Monday, August 31, 2009

Singapore - Back Again

We had the most enjoyable time in Phuket, and equally memorable for David to spend his birthday fishing and snorkeling - what a blast. We are blessed to be able to spend another 2 weeks in Singapore before we fly back. Still there are a few things we wanted to do in Singapore yet.

A nice afternoon at Nanyang Technological University....

Lunch with the President - Dr. Su Guaning was most gracious and kind to host a special luncheon. He pampered us with a fabulous 5 course meal at the President's Lodge located on the beautiful grounds of Nanyang Technological University. I met Dr. Su at a conference in Salzburg, Austria in 2008. He arranged for my teaching engagement at Xiamen University. Thank you Dr. Su!

Under Dr. Su's leadership, NTU has become a highly-ranked university around the world.

As Assistant Director of Corporate Communications, Michelle made sure our luncheon visit with Dr. Su went without a hitch. Thank you Michelle!

After lunch, we visited my cousin Professor Koh Soo Ngee, Associate Chair of the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at NTU. I have not seen Soo Ngee for well over 25 years and so this re-connection was especially meaningful. Since he was older, it was natural that he associated more with my older siblings but nevertheless, he set a great example for me the importance of higher education. I believe he was the first in our immediate families to have received a Ph.D.

Pool get-together with The Benitezs. Charlotte and her girls live in Seattle - they are visiting familiy (parents/grandparents) who lives in Singapore. We have know Charlotte and Kiko when we lived in Madison - it was so good to catch up in Singapore!!!

At the Singapore Turf Club Winner Circle - no we were not there to place bets. As you may know, Hannah loves horses. My sister Esther was able to arrange for a private tour of this facility.

Control Room - look at the myriad of computer screens - very high tech - we were able to access this secured area during a non-racing day but importantly because of Mr. Murthu.

Privileged access - the VIP area - Mr. Murthu was so generous with his time. He also presented us a number of Singapore Turf Club souvenirs too.

Some of you may be aware that I am the youngest and have 4 sisters and 2 brothers. So imagine growing up in a 800 square feet apartment - well shown above is the apartment I grew up. Because of a government upgrading housing scheme (this apartment was scheduled to be torn down and rebuild), my parents were offered alternative housing - a newer apartment nearby and with some financial compensation. But later, because of the unforeseen economic downturn in 2008, the government decided to renovate the apartments and offer them as rentals. This Russian lady, a student studying at Singapore Management University, now lives in the apartment. So in one way, I am glad the apartment is preserved but on the other hand, it is surreal to know that these apartments are now occupied by her and other foreign students.

My eldest sister Rose was so kind to organize a belated birthday get-together for David after our Phuket trip - shown here with his grandfather.

Receiving a birthday gift.......

ION Orchard is the latest shopping mall right in the heart of Orchard Road - the shops are great but only to window shop - who can afford these prices! We shop at Goodwill and Kiwanis! In the basement of the mall is a food court where the top 50 food vendors/hawkers are assembled serving fabulous local delights.

Japanese deep-fried appetizers....

Gerda and David are roti-prata fans - check out the video of the hawker preparing Roti-Prata......

Still shot of the Prata man in action - basically dole stretched and flattened and then cooked over a hot plate then served with Indian curry.....

This artifact was for sale at a National Geographic retail store in Vivo City Shopping Mall earlier and now guards the food court in ION.

Saying good-bye to my parents....

David helping his Grandfather.....

Gerda, Hannah and David love the shrimp dumplings that my Dad makes. This was our last meal at their home before heading home.

Three generations - saying good-bye to my Dad.....

All packed and ready to go - our friend Pastor Peter Chan came at 4:15 am in the midst of a heavy downpour to transport us to the airport - a great example of servant leadership.....

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