I am not just a little red dot / 我不是一般的小红点

The skulls, The rats, The centipedes and The Singapore River.

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In the early years when mangroves swamps and human skulls were covered long ago before the Thomas Raffles came.

Sea Gypsies - By courtesy of Tidal Fortunes
Sea Gypsies – By courtesy of Tidal Fortunes

During the Raffles colony, Colonel Farquhar asked the Sea Gypsies who were the early communities, “Whose are all these skulls and dead bodies?” they replies, “They belongs to the men who were robbed at sea and slaughtered here.”

According to Munshi Abdullah wrote; there was a plague of rats in the river community, the size of rats were as huge as cats.

Colonel Farquhar rewarded 1 ‘wang’ for every rat been caught. Hence, thousands of rats brought in every morning. After 6 or 7 days, multitude of creatures were still can be founded. He increased the paid out to 5 ‘duit’ for each catch. But still, thousands of rats have been brought in everyday.

BY courtesy of www.omg.com.ng
BY courtesy of http://www.omg.com.ng

Subsequently, Farquhar ordered to dig a deep trench to bury those dead bodies.

The number of rats brought in dwindled until 10 or 20 rats a day.

Not long after, centipedes struck. A number of centipedes attacked people who living on the riverbank. Again, Colonel Farquhar offered 1 ‘Wang’ for every brought in. Hundreds of catches been brought in everyday, until the number descended to 20 or 30 centipedes for 2 or 3 days. Finally, the cleaning up campaign came to the end.

By courtesy of www.realmonstrosities.com
By courtesy of http://www.realmonstrosities.com

Did you ever stopped by and wonder who is calling at the riverbank of Singapore River? The water? The leaf? Or the flow of reminiscences?

the skull the rats 01


Singapore’s Third Series Coins

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Announcements by MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore), the third series of Singapore National coins signifies the national icons and landmarks have been released on 25th June 2013.

 Read more in http://www.mas.gov.sg

third coins esplanade 015 cents coin – Esplanade

By courtesy of www.riaschool.com.sg
By courtesy of http://www.riaschool.com.sg

10 cents coin – HDB (Housing and Development Board)

By courtesy of www.panoramio.com)
By courtesy of http://www.panoramio.com)

20 cents coin – Singapore Changi Airport

By courtesy of topnews.com.sg
By courtesy of topnews.com.sg

50 cents coin – Port of Singapore

third coins merlion 01$1 coin – Merlion

Garden city on the coins

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singapore coins 011-cent coin – Singapore National Flower, Vanda Miss Joaquim, a special hybrid orchid.

By courtesy of toptropicals.com
By courtesy of toptropicals.com

5-cents coin – The Fruit Salad Plant (Monstera deliciosa), a dark green heavy foliage climber.

singapore coins 03
By courtesy of http://www.floridata.com

10-cents coin – The Star Jasmine (Jasminum multiflorum), a slender climber with pure star-like flower.

By courtesy of www.123rf.com
By courtesy of http://www.123rf.com

20-cents coin – The Powder-Puff Plant (Calliandra surinamensis), medium size shrub with hemispherical pink color headed flower.

By courtesy of www.edsu.edu
By courtesy of http://www.edsu.edu

50 cents coin – The Yellow Allamanda (Allamanda cathartica), a vine that blooms trumpet-like bright yellow flower.

By courtesy of www.smilewildabha.com
By courtesy of http://www.smilewildabha.com

 $1 coin – The Periwinkle (Lochera rosa) small shrub with single stem, produces flowers in velvety purple.

 Don’t you feel rich to have a garden city on a coin?  Perhaps, that’s my other reason for loving our local currency.


Sing “Singapore Sling”

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singapore sling (www.streetdirectory.com)
By courtesy of http://www.streetdirectory.com

A bartender, Ngiam Tong Boon who worked in Raffles Hotel in 1915, created the Singapore Sling.  Since then, the recipe was so valuable to the extent that it has to be locked up in the safe of the hotel for many years.

By courtesy of www.hurgrygowhere.com
By courtesy of http://www.hurgrygowhere.com

The frothy gin and juice based cocktail were combined with ingredients including gin, cherry liqueur, pineapple juice, lime juice, Cointreau, Dom Benedictine and Grenadine.  It’s shake up and end with a garnish of sliced pineapple topping with a cherry.

singapore sling (blog.asiahotel.com)
BY courtesy of blog.asiahotel.com

Singapore Sling has gained international fame over the years.

 Actor, Johnny Depp acted in the movie ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’, mentioned Singapore Sling while meeting the attorney.

 The drink is pretty high in spirits content.  So, if you drink, don’t drive.  If you don’t drive, you can drive yourself to sing out Singapore Sling aloud!

A tale of Orang Laut and Singapore River

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orang laut 01According to legend based on the history of pre-Rafflesian time of Singapore, Orang Laut or Sea Gypsies was the communities who lived ‘in the numerous bays, inlets ad creeks surrounding Singapore.’

 Half of them lived on water, in little canoes that could scarcely stretch themselves.  The water lodgings were equipped with 1 or 2 cooking pots, earthy jars and mats made of pandanus leaves that allowed shading from sun and rain.

Major-General William Farquhar

They spent most of their time on boat, where birth, marriage and death took place therein.  As they were accustomed to life on the boat, they are easily recognized with their wadding gait on land.

  The other half of these people lived in huts on the banks near Kallang River and at the wider portion of Singapore River.

