Tomorrow’s Zendogs bicycle ride – Lim Chu Kang cemeteries & Kranji River loop

Tomorrow’s Zendogs bicycle ride explores Lim Chu Kang cemetery roads, will be a touring ride; we will do some part of this route: HV Starbucks – Ghim Moh PCN, Ulu Pandan PCN – Jurong East Ave 1/Road – NTU – LCK/Murai/Ama Keng – Jln Bahtera – Kranji – Sg Kadut – Pang Sua PCN – Bt Batok – Jurong Bicycle Track/lu Pandan PCN – HV.

See route details on Bikely Start times:

  • 0630 – Holland Village Starbucks.
  • 0645 – Ulu Pandan PCN, just after Clementi Road junction

The NEA 3-day weather forecast says of tomorrow, “Thundery showers mainly over southern, eastern and western Singapore in the late morning and early afternoon.” Today brought a mid-morning shower to the Earth Day Coastal Cleanup folk, lets hope for a late morning shower!

I say “some part of this route” as the total distance is 85km, which we will be unable to finish at a touring pace by midday – anyway I’m a bit under the weather and it has been scorching hot. So likely we’ll skip the Jalan Bahtera and LCK Farmway/Road End bits, which I need to explore for ICCS.

For Ivan’s second-only ride with us, there is an exit point at Yew Tee MRT, after Sungei Kadut and before Bukit Batok. Well, any of us can really call a cab from anywhere in Singapore. Easier with foldies but I’ve done that with my (clean) mountain bike too!

You can see from the map there are four blissful stretches:

  1. Ulu Pandan PCN which continues to Jurong PCN
  2. Old Jurong Road (well, let’s see)
  3. Nanyang Crescent (runs adjacent to the Dragon Kiln forest patch which will sadly go)
  4. Pang Sua PCN

This route avoids a few roads which can get busy by mid-morning:

  1. Boon Lay Way and the busier part of Jalan Bahar
  2. Kranji Road
  3. Woodlands Road
  4. Bukit Timah Road – with its roadworks, certainly great to avoid

I will probably make adjustments to link to the Bukit Batok arm of the Ulu Pandan Park Connector. I examine Google’s Street View to decide between say Bukit Batok Road and Bukit Batok West Ave 2 but its best to decide during the ride. Smaller roads can be busy and have less space for cyclists, whereas wide roads with lower Sunday traffic cold be safer.

Whether I will remember this all is another story though. On a Zendog ride, anything goes.

To stay informed of our rides, “like” the Facebook page. I just need that you wear a helmet, have effective front and rear lights, bring enough water and go with the flow. It’s our day to relax and we want to do this safely.

Remembering the twists and turns:

  1. Take the Ulu Pandan PCN across Boon Lay Way and turn out left at Toh Guan before PIE.
    • Follow the Jurong PCN to Jurong East Central,
    • then turn right at the first junction into Jurong East Ave 1,
    • turn right to Juring Town Hall Road,
    • just after the next junction, turn left into Jurong Road.
  2. Jurong Road leads to Jurong West Ave 2
    • Keep on it past Corporation Road and Jalan Boon Lay,
    • It’s now called Jurong West Ave 4
    • Turn right at Pioneer Road North
  3. Turn left into Nanyang Crescent (NTU)
    • Then either turn left to loop NTU with tired riders waiting at the junction of Nanyang Ave
    • or head due north into Nanyang Crescent
    • turn into Nanyang Avenue and reach Jalan Bahar.
  4. Turn left into Muslim Cemetery Path 7
    • Left to 13, right to 12,
    • loop at end into 13, exit by CCK Track 33
    • Turn left in CCK Road
    • Rebound off NSC
    • Turn left to Chinese Cemetery Path 2, left to Path 4, including a 90 degree turn at outer margin
    • Left to CC P36, right to P21,
    • left to Muslim Cemetery Path 17 which loops,
    • Exit to LCK Road
  5. Turn left to Murai Farmway, turn right to Jalan Murai, rejoin LCK?
  6. Right turn to Ama Keng
    • No turn into Sg Gedong
    • No Left to Jalan Bahtera on left (after Neo Tiew Road on right)
  7. LCK Road end, Left to LCK Lane 3 Skip exploration here
  8. Kranji Way, right to Sg Kadut Drive
    • Finally to Choa Chu Kang Way
    • Left to Pang Sua PCN
    • Bail at Yew Tee Primary School (55-60km)?
  9. Cross KJE
    • Turn right (divert from canal) then turn left to Jalan Teck Whye
    • Turn right to CCK Road which becomes Bukit Batok Rd
  10. Turn right into BB West Ave 2
    • Past the CSC and junction with Bt Batok West Ave 3
    • Bukit Batok Central
  11. Turn right at BB MRT into BB Ave 1
    • Left into BB Ave 6
    • Right into BB Street 22
    • Left into BB Industrial Park A
    • Left into Ulu Pandan PCN

We explore the Far West 29 Apr 2012

Normally we breeze past these areas, so tomorrow we'll take a closer look for once. So we're touring. 

