Friday, May 29, 2009

Kirsten's here

Kirsten arrived safely.... yay!!!

No Studying Here Please

At many cafes or popular eateries you will see a sign asking the public not to 'study'. This particular sign implies that you could study between midnight and 6 am if you wish! 
Students often study for hours at these places, so employers are obviously getting sick of it. 
There is also a joke here: you can leave your wallet or cellphone lying around and it will be safe - but don't ever leave your study notes. The notes will get stolen!

Musical and dance extravaganza

Nadine, Celia, Adam and I got another chance to see some of NJC's extraordinary musical and dance talents at a concert at the school on Thursday. Pictured are some of the instruments - the 'kucheng' (long harp-like instrument mentioned in an earlier post); and the 'anklung' (held by the 2 girls in NJC uniform). There were over 40 kids on stage with these anklungs - the sound was something I had never heard before. Will try and post a video clip shortly.
The 3 girls in costume are the 'Indian Dance' performers. We also saw Malay Dance, Western Dance, the Harmonica Ensemble (over 60 harmonica players!!), and more. Awesome. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Steamed Dough balls

The famed 'steamed dough balls' which are sold in all shapes and sizes in Singapore, and are full of all sorts of things.

Ice skating

Jess at the Ice Skating rink. When the going gets tough we're all heading here to cool down!


Jessie's friend Gloria. She's a real sweetie....


Adam planning his escape from the apartment!


Last night we went to National Junior College's Cultural Night Concert and enjoyed some excellent music and talent. It was held at the Victoria Concert Hall in the centre of the city.
In this one school, NJC, they have a Chinese Orchestra; String Ensemble; Piano Ensemble; Guzheng Ensemble; and the Symphonic Band (photo shown).
The photo of the girls in red is to show you the 'guzheng', which looks like a cross between a harp and a piano. There were 24 girls on stage with these - each  in kimono-style dress with long wide pants and black shoes. The sound was amazing.
The Chinese Orchestra (not shown) is a highlight for Steve - with many instruments we had never even heard of before. 
All of these kids practise for hours and hours every week, the standard is exceedingly high.


Even though most people speak some english, 'accents' make communication very difficult at times in Singapore. It is a two-way thing. We find the Singaporean accent hard to understand, and they find ours hard too.
This isn't just an issue for caucasians though - it is the case for many newcomers to Singapore, even mainland Chinese, Malays or Indians who also sound different to the local Singaporeans and find it difficult to be understood.
This shows the incredible number of dialects and languages that come together in a nation like Singapore.
'Singlesh' is the uniquely Singaporean version of english - and one which is adhered to very passionately.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Summer days

The pool is popular with the kids in the weekends as temperatures now remain high in the 30's, with 95% humidity.
The word from home is that winter has arrived and everyone keeps saying they'd like a bit of our heat. Wouldn't it be nice for a climate that met somewhere in the middle?!

School Canteen

Quite a bit of time is spent at school so Steve, Jess and Rhian have sampled food from most of the 11 stalls at the canteen by now. Drinks are always needed for hydration - the favourites are 'ice blended's with pearls (pearls are little  balls of jelly stuff - real yummy!) 

Duck Tour

We got a bit desperate for an outing so off we went on the touristy Duck Tour expedition. I'm afraid it didn't quite live up to expectations, and was in fact a bit of a 'lame duck'. We had presumed that because the truck goes in and out of water it would be quite an adventure, with some 'rough stuff' for the kids... but it was very slow and the focus seemed to be more on the commentary than anything else. The commentary was interesting in parts, as we went past things like the massive Casino Centre under construction ($5 billion worth).
The highlight however was the Suntec City Malls that we passed through on our way to and from the tours - definitely ones to return to with visitors!

Banana Prata

Steve's current favourite is Banana Prata - being made here in the picture. It is a pancake-sized piece of pastry fried or baked with a filling. They are served with dipping sauces.

Art class

In amongst the studious art work, the class manage to find a bit of fun!

Friday, May 1, 2009

1st May 2009

Like everyone else around the globe, we go into the month of May more than a little nervous and anxious about the movements of this Influenza A, H1N1 virus (swine flu) that has got us all very concerned. For those of you going into a cold winter.. please take special care. We are watching as much news as possible from all over the world, but it would be good to have any relevant information from home re the New Zealand developments.

Holland Village

Holland Village is a popular plaza in Singapore and we had heard a bit about it so off we went for a look. It is made up mostly of sidewalk pubs and restaurants, so it was a little too hot and muggy for us on the street (indoor malls are sooo... well air conditioned) - but it was good to check it out. 

Angie's Cafe

This one's for you Angie (my sister, Angie Lamont, Christchurch). Lol

Netball outcome

The third netball 'nationals' game has turned out to be the last for the team as a second loss out of 3 now puts them out of contention for any semis or finals. 
The second photo is of some of the girls out for breakfast the next morning. They can now have some well-deserved respite from netball for a few weeks, before a more leisurely training schedule kicks in for the rest of the year.

Snail Trail

We spotted this huge snail on the way home from the bus stop. Nadine's hand should give you some idea of its size (she has very long hands!)

Visit from Debbie and Mike

It was so lovely to see Debbie and Mike (Vercoe, Alexandra) on their way home from the UK. We packed as much of a 'catch-up' in as we could in a precious few hours. Hopefully they got on their way the next evening as Changi Airport had just started screening passengers for flu (do let us know how you got on guys!) It was great to have you here.