Have a Break…and Take a Nap – Bangkok, Thailand Trip #1a

January 30, 2010 at 10:00 am | Posted in itchy backside | Leave a comment
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Last October to November was a crazy period for Itchyfingers, juggling few projects at the same time. So when all deadlines were settled, I was dying for a break. With not enough time for a longer trip and do research to new destinations, Itchyfingers decided to head to Bangkok again.

With the bad experience I had on our last trip (bed bugs!), Itchyfingers decided to switch hotel instead of sticking to the same ones we stayed during our previous two trips. I was given the task of looking for new hotels this time. Having watched on tv a travel show from Taiwan, we decided to try out this backpackers’ place. It has a very interesting name – Take A Nap! That’s right, the name of the budget hotel is called “Take A Nap”. Cool right?

The reason why Itchyfingers were attracted to the place was because the rooms were all furnished with a different theme. Of course this is not a new idea, as many other boutique hotels (Singapore has such hotels too!) have done the same thing to their rooms too, some of them were even designed by big names. They were very beautiful but to stay a night in such a room will burn a big hole in our pockets. So when we saw on the show that a budget backpackers’ hotel in Bangkok has such interesting rooms, we were already thinking of staying there on our future trip.

The dates we wanted were almost fully booked. In the end, we had to split our stay between this hotel and another budget hotel near Sukhumvit, where we were more familiar with.

This room had one wall with animal design…

The other wall was just plain…there was no wardrobe, just hangers…Er,
what’s the fan for? No air-conditioner? No, there was air-con, but it was
just not cool enough…hahaha…

This one had musical theme

Behind the door was this rate sheet to the different day tours you could
book with the hotel. Itchyfingers were tempted to book one of them but
in the end we did it in our own way, which will be posted shortly…

From the corridor, outside the lift. Very tempted to take a peep into the room
while they were doing cleaning…hahah…

View from the other angle

Come and take a nap!

Also see related post:
>  Sleepless in Siam – Bangkok, Thailand Trip #2


A Retrospective of 100 Singapore Icons

January 27, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Posted in itchy mouth | 2 Comments
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Do you know why the Singapore flag is in red and white and why the crescent and stars? Some of us may recall reading it on school textbooks when we were young. But if you had forgotten about it, take some time to visit the exhibition outside the National Library.

Titled, 100 ICONS, the exhibtion is a retrospective of some Singapore’s
most widely seen and recognised visual icons

“The Singapore flag was unveiled on 3 December 1959, together with the
state crest and the national anthem…Upon Singapore’s independence in
1965, it was adopted as Singapore’s national flag.”

The Lion Head “was introduced in 1986 as the Government wanted an
alternative symbol that people and organisations could use to express
their loyalty and commitment to the nation.” Designed by Mr Michael
Lee, the Lion Head “symbolises courage, strength and excellence”, with
the same red and white as on the National Flag. The five partings on the
mane “represents the same five ideals embodied in the five stars of the
National Flag, namely democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality”
It still looks pretty modern today.. :p

“The Merlion was first designed as an emblem for the Singapore Tourism
Board (STB) in 1964 – the lion head with a fish body resting on a crest of
waves quickly became Singapore’s icon to the rest of the world. Designed
by Mr Fraser Brunner, the lion head represents the lion spotted by Prince
Sang Nila Utama when he rediscovered Singapura in 11 AD…The fish tail
of the Merlion symbolises the ancient city of Temasek (meaning ‘sea’ in
Javanese) by which Singapore was known before the Prince named it
‘Singapura’ (meaning ‘lion’ [singa] ‘city’ [pura] in Sanskrit), and represents
Singapore’s humble beginning as a fishing village.” This logo really looks
dated to me… :p

Singa the lion made this first appearance as mascot for the National
Courtesy Campaign in 1982. In 2009, he got a make-over – finally with
shorts to protect his modesty… :p I prefer the old Singa, he looked
friendlier, though I agree he should have put on some pants…

The downward pointing whiskers don’t make the new Singa look happy…
and he looked like he’s got a swollen toe on his left foot... 😀

The old HDB logo used from 1960-1980

The current logo, retains the symbol of the home and square frame “because
of  their strong identity.”

PUB’s current logo since 2005, “embodies a new vision and mission to
provide ‘Water for All’ by calling on all Singaporeans to play their part to
use water wisely.”