  During the times of British settlement, Major-General William Farquhar (1774-1839), the First Resident and Commandant of Singapore was appalled by the Orang Laut wearing no clothes, so he distributed money, clothes and rice to them.  Their children were terrified by the newcomers, merchants, laborers from all over the world.

One even jumped into the sea and got drowned when people approached near their boats.

And now, if you attempted to jump into the water, hoping to stay closer to the legendary tale, I think that is the only best reason I could agree upon.

orang laut 02

What’s the story beneath this island?

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What character does it carry?

singapura 01In Sanskrit, it signifies Singa for a lion and Pura for a city.  “Lion City” is the complete word.

 In 1160, Sri Tri Buana, Sang Nila Utama, the ruler of an ancient kingdom saw the white shore of this little island, described by the annalist.

 He asked, “what is that stretch of sand, we see yonder?”

 “Your highness, that is the land called Temasek”.  One of the companions replied.

By courtesy of library.thickquest.org
By courtesy of library.thinkquest.org

When they reached the shore, he saw a strange animal “very swift and beautiful”, with a bright red body, its head jet black and its breast pure white.  The beautiful animal has the size of a he-goat.

 The companion said, “Your Highness, I have heard that in ancient times, it was a lion which has that appearance”.

By courtesy of library.thinkquest.org
By courtesy of library.thinkquest.org

Sang Nila Utama then established a city at Temasek and name it Singapura.

 This is a short story about how the name of my country came by.

6) The artist of the 50 dollars note

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50 dollars artist 01

There is a pair of gibbons on the back of Singapore 50 dollars note.  The gibbons are there not only to beautify the note but they also signify a great artist who contributed his entire whole life to the art world.

50 dollars artist 02

陈文希, Chen Wen Hsi, was born in China, Guangdong province.  He migrated to Singapore in 1948 and passed on in 1992.  He loves art and nature at a young age.  He grown up in a suburb village and was taught by renowned artists like Pan Tianshou in Xinhua College of Arts in Shanghai, China.

50 dollars artist 05

Chen was proficient both in traditional Chinese ink paint and western oil paint.  He focuses in observing the behavior of nature and animals.  The subject varies from landscapes, figures, birds to animals.  He has a penchant for gibbons and owned 6 of them.  One white, one gray and four black ones.  These beautiful animals gave him the opportunities to study the creature’s postures and its characteristics.

50 dollars artist 06

In 1975, Chen was conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters by the then-Chancellor of the University of Singapore and the then-President of Singapore, Mr Benjamin Sheares.  He earned many more titles like Public Service Star; Cultural & Communications Award just to name a few.

50 dollars artist 04

Chen was also a perfectionist to his own art works.  While he was insistant to leave the best on earth, he burnt away paintings he deemed not up to his standard.  A rigorous artist, he woke up early in the morning at 6am to do his paintings without a skip for many decades.

50 dollars artist 03

So the next time, if you happen to hold on to a Singapore 50 dollars note, just spare some time to say hello to these gibbons and the great artist before you pass it on to another!

5) Do you know your Flag well?

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Our National Flag consists of two equal horizontal sections, the red above white.  On the left canton is a white crescent moon beside five white stars within a circle. 
Each feature has its own distinctive meaning and significance:
Red symbolizes Universal Brotherhood and Equality of man;
White signifies pervading and everlasting purity and virtue;
The Crescent Moon represents a young nation on the ascendant;
and the five stars stand for the nation’s ideals of democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality.
It’s significant to know the meaning of our National Flag, we will grow to understand how much hardship, country warriors fight for the flagpole and make it stands upright under the blue sky.

Personally, I favor our flag standing firmly on the ground, blowing in the wind and facing the storm fearlessly.
courtesy by Google
A National flag belongs to every nation and it is uphold by each individual hand in hand.

4) What so special about this Orchid?

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(Vanda Miss Joaquim)

Vanda Miss Joaquim, our very own Singapore national flower.  A natural hybrid Orchid between Vanda terres and Vanda hookeriana.
It was first discovered in 1893, in the garden of Agnes Joaquim, an Armenian best known for breeding the hybrid orchid.  Agnes Joaquim’s tombstone can be found in the grounds of the Armenian Church at Hill Street, Singapore.

The flower was selected as Singapore’s national flower in 1981.
Vanda Miss Joaquim was chosen from 40 flowers, 30 Orchids out of the 40.
It stands out by its vibrant in color, hardiness as it blooms throughout the year. Thus, it reflects the spirit and quality of the Nation.

And now, Miss Joaquim is humming National Song in the sunset.

3) A story about Tiger in a little Jar

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This 1-inch diameter Jar clawing with tiger doesn’t harm you, it doesn’t make any complaint until your muscle is yelling or nose is blocking.  It becomes a tiger that eases your pain and calms your vein.

The Jar captures an insight story about Assiduousness, a story about two brothers, Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par, whom took over the business from their herbalist father, Aw Chu Kin in the 1870s. They founded “Tiger Balm Gardens” in 1930, one in Singapore (the well known Haw Par Villa), and the other in Hong Kong.  During the olden days, Haw Par Villa is a must visit mythology theme park for family outdoor event during weekends or public holidays.  The Chinese mythology figures are good means of teaching traditional Chinese values.

Aw Boon “Haw” literally meant “Tiger” in Chinese and Aw Boon “Par” literally translated as “Leopard”, and this infamous story of Tiger and Leopard is legendary worldwide.
The Aw families with enormous fame overseas has done benevolent contributions to society with this huge garden, till now admission is free for all.
Tiger-balm-s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)