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Walking the Southern Ridges Trail

June 19th, 2009

After taking a day to recover from the 40-km cycling journey, I decided to try out the Southern Ridges trail together with Dong Wei and Kok Hong.

It’s basically this trail that extends from West Coast Park to Harbourfront, passing through a number of parks and walks. National Parks Board states the the trail stretches for 9-km, but measurements by others put the total walking distance to be almost 15-km.

Normally people would start from Harbourfront to West Coast, but we decided to do it the other way because (1) West Coast Park was nearer to our homes, and (2) ending at Harbourfront, we can reward ourselves at VivoCity which is just right there.

So, here’s a visual tour of the journey.

West Coast Park

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We started off from West Coast Park, after having lunch there (no prizes for guessing where). From there, it took some crossing of roads before we arrived at the nearby Clementi Woods Park.

Clementi Woods Park

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Clementi Woods Park is this small park that goes uphill, right between West Coast Road (at the bottom) and NUS (at the top). We went up and NUS appeared directly in front of us.

National University of Singapore

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It’s quite strange why the trail directs us to cut straight through NUS, along Kent Ridge Road, but I guess it’s the fastest way to Science Park. Apparently it’s part of the Kent Ridge Heritage Trail.

Science Park II (Or near it, at least)

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We took a wrong turn after emerging from Kent Ridge Road, so instead of heading towards Science Park I and going through it, we ended up passing along Science Park II through South Buona Vista Road. It’s this really sad road that winds through some forested area.

Kent Ridge Park

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Reaching Kent Ridge Park, we had a climb up a really steep hill. The park has also adopted some Army theme, with some tanks lying around. Quite a deserted place.

Canopy Walk

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The Canopy Walk trail links Kent Ridge Park with Hort Park, and provides a very impressive view of the surroundings.

HortPark

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HortPark is this gardening area which looks pretty new. I’m not too sure what else to make of it.

Floral Walk

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Between HortPark and Alexandra Arch, is this little path with a few different species of flowers along the side. Supposed to be some sort of a ‘floral walk’, but it’s nothing impressive.

Alexandra Arch

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This bridge has always caught my eye whenever my Dad drives past it. The design is somewhat interesting, but the bridge isn’t.

Forest Walk

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Probably one of the best parts of the trail, it’s a 1.3-km walk on a metal bridge that links through the forest. It offers quite a nice bird’s eye view of the surrounding greenery.

Hilltop Walk / Telok Blangah Hill Park

The Forest Walk ends on Telok Blangah Hill which has a park on it. Nothing significant. In fact, I didn’t even realise that it was a landmark of the trail so I didn’t take any photos. Just pavement, roads, and forest. Quite a few joggers in the park.

Henderson Waves

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The highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore, it connects Mount Faber and Telok Blangah Hill. Excellent design and offered good views at… the roads and cars below. Uh. But it’s still good. It just is.

Faber Trail / Mount Faber Park

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Well, it’s Mount Faber. So, of course it’s nice. Probably one of the best places to view the Singapore landscape from. But it’s an uphill climb, so you have to work out to be rewarded. At the peak, there are viewing platforms with binoculars where you can enjoy views of southern Singapore and neighboring islands.

Marang Trail

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The finale of the Southern Ridges trail, which goes down Mount Faber, through a forest area with no lights. Hence the caution.

Harbourfront

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Oh yeah. Oh, oh, yeah. It ends!

The whole journey took about 3.5 hours. Not too long actually, so you won’t really be that tired. We went on to VivoCity, but that’s another story altogether.


Section Chalet

June 18th, 2009

After having an eight-weeks chalet at Pulau Tekong, my section mates (ie. bunk mates) weren’t satisfied enough so we extended our stay together with a chalet at East Coast Park two days ago.

In between playing soccer at the futsal court at East Coast at the blistering rate of $90/hr, playing at a LAN shop nearby and simply doing silly things on the Wii, we went cycling.

And then we decided to go on a little adventure through the night.

Our journey would first take us through the stretch of East Coast Park, which was over 6km long from where we were.

And then we took the park connector linking Changi Beack Park and East Coast Park, stretching along Changi Airport for over 10km.

Which brings us to our first destination. The SAF Ferry Terminal (which bought us to Tekong). We just wanted to have a last laugh look at it. Because, y’know, to put away our bad memories of it.

Passing through Changi Park and Changi Village, I bought my friends to Old Changi Hospital because they haven’t been there. I realised that visiting a supposedly-haunted place for the second time really wears off the novelty of the idea, and I felt like sleeping when I came out.

We proceeded down Loyang Avenue to Tampines, turned into Simei, then Tenah Merah before reaching Bedok and finally East Coast Park. That stretch was about 16km of non-stop cycling through neighbourhoods, but traffic lights really disrupts your momentum.

We reached back the chalet at 7.30am, clocking in 5 hours of cycling. Distance cycled in total comes to about 40km.


Hello, Mainland Singapore

June 12th, 2009

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAH.

Holy crap there’s actually a new entry on this blog and you’re reading it!

Well, I’m through with Basic Military Training and now am promoted to a Private from a Recruit. That’s almost like saying I went from a maggot to a maggot, but it’s the painful truth.