The first PUB logo (left) was used from 1963 – 1976. In 1976, the logo (centre)
“was redesigned to better reflect the modern mindset of Singapore.”  The one
at the right was used from 2001

Besides government bodies’ logos, there were also many old, familiar household brands, which to me, were the more fun ones to look at… :p

Axe Brand Medicated Oil! This was the logo in 1928! In those days, the axe
was a must-have household item. Choosing the axe as a brand “symbolised
the usefulness of the medicated oil and that every household should keep one
at home as a handy medicine.” I am so glad people now don’t have to keep
an axe at home! So dangerous…hahah…

The new logo…more modern but somehow I like the old one better…hahah

When you think of Axe Brand Medicated Oil, you will think of…

Tiger Balm!

was Aw Boon Haw, one of the two founders, who first lent his name –
Haw, meaning Tiger, to the ointment.” Hmm…not much change to the
logo except it was a “resting tiger” in the early days and a “leaping tiger”
in the 1990s..er…looks similar leh… :p

The tiger, always facing left and under a palm tree, was initially contained
within the roundel. As it expands both regionally and internationally, “the
paw was extended beyond the roundel to symbolise this growth (i.e. stepping
out).” This current one was revamped in 2005. Strangely, there was no
display of the old logos. Can’t remember if the paw was inside or
outside the roundel, but I remembered the tiger was more flatly illustrated.
See the old logo here
. Er..the tail and paws were all outside leh… :p But I
really like the Tiger Beer logo, very Southeast Asian feel.. :p

The latest F&N logo…hmm…when did they change to this with a leaf?
The very
first logo has a lion

The latest logo for Magnolia…The more rounded look makes it feel friendlier

I never like the old ones… :p

Wonder why Yeo Hiap Seng, or better known as Yeos now, was not featured at the exhibition…

Double Pagoda! Remember the old paper bag we featured on our earlier post?

Old logos for Chee Seng Seasame Oil. The Double Pagoda brand is “named
after a landmark in the founder’s hometown.”

Ads in the 60s

While taking photos, I overheard two secondary school students talking
out loud. One was asking the other, “Have you been to KK? I was born

Haha…Itchyfingers were born there too! 😀

Not sure how many people are familiar with CYC
other than those who
customerise their shirts. But apparently it is quite well-known to the
rich and famous, with shops in luxurious shopping areas. But I like the
nostalgic old logo, with the scissors representing “made-to-measure”

This was known as the Post Office Saving Bank in 1972. “In the form of a
key, it comprised the bank’s initials (POSB) and symbolised savings,
security and prosperity.”

Renamed POSBank in 1990, “the logo was refreshed in 2007…The ‘POSB’
key remains an integral part of the POSB corporate identity.” Many of
us grew up with the bank….

Another organisation which many of us grew up with….In fact,
Itchyfingers had too much tv when young…that’s why gotta wear glasses 😦

“The squares represent telecommunications and the advanced technology
used in the business. The ellipse shows the company as a part of the global
network.” Hmmm….all this while, I just thought it is a satellite they trying
to depict… :p

The old Singtel logos…

Not much changes have been made to one of the most well-known local
brand since 1972. The top one is the new logo

Chinese New Year is just around the corner, I bet now if you go to Chinatown, you would be seeing a long queue snaking from this shop all the way to the street…So, which shop is that?

The famous Lim Chee Guan Bak Kwa (sweet barbeque pork) lor…

“In the beginning, the logo was executed in calligraphic style against a
plain background…With  the rise in airtravel, a plane was incorporated,
marking the beginning of a new era, where consumers aspired to world
travelling and it became recognisable even to the illiterates..To date, Lim
Chee Guan is still known as the ‘Aeroplane Brand’.” Haha….Itchyfingers
didn’t know how to explain the aeroplane when my Hong Kong friends
came to Singapore and bought some bak kwa from them…Now I know… 8)

There are so many more interesting stories behind the 100 icons on display that Itchyfingers could only showcase a few here. Do drop by National Library and have a look before the exhibition ends this Friday, 29 January. While you are looking at the icons, try to look out for Itchyfingers‘ mark… 8)

Itchyfingers doing a little self-promotion on the whiteboard…hahaha…

Also see related post:
> Talking Behind the Bag –  Carrier Bags in Singapore from the 1950s to the 1980s
> The Singapore Pledge

Got Milk?

