Fund raising for Myanmar Cyclone Nargis Victims in NUS

The office of Student Affairs sent an email informing the NUS community about fund-raising efforts by students from the NUSSU Volunteer Actions Committee (NVAC), for the Myanmar Cyclone Nargis victims. This is being conducted as part of Project Nargis, “a community service network set up by student volunteers from NUS Project Pinnya Tazaung Myanmar, Operation Nargis, the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) and the Singapore Management University (SMU).”

The project which runs from May to July 2008 intends to “procure and deliver much needed supplies to the victims of Cyclone Nargis in the fastest and most efficient way possible, and build the foundation for long term reconstruction projects in future.”

“Our Burmese volunteers have gone back to Yangon and are currently working with other UK, US and local Burmese volunteers to buy, deliver and distribute food, water and medical supplies to people in various townships in the Yangon and Irrawaddy Divisions. Each township has about two to three thousand people and we are only acting as a temporary food and water provider in the townships where we are working until there is a regular flow of supplies from larger aid agencies.

Thus far, we have distributed emergency aid items to six townships in Yangon division and are facing shortage of funds which could forestall our efforts significantly.”

More about Project Nargis at

Fundraising Booths in NUS

Fundraising Booths will be set up from 10am to 2pm to collect donations in cash and cheque at the

  • entrance of Central Library
  • Arts Canteen
  • Business Canteen
  • Science Foyer (Outside LT 27)

Remaining dates:

  • Monday 26th May 2008
  • Tuesday 27th May 2008

Recent Google Earth updates

There appears to be a number of changes and I am wondering how busy singeo must be to not already post about it.

I was writing to Kevin, Coleman and Ivan on a thread, talking about a recent change in one site in Singapore and wondering if there was an date stamp index to the grids we see on Google Earth so we know which grids are updated, to when, and if there are archives and how we could keep archives. For the last point, Skitch is an easy solution. Must remember to date stamp images though since there appears to be none in Skitch.

I mentioned University Hall which used to reflect an empty site after the complete demolition of Sheare’s Hall, prior to construction of University Hall. This image was taken in 2003 or 2004. I remember passing the partial rubble of Sheare’s Hall in 2003, anc comparing it to bomb damage in Pasir Panjang during the war. At least until February 2008, this was image displayed in Google Earth.

Earlier this month, I noticed changes in one part of Singapore. [Update see Google Earth Blog note on the May 2008 imagery update] And just now I decided to check Kent Ridge and realised the U Hall was up and about! I did a quick grab and trim of February’s and this evening’s images for comparison. You can clearly see the University Hall and the red SRC running track. What other differences can you spot? Ooh, now I sound like Keropokman!

14 Feb 2008.

21 May 2008.

Presumably a bunch of images were replaced/updated earlier this month. The last time I noticed a change was in June 2007. Let’s compare Singapore Island:

16 Jul 2007

21 May 2008

More examinations and some comparisons later…

Southern Ridges is crowded!

Some of the Pasir Panjang Heritage Guides have been visiting the Southern Ridges trail. Kenneth took it on a quieter day and blogged about it.

It was inevitable after the recent announcement about the trail that the public holiday would draw in the crowds. Still the others who walked this morning were quite startled by the crowds there – enough to be comparable with ECP! The guides just weren’t used to such large numbers of people on the trail. The guides met several colleagues, friends and relatives and in their words, it “was packed, packed, packed all the way through!”

The nice thing is that lots of people appear to be game for a walk! Happily there will be more in a few years time.

Talk about crowded! Photo by Ladybug

Assisi Hospice Charity Fun Day

A couple of months ago, Adrian rounded up some of his kakis for a booth at the Assisi Hospice Charity Fun Day. We sold bags, books, kaya toast, home-baked bread, coffee, cookies and knick-knacks.

I dragged myself out of my flu-induced lethargy and by the time I reached St. Joseph’s Institution International at Thomson Rd, Adrian’s last minute inspiration, hot coffee, had sold quite well. He had meant it to play a supportive role to the kaya toast, but there was a demand for it in the morning at $1/shot! Many wanted iced-coffee as well so we filed that idea away for next year. As the day wore on, iced-water too would have sold well in the heat.

Harley’s ride up with Ms Ho Ching (patron of Assisi Hospice) and the VIP train

I guess at a charity event, buyers are much more reckless than they would be at a pasar malam. And much more so in the last couple of hours! The books we had brought down sold surprisingly well, even some old texts. I did suggest Tom Clancy’s Red Rabbit be given away free, though, since it was so awful. I bought a few books myself to give away and regretted not recruiting more titles I know are cluttering up the bookshelves of friends. It would get some good books back into circulation, and all for charity too! We slashed prices for some titles that were not moving initially and Ivan reported one couple’s disbelief at an old children’s encyclopedia going for $4. They recovered enough to buy it.