See the blog post at Otterman speaks…
Zendogs Far West 29 Apr 2012

Photos from the Far West Tour, 29 Apr 2012

On the ride: Kevin Lim, Kenneth Pinto, Airani S, Lim Cheng Puay, Ivan Chew aka Rambling Librarian, Ong Say Lin, Mary Rose (Mingko) Posa and N. Sivasothi aka Otterman. Runkeeper route: Kevin Lim, Kenneth Pinto

280 photos on Flickr:

034_Zendogs-FarWestTour-29apr2012 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!


So Subway is a bully, but only pays legal costs?

Subway Niche boss: Why I fought US giant,” by Bryna Sim. The Straits Times, 23 Apr 2012. He feared for employees, reputation amid ‘bullying’ tactics

It is a classic David and Goliath tale.

In the version that has just played out here, the ‘David’ is Subway Niche, a home-grown chain of five outlets selling nonya kueh, cakes and pastries, taken to court by American sandwich giant Subway for the use of the word ‘Subway’ in its name.

It has been a bruising four-year battle in court which has drained $300,000 from the savings of Mr Lim Eng Wah, the owner of Subway Niche.

He feared his hard work building up the Subway Niche name would all be lost. He feared for his 20 employees.

He could have just rolled over and let Goliath win, but Mr Lim, who is in his 50s, said he doggedly held on.

Subway’s owner, Florida-based company Doctor’s Associates, was on Wednesday ordered to pay legal costs to Mr Lim, an architect by training.

The thing that kept him going was ‘principle’, he said.

‘It had nothing to do with pride. It was simply not right. A big giant was trying to squash a small fry. I could have changed the name, but why should I give in to a bully just like that?’ he said.

He and his wife, formerly a secretary, set up Subway Niche in 1987, with him as its sole proprietor, and his wife the hand behind its wares.

For 20 years, they had peace. Then, five years ago, there came a ‘cease and desist’ letter from Doctor’s Associates, alleging that Mr Lim had infringed its registered trademark.

Mr Lim recalled being very angry at this. He said: ‘My wife and I had worked hard for so many years and established our business. We didn’t understand why Subway was suddenly doing this to us.’

For the first time in his life, he consulted a lawyer. He denied infringing Subway’s trademark and rejected the American chain’s demands.

Subway then sued to stop him from using the Subway Niche name.

The Subway trademark was registered here in 1989, although its first outlet opened here only in 1996. It said it took legal action when it became aware that Subway Niche also sold sandwiches.

Subway conceded that the Singapore company started selling sandwiches only in 2001, but High Court judge Judith Prakash pointed out that Mr Lim had started selling sandwiches and nonya kueh before Subway registered its trademarks here.

She also ruled that although Subway Niche’s trademark was similar to Subway’s, there was no real evidence that the public was likely to be confused.

Subway’s logo shows the word ‘Subway’ with arrows pointing out on either side of it; Subway Niche’s shows its name and an image of stylised train tracks entering a tunnel.

Mr Lim, who was away on a business trip when the verdict came, returned on Thursday to the good news.

Looking back, he said, the period of the legal battle was financially and emotionally draining. The couple, who have two daughters, aged 27 and 24, had many sleepless nights.

‘We were scared, worried, and angry all at the same time,’ he said, and added that the family felt as though Subway were trying to ‘drain them’.

They were uncertain that victory would be theirs; their lawyer had pegged their chances at just 50 per cent.

At one point, Mr Lim said his wife, fearing for his health and the monetary cost, wanted him to give up the fight and just let the name go.

But he told her: ‘How can we just change a name which everyone here knows, and start again from scratch?’

She never stopped worrying, but she also never once accused him of being stubborn; his daughters also backed him.

Expansion plans for the business were put on the back burner.

But now, things are sweet, and he is making up for lost time: Subway Niche opens its sixth outlet in Raffles City next month.

He said: ‘I’m proud of what we’ve been selling, and I’ve no regrets. I just hope the giant won’t come back.’

The Dream, Part I, in which I climb, see fires and talk about rent control in halting Malay

So there I was on a roof in the hot sun. I had parted ways with some people and was making my way down to the ground floor. I saw a mat in an alcove and guessed it was a prayer mat Muslims in the building used when they came up to pray. There had to be a way down that way and indeed some grilled gates were open and I walked down some stairs.

