Sunday, October 26, 2008

Little India in Singapore

It's funny how I've lived here all my live, and I thought I have exeprienced all the four main dominant cultures here in Singapore - Chinese, Indian, Malay, Eurasian - but Saturday night made me realise how wrong I was.

I can't say for all Singaporeans, but for most of us, being in a multi racial country means you get to taste food from all cultures.Which is great for us because we love to eat! It's not difficult being able to tell a Singaporean Chinese from the others. There was this joke about a Singaporean being in a restaurant.

"Sir, what would you like for your dessert?" Asks the waiter as he clears the unfinished plate from the main course.

The Singaporean touches his bulging tummy, and replies as he shakes his head, "Oh no no, I am too full."

"But this is part of your dinner set meal, Sir." The waiter reminds.

"OF COURSE! Bring it in!" Retorts the Singaporean.

Singaporeans.. well, we love our food. That's why it's called the Food Paradise here.

Joke aside, tasting a culture doesn't mean living the culture. And I had the priviledge to do that just Saturday night. Deepavali, the Indian Festive, like Chinese New Year for the Chinese, or Christmas for the French and English, if I could strike such a comparison, falls on the coming Monday. Since it's the Festival of Lights, it wasn't surprising that they had lit up the whole of Little India for this occasion.

One main thing I took away from all this: The Indians are such great craftsmen! Here are some pictures from the walk through Little India.

This is a typical sweet shop. A variety of cakes, and pastries are given to friends and relatives on Deepavali who come to visit. It's very similar to Chinese New Year actually. Julien tried Gulab Jamun here. It gave him stomach discomforts after. Not because it was bad or anything. It was just.... too sweet.

These shoes were all hand made. Unfortunately they came only in kid's size. The beads here were hand sewn individually.

These flower garlands are made by tying the flowers together with cord. I wonder how many flowers are used to make just one, and how long it might take too.

Julien pouting for the camera. What a night.

We came across this lamp shop there and they had the most amazing creations! Julien had picked me up and slung me across his shoulders slauntering away while I was still haggering with the stall owner for a discount.

A beautiful hand crafted side table or bed table. Just one of the many beautiful things we saw at the furniture shop. There was another item that was so intelligently made in my opinion. The shop owner showed us these stacks of what looked like wood crafted plate holders. I had thought to myself I would never pay that kind of amount for just wood that you put your plates of food on. Then he yanked at some part of that flat wood and that 2D plate like looking thing became a 3D fruit basket!!! Unfortunately, we were too amazed to remember to take a picture of that item.

Julien was more interested in the "other" furniture.

When or if you come to Singapore, do make time to visit an Indian temple. It is a work of art! These statues are carefully and painstakingly hand carved from stone. After which, they would be individually painted. That's why it usually takes a few years to build one temple like that. Each statue represents a deity that they worship. And yes, there are MANY.

We decided to take a short break before we headed to Mustafa Centre - a 24 hour mall that sells anything and everything that you can think of. I kid you not. It's so huge we got lost a couple of times.

That's it for now. Salut!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

They found my ancestor!!

Thanks to Michel for finding this article on AFP. La version française est disponible plus bas.

Japanese team finds 'yeti footprints' in Nepal
Mon Oct 20, 8:58 am ET
AFP/HO – An undated handout picture from Yeti Project Japan, received on October 20, 2008, shows what is alleged …

