Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Light and darkness@Orchard

That's the boulevard along Orchard Road on Christmas day before the sun went down. By then, the crowd was already quite thick. It wasn't so thick that we couldn't make our way along the boulevard though. Then again, this spot was outside the main party area which started along the stretch of road fronting Ngee Ann City. When we reached the Paragon, where the crowd was the thickest and where the stage for the night's performances was, we quickly got off the road onto the pavement and made our way towards Orchard MRT station. We weren't waiting for the dancing to begin.

When the sun had set, the lights all along Orchard Road came on to give the place a genuine party atmosphere. I believe the lights stretched from the Dhoby Ghaut MRT station at one end of Orchard Road to Tanglin at the other end. By then, the road was suitably filled with people from all over. I could see Chinese, Indians, Caucasians, and others that I suspect were China Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, India Indians, etc., all enjoying the occasion. There were gigantic and powerful loudspeakers at strategic spots along the road, blaring out the sounds and music for the night. Although I left before the party began, I got a taste of things to come when the artists rehearsed their songs 'live' through these very same speakers. Awesome...the speakers, I mean.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Peace and the Pigeon

While we were making our way down Orchard Road among the many floats on display, we heard somebody excitedly calling her daughter to quickly stand in place to have her picture taken with the pigeon. A pigeon? On a noisy and crowded Orchard Road? It must have lost its way or something. But we realised soon enough that she was referring to a float with a huge Dove - that symbol of peace.

No wonder peace is not universal, when people so readily mistaken a dove for a pigeon, and the mistake is passed on to the younger generation. ;=)

Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas Party @ Orchard

Last evening, after Church service, I accompanied my wife and son down to Singapore's Orchard Road to have a look-see-experience of the Christmas party that evening. Both of us really hate crowds, and my son was pining for his computer games rather than a walk down the busiest road in town where cars are not allowed today. But we went anyway.

The last time I was down there on such an occasion must be 15 years ago. I remember vividly accompanying my team mates in a diploma course I was pursuing then down to Orchard Road. The toughest project that I have ever worked on with them for the last couple of months was completed and it seemed the right time to unwind. There was a similar party on that night and I thoroughly enjoyed myself then.

This time around, it was more subdued, but nevertheless enjoyable as we soaked in the sights. The sound hadn't really started then as the party was scheduled to start only at 8pm. We were there at 6pm. But there was enough to see. The picture on the right shows the tallest Christmas tree along the road that day, and it is situated just in front of Paragon Shopping Centre. This is also the first time my son was walking down a car-less Orchard Road during Christmas. We had previously avoided the place because of the crowds - and he was still young. We walked from Somerset MRT towards Tangs, weaved between and among the crowd, had an ice-cream each with a pepper-flavoured taiwan sausage thrown in for my son, took some pictures with my sub-compact 4 megapixel digital camera, and exited at the Orchard MRT station at about 7.30pm, well before the party started, and headed home.

Large and noisy parties weren't our cup of tea. It was enough to have had a taste of the evening's events. Besides, my son was happy that he was going home to his beloved computer.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Rail Travel

The train ride up to Malacca was quite pleasant and comfortable. Maybe its because we went first class, where the seats are quite big with a lot of leg room. There is ample space to store our luggage and we were off soon enough, and on time, without too much of a wait. The only thing about travelling by train is you need to be quite energetic when you use the washroom/toilet - especially when it is in motion. (Actually you don't have a choice as the washroom/toilets are NOT available for use when the train stops at any station). That's because the cabin keeps swaying from side to side so you need to make sure that you do not sway too much with it. Otherwise the room will be a mess with you know what, and its not due to reasons arising from constipation or something similar.

Unlike older locomotives, present KTMB train runs on petrol (I think), so you don't have to contend with smoke at all. All cabins / cars are air-conditioned, so it is pretty clean. That also keeps the noise to a tolerable level as the metal rolls on the rail. Overall, I had an enjoyable rail journey up the lower half of the Malay Peninsula. I wouldn't mind going further next.