Saturday, November 30, 2013

Down Memory Lorong (Part 2)...

Continuing from yesterday, I had exited Lorong 16 and was now on Geylang Road and heading eastwards towards Lorong 32, where my old home was. Along the way, I tried to identify what's new and what's old. I don't remember if this (Goddess Kwan Yin?) statue atop a Chinese temple was there before I left Geylang:

Buildings in Geylang typically had narrow frontages but extended some way back. Many duplex apartments also had spiral staircases near the back lanes. Here's a modern makeover with an uncovered courtyard and a (no longer spiral) staircase that I came across:

Ah, spiral staircases spotted!...

I am no expert on ornate facades but I hope no one tears down the one with the blue door trim (or stick an aircon unit through the door!):

 What an interesting name! "Sam Seng" colloquially means "gangster"...

Getting closer! This is the mosque (in the distance, with its minaret) that awakened us each morning with its call to prayers...


Lorong 30... hey, this corner was where our favourite chicken rice stall was!...

I then crossed the road to get to the other side (even numbered lorongs are on one side; odd number lorongs on the other side... now you know why the chickens in Geylang crossed the road). I am now at Lorong 31. This corner was where our favourite wanton mee stall was, served by a sprightly old woman. Again, the stall is gone. In its place a coffeeshop...

But at least the coffeeshop has a name as intriguing as Lim Sam Seng's!...

Before I crossed the road again, I snapped this pic of the bus stop I had stood at to wait for the buses... to get to school, to town, etc. It does not seem to have changed...

Finally, the entrance to Lorong 32 and a long-perspective view of the lane itself:

This is not exactly the most upscale neighbourhood but what a name for this condo... Le Shan Gardens! (this condo is new, at least to me)...

Another aesthetically-pleasing upper-storey wall, with pretty window frames. I used to admire them as I walked by...

No 29B. After this and the next few Sixties-era double-storey unit would be the condos, or so I thought...

Look carefully... wedged between two condos is this hold-out (No 49). My goodness, when we were all negotiating with the developers way back in the early Nineties, this guy refused to deal. He's still there!...

My own unit, No 53/53A, has been absorbed into this condo, Casa Emerald, which has the address 51, Lorong 32. This means Nos 51/51A all the way to 59/59A (the last unit nearly at the end of the lorong and also the home of my sister How Lui, her husband Ah Chiang and their sons, the Chio brothers) have all been absorbed into this new address...

I'll stop now and will have to continue with a Part 3 tomorrow. That's when I discover something sentimentally familiar at the back of Casa Emerald.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Down Memory 'Lorong' (Part 1)...

Pulau Bukom island was where I was born and grew up as a child. The other place where I hold fond memories of is Geylang/Guillemard Road where my parents moved to during my upper secondary school years. There was an interregnum after I got married but Angie and I returned to our Geylang home, 53/53A, Lorong 32, to be with my aged parents and to raise the two girls. Our old home has since been demolished -- a long time ago. (Note: 'lorong' means 'lane' in Malay.)

I took a bus trip and revisited Geylang/Guillemard Road today. I dropped off near Chen Li Presbyterian Church (Guillemard Road side) -- my first church and the church where Brother No 4 (How Yong) was an elder. It was also the church where I took Angie to for our first Christmas church-group carolling:

I must have used this overhead bridge (below) near the church countless times:

Nearby are the "new" and the "old" Singapore Badminton Hall, long since converted to other purposes:

The famous Fatty Weng restaurant used to be nearby too, in a corner coffeeshop. No need to guess why the chef was called Fatty. At least he ate his own culinary creations! He latter moved to the new Badminton Hall, this time with airconditioning of course.

In the mid to late Sixties, that area around the Badminton Hall was not exactly the safest of places. I was once chased by gangsters there!

But after that, the area was "cleaned up" and one of my long walking routes -- sometimes well into the wee morning hours, after I got back from work as the late-shift sub-editor -- was that from my home down Guillemard Road in the direction of Merdeka Bridge (my destination before I turned back to head home) which took me past the church and the Badminton Hall:


Guillemard Road was also where Tuesday nights would see the "pasar malam" stalls spring up. You could buy anything there, from Goldgate toothpaste (not a misspelling!) to rhinestone to cheap apparel to traditional cakes.