KATHMANDU (AFP) – A team of Japanese adventurers say they have discovered footprints they believe were made by the legendary yeti said to roam the Himalayan regions of Nepal and Tibet.
"The footprints were about 20 centimetres (eight inches) long and looked like a human's," Yoshiteru Takahashi, the leader of the Yeti Project Japan, told AFP in Kathmandu on Monday.
Takahashi was speaking after he returned with his seven-member team from their third attempt to track down the half-man-half-ape, tales of which have gripped the imaginations of Western adventurers and mountaineers for decades.
Despite spending 42 days on Dhaulagiri IV -- a 7,661-metre (25,135-foot) peak where they say they have seen traces of yetis in the past -- the team failed in their prime objective of capturing one on film.
But Takahashi said the footprints were proof enough.
"Myself and other team members have been coming to the Himalayas for years and we can recognise bear, deer, wolf and snow leopard prints and it was none of those," he said.
"We remain convinced it is real. The footprints and the stories the local tell make us sure that it is not imaginary," he added.
Photographs of the prints have been posted on the expedition's website,

The team had set out nine motion-sensitive cameras in an area where Takahashi saw what he thought was a yeti during a previous expedition in 2003.
"It was about 200 metres away in silhouette. It was walking on two legs like a human and looked about 150 centimetres tall," said Takahashi.
Despite their lack of success this time, the team plans to continue the quest.
"We will come back as soon as we can, and we will keep coming back until we get the yeti on film," said Takahashi.

If you find any information about Tinkerbell being spotted please let us know!

Des Japonais affirment avoir trouvé des empreintes du yéti dans l'Himalaya
2008-10-21 09:03:07
Une équipe d'aventuriers japonais a affirmé lundi avoir découvert des empreintes de pas attribuées au mythique yéti qui rôderait dans les montagnes de l'Himalaya entre le Népal et le Tibet.
"Les empreintes mesuraient environ 20 centimètres de long et ressemblaient à celles d'un être humain", a déclaré à l'AFP à Katmandou Yoshiteru Takahashi, chef du Programme Yéti du Japon.
M. Takahashi était de retour avec ses sept comparses de leur troisième mission longue de 42 jours sur le Dhaulagiri IV (7.661 mètres d'altitude) à la recherche de la légendaire créature. Ils n'ont cependant pas réussi à filmer le yéti, ce qui était normalement leur objectif.
"Nous nous rendons dans l'Himalaya depuis des années et nous sommes capables de reconnaître des empreintes d'ours, de daim, de loup ou de léopard des neiges et ce que nous avons vu n'était rien de toute cela", a assuré le Japonais.
Cette bête, mi-homme, mi-singe, excite depuis des décennies l'imaginaire d'aventuriers étrangers, surtout occidentaux: en décembre dernier une équipe de télévision américaine était aussi redescendue des pentes de l'Everest, entre le Népal et le Tibet, en annonçant avoir trouvé des traces de pas du yéti.
"Nous restons convaincus qu'il existe. Grâce aux empreintes et aux histoires que les habitants nous racontent, nous sommes sûrs que ce n'est pas de l'imagination", a insisté M. Takahashi.
L'alpiniste Reinhold Messner, qui a gravi à de nombreuses reprises des sommets de l'Himalaya et a cru en 1986 avoir aperçu la bête, a conclu en 1998 dans son livre "Ma quête du yéti" que l'animal n'existait que dans l'imagination des gens qui le confondent avec l'ours brun de l'Himalaya.

Si vous trouvez des infos sur la Fée Clochette ayant été aperçue, faites suivre!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Welcome to the Ch'tis

Slow week end for us. Ting is not feeling very well and the medication she is taking is making her kind of stoned... She didn't take it on Sunday thankfully

We went to the cinema Friday night to see the best film of the century, I'm not kidding. The title is "Welcome to the sticks".
It did the most entries of all films ever in France. It's produced by this French humorist called Danny Boon. Oh, and the title in French is "Bienvenue chez les ch'tis".
I was surprised to see that the cinema wasn't completely empty, and no, not only French people. I was even more surprised that people (Ting and Rachel her sister) had fun. They were laughing for some of the jokes. Of course the subtitles couldn't render the accent at all, and when they spoke about "les meubles sh'est les shiens" "Les chiens?!!", "Non, les shiens, pas les kiens"... The subtitles were on about something about fish and the offish and fishcats.... I was too busy laughing to really read it all. And only 3 of us in the theatre were laughing... At least it showed these Singaporeans that French can make good films, and not necessarily full of naked women (that's why most teenagers see French films in Singapore: because you usually get to see at least some tits... But the really good scenes are always censored). They even censored some of the scenes in the ch'tis.

