Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Singapore Visitor Center (New) - Opposite Somerset MRT Station - Free Wi-Fi!

The Singapore Visitor Centers are run by the Singapore Tourism Board.  The newest addition is the center just opposite Somerset MRT station.  There is free Wi-Fi available for tourists, just ask the friendly staff.

I checked out this new center to see what help they can offer tourists.  This video shows you where the Center is located, what features it has as well as how to get there from Somerset MRT.  I also show you a glimpse of the various Malls nearby.

The interactive displays are helpful, especially if you were not familiar with Singapore. The friendly tourism ambassadors can help you with your queries and print out maps with a suggested itinerary.  Great place to go for the independent traveller.

This write up is taken from the Singapore Tourism Board Press release dated 16 Feb 2015.

Singapore Visitor Centre Relocates to orchardgateway@emerald

A one-stop touch-point catering and customising to visitor needs ​​Singapore, 16 February 2015 – The Singapore Visitor Centre (SVC) will have a new home at 216 Orchard Road; situated next to orchardgateway@emerald, from 17 February. Set in a two-storey conserved Peranakan shophouse in the heritage-rich Emerald Hill area, the centre is designed with the visitor experience in mind, from the spatial layout to the range of services available.

The SVC will provide more services, including the sale of arts and entertainment tickets, on top of existing tours, accommodation and attractions booking options. It will also house a retail space that offers locally-designed souvenirs - curated based on what one can "Eat", "See", "Hear" and "Learn" in Singapore. Visitors can bring home a variety of souvenirs that take inspiration from traditional local food such as kueh tutu to Singapore's distinctive HDB flats.

A key feature of the new Centre is the use of technology to help visitors explore more of Singapore. Besides two large screens that display a variety of places of interest and events in Singapore, there are four interactive information kiosks that allow visitors to first browse and select places to explore, before putting them together in a digital itinerary. This personalised itinerary can then be printed immediately and/or emailed to the visitors' smartphones. Complimentary WiFi will also be available for visitors to stay connected within the SVC, enhancing the overall visitor experience.

STB Director, Visitor Experience & Capability Development, Ms Choo Huei Miin said, "The new Singapore Visitor Centre aims to be a one-stop service and information touch-point that adds to visitors' overall experience in Singapore. We hope that, through the effective use of technology coupled with personalised and warm assistance provided by our Customer Service Officers, visitors will have a better understanding of what Singapore can offer and be inspired to explore and uncover our many hidden gems."

While the first level of the centre is devoted to key visitor services, the second level is an event space that will be open in the second quarter of the year. There will be temporary exhibitions and interactive installations that will present different facets of Singapore, adding layers to deliver a compelling Singapore story.

The new SVC will replace the current one located at the junction of Cairnhill Road and Orchard Road, which will cease operations on 17 February. Visitors can also approach SVC@ION Orchard and Chinatown Visitor Centre @ Kreta Ayer Square. For more information on locations and operating hours, please visit the YourSingapore website at:

Thanks for reading!

Back to Visit Singapore Landing Page.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Marina Bay Cruise Center Singapore - Check Where Your Ship Is Docking!

There are two cruise centers in Singapore. Your cruise ship will call at either Marina Bay Cruise Center or the Singapore Cruise Center at Harbourfront. Don't go to the wrong one!

Marina Bay Cruise Center (MBCC)
MBCC was opened in May 2012.  The first ship to call here was the Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas.   This cruise center was designed to take the largest ships in the world, including the Oasis class ships.

Due to height limitations (cable car), the Harbourfront cruise center cannot take ships that are taller than 52M.  This rules out all the modern large cruise vessels, who by default will have to call at Marina Bay (otherwise it would be a container port).

The Marina Bay Cruise Center is now conveniently served by the Marina South Pier MRT station. This video shows you the public areas of the Marina Bay Cruise Center, as well as the easy walk to the Marina South Pier MRT station.  It is a 'must-watch' if you haven't used the terminal before.

Entrance and drop-off to Marina Bay Cruise Center.

Here are some more videos that may be of interest to visitors. In this video, I drive from Raffles City area (City Hall MRT station) to the Marina Bay cruise center and back to Orchard Road.  As I pass the cruise center, I noticed a couple of taxis dropping off passengers, when there was no ship in port that day.  Obviously, these passengers had gone to the wrong cruise terminal!

On this day, there were 2 ships in port - the Celebrity Millennium as well as the Mariner of the Seas (Royal Caribbean).  Welcome to Singapore!

