Circle Line & OrchardCentral

I went to explore the Circle Line when it first opened last Thursday. It was a short walk to the other side from Serangoon MRT, a bit like Dhoby Ghaut with the travelators. The platform is wider, but shorter as the trains have only 3 carriages. Wanted to take the train to Bartley, but quite funny, the announcement said the train service has been disrupted. The Bartley-bound train was stuck there for like 10-15 mins or so. Reminds me of the early days of NEL when many similar incidents happened.

The train is very similar in design to the NEL ones, except that the front has a larger viewing window of the track, and the connection corridor between 2 carriages is now made of rubber instead of metal covering, which makes it look a bit ‘dirty’ to awkward to lean on. There were many SMRT staff around, in their new black and red uniforms, some even wearing ties. They look pretty good.

As I was taking photos, an SMRT staff approached me and,
He said: Why are you taking photo?
I replied: For fun?
SMRT Staff: You are not allowed to take photos here.
I replied: er okay and walked away.

I continued taking photos anyway. Who cares? Here are some interesting sights at Lorong Chuan station.


There was some artwork which was very interesting. Try spotting a F16 in the above, and also NUS. And near NUS, there are two people having a very interesting appropriate conversation. LOL.


Merlion swimming in our waters?


Pedra Branca?


More F16s? haha. They seem to like them too.


So, why this Caucasian can take photo and I cannot? >.<


I love railroads.


I also went to OrchardCentral, the new shopping mall to be opened soon near Somerset MRT. You can walk in and see but none of the shops are ready yet. The interesting thing were the 3 super long escalators that bring you all the way up to level 7 or 8. They are just beside the road, and at the top floor, it is quite scary as the escalator goes higher and higher. Pretty cool.

The Day I Felt Like A Tourist

Last Sunday, I went for a URA-PAYM Tour Guide (introductory) workshop. It was a workshop meant to introduce youths to tour guiding and hopefully recruit volunteers for future URA-organised tours and exhibitions in the heartlands showcasing the Master Plan.

The day started off with a crash course/briefing on tour guiding by an experienced tour guide who worked in the industry for >20 years. She briefed about planning itineraries, managing people and last-minute changes etc. After that, we hopped on the bus for a mini-tour to Lim Chu Kang/Kranji area for a tour of 3 farms. The journey to LCK feels like going back to camp, but fortunately, the anecdotes by the tour guide lightened up the ride. She mentioned how did the “Chu Kangs” in Singapore get their name, which was quite insightful. “Chu Kang” means “house (beside a) river” in Hokkien/Dialect, while the “Lim” “Yio” “Choa” are the surnames of people who built houses on rivers in the olden days of Singapore. This is because the Sultan of Johore divided the land beside the rivers and let these people manage the land. There used to be many other Chu Kangs such as Tan Chu Kang (lol sounds quite funny) but most of these faded through the years. So now we left with 3 Chu Kangs in Singapore. Now I know…it’s not because the guy’s full name is called Lim Chu Kang!

dsc08157The first stop was Jurong Frog Farm (which is not in Jurong). We walked around ourselves and saw two frogs mating. Quite interesting, one on top of the other. lol. Over on the other side there’s like mass orgy of frogs in different compartments. Quite gross. Some of them seem to be jumping on top of one another as if they were trying to get out of their compartments.

The next stop was Spring Orchard, which is a fruits and vegetables farm. This one is quite interesting, as we saw fruits like DragonFruit (didn’t know they grow on Cacti), Pineapple, Passionfruit and various others. There was also this strange Sweet Leaf plant in which the leaves can be ate and they are really very sweet! Everyone plucked a small bit and tried. Quite interesting. We were also given free samples of Pitaberry DragonFruit juice made in Malaysia. They taste quite good, wonder why I don’t see them in stores. There’s even the red and white versions, of which the red ones are sweeter.


Before going to the next stop, we passed by Hay Dairies, which is the goat farm. Due to H1N1, now visitors can’t milk the goats anymore. One interesting thing was that all the owner’s 3 cars all have the numbers 8383. The last farm stop was Tropical Aeroponics, which is the first aeroponics farm in the world, as the technology was invented by a NTU/NIE professor. I think I’ve been here before. We were given a short tour of the greenhouse by Chinese nationals. Inside the greenhouses, the butterhead lettuce looks very fresh, and there were a few other plants. We had free samples of butterhead lettuce salad, as well as butterhead juice. I like the juice, cos it’s mixed with kiwi and lime, and it tastes sour and sweet. I like.  We also ate lunch there, which was packed bee hoon/nasi lemak. Speaking about food, we sorta kept eating the whole day as earlier, there was Polar cakes and a pie. It was really nice of them to provide so much food.