Bags that Oi Yee, Peck Wai and others contributed were attacked the moment the lads unloaded the stuff and would continue to move quite well through the day. With one bag, however, we decided we would try our luck with Yahoo SG Auction since it was supposed to be a genuine Gucci bag. Ladybug will be trying for something more ambitious than $5.

Amy’s home-made bread was actually expensive but selling off whole loaves was actually not the money-maker we thought it would be. In the form of Kaya Toast slices, however, it was a much better income earner. One late sale had the chap request for an extra thick layer of kaya – he had a satisfying sandwich!

The cookies Adrian and kids made were all sold out in the afternoon. Tom did quite a good hard-sell on those that worked surprisingly well.

Tom hard-selling kaya toast with free samples and it worked!

Ladybug too was really good at sales and I kept popping coupons into the tin with disbelief. It was almost a non-stop process after a brief lunch time lull. She and Su Yin (who had trooped down for the second shift) got into the act with the ladies to direct them to the scarves and other miscellaneous odds and ends. It was surprising how well all that worked. At one point we scrambled to find something to wrap an ornamental koi that someone bought and grabbed some mahjong paper nearby! Natalie, who was handling the dress sales and the tough job of bargaining, had a much tougher time but when the deals were sealed, those raked in a pretty penny!

I met my uni classmates Veronica, Patrick, and Jaswant amongst others. Johnny Wee trucked by regularly with camera and his signature grin, and later was seen hauling fruit loads away! The atmosphere was fun and there was lots of really good food around. I loved the excellent gado-gado being sold by some charming and feisty aunties. We saw one of them wandering around later and she reported they had sold out their entire stock!

Jaswant checking out the kid’s VCDs

There were 150 stalls and games and performances as well. It was a charming event with lots of pleasant people waylaying you but without much pressure. Exactly the right sort of environment to get you to spend! At one point Ladybug ended up buying some expensive chips from some eager-eyed school kids. I found myself refilling our coupon stocks a few more times.

The cookies were all sold out in the afternoon.

It was certainly a lovely way to spend a Sunday morning! We helped claw the way towards the half-million target and hopefully with the many great stalls and corporate donors, they’ll meet their target. It was a good initiative by Adrian who SMSed later to say, “alrightee man, it feels great, kakis and all helping out … Super rustic kind of feel”

Update – Photos from Adrian’s camera.

Cycling in Singapore meetup

Theo, Chu Wa and myself at least grabbed a photo in Holland Village Swensen’s, courtesy of Ladybug, before we left on Thursday night. We were there for a Cycling in Singapore blog meetup. The few of us who pen this group blog some from a different experience of focus on cycling to work, foldables, leisure cycling by the layman, park connectors, transport and urban policy and design, opportunities for family cycling, etc.

We started the group blog in August 2004 and have been steadily blogging since. There were times when we went quiet. In the past year posts and comments have picked up and we all agree it has been a useful repository.

It has been a couple of years since we ALL met, although we have met individually. We don’t blog half of what we observe and there were too much news, thoughts and strategy ideas that our mailing list could cope with. So we met to exchange thoughts at the speed of sound!

Unfortunately Paul Barter had just left slightly before Chu Wa took out his new camera. He had a home-cooked meal waiting. Chen Munn was away in Russia presumably taking photos off cyclists and bicycles, amongst other things!

We had a fruitful time and agreed not to wait so long for the next meetup! As we waved each other off, Chu Wa cycled his foldable off to the nearest MRT and Theodore headed home on his commuting bike.

SAJC reunion II

I met up with my former St. Andrew’s JC school-mates for our second reunion last night. I bailed before midnight as I was still tired from the recent bug but the rest continued at least until 2am. Lots of unfinished stories so there will be more…

Preparing for the NTU Bike Rally 2008

I got hit by a bug and abandoned a bunch of rides to try out my newly serviced bike in preparation for the NTU Bike Rally 2008. This included this morning’s planned ride to Changi for the opening of the Ketam Mountain Biking Trail. Just no energy. I will try a slow ride tomorrow morning instead.

With my seven-year old plastic saddle finally beginning to tear apart, I had listened with great interest when Theodore and Chu Wa, two of my Cycling in Singapore blog kakis, told me about the comfort and suspension offered by the Brooks Champion Flyer, hmmm.

2015-01-22 18.39.57

With the scorching sun making me nervous about coping during the upcoming bike rally, I revisited information from previous rides this morning, including:

(1) My “Recipe for along ride” checklist. Updated this 2002 page.

(2) The annotated photos and route timings from the rain and cloud moderated 160km NTU Bike Rally ride in 2003.

(3) Photos from the NTU Bike Rally 2004, a much warmer ride.

(4) The SMS’ to Kevin during last year’s blazing hot Bike Rally. I had left the messages in my phone to give me an idea of the heat and distance we struggled with that day – I had to pour water on my head to cool off! I copied out the SMS’ with BluePhoneElite 2.

