead end recently and the only solution was to go to Singapore. Coincidentally, Emel got an invitation from Chan (our eating buddy during her Infeneon Kulim days who is currently working in Singapore) and asked whether I wanted to join her for the trip. Finally I found the reason to travel on Tiger Airways (hahaha) but of course as part of the "assignment" must travel with Air Asia too.

I learned a lot of things even from the planning this trip ... starting from the itinerary, airport services (which I usually buat dek jer in KLIA and LCCT), transit tours (as I arrived earlier than Emel ... about 5 hours gap), transportation system in Singapore (taxi, train, bus) as the location of places I need to cover was all over Singapore. Not that it didn't occur to me before but it term of town and infrastructure planning (hints hints) ... I take my hat off to Singapore.

To be honest, I love planning and organising my trip ... and be in control of situation. Something I learned from my last year's trip to Chiang Mai. We covered the best of Chieng Mai in 2 days ... puas hati wooo. But from my Phuket trip ... I must reminded myself that Singapore is much nearer than Kuching, somemore got 6 direct flights from Penang (everyday) on two budget carriers.. so no need to cramp everything.

If you take Air Asia flight from Penang, you will land at Terminal 1@ Changi Airport.

The first and oldest terminal. Even bigger than our KLIA. Currently there are 4 terminal operational in Changi Airport including their Budget Terminal. If I am not mistaken, one more terminal is underway.

You can find the visitor information centre everywhere. I baru perasan that Singapore Tourism Board tagline is Your Singapore, whereas Penang State tourism is currently on My Penang campaign ... who is more kiasu here.
I received stares from many people (even passengers on same flight) when I wrapped my new travelling luggage bag. Memang lah tak mahal ... sekali sampai Singapore it was raining and my bag bebas dari kebasahan. My turn to "stare back" hehehe
Many years ago ... when I first came to Singapore there was no MRT. It makes travelling so convenient in Singapore.
Once I arrived and tried it ... baru lah it make sense hehe

As part of the assignment, I must leave my bag here for a few hours. Not that pricey ... SGD 3.21 for small luggage (24hours).
It was raining when I arrived in Singapore. Nobody will be waiting for me at the airport and Emel arrived only 5 hours later. First and foremost, travelling solo sucks but please bear in mind that there might be a time in our life that we have to travel solo especially for business people or head of department. I remembered once I was stuck for 6 hours in KLIA as I got last minute notification from KL and most of the flights back to Penang was fully booked.

It didn't occur to me that day to try out the Left Baggage service in KLIA but just imagine, travelling back and forth to KL itself may cost a fortune! Galleries, museum or shopping malls around KLIA ... nada! Perhaps Malaysia Airport Berhad, Ministry of Tourism or State Government of Selangor could look into establishing satelite mini tourism based township around KLIA. I see three of MOTOUR products can be a niche there ... shoe, contemporary arts and parks and gardens!

I had to select one of the 4 hour city tour for transit passengers which I got from the Singapore Visitors Centre Guide. Taking into consideration my own plans the next few days I decided to try out the Civic District Tour ... very the cultured society gitew. From Changi Airport ... I find my way to the Bras Basah MRT Station.
Singapore Art Museum .. occupying Singapore oldest Catholic School, the 158 years old St. Joseph Institution.

They were having Video- An Art History Exhibition that day. Entrance fee SGD 10.00

They have many contemporary arts collection here.
Video art doesn't appeal to anyone ... I had difficulty at first to understand the exhibition. Actually it is about camera tricks and positioning of objects in front of video camera to get some effects. Some of the galleries focus on expression and shots. See ... I was part of the art hehehe

I didn't have much time so my next stop was the legendary Raffles Hotel.
Though on paper MRT seems to be near certain location ... but the distance from the station to the exit memang jauh. Luckily I didn't have to walk in the blazing hot sun as everything is more than 6 feet under the ground hehehe. Anyway, it was great to be reunited with Emel and Chan in Singapore. Though life has been great in Penang (ok i lied a bit here) I really miss the time when we went from one shop to another shop in mainland Penang and Kulim ...searching for great food. Ok ... the eating part here, I will blog in my food blog. Stay tune!

Dinner at Paulaner Baurhaus. We came all the way from Penang and Kuching just to eat German food hahaha

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Angels and Demons

I was thinking of blogging something based on the title above last night but ended up reading the e-book instead ... something I wanted to do for a very long time. I watched the movies but some Netizens commented that reading the book was soooooo much better as the storyline was simplied in the movie. I have problems with imagining something so technical or involved symbolism ... therefore watching the movie then reading the book seems to be a better option.

Anyway, angels and demons seem to be warring within me these past few days. I really don't like it that people are taking their frustration on the economy, the politics, or even the weather on government servants. Hey ...who do you think we are .. punching bags ... or God? They are angry at other agencies ... they thought that the other agencies are the same. At one point I raised my voice at one very prominent hotelier for not wanting to sponsor his project after his sinical reply that "all the money went to RM 1.8 million FB account". I told him that I am protecting taxpayers money from people like you. Personal project not taking into consideration public interest ... fund it yourself lah! 

I am sure many of my colleagues are doing the same thing ... but often been potrayed differently by some opportunists. God knows how many files, records, mesyuarat pagi, minutes of meetings, minit ceraian everytime there are events ... just so that I could explain to internal audit and of course a control measure just in case, there is indeed some little Napoleon in my office. But most important of all ... I hope my successor got some guidance on how to handle those event in the future.

But even all these "bona fide" gestures might invite criticism from certain people ... "You are not going GREEN. You cut down so many trees and should go paperless". And so ... I had to let out the demon inside of me to counter them ... "what concerns you more now ... is it the tree or how we spend your tax money". By the way ... I drive a Green car, do you?

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