Check where your ship is docking!

1. Marina Bay Cruise Center - at the website, look for cruise schedules.  The schedule looks like this:

2. Singapore Cruise Center at Harbourfront - at the website, there is a schedule finder.  Search for your cruise.

Map Showing The Location
Here is a map from Google Maps showing you where the 2 cruise centers are located.  On the left, I have circled Singapore Cruise Center at Harbourfront, nearest MRT is Harborfront MRT.

On the right, I have put in a star, the Marina Bay Cruise Center.  Nearest MRT is Marina South Pier MRT.

Thanks for reading and watching my videos.

Useful Links

Check out the new Singapore Visitor Center opposite Somerset MRT station (free Wi-Fi for tourists!)

Back to my Visit Singapore landing page.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

What Did You Gain by Praying to God?

A very good reminder. Thank God & Amen.

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Home made Beef Burgers - Delicious!

Home made beef burgers.  Very delicious and quite easy to prepare, according to my wife.

Here is the recipe.

Makes five burgers
500g minced beef
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and ground black pepper
choice of herbs eg. paprika or parsley (optional)
5 burger buns
5 large portobello mushrooms, stalks removed
5 slices of cheddar cheese

1. Place all the burger ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Shape into five equal-sized patties.
2. Preheat the grill. Cook burgers and mushrooms under the grill for 15 minutes or until patties are cooked through, turning once.

You can add whatever garnish you like to the burgers eg. onions, lettuce or tomatoes. We serve our burgers with home-made sweet potato wedges.

Here is where we got the recipe from:

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Tomo-Ya Japanese Food Trading (Singapore Wholesale)

Tomo-Ya Japanese Food Trading.  This is a wholesale supplier of Japanese foods, located in Bukit Batok.  Their website is

On this day, we took a drive to the place to buy some stuff.  They are not a retail outlet so they cannot exhibit their goods for sale.  What you do is to order with them, their website has what they offer.

Check out our videos for the driving experience and what we bought.

Driving to Tomo-Ya Japanese Food Trading

What We Bought

Thanks for watching!

Katakolon, Greece for Olympia

We visit Katakolon, Greece, for Olympia. We were on a cruise, on the Norwegian Jade, out of Rome, to Ports in Greece and Turkey.  Katakolon was our first port, on Day 3 of the cruise.  Day 2 was a sea day.

2 Minute Summary Video

Prior to this cruise, the ignorant me was unaware that suck a port existed. Now that I have been there, I know that it is the gateway to the ancient city of Olympia. Fascinating!

Some interesting facts from A small Greek town, with a population that is just over 600, Katakolon overlooks the Ionian Sea and is located on a peninsula on the western IIia in Pyrgos.

 Katakolon's glory days were in the end of the 19th to the mid 20th Century. The port was constructed to facilitate the transportation of goods to other major European ports.

Ancient Olympic site - Part 1

Modern Olympia and Cafe - Part 2

Kremasti Monastery and Return to Ship - Part 3

Some photos
Picture of the NCL Jade ship in the morning. The sun was still trying to rise.   Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Boarding the van. See how close it was to the ship. Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Theo, from Mamousis Private Taxis. Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Ticket Booth at Ancient Olympia Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Useful signages
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Ancient Olympia Stadium and track.
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Weather held up.  Sun started to come out, which was nice.
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More tourists now, many from the ship.
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Museum was a 5 minute walk away. Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Nice walk along this path.
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This is what the combined ticket looks like. Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The courtyard, leading to the entrance of the Archaeological museum.
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Visiting the museum together with the ancient ruins site was a good idea. This plaque was a description of the west pediment of the temple of Zeus. Image and video hosting by TinyPic

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Take a look at these statues, for example. The centerpiece was supposed to be Zeus, the King of Gods who oversaw the universe. Unfortunately, his head was missing. Image and video hosting by TinyPic

After a toilet break, our driver guided us to walk to the modern village of Olympia, an easy walk of about 10 minutes. The modern village of Olympia wasn't very big. Just one major street, with some hotels, eateries and shops. Image and video hosting by TinyPic

We decided that we needed a break and walked past several cafes, but none looked enticing enough. Until we found this cafe which was at the end of a side street. I don't know the Greek alphabet, so is this Cafe Pogo or Cafe Podo or something else? Image and video hosting by TinyPic

This was the Margarita pizza we had.  Enough for everybody.  We just needed a quick bite. 
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After the rest stop, our last destination before returning to the cruise ship was a monastery called Kremasti Monastery. At first we thought there would be monks, but it turned out that the Monastery housed nuns, in the Greek Orthodox tradition. The monastery was located about 15km away from Olympia, up on a hill, with gorgeous views.

