Saturday, September 24, 2011

Lion King in Singapore

When my parents came back from Canada more than 5 years ago, they insisted we make an effort to go watch the Lion King, the theatre production if we had the chance.

When we went to London in 2009, they reminded KS and I to try catch the show but we ended up watching We Will Rock You instead (which was absolutely fun!). 

So when The Lion King came to Singapore and before it ended its run, KS and I decided to go catch it and do our annual Singapore trip.

We booked into the Ibis Hotel in Novena via and was pleasantly surprised by the well planned room. Clean, sufficiently equipped with really tiny stuff which I don't normally use like the smallest fridge I've ever seen, small wardrobe, small kettle but they were generous when it came to things that mattered like a huge TV, comfy pillows and free wifi. It's about a 10-12 minute walk to Novena MRT station which was slightly less than 1km away.

First stop we made was to meet up with Jan and make our way to:

Despite my frequent trips to Singapore when I was younger, I never got the chance to go to the Night Safari. So this was a treat. It was great having to see the animals actually moving rather than us trying to whistle, cajole and call out to make them flicker during the normal zoo hours. I couldn't take much photos but here are some:

Cute zebra chairs

This tiger here was the highlight of our trip because it was sitting right at the viewing glass. Some kid was toddling in front of it when it got annoyed and tried to smite the kid down with its giant paw. Everyone then gave it a respectable distance despite the glass. Jan and I then went right in front of it and I tried to offer the back of my hand. But every time I did, it snarled. So yeah, certified wild.

In the end, it got bored, turned around and started drinking as seen here.

Bus stop at the Night Safari

By the time we got back, it was past midnight.

Next day was spent admiring the Marina Bay Sands building and the surrounding buildings.

Marina Bay Sands Hotel
The "Boat" on top of the three buildings

Oh, and of course our jumping shots.

The failed Merlion jump in front of the Durian. KS looks like he's in pain.
Marina Bay Sands: Reminds me of the British Museum
Glass ceiling at the British Museum
Okay, okay, it also looks like the Musee de Orsay

Anyway, KS and I caught our 2pm matinee for the Lion King there.

The verdict? It was good! I won't say mind blowing because we already know the story line and we were went in with pretty high expectations. Still, I enjoyed myself, especially when they performed some of my favourite songs from a cassette I bought right after the cartoon came out in the 90s, Rhythm of the Pride Lands.

The costumes were outstanding (I liked that the guy playing Zazu wore a bowler hat, very British! Or the little contraption for the heads of Mufasa and Scar) and I loved it when Rafiki spoke in er... a foreign language with all the tongue clicking sounds. She had such a powerful voice too! The kid who played young Simba was also simply amazing! Stole our hearts.

Feeling happy right after the show, we indulged in some cupcakes:

Mahal gile!
And again with Hummingbird cake the next day :)

After such a lovely time in Singapore, we took our First Coach bus back to Malaysia, a most comfortable ride (plus I managed to watch four episode of Bones on my personal screen!). However, it made an unfortunate pit stop at Macap along the highway. The place was swarming with flies!

See the little black dots?
Of course over a hundred came along into the bus and followed us back to KL.
Welcome back to Malaysia! Sigh.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Water Heating Solar Panels

I believe I have said this before but this tip needs reiterating: if you are installing solar panels for heating water in your house, please, PLEASE have a backup heater somewhere.

In twitter, I would hashtag this as

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The Ho Girls

When we were in Melaka recently, I told Aunty Jancey I had the photo with her three girls playing "dead". So I went into my files and found photos of the girls which I don't think I've ever shared. So here goes.

L-R: Georgia, Sherrie & Datin - Perth 2007

The gorgeous girls & I - Perth 2007

Sherrie & Georgia - Singapore, 2010

Bang! Bang! Bang! All 3 playing dead.
Sadly, Sherrie passed on a month or so ago, the tai ka che of them. She was the disciplined one, the one ready to protect her sisters, plead with Aunty Jancey to stop punishing her sisters whenever they misbehaved. I've seen this, placing her paw onto Aunty Jancey's scolding hand and looking pleadingly into her eyes.

I remember when we went to a beach in Perth back in 2003 and she was my charge. A simple "Heel!" and her nose would almost bump into my ankle as we walked. It was an amazing feeling, which I, alas, can't seem to find the right words. Like a... connectedness... like we belonged to each other, which I've never felt with any other dog before. Thank you Sherrie for that experience.

Our trip to Melaka was also the first time we met 6 month old Dawn, the new addition to the family.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Dawn Ho, cross between a husky mother and a beagle father. The only time I could take photos of her was when she was tired out from all the running around the whole day. Here she was trying to sleep while I disturbed her by taking micro shots of her nose.
Eventually she ignored me and continued sleeping.

Here she was probably dreaming up what next to destroy because the next day she destroyed some furniture. Little rascal! We love her to bits!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Raya & Merdeka Break

Over the Raya and Merdeka holidays, KS and I joined our church's conference which was held in Kampar. It was a good time of deep sharing from our Senior Pastor Daniel, good fun time when everyone let their hair down and performed skits and songs as well as going to Adeline's Rest House again for white water rafting. I didn't do the rafting since I've already gone and fell off twice before but went along to enjoy the company and great food.

The last time I didn't manage to get photos of the white water rafting so here are some:
Safety briefing before gearing up
Everyone gets released into the rapids to practice in case we fall out of the raft. 
Being rescued after struggling against the current

We stayed in the same hotel I did when I went caving in Kampar in 2008, The Grand Kampar Hotel. This was the photo I took of a row of shophouses beside the hotel back then:

Colourful Building, Kampar

So just last week, we were back in the same hotel for our church's getaway and the building looks a lot more faded and sadly, still as unoccupied:

After the conference, KS and I decided to pop into Ipoh to pay a visit to his grandma. Using our seldom-used GPS, we passed by Kellie's Castle and decided to take a detour. I'm glad we did because I've heard about this unfinished castle since young but never bothered to visit. Here's the version of the history we read when we were there but Wiki says something else.

It would have been tremendously grand, had it been completed since there's still quite none like such a structure in Batu Gajah. Terribly ambitious too with the proposed elevator which would have been the first in the land then and a rooftop built for parties. I could not walk anywhere near the edges of this - eep!

I loved the secret escape routes (tiny stairs from all bathrooms on the second floor), a materialization of Enid Blyton's mystery books on castles or manors with secret passageways!

One of the narrow staircases leading from the bathroom onto the grounds of the castle
Apparently there are three underground tunnels that lead away from the castle, one to the temple which William Kellie Smith built nearby. I didn't see where they were located but one small room was sealed from public eyes.

All in all, I rather enjoyed the short exploration of this place although the story behind it is quite tragic.

And to end this post, we kept seeing this billboard along the highway:
Who celebrates their 50th Anniversary in 2039 when we're still in 2011?? Well, apparently, they do.