I then decided to get into Geylang Road (parallel to Guillemard Road) from Lorong 16 (the lorongs connect these two major roads):

My pre-university classmate Eng Bok used to live there and we would often visit each other. Back then, Lorong 16 did not look so "modern". It was very cluttered and some of the homes were shanty-like. Some of the "red light" places are still there. Reaching the Geylang end of the lorong, I found both new and old:

However they call this (above), it certainly was not there when I lived in the area. The post office is still there, but it no longer occupies the entire corner (taken over by SpeedCash)...

I reckon that west of the post office building, with the lorongs in descending order (ie, in the direction of Lorong 1)... that's where it has become more bustling in the sense of a cowboy town. To put it another way, many of the establishments cater to the workers from China, such as food cuisine-wise and R and R-wise.

East of the post office building (going towards Lorong 42)... that's where I felt some the old Geylang charm was still there, with exceptions such as this strange shopfront:

Cyber de Laundry???

I'll continue with Part 2 of my Down Memory Lorong tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Howlers that are a class act!

CC sent this:

Hilarious (and genuine) exam howlers that come top of the class for laughter
11 November 2013

For five years, humorist RICHARD BENSON has been collecting hilarious exam answers from school classrooms. Here we present the latest collection from his new book, F in School - and the most extraordinary thing is, they are all genuine...


There're more! For the entire cast, see...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Go bananas! Go nuts!

Never, put your banana in the refrigerator!!!
This is interesting.
After reading this, you'll never look at a banana in the same way again.
Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy.

Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes.

But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit.
 It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.


Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

Anemia :
High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

Blood Pressure:
This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school (England) were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey.. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.
Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.
Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito bites:
Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and chips. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

 The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Temperature control:
Many other cultures see bananas as a 'cooling' fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand, for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood Enhancer tryptophan.

Smoking &Tobacco Use:
Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.

According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!

Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the banana skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!
So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around So maybe it's time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, 'A banana a day keeps the doctor away!'

PS: Bananas must be the reason monkeys are so happy all the time! I will add one here; want a quick shine on our shoes?? Take the INSIDE of the banana skin, and rub directly on the shoe...polish with dry cloth.
Amazing fruit !!!

Here's another tip (according to Angie): Take the INSIDE of the banana skin and rub directly on your teeth... like your shoes, they will shine! 

[CAVEAT: I have not tried this suggestion.]


Finally, here's something else to learn from our monkey friends. Nuts too are great for our health!...

Monday, November 25, 2013

Why I'm not blogging today!

At around 9.30pm, a message popped up on my PC screen. "Install Windows 8.1. FREE", it said. And so I did. The installation was just completed, at 1.30am. So I'm going to bed now zzzzzzzz.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Next patient! What the doctors describe...

(To all the grandmas and grandmas-to-be, the very last item below is dedicated to you!)...


1. A man comes into the Emergency Room and yells . . .
'My wife's going to have her baby in the cab.'
I grabbed my stuff, rushed out to the cab, lifted the lady's
dress and began to take off her underwear.      
Suddenly I noticed that there were several cabs - - -
and I was in the wrong one.

Submitted by Dr. Mark MacDonald,
San Francisco 

2. At the beginning of my shift I placed a stethoscope on an elderly
and slightly deaf female patient's anterior chest wall.
'Big breaths,'. . ..  I instructed.
'Yes, they used to be,'. .  replied the patient. 

Submitted by Dr. Richard Byrnes ,
Seattle , WA

3. One day I had to be the bearer of bad news when I told a wife that her husband had
died of a massive myocardial infarct.
Not more than five minutes later, I heard her reporting to the rest of the family that he had
died of a 'massive internal fart.'

Submitted by Dr. Susan Steinberg 

4. During a patient's two week follow-up appointment with his cardiologist, he informed
me, his doctor, that he was having trouble with one of his medications..
'Which one ?'. .. . I asked. 'The patch... The nurse told me to put on a new one every six hours and now I'm running out of places to put it!'
I had him quickly undress and discovered what I hoped I wouldn't see.
Yes, the man had over fifty patches on his body!

Now, the instructions include removal of the old patch before applying a new one.

