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Free Travel at Downtown Line Stations Today and Tomorrow

Downtown Line 3 officially opens today! There are sixteen new stations. I have been looking forward to Downtown Line 3 official opening because there is one station near my house.

For today and tomorrow, commuters who start and end their journey at any of the 34 Downtown Line stations will enjoy free travel.

The picture below shows the Downtown Line stations. What are you waiting for? Head to the nearest station near you and explore while it is free.

Downtown Line

 

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Visit New Zealand Plan

I spent a whole day planning a backpack trip to New Zealand. Unfortunately, my mother and I will be visiting Korea and I will not have sufficient money and time to visit two countries in a year. Thus, I want to put the plan that I have planned half-way here so that anyone who shares similar interest can refer to it. Since I have not completed the planning, you may amend as and when necessary.

New Zealand comprises of North Island and South Island. The plan is to visit South Island first and then North Island. Before I start with the itinerary, here is a list of activities that I want to do in New Zealand:

1. Get a tattoo

I forget where I get this idea, but getting a small tattoo on my leg in New Zealand sounds fun. Furthermore, I already know what I want to tattoo 🙂

2. Dolphin watching

There are two places to watch dolphins: Bay of Islands of North Island and Kaikoura of South Island. I am very “kiasu”, if I am unable to watch dolphins at one place, then I go to the other place. It is a must-watch before I leave New Zealand.

3. Horse riding

4. Take pictures of sheep, kiwi (the animal), church, all-green scenery, sea and mountain, Tangaroa God.

I love taking pictures. Having a list of pictures to take means I must look around for these things as in a treasure hunt. For the sea and mountain pictures, the pictures must have both the sea and the mountain.

5. Eat kiwi fruit, Fish n Chips, seafood (crabs)

I know there is other delicious food, but those are my favourites. I wish to have hot spring boiled egg as well. But it is optional because it is not economical to boil two eggs at a time and I do not know if any strangers will share one of their eggs with me.

Itinerary

Day 1: Queenstown Airport

Day 2: Queenstown to Dunedin

Places to visit are Tunnel Beach, Dunedin Railway Station, Cadbury Chocolate Factory and Dunedin Botanic Gardens. If there is time left, optional places to visit are Larnach Castle and Olveston House.

Day 3: Dunedin to Otago

How to go: Take a 2.5 hour-train trip (Taieri Gorge Railway) from Dunedin to Middlemarch.

Activity: Cycling through orchards, vineyards and farmland (Take pictures of sheep)

Venue: Otago Central Rail Trail. The trail takes 3 days to complete. But if you do not want to cycle for 3 days, shuttle transport is available to enable you to end your cycle journey almost anywhere along the trail.

Things needed: Sun block, water and sweater

Day 4: Otago to Hooker Valley, Aoraki / Mt. Cook National Park

Day 5: Milford Sound

Day 6: Lake Wakatipu

Day 7: Abel Tasman National Park

Kayaking at Torrent Bay

Day 8: Wellington (North Island)

Take Wellington cable car

Day 9: Cape Egmont Lighthouse, Cape Road, Pungarehu, Taranaki

Day 10: Mitai Maori Village

Address: 196, Fairy Springs Road, 3015 Ngongotaha

Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park

Day 11: Bay of Islands

Day 12: Auckland Airport (Goodbye!)

Note

1. This plan is not for adventurous person who wants exciting activities such as bungee jump.

2. If you are interested, you may search in Youtube for “My Star Guide New Zealand” to get more ideas.

3. If you love driving, you may opt for camper van or rental car. Coach tour is also available.

4. Sun block is a must-bring item to New Zealand. If you are annoyed by insects, insect repellent will come in handy.

5. I do not go into details for budget. I estimate S$ 200 per day for food and accommodation in cheap motels and S$ 2500 maximum for the trip. For activities, I will limit myself to the five activities above (and picture-taking is free!)

If you have been to New Zealand, please give suggestions and / or comments for my itinerary. Thanks.

Memorable Monday

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背影

This photo was taken at Gardens by the Bay (滨海湾花园), inside the Cloud Forest.

背影, a beautiful name given to the picture, has no equivalent beautiful English name. If you look up the translation for 背影, you get “back”, “the view from the back”, it is so … unromantic.

背 = the back

影 = the shadow

滨海湾, from the water radical, you know that they are related to water.

滨海湾 = marina bay

Happy Learning Chinese Language!

Self-healing Power of Plants

Last month, I wrote about my injured cactus with the extra support I gave it. I have read about plants having feelings and responding to music. Thus, during that critical few days, I played soothing music and talked to my cactus. The music was meant for it to heal and the talking was meant to encourage it to live on.

After a few days of music and talking, I noticed that the cactus was “standing” on its own, no longer needed the support from the spoon. I still kept the spoon, just in case it wanted to rest and lie on something.

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Before: The cactus gets extra support

As I see improvement, I continue the talking without music. The below picture shows the self-healed cactus. From the picture, we can see that the wound is still visible, but it has dried and healed, no support is needed anymore.

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After: The wound has healed

I believe human beings have similar self-healing power. When you are facing failure, be brave and endure the hardship. Listen to soothing music and talk to your family members and friends. With time, you will heal, like the brave little cactus.

It is okay to lean on your support for a few days, but it is you who have the power to stand up again!

Failure is not scary; the most important thing is to learn from the mistake and the ability to stand up again. I hope you are like the brave little cactus, now living happily with its family members, as in below picture.

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Cactus family

An Injured Cactus

I have had a pot of cactus from Cameron Highlands some years ago, the cactus has died tragically because of the difference of cold highlands weather and hot weather. I was sad.

