Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Singapore


It is almost half way through the year and I have not documented my last trip to Singapore yet.

I went there in January of this year, for the e-CASE 2009 conference. Besides presenting a paper and chairing a session, I was one of the four speakers in an international forum.



Singapore is hot all year round. It is small but full of cultural attractions. Mandarin Chinese, English and Fokkian are spoken by many people there. Fokkian is similar to Taiwanese so I was able to communicate with many food vendors. Cantonese is well received there too. Actually Singapore and Malaysia share many cultures, including the languages and accents.

Here are some snapshots of Singapore:

Had a cocktail here. It was late into the night:

From a cable car in Santosa island

Taking a train in Santosa

I wasn't too interested in this: beach at Santosa.
Clarke Quay: Had dinner here on the first night
Lots of shops for tailored Chinese dresses
The famous Hainan Chicken and Rice
Apartments are numbered.

Not a bad idea to hang clothes out systematically.

China Town


Sneaked into a school open house and got some free gifts.

A simulation on the college tour

video

Singapore is a litter free country

A taste of Singaporean flavours


Singapore is an ordered society with multicultural people living in harmony. But I wonder if Singaporeans feel cold easily because they have only one season to experience? My friend Ron, his son and I posed with two interesting new friends-Emre and Zumrut, the nice couple from Turkey. Zumrut, Emre and I have kept in touch ever since. I just love making friends.
(photo: courtesy of Ron)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

More on the flu

I was not happy to hear Joe Biden being referred to as a dope, for his advice to the public on coping with swine flu. I agree with what he said 100%, and I feel sorry for those who are taking this situation lightly. Moreover, snickering at Mexico's health care system (as I have read from some North American online forums) is not a noble act. Feeling lucky over people's misfortunes is not admirable.

This is a global threat and we are all in the same boat. It is not the job of the WHO or local health agencies to keep us safe; we need to look after our own safety by being sensible citizens.

The suspected case in S. Korea has now been confirmed, and Hong Kong has its first confirmed case from a Mexican tourist. This morning, my heart twitched in reading this news: a number of Taiwanese tourists who shared the same plane ride with this Mexican tourist had just returned to this island.

Traveling inter-continently is going to speed up the spread of virus for sure. If I had the authority, I would shut down the air and sea ports, observe the situation for at least two months before re-opening them. Travel warnings to the affected areas are not going to stop the plaque. People should stop traveling to and from places for a while, just to allow the virus to be marginally contained.

Men and women are not almighty conquerors. In the midst of the global crisis, we should relearn to be in awe to what we cannot control and live in harmony with the nature and all creatures. We need to be humble.