That was for Friday night.

Saturday we went to the Mandarin Oriental, the hotel which is going to hold our wedding! I put some pictures in Picassa. This one is the main room, called the "Garden Suite".

Then dinner at a Brazilian restaurant called "Carnivore" in Chijmes. Free flow of meet all night long. I thought my belly was going to explode when I left the table. I was feeling sick all night after. On Ting's side, she was better off because her jaw started hurting quite soon preventing her from over eating. She carried me home...

As for today, the Singaporeans already know it rained all day long... So Ting and I stayed home did some house work. While Ting was ironing I was hoovering and cleaning the bathroom, really a fun day... But as my beloved was saying in her last post, if you enjoy doing your chores, they're not chores anymore, and I did almost enjoy myself as I was sweeping all the dust from the floor. Seriously, I can't wait to get a maid...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Women Can Enjoy Ironing

Hi Everyone!!

I know, I know, I am a little late on posting my first blog. But better late than never.

I'm actually on medical leave today. I have been falling sick on and off ever since we moved here. So today's one of those days again, and I thought why not contribute to the post.

Moving is... not difficult, but neither is it easy. It took us a total of about a month to really settle in and get our furniture where we want them to be. It's finally a place we can proudly call home, for now, and we love it!!! It does look very different from how it was initially. Many changes we had to go through as well. For me personally, I had to get adjusted to being more independent. We did our own washing and ironing, and I never knew ironing could be this back breaking! I will confess that I have never had to really do my own ironing for the longest time, since we had a maid back home. The only ironing I really did was way back in school during Home Economics Class, where they taught girls how to cook, sew, iron, and do the housework. (For our French readers, yes, this curricular does exist in school as a subject. )

So, having said that, believe it or not, the first time I ironed Julien's shirt, I made a bad choice of selecting his Spark Taylor shirt first. For many who don't know about his Spark Taylor shirts, they crease too easily and I heard even the professionals whom he sends his shirts to be ironed told him that this particular make of shirts are a challenge. I didn't know, and therefore I took 30mins to iron just that one shirt.

I have since improved. grin.

Thinking back on this reminds me of how sweet Julien was one weekend to offer to help me iron some t-shirts (after I had finished ironing the work shirts of course), and through just watching him, I learnt that you can choose to have fun with something as simple as ironing by just enjoying the process. This is what I mean... Enjoy!

Friday, October 3, 2008

The steamboat

Last Sunday we had lunch in the Beaulieu House, we were thinking of having our wedding there... But changed our minds. Not that the food is bad, but it's on the other side of the world in Singapore kilometres.

You must be wondering how good the steamboat was...

It was good. Here's a picture of what it is:

For the French it's close to a "fondue bourguignonne", but without oil and less meat but seafood instead. I think they call it "fondue chinoise" in France, how original! Then again "bateau à vapeur" sounds kind of weird.

The restaurant is in the North of Singapore, in a area called called "Sembawang". It's like Lille or Dunkerque except it's only 20 mins away from the centre, but the beach and the water are dirty just like the north of France if it were 30° all year round there... See how beautiful it is...

On the other side you see Malaysia... with the police making sure no Malysian is swimming illegally to Singapore.

Sunday afternoon fishing a catching crabs for a good meal, or a restaurant...

... or enjoying the view

That was our wonderful Sunday afternoon in Singapore. We went home after to watch the Grand Prix which I'm sure you all followed with great attention and had a good view of Singapore skyline... People here are very proud of it, and all the news papers all week were full of it, and of the financial crisis. No wars, no poverty, no violence though... as if there was nothing appart from money around the world; or is there?