Submitted by Dr. Rebecca St. Clair,
Norfolk , VA 

5. While acquainting myself with a new elderly patient,
I asked, 'How long have you been bedridden?'
After a look of complete confusion she answered…
' Why, not for about twenty years - when my husband was alive.'

Submitted by Dr. Steven Swanson- 
Corvallis , OR

6. I was performing rounds at the hospital one morning and while checking up on a man I asked ' So how's your
breakfast this morning?' 
‘It's very good except for the Kentucky Jelly. I can't seem to get used to the taste,’ Bob replied.
I then asked to see the jelly and Bob produced a foil packet labeled 'KY Jelly.'

Submitted by Dr. Leonard Kransdorf ,
Detroit , MI 

7. A nurse was on duty in the Emergency Room when a young woman with purple hair styled
into a punk rocker Mohawk, sporting  a variety of tattoos, and wearing strange clothing,
entered. It was quickly determined that the patient had acute appendicitis, so she was
scheduled for immediate surgery.
 When she was completely disrobed on the operating table, the staff noticed that her pubic hair had
been dyed green and above it there was a tattoo that read . . .' Keep off the grass.' 
Once the surgery was completed, the surgeon wrote a short note on the patient's dressing, 
which said 'Sorry . . . had to mow the lawn.'

Submitted by Registered Nurse, no name.

8. As a new, young MD doing his residency in OB.  
I was quite embarrassed when performing female pelvic exams.
To cover my embarrassment, I had unconsciously formed a habit of whistling softly.
The middle-aged lady upon whom I was performing this exam suddenly burst out laughing
and further embarrassing me. I looked up from my work and sheepishly said.
'I'm sorry. Was I tickling you?'
She replied with tears running down her cheeks from laughing so hard,
' No doctor  but the song you were whistling was 'I wish I was an Oscar Meyer Wiener.'

Dr. (wouldn't submit his name)....

Baby's First Visit To Doctor 

9. A woman and a baby were in the doctor's examining room, waiting for the doctor to come in for the baby's first exam.
The doctor arrived, and examined the baby, checked his weight, and being a little concerned, asked if the baby was breast-fed or bottle-fed.
'Breast-fed,' she replied.
'Well, strip down to your waist,' the doctor ordered.
She did. He pinched her nipples, pressed, kneaded, and rubbed both breasts for a while in a very professional and detailed examination.
Motioning to her to get dressed, the doctor said, 'No wonder this baby is underweight. You don't have any milk.' 
I know,' she said, 'I'm his Grandma, but I'm glad I came.’

Saturday, November 23, 2013

ObamaCare: What the doctors prescribe...

CC (at present in the US) sent this:

The American Medical Association has weighed in on Obama's new health care package:  
The Allergists were in favor of scratching it, but the Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves.

The Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it, but the Neurologists thought the Administration had a lot of nerve.

Meanwhile, Obstetricians felt certain everyone was laboring under a misconception, while the Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted. Pathologists yelled, "Over my dead body!" while the Pediatricians said, "Oh, grow up!"

The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, while the Radiologists could see right through it.
Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing and the Internists claimed it would indeed be a bitter pill to swallow.  

The Plastic Surgeons opined that this proposal would "put a whole new face on the matter". The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but the Urologists were pissed off at the whole idea.

Anesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas, and those lofty Cardiologists didn't have the heart to say no.
In the end, the Proctologists won out, leaving the entire decision up to the ass-holes in Washington.

Hey, what about the oncologists and the hematologists? Here's my take...

Oncologists: It's in remission; the Republicans can't kill it and the Democrats can't fix it completely.
Hematologists (they should have the last word): Bloody politicians!!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Straight talk.

What to say when it comes down to the wire...

If there's one thing I miss since I retired, it is interacting with writers who know their stuff. John Mcbeth is one of them. His article on the Australia-Indonesia phone-tapping/wiretapping fallout, which appeared today (ST Opinion, Nov 22), characteristically cuts to the chase:

In the process of editing his copy, I have had the pleasure of exchanging with him nuggets on newsmakers and regional issues. These extracts below were obviously carefully and succinctly crafted:


I like John's parting shot about the Indonesian counter-terrorism unit "using some but perhaps not all of that equipment themselves". Very delicately put!

Hendropriyono himself (second extract above) has been recently quoted as