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Yabba dabba dead

By on Mar 30, 2011 in On A Whim | 0 comments

A Collegehumor take on the Flintstones opening theme. Reminds me of childhood – all those Hanna-Barbera toons that I used to watch on the Cartoon Network.

3eanuts

By on Mar 29, 2011 in Food For Thought | 1 comment

If can’t get enough of Garfield minus Garfield, you’ll surely love the existential angst of 3eanuts – Peanuts comic strips with the fourth panel left out. (The size of the comic strips is kept small – and this is only a conjecture – to stay in compliance with fair use laws.) (via venomous porridge)

Awesomeness of the Day, the Month and the Year

By on Jan 22, 2011 in On A Whim | 3 comments

Why hello there. I don’t think I got the chance to wish everyone a Happy New Year. So consider this my New Year gift. It’s awesome, ain’t it?

A day out in Pulau Ubin, More Strange Signs (TM), and cautionary tales about Google Maps

By on Dec 31, 2010 in Travel | 9 comments

Given the state of house addressing, using Google Maps to guide oneself around in India ends in tears. Singapore, though, is a well-planned city with a robust public transport system – and here Google Maps usually shines for a navigationally-challenged person like me. Usually. Last week, I needed to go to a place called Pulau Ubin (more on that later). I whipped out my smartphone, asked Google Maps to show me the best route via public transport from my (then) current location (it can do that, that smart cookie!) to where I wanted to go. Pat came the reply: “no buses found, 41 minutes walking from current location to Schiphol International Airport, Amsterdam.” Hmmm. Turns out that I was standing on the wrong side of the road; therefore, there were no buses heading the way I had to. So – like the proverbial chicken – I crossed the road…and all was m’kay. **** Pulau Ubin is Singapore’s last remaining kampung (village). For a country that was founded no more than 50 years ago, urbanization has been rapid in engulfing any semblance of rural settlement that might have been there. Pulau Ubin is the exception – it is a tiny island off the coast of Singapore, now maintained as a nature reserve. I had a friend from my university whom I used to work with vacationing in Singapore, and we (along with some travellers he met in Kuala Lumpur) decided to go mountain biking. To reach Pulau Ubin, one can take the MRT to Tanah Merah (on the Green Line) – if you’ve been here, then you might recollect this as the place where the MRT branches off to Changi Airport – and then catch a bus from there to Changi Village Ferry Terminal. At the ferry terminal, Singapore’s fetish for weird public signs continued to catch me off guard. For instance, this sign asking people not to wash their feet in the washbasin (complete with plagiarised stock photography of a foot being washed in a washbasin)… …a comic strip explaining how and why people should dry their hands after visiting the toilet… …a bizarre ‘Beware of Glass’ notice on a free-standing pane of glass, that serves no apparent purpose… …’2 crews’ (as opposed to ‘2 crew members‘) for every 12 passengers on our ‘bum boat’… …right until we reached Pulau Ubin, where we were warned not to set up tents on the jetty. It’s insane! Someone, somewhere has a job in Singapore to think of every single ‘undesirable’ situation and come up with pictorial representation warning the public not to do that. (For more on this, watch video blogger Natalie Tran’s vlog for Lonely Planet from Singapore.) **** The name ‘Pulau Ubin’ means ‘Granite Island’. Not surprising, because in the old days this island used to be a granite mine. Ever since it was converted to a nature reserve though, mining activities have been stopped. Pulau Ubin is now an idyllic resort for nature lovers, adventure seekers, and fat old bastards with moolah to spend at resorts on the island. The ferry ride from Changi Village Ferry Terminal is a short one – for about S$2.50, a ‘bum boat‘ will take you across the channel to Pulau Ubin in fifteen minutes. (You might have to wait a bit for enough people to gather at the departure jetty.) Not a lot of thought seemed to have gone into the naming a mode of transport as ‘bum boat’ and why tourists might find it funny; I’m assuming that the descendants of the creative geniuses who did so went to name a retail clothing chain ‘Wanko’. A short walk away from the jetty area, you’ll find shops renting out bicycles. (With signs that read “IS IT REALLY TRUE? $2 HIRE!” The answer is yes, it’s true, but only for children’s bicycles.) Prices are standard at every stall so there’s no point price hunting – decide the kind of bike you want and hire one. Standard rates hover around S$5 for the cheapest bikes going up to S$8, so there’s no need to haggle either for a couple of dollars. Bikes are rented out till 6pm in the evening. Although you can go to Pulau Ubin for hiking too, the place is primarily designed for mountain biking. There are varied difficulty levels for tracks and varied settings. Personally, I had never tried mountain biking before this, neither did most of the others in our group. The sections of the trail passing through jungle were excruciatingly hot and humid to negotiate, but they were interspersed with stretches of less steep trails every now and then to ease the pressure. The humidity can quickly sap your energy. Make sure that you buy enough bottles of water at the jetty base and keep rehydrating yourself! Overall, the bike trail definitely is one intended for novices, with a few challenging stretches thrown in. The reward for taking on the challenging stretches is that you get to see granite quarries not reachable via the easier trails. Unfortunately, I had to drop out halfway through the trail. I sprained my right wrist quite badly recently; I was even forced to wear a wrist brace. I reckoned that since I had been wearing the wrist brace and popping painkillers it would be okay, but the pain become unbearable going on a particularly steep slope. I decided to drop out from...

Bad-ass names for common household items

By on Sep 23, 2010 in On A Whim | 0 comments

From Savage Chickens, via Charmaine...