A few months ago, my aunt gave me a pot of cactus. I was reluctant to accept the cactus because I did not want the cactus to die tragically, again. After I learnt that the cactus is from her friend who has grown the cactus in hot Singapore weather, I decided to take the small cactus home.

The small cactus has grown happily since then. From one pot, now I have two pots of cactus, growing from a “single parent”. I put them outside my house where they can get sufficient sunshine. Still, one of the cacti has injured. It is suspected that someone has injured the cactus.

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The arrangement before the single cactus is injured

I notice the cactus is injured when the arrangement has been changed, as in the below picture.

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Someone has moved my plants

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The poor cactus

Poor thing, the cactus is almost broken into two pieces. Suddenly, I think of a way to “save” it.

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The cactus gets extra support

Have you encountered an injured cactus before? Can anyone tell me if the support method is able to help the cactus or make it worse?

Road Safety

Singapore has just launched its first Road Safety Month recently. The events this year are targeted at the transport industry, elderly pedestrians, students, and motorcyclists. It is true that pedestrians and motorcyclists are the more vulnerable groups, but we must not forget about cyclists. I am a pedestrian, a cyclist, a motorcyclist and a driver, though not at the same time.

This post is written from the view of a cyclist, a sandwich between a driver and a pedestrian. You will understand why I said a cyclist is a sandwich after reading this post.

For my safety, I cycle on footpaths. I know that I have more ‘advantage’ with my bicycle, so I do not ring my bell unnecessarily. If the footpath is crowded, I get down from my bicycle and push along the footpath. I only ring my bell once if the pedestrian blocks my way. Normally, the pedestrian will move aside and I will continue with my journey. There are some arrogant pedestrians who think that the footpaths are their grandfathers’ roads and refuse to move aside. Depending on my mood, I will either slow down or ring the bell again. Some, though they move aside, they give me a fierce stare when I cycle past them, as if I have done something terribly wrong.

There are also pedestrians who plug into their mobile devices and unable to listen to the bell. It is even worse if they walk in zigzag direction that I cannot predict which side to cycle, normally I will stop and wait for them to walk past me. Some will say sorry to me (sorry for causing me to stop?) when they “suddenly” stand in front of me. For their safety, I suggest them to focus on the road / footpath. Holding up a cyclist is a small matter; being knocked by a cyclist is a big matter.

I cycle on footpaths, so naturally I use the traffic lights for pedestrians at crossroads. Pedestrians have rights-of-way, cyclists do not have. If I cycle recklessly, I will not ask for rights-of-way. But I am a timid cyclist, I wait for the green man patiently, all I ask is to let me cross the road safely, as you would let other pedestrians. I have seen a car driver honking a cyclist for crossing the zebra crossing. If drivers have the patience to wait for pedestrians to cross, why can’t they have the patience to wait for cyclists to cross? Drivers only need to wait for lesser time as cyclists are faster than pedestrians.

Poor sandwiches, squeeze in between. There is a big fuss if a cyclist or some cyclists died in road accident. Many comment on the newspapers, some feel sorry for the family members. After a while, people start to forget about it altogether. My philosophy is simple, “advantaged” people give way to “disadvantaged” people. Car drivers give way to motorcyclists, motorcyclists give way to cyclists, and cyclists (including me) happily give way to pedestrians.

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From the view of a driver

The thing that I dread most when I am driving is the heavy vehicles on the road. The second thing is the motorcycles. Once, I asked my friend who rides motorcycle, how I can help him to ride better if I am driving? He answered signalling (helps him to know where the car is going).

Though I signal when driving, I make myself to be more alert of signalling after I heard his answer. It is because I know signalling will help not only motorcyclists, but also other road users. Drivers, be considerate, signal early.

Road safety means all road users exercise common sense and courtesy. I hope that the campaign will be a success where road users know the dangers on the roads and they must always practise safe habits when using the roads.

Cycling Adventure

I bought a lady bicycle last year. I only cycle around the neighbourhood, for I am timid and it has been quite some time since I last cycled. The furthest that I have cycled was with Cyclists Interest Group to Pasir Ris Park at the neighbouring town. The trip was fun, we rode slowly and there was refreshment waiting for us when we reached the park.

I continue with my weekly cycling session alone around the neighbourhood, I take it as the training for my solo trip to Pasir Ris Park. I plan another route, about 1 km longer. 

On the fateful day, I embarked on my solo journey with food, drinks and of course, GPS. It was tiring cycling alone, though I stopped once in a while to rest and check that I was on the right track. I was almost exhausted when I reached a bicycle stand. GPS showed that I was near the park and I parked my bicycle there. To my surprise, it was a bicycle stand for a resort. But I was too tired after the long journey, so I had my refreshment.

Feeling refreshed, I walked out of the resort and continued further into a park. If I just cycled for another 50m, I could have reached my destination. But the green scenery has blinded me, I thought it was a dead-end. I walked around the park, enjoying the fresh air and bird chirping, and found a cycling track. I could not leave my bicycle, so I walked back to the resort, and continued my journey on wheels.

The route back was shorter, I cycled all the way back without stopping. It was such a satisfaction.

Lessons learnt:

  1. Always plan ahead. For students, plan your study.
  2. Train yourself before the actual trip. For students, practise before exams. 
  3. Make all the necessary preparation for the trip. For students, make sure you bring your stationery and calculator for exams.
  4. It is OK to detour and take a break. Don’t stress yourself out before you reach the destination.
  5. Check that you are on the right track.
  6. Challenge yourself to be better.
  7. Don’t give up. You will reach your destination eventually, it’s just a matter of time.