We spent about an hour here, viewing the place and taking in the views. Soon it was time to head back to the ship. Overall, it was a great day in port for us.

Our guide for the day, Mr Theo, did a great job.  Here is a video clip of him giving us a rundown on the sad state of the Greek economy.

Thanks for reading!

Back to landing page for the NCL 10N Greece and Turkey cruise.

Monday, February 9, 2015

KFC $2 Scones - Tea Break

Tea break at Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) with her $2 scones.

Here is the short clip I made of this tea break.  In this clip, I had the Craneberry scone with Strawberry Jam.  Taste wasn't too bad.  $2 for a cup of coffee and scone was reasonable.

On a separate day, I had coffee and scone again. This time I chose the vanilla scone with kaya. The kaya came in a packet, like a tomato ketchup packet. How interesting. Check out my video below.
Thanks for watching!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Taipei Crash Fight GE 235 - ATR 72-600 - Car Cam Video (from CNN)

The recent crash of TransAsia Flight GE 235 was most tragic.  It was caught on car camera in the most dramatic fashion.   Here is a clip from CNN, if you haven't already caught this.

Apparently, the ATR 72 plane (which is a turbo-prop and not a jetliner) has been involved in many accidents.  Since 1994, there have been 22 crashes.  Does this tell us something about the safety of this plane?  Not sure.

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Another link to the safety records of the ATR 72 -

Note, however, that the ATR 72 plane that crashed was only about 10 months old.  That is very new, by aircraft standards.

What went wrong?  It is too early to conclude.  However, preliminary data from the flight recorders suggest that the pilots may have committed a grave error.   One of the engines went idle soon after takeoff, and the pilots apparently shut off the other engine before the plane crashed.  This information was given by Taiwan's top aviation official.

Let's wait for the final investigation results to be released before we can conclude that cause of this very tragic accident.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Venezuela - $1,000 for a pack of condoms - No Wonder they are the most Miserable Country in the World

According to the CATO Institute, the most miserable country in the world in 2014 was Venezuela.

See the info on this page -

According to this index, the Venezuelans are even more miserable than Iran and Serbians.

And this is the latest blow.  A pack of condoms cost the equivalent of $1,000 on the black market, in their local currency.  However, if you have USD, you can buy it for US$25.  It sounds like Venezuelan currency is pretty worthless!

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Kobane (Syria) - Great Devastation - Imagine Singapore Looking Like That

Make no mistake, wars are happening.  The fact that they happen far away from Singapore doesn't mean that the world is at peace.

Article in the Straits Times - Kobane pays a heavy price for expelling ISIS.  Kobane (or Kobani) is a town in Northern Syria, with a population of around 45,000.

ISIL (or ISIS) tried to take the city.  Kurdish forces, backed by US air power, defended the city. More than 700 strikes from the coalition pounded ISIS-held parts of the city for several months.

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Kobane became a signature battle for both the ISIS and the coalition.  A constellation of Kurdish forces defended Kobane.  On top of local Syrian Kurds, Turkish Kurds, Iraqi Kurds, and even Kurds from Europe came back to defend Kobane.

Not just men, even the women took up arms.

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While the Kurds, with US air power, have won the battle, the cost is great. Just look at this picture! All the bombed out buildings. Image and video hosting by TinyPic

When I saw the picture above, I thought to myself, what would a bombed out Singapore look like?  Somebody similar to the above?  A chilling thought.

Please let us not take peace and security for granted.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Gold Buyback Scheme Suisse International - Crashed and Burnt

Suisse International - More than 100 file police report against gold buyback firm.

I heard about this firm some time ago (through friends) and never believed that it would work.  It sounded more like a Ponzi scheme of sorts.

Now that the deck of cards has collapsed, pity so many people got cheated.

Remember, when something is too good to be true, it is usually not true. 

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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Time to stay away from Lychee Fruit

Toxins in lychee? Better stay away, none for the kids!

This article says that there is a lychee link to mysterious epidemic in India.   In Northern India, thousands of young children suffer convulsions, lapse into comas and die.

Beware of lychess! (Especially for your young kids)

Thanks for reading.