SMS’ on 27 May 2007: Timings and remarks at rest points

  • Start at ECP, 7.45am-ish.
  • Labrador, ?8.45am – Dst 21.2km, Tms 1:03, Avs 19.9 km/h.
  • NTU, 9.47am – Burning hot sun! 42km, at NTU now. Next stop, Kranji. [Dst 42.93km, Tms 2:05, Avs 20.6 km/h, Mxs 35 km/h.]
  • Kranji, 11.17am – Reached Kranji, 58km. Rain cloud covered the sun, Phew! Wish I had activated my twitter account [Kevin starts posting to twitter]. 70km more to go. [Dst 57.82km, Tms 2:45:06, Avs 21.0 km/h, mxs 46.0 km/h]
  • Yishun, 12.46pm – At Yishun Stadium, special resupply by Kok Min Yee with a good lunch. Some students have dropped out. Heat came back. Ladybug hit by cramps, a bit of Deep Heat and recovered! I am holding out okay. These kids are half my age! [Dst 74.85km, Tms 3.35.56, Avs 20.8 km/h.]
  • Sengkang Sec, 2.02pm – 90km break pt. Had cramps since the 80km point. Eased off pace and nursed myself to this rest point. All that isotonic drinks better kick in. Passed Seletar, Punggol, Sengkang. Ground is baking! Must find my second wind, dont want to end up on the bus! NTU Sports Club provided a bus and lorry to ferry tired cyclists andd their bikes to the next rest point. [Dst 89.34km, Tms 4:24:38, Avs 20.3 km/h]
    • Had to loosen helmet, heat expansion! Poured water on helmet too. Just hit the park connector, will get cooler!
    • Changi and East Coast Parks at the edges are really serene.
  • Changi Beach Park, 4.20pm – Passed 100km mark, last leg. Changi coastal road. Student reporters sourcing stories! [See Nanyang Chronicle] Ladybug was dying during the last leg but made it! She had hopped on a dusty bike that morning and come along [Dst 108.09km, Tms 5:26:10, Avs 19.9 km/h]
  • East Coast Park, ~5.30pm, 123km – Cycling since 7am. Great job by the NTU undergrads! [Dst 122.94km, Tm 6:18:00, Avs 19.5km/h, Mxs 46 km/h]

See also what the bladers (Team Speed Virus)wrote – a full length poem!!

iBook saves the day (my freshwater crab talk)

I moaned and groaned (internally) about my freshwater crab talk for some reason, probably because my engine was running low after the activity of the past two weeks. By 10.30am (last Saturday morning) I finally dragged my self out of bed to get going and raced to create a Keynote out my outline.

I hammered out a text draft of the talk painfully amidst a blazing headache the previous day – that outline was enough for a two hour talk. So that Saturday morning I trimmed and revised some content, added images, section headings and transitions. I also did some reading up to confirm certain ideas.

My museum kakis Swee Hee and Heok Hui had dug out some fine looking images which clearly illustrated the six freshwater crab species from Singapore. A second batch from Choy Heng Wah was relayed by Swee Hee that same morning and I even printed out some photos. I was looking forward to sharing the gorgeous photos with an audience that had dragged themselves to the Botanic Gardens on a Saturday afternoon.

In the last 15 mins before I left, Keynote refused to accept the images! Huh? I decided to cut my losses and Graphic Converter’s slideshow. Then the video adaptor for the MacBook Pro went MIA [I later found it artfully hanging from my wall, right under my nose!] So I fired up my 14.1″ iBook – with its five hour battery, I used my 8GB Imation thumbdrive to transfer all the files from the MacBook Pro to the iBook in the taxi on the way to the venue. This even as coordinator Wei Ling calls to check if I am “on the way”.

In the theatrette, it took mere seconds to plug and play in the incomparable style of an iBook – and what you see is what you get, none of that mirroring nonsense! Some dramatic transitions were unable to render on an iBook, but otherwise things were okay – the Keyspan wireless was accepted without complaint and no power cables would get in the way either.

I struggled with the start of the talk but picked up after the early bird Urban Legend I offered them with. The few whom I later asked said it was okay and that’s usually means it was good enough. Dinesh then gave me a lift to Hup Leong to recover my bicycle and gave me a ride home. I was grateful for the lift and wondered aloud at my tiredness. An hour later in bed I realise I had caught the flu once again from that miserable student (ORY) of mine! Fever, body aches and raspy throat – how could I miss the symptoms?! No wonder I had been so reluctant to do the talk and was sleeping instead of working on the keynote on Saturday morning!

I pulled out of a 80km Sunday bike ride on Sunday and had to miss SAJC’s valiant efforts against a much better ACS (I) rugby team in the ‘A’ Division Police Cup finals at the Padang on Monday. I hate the flu!

After three additional hours of work the previous night and one the next morning, I presented a trimmed-down and more geographical version of the talk to the Freshwater Crab Symposium in NUS on Thursday morning. This time it was a much smoother talk and Keynote accepted all images once again – even threw in an an old map I had just photographed.

So why had Keynote been sulking?