The last stop of the day was Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. It’s actually just across the road, but the bus had to fetch us across. Haven’t been there in the longest time! We had a brief introduction by the NParks guy, then we went for a short hike. Armed with a scope, we managed to saw many mudskippers skipping around in the marshy lake. The eyes starring you looks a bit disgusting after a while actually. We were quite lucky as we also saw a green snake, 2 monitor lizards, and 2 squirrels. The squirrel munching on a nut looks very cute. We reached the platform where one can see Malaysia and we walked back. Unfortunately, now isn’t the period where the migratory birds come, so we didn’t see any. (Periods are March-April, August-Sept).


After the walk, we had to plan a itineary for a mock tour to the LCK/Kranji area for different age groups: youth, family and senior citizens. It was a simple introductory task and there were many PAYM/Youth Empire people who were amongst us. At the end of the day, we got to know more about the Kranji Countryside and how it is viable as an alternative leisure area in Singapore. They are going to build a “agri-tainment” farmstay resort there in Sept, called D’Kranji Resort. I think it is a pretty cool idea, don’t mind trying to stay in there in future. It will be interesting to visit the rest of the farms too. They are also going to external the national park connector network to the area, so next time we can cycle through there.

At the end of the day, I went to Joel’s concert at a shophouse in Jalan Besar area. After dinner, I decided to walk through the small roads of Little India area to the MRT station. It was an eye-opening walk to be there on a Sunday night when it is the most crowded. Thousands of Indians thronged the streets, often occupying the whole road, in the coffeeshops, in shophouses selling rice, shirts from $1.90, and much more. Serangoon Road was, as usual, packed with them loitering on open fields and there was a performance going on in an open-air tentage stage nearby. It used to be a common sight for me when I was younger and had to take bus 147/111/85 home before the the days of the MRT. Now with the MRT, I only see the crowd when the board/alight at Little India/Farrer Park MRT. It is really, really, really, overwhelmingly crowded.

Another interesting sight just before the MRT station was that there are telcos also leveraging on the crowd. Both the red camp and the green camp were selling pre-paid cards at rock bottom prices along with lucky draws in the form of spin-the-wheel and the like. Quite interesting since they do it in open air shophouse corridors and open spaces, as compared to the usual interior atriums of shopping malls. Heck, the green camp even provide free feet massage for them! lol.

Film Projects: Imagine Cup, Dr Seet

Been busy the past two weeks of the holidays/special term doing various filming stuff in nuSTUDIOS.

(Before the filming stuff started, I went for the CFA Retreat at Chevrons. It was meant as an introduction of CFA to the new excos. It was a long workshop-filled day, and the best part was the food provided, especially the pool-side BBQ at night. We kept eating and eating! Haha.)

The first one was Microsoft Imagine Cup Short Film Competition. A month or two back, Sabrina and I decided to give it a shot and submitted a simple storyboard. We got through the first round and now we are supposed to create a 3 min short film based on our storyboard. The theme for this year’s competition is “Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems facing us today”. Our story was about solving the problem of hunger, and our technology is some form of wireless transfer of money (e.g. ez link) which allows people to buy meals for someone across the world by buying a meal one-for-one.

And so, I got my cousin Dave, and my tutorial mate Siying to help me as the cast. We filmed everything all in one day last last Friday. It was also my first time using the Brevis/RedRock Micro camera rig, and I spent a few hours configuring and playing with it the day before. Took me a while to figure out how to align the lens. The results were fantastic and SLR-like quality. Not much colour correction needed! We filmed the “rich person” part in the Arts Canteen, and the “poor person” part right in our own studio room. Check out our set! :


It was a pretty fun day, and even though there were not much people helping us. However, in the studio, vic, yishu and zy managed to give us a hand in setting up the lights etc. After the filming, I came back on Saturday to edit. Added the music on Tuesday and the finishing touches on Wednesday before submitting online. Also managed to ask our friend Charles for the voice-over narrations. I’m quite happy that we managed to finish on time!

The next film project was Dr. Seet’s talkshow – An Audience with Dr. Seet. Dr. Seet is a NUS TSD Lecturer and he has this idea of doing a talkshow in the form of online short 3-5mins video cast. As he has many connections in the Theatre scene, it will be mainly about theatre and will be uploaded on He kindly engaged nuSTUDIOS help in terms of filming, and we managed to get together to do a pilot shoot last Saturday. The venue was a small little room in Action Theatre. Originally, I thought we will get a black box kinda room or something, but in the end it was this little room which was quite crammed. Nevertheless, we managed to make the full use out of it and created a talkshow set inside! Sab bought a nice huge grey cloth (which is a neutral colour and acts as a good backdrop), and we got props like sofa, coffee “table”, lamp and a plant from the office upstairs. Together with the lights, the set looks pretty professional! Here’s a sneak preview:


It was a pretty long shoot, and we got to see stars like Nelson Chia, Lorretta Chen and much more. It was quite a fun process, since it’s our first time doing this. All in all, we shot 4 episodes, and look out for them to be finished and uploaded soon!