January 21, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Posted in itchy backside | Leave a comment
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Did you know that Singapore used to have the first tropical dairy farm? Originally a pig farm until an epidemic of swine fever broke out and killed most of the pigs, the 24 hectare patch of thick secondary jungle was then converted to a dairy farm around 1930. Unfortunately, the dairy farm stopped operation in the 1970s. The area went through several changes – from growing vegetables, to tobacco, then orchids. A horticulture-related company occupied the area that used to house the farm from 1981 to 2006. The following year, the estate was taken over by NParks for development.

Today, the same area has been reopened as Dairy Farm Nature Park, what used to be an old cow shed has now been converted to an education centre. The Dairy Farm Nature Park has two sections. One trail leads to the Wallace Education Centre and the other goes to the Singapore Quarry.

Frankly speaking, I never knew that Singapore had cows before :p and I have never visited that part of Bukit Timah Nature Reserves too. So when news that the new Dairy Farm Nature Park has been made more accessible, Itchyfingers decided to go take a look.

The way to the quarry was fairly straight forward as there is only one straight road..hahah…it’s a long walk though, especially if you were to carry heavy photographic equipment. A nice place for a picnic…but please do not feed the fish or litter around!

A former quarry that was in use till the late 1980s, it has been transformed
into a wetland. Look carefully and you would be able to spot many birds
as well as fish, dragonflies etc.

We headed to the other side of the nature park – the Wallace Education Centre, to take a look…

How it looked like before renovation…

How it looks like now

The Wallace Education Centre is named after English naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, who collected specimens in the area in the 19th century.

Singapore was Wallace’s first stop in the Malay Archipelago in 1854. “His
vast field experience and astute sense of observation led him a step closer
to unravelling the evolution puzzle…After years of watching, recording
and analysing, Wallace concluded that similar species seemed to have evolved
from one another by a natural process of descent and transformation.”

This is where the former milking shed was housed. It is now an information
centre that traces the history of the area. The only thing that reminded us of
its past is this little cow statue…a little empty huh…would be wonderful if
the tools and equipments used during that time could be recovered and
displayed here…

Peek-a-boo…no more milk here.. :p

Another moo-moo…

This Learning Centre was closed on weekend

The first thing that greeted you when you see the centre must be this wall
murals done by students featuring our local flora and faunas…

The co-existence of man and nature is possible!

Can you recognise all the plants and animals on the mural?
8) Oooo…
my favourite animal is here too..

The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and the Central Catchment Nature Reserve
were separated by the Bukit Timah Expressway in 1983, a miscalculated
move indeed by the policymakers at the time! Now, a linkway is under
development in the hope that the wild lives will be able to move between
the two reserves

Outside, just opposite the Education Centre, Itchyfingers got attracted by
this charming little shed with plants growing all over….

The door had the old Public Utilities Board (PUB) logo…So this was an
old substation?

Being itchy backsides, Itchyfingers went in to check it out…hmmm..must
be some substation…

We decided to explore the Wallace Trail, which turned out to be a very easy trail. If you look carefully, you would be able to find evidence that this area was some kind of vegetable farms before. Should have taken a picture.. 😦

Gotta walk past this carpet of African Tulip on the ground… :p

Wallace Trail…a very nice walk

Can you imagine Singapore with Tigers? What a pity….of course if we
still have tigers around, we won’t be able to venture into the forests

On our way out, we saw this abandoned home with garden. This one-storey house is believed to have been built in the 1920s.

According to reports, there are no plans to restore it. Wonder why…When
we were there, there were workers around the area. So if it is not going to
be restored, does it mean it will have to go?

Itchyfingers checking it out…again... 8)

Old planter box

Wonder who was the owner…could it be the owner of the Dairy Farm…? Interesting…

It was an overcast day so the walk was fairly pleasant even though it was almost close to lunch time. After this first visit, we went back to the quarry a few more times to check out the bird lives there. Will write about it when Itchyfingers gather more and better pictures! 🙂

Also see related posts:
> The Image of our Landscape
> Hunters & Collectors – The Orgins of the Southeast Asian Collection
> When the Hunters Became the Hunted – Hunters & Collectors

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