Then another grill barred my way, for it was padlocked and painted over in thick white enamel paint. A side gate was similarly locked. Some giggling Malay lower primary kids appeared in view, seated at the top of a stairwell. They looked up at me, perched above them with no surprise. I asked “boleh turun?” and they chirruped “Tun!”

I prepared to make the jump (you cannot hesitate) but looked down and saw more kids below me. If I fell, they’d be hurt so I crawled backward to leave. It must have been a school and the teachers who I realised had been there all along, were calm, even though I was an intruder from the roof.

Crawling now, I reached another gap and climbed into a room. I was now perched on a ledge, overlooking a room with a low roof. Two elderly Malay women were there, and they were unsurprised about my presence when I greeted them in Malay.

I started out explaining I was passing through in halting Malay, then chatted with them for a long time as they went about their chores, instead of leaving. I realized I was in an old building with many interesting tenants in various units.

They explained it was a rent-controlled building and I responded with how small shops elsewhere were giving way to large franchise outlets who could afford the escalating rent. This was all conducted in my roundabout Malay (e. g. “kedai-kedai yang kechil tu, dah hilang”) and at times I’d pause to think of the words. They listened intently as if needing to cope with my odd sentence construction but then would nod and respond.

As we talked about old shops, at the corner of my eye I saw roof tiles like those of my old school (St. Andrew’s) – I was still perched on some grill in the low-roofed room, on way out of the building.

At one point, I struggled to recall the word for “eye” and they chipped in with other words, none of which was “mata”.

I saw fires at specific units in similar buildings and another one flared up as we spoke. They said there were many fires in the area during lunch time. I explained about “api-api” being a conspiracy to drive out rent-controlled tenants. I said my old friend (“kawan lama saya”) Lutfi had told me as much about the area, which was apparently around Haji Lane (this is all a dream in case you googled your way here). Apparently they’d set fires when tenants were out for lunch. As this was explained, the few people fleeing the fire disappeared and I only saw thick black smoke and some orange flames. A fire in a lower unit petered out as I watched.

I now began translating my broken Malay into more comprehensive English for the grown up son, who had appeared on my right near a window. He was also unsurprised by my presence, now by a window grill. He nodded in serious agreement at my remarks and I said, “I must blog this”, to which he replied, “please do”.

As I was about to leave by climbing out the window but I realised I was somehow barefoot and reached to take my shoes. I saw a slipper with a badge of St. Andrew’s on it, so asked about the school the children went to.

A sister of the man who went into shower (which had appeared) explained there were two lads, one who went to St. Andrew’s but the other to Raffles Institution (“oh so opposites,” I remarked) . She talked about the university degrees they had done and I realised she was an NUS alumni too. I asked “which fac?” and she mumbled her reply (thought I heard MBA) but was more animated about her run she had just returned from. She was in a tracksuit and I knew she was a policewoman, and jubilant about beating her brother’s timing for the run. She was waiting to announce this to him after he came out of the shower partition (I could hear water splashing). I complimented her about her timing.

The older women had faded out and I now left, climbing out the window.

…end of Part I.

Part II. In which I meet Tommy Tan and talk about Biolympics, Raffles Bulletin of Zoology and Photoplates (he will be away), meet an A*STAR team trying to shred loads of documents, looming for Ann Yik, realise I am in my old school (now a heritage building) and see people enjoying the setting sun in the quadrangle. Someone talks to me about a Chemistry mentor I had blogged about whose face I can’t recall (makes sense, I had no chemistry mentors), called “Tan Yit Ping”. She calls him “Tampines” and they are lobbying to get him nominated to a Chemistry Academy (he had not supervised students directly) when he passed away. On the strength of testimonies from former students like mine, they thought they might get him admitted.

This was all typed with one finger while I lay on bed, using the WordPress iPhone app. A lovely deep afternoon sleep from 2-6pm after a hectic week.

Pledge your Act of Green at

A planet in trouble needs us. Volunteers in the natural history community who are doing something for the public or individuals concerned about the environment making an effort in your daily life, you can easily fill this in to add to the billion acts of green pledged.

No effort is too small and we will encourage others to take that first step.

As I filled this in, I wondered, what else could I be doing, how could I amplify my actions and strategise to be more effective?

“I Think, I Care, I Act – reflections from 15 years of battling marine trash in Singapore”

At 2pm today, I will give a talk in in conjunction with the second Youth for Environment Day (YED) for MOE schools. The talk will be held at one of four key satellite schools, ACS (Independent). In attendance will be some 400 students from participating schools.

The actual date of YED is Earth Day which is on 22 April 2012.