19th European Union Film Festival Opening

Today, with invitation cards provided by CFA, I attended the opening gala of the 19th European Union Film Festival at GV Vivocity with a few other nuSTUDIOS friends. It was a prvilege to be there as there was excellent food and entertainment. Swedish meatballs, creamy spinach and shitshake mushrooms and even sashimi! Awesome. There’s even wine served. Very high class indeed.

There were a lot of Europeans around. Originally I was thinking if there were enough people to fill up the cinema, but soon it became very crowded. We were hoping to catch some familiar faces, but not much, except for Hossan Leong. Haha. In the end, we managed to meet some people from NP’s FSV and had a quick chat before the screening started.

After some formalities and speeches, the NTU ADM’s documentary, Sacred Crane, Mortal Birds, was screened. (Everytime I think about them, I always wonder that I could be studying there now. Okay let’s not go towards that topic now.) It was done by Boo Xinying (related to Boo Junfeng?) and we managed to bump into her and her lecturer for a quick exchange after the screening. It was pretty cool as their school brought them to Tibet to do the documentaries about the birds, and the scenery there is very nice.

The next feature was Wolf, a Swedish film about the people who rear reindeers and their conflict with the law and wolves, a protected species in Sweden. It was quite a slow film, with the climax reached when one wolf was killed. However, towards the end, it showcases a bit of a father’s love and sacrifice for his son (sounds familiar) and his connection with his dog. However, the scenes of snow, mountains and reindeers were very beautiful.

An eye-opening day.

End of Freshmen Year

Haven’t been posting for quite some time due to exams. Finally, all is over! But I’m dreading a little because Special Term’s starting next week  -.-

There ain’t any interesting “Last Lectures” this semester, but here’s a quick summary of this semester’s module experiences:

CS1102 Data Structures and Algorithms was seemingly manageable in the first half, but when things like the Big O Complexity and Trees and Heaps came in, it became very complicated and foreign. I had to sorta force myself to sit down and master how the sorting algorithms work. No longer as simple as I thought. Perhaps my mind isn’t thinking like a computer. Fortunately, the final exam was still not bad. The only gripe was that there was a lot of time wasting tricky questions about Java a la CS1101 style.

CS2100 Computer Organisation seemed to be a difficult module to master initially from all the rumours from seniors. The lab sessions were gruelling as lotsa wire connections are needed. But after the first mid term exam, I realised that the topics are not too difficult to master if you take time and sit down and try and do all the questions. Most of the questions are pretty mechnical based, except for a few application questions. Towards the end of the semester, it seems as if Aaron Tan was going very fast and it was hard to catch up. Fortunately, I still managed to do so in the end. I guess it was a wise choice to take this module when Aaron Tan is teaching, as it is slightly easier.

MA1101R Linear Algebra is the toughest Level 1000 I have taken so far. The concepts are hard to grasp, venturing beyond the 4th dimension into the Euclidean n-space. Till now, I’m still not sure of some of the concepts I’ve learned, such as subpsaces and basis. In my lecture group, the foreigners take up 3/4 of the seats, leaving the last 1/4 to the poor Singaporeans. And there is quite a lot of competition, considering that during the in-lecture Practice Quizes, the locals are often the last few to hand in our worksheets. Quite scary. Unexpectedly, I also did not score too well in my lab quiz, so it is quite sad. Hope I can do reasonably well in my final term after much practice. Doing the past year papers gets more demoralising as the earlier papers are more difficult.

NM2216 Introduction to Interactive Media Design is one of the not-so-good modules I’ve taken so far. Firstly, the lecturer initially did not want to upload the notes before class and it was slightly annoying. Also, in my opinion, I think that the module is not very well organised and the notes are not very detailed in terms of the content. Most of it have to be read from the readings. The project topic was also a bit far fetched from the module – Sustainable Transport. The final term paper was also quite tricky and abstract. Although the module opened up interesting concepts about Affordances and interface design, I wished it could be better taught.

NM1101E Communications, New Media and Society was one of the most enjoyable modules in this semester. Firstly, the workload is quite low. Most of the tutorials do not require much preparation, except for the 3 graded assignments. The most tiring one was to design a survey in a group, while the other 2 assignments are done in class. One of them is an online discussion to write a report, which was an interesting experiment on how we can communicate online (using MSN and Google Docs) to write a report. The second assignment is what I do every lecture in NM2216: draw/describe a gadget that has bad interface design and suggest a alternatives for it. Overall, the main marks of the module is on the mid term and final term actually. The final term is all MCQ, and the last few questions were quite humourous. However, I regretted that I did not read the copyright information on the IPOS website before taking the exam.