I have to cater this blog for the larger audience of non-NS personnel, so I have to spell out every single acronym. And in the army, the language is half acronyms and half vulgarities.

So I can’t say BMT. Neither can I say OCS. Or SISPEC. Or BCCT. Or IFC. Or SOC. OTOT. RO. IA. UO. IPPT. CDO. COS. CDS. DI. OC. CO.CSM. FS. CCI. MO. PC. PS. PT. CPT. IST. FAD. LBV. FBO. SBO. RCK. LAW. BAC. BIC. DB. FFI. IMT. OOT.

And I have gained the highly respectable and terrifying name of “milo”. Because SAF decided that everyone’s name should be printed with the initials of the chinese name, followed by the surname. Which resulted in the creation of MY LOW, as in my case.

But really, army hasn’t been that easy. Both physically and mentally.

Which is why having my Passing Out Parade yesterday was one of the happiest moments in my life recently. Um, clearly I haven’t had many happy moments.

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Basic Military Training by itself, although supposedly being basic, is somewhat difficult to get through. And I dare say, quite impossible to get through without friends.

And that’s why I’m extremely glad to have some of the best people I could ever have in my platoon and bunk.

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These are 50 people who refused to give up. We were the only platoon without a single recruit who dropped out of course!

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And these are the guys who mess up the bunk I have to clean every damn day. I can’t believe we are still organising a chalet over the next week even though we have lived with each other for 8 weeks in another chalet already.

Well, that’s that. Army. There’s so much to say and so much I can’t say. Official Secrets Act, pfft.


Nothing Much To See Here, Move Along

May 23rd, 2009

I found it far easier to neglect this blog, than to try to think of something interesting to say here.

Under a whole bunch of complex laws and regulations that has loopholes everywhere, it’s best not to comment on the life I live through every week from Monday to Friday.

And there’s really so much that happens on Saturday and Sunday, so I’m pretty much contentless here.

I’ll think of something. Eventually.

Meanwhile, a request from Sujay. He wants this up here, and I thought that it makes for a good filler.

postermedium


Just Another Day in Paradise

May 1st, 2009

At the place I was raised, we were given numbers. Mine was Q2403.

We stayed on an Island. Highly restricted and classified area. The weather seemed to be designed to work against you. The local reports put the official measured temperature of an average at 35.3 degrees centigrade, at least more than 2 degrees higher than mainland. You could take out your own digital clinical thermometer, leave it out in the hot sun and it would register over 39 degrees. It was crazy.

We were monitored 17 hours a day, and every hour we have to account for everybody’s presence. The system seemed to take after Alcatraz’s.

And then we were force fed water in a gracious manner.We are more likely to die from a bird pecking out our eye balls than a heat injury because of the overwhelming hydration we get.

Mornings feel like days. Days feel like weeks. Weeks feel like months. It would almost appear that humanity has unlocked the secrets of the time machine on The Island. If I were to spend the rest of my life on The Island, I may well have considered myself living through 4 lifetimes.

And at the end of the day, you wonder to yourself: Just how the hell does every guy make it through this?

We have no rights. We have no say. But we long to be free one day.


So I’ll See You

April 13th, 2009

Okay, 1 day left and I’ll be taking a boat ride to The Island.

It’s like Lost, except you don’t have Kate and Juliet. Nobody cares about Sun.

So, I won’t have much of a civilian life for the next 9 weeks or so, at least until I pass out from Pulau Tekong in June.

And I don’t know what to expect.

I’ve been sick for the past 3 weeks, ever since the Mersing trip. I came back with flu, which evolved and gave me a sore throat and coughs, and then the runny nose cleared with phlegm piling up in my throat, and then the sore throat and phlegm cleared with runny nose left, and now the phlegm is back. It’s terrible to go from one medication to another and back. And today I got so desperate to get well for NS that I visited the doctor and came back with 5 different types of medications, all of which I take after every meal.

If being social in NS fails, then please entertain my SMSes. I would really appreciate it.

As a farewell gift, I present to you my new website design. Hate it or love it, you gotta deal with it. I didn’t really want all my entries to be staring at you whenever you visit my blog, so now I have MYSELF staring at you. So you won’t notice the lack of updates in the entries.

And then I realised I have something to be happy about.

This may sound a little silly but I have achieved financial independence over the past few months. I’ve earned enough to cover for my own expenses and I don’t have to feel guilty again to have my Dad to buy me stuffs. And I’ll be pouring most of my savings into investments and let it sit there for the next 2 years. The economy’s bad and all, but with stocks like Citibank priced at less than my lunch, it’s worth a try. And I think we’re past the low-point, so I believe the only way things will progress is to improve.

Hmm… and, uh, I did a little update to my About page. Check it out.

So I’ll see you then. Whenever I see you.


New Design in Progress

April 12th, 2009

I’ve been working on a new layout design for my website for the past day or two, actually.

It will be the 5th theme this website has been through, but it will be very different from the rest.

Normally, I’d aim to have content (blog entries) delivered conveniently. That is, of course, by putting it on the front page and people immediately see it when the page loads.

But… that wouldn’t really work as I enlist for NS, when the frequency of my entries would be something like once a week.

So instead, of trying to deliver content, I’ll have something else on the main page…

Hmm. Wait for it.


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