This is one of four events which Raffles Museum Toddycats are marking Earth Day with. Maxine Mowe, recovered from her sore thoat to speak at her alma mater on Wednesday. Jocelyne Sze will speak at Queenstown Primary on Monday and next Saturday is the Earth Day Cleanup at Tanah Merah.

I’ll have to sort out a new narrative for this talk in the morning. More emphasis on action in our daily life, for example, as that will tie in neatly to their workshops happening after the talk. Ria Tan of WildSingapore pointed them my way after her Green Drinks talk.

“I Think, I Care, I Act – reflections from 15 years of battling marine trash in Singapore”

N. Sivasothi aka Otterman
International Coastal Cleanup Singapore

Abstract – biologist N. Sivasothi aka Otterman fell in love with the shores of Singapore which are home to amazing creatures like horseshoe crabs, mudskippers, monitor lizards, crocodiles, otters, turtles and dolphins. The trash on the shore was shocking and concerned, he began coordinating the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore.

Over a decade later with a dedicated team and the efforts of some 4,000 volunteers from more than 60 organisations and schools, the source of the problem is now also fought in our homes – the biggest culprit is single use disposable plastic and a lack of awareness about the impact of our lifestyle on every corner of this precious earth. “

The Intern bugs me about ICCS

The Intern, who is also the Manpower Captain for the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore gets to ask, “what happened to the deadline?!”


Photo on 2012-04-19 at 21.41

Soon I shall be a free man, will get ICCS operations up and running and can torment my ICCS Captains.

For now, though, I will lay low.

Meanwhile, Maxine Mowe did a great job of the ICCS Marine Life and Marine Trash talk at CHIJ Toa Payoh, her alma mater. It as a great idea to ask her to do it, while I was at the department retreat. So much better for the girls to see one of their own.

On Monday, The Intern speaks at Queenstown Primary about the same and I do the honours at a Youth for Environment Day event for a bunch of schools hosted by ACS(I) tomorrow.

Zendogs ride to Pengerang, 15 Apr 2012

A 60km ride from Tanjung Pelepih through Kampung Jawa Laut, Kampung Teluk Ampang, Kampung Sungei Buntu, Sungei Rengit (lunch point), and Teluk Ramunia [Runkeeper].

On the ride: Airani S, Amand Tan, Meryl Theng, Ong Say Lin, John Larkin, Thomas O’Dell, Catherine Chew, Teh Kim Yew & Chia Xierong, Andy Dinesh, Kenneth PInto, Kevin Lim and N. Sivasothi.

My students, Amanda and Meryl tackle their first long ride successfully. John Larkin revives old spirits to overcome the heat and will go back to Australia to revive his cycling ways.

We met up with roadies at Sungei Rengit for lunch, they touched Desaru before heading back. We will try that some time in the future, but not the same day!

See John Larkin’s blog post – “Zendogs ride in Malaysia

Photos on Flickr:

“Love of my life” (Queen)

Queen was an extraordinary band, and at Live Aid on 13 Jul 1985, amidst an array of star performers, they created their finest moment and the 72,000 Wembley audience sang, clapped and cheered with them throughout their 20 minutes.

Their set featured six of their songs in an almost seamless medley: Bohemian Rhapsody, Radio Ga Ga, Hammer to Fall, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, We Will Rock You, We Are the Champions. Everyone realised that the unlikely Queen had stolen the show!

"Queen, their finest moment at Live Aid," by Peter Stanford. The Telegraph, 24 Sep 2011. Queen stole the show in front of a worldwide audience of two billion at Live Aid. Link

Queen would go on to perform the momentus Wembley concert in 1986. The videos are on YouTube and DVD and in this clip they are closing against Brian May's guitar rendition of "God Save The Queen" which the British audience sings to.

Brian May, an astrophysicist and animal rights campaigner, later plays "God Save The Queen" from the roof of Buckingham Palace for QE2's golden jubilee in 2002:

But it wasn't all electric guitar, here Brian coaxes beautiful tones with the mercurial Freddy at Queen's Wembley concert, playing "Love of My Life" as they always did together at concerts.

Freddie Mercury died in 1991. The loss was felt worldwide and back here in Singapore, at the Department of Zoology in NUS, grad student Christine Tan and myself turned up in black to mourn our loss. 

Brian May, who has said Freddie is in his thoughts every day, would dedicate "Love of My Life" to his now deceased lead singer in concerts around the world.

In this instance, he dedicates the song to Freddie's mum, present that night. May and the audience sing the song together, as they used to with Freddie:

In the comments, a fan who must miss Freddie very much, says, “I’m a grown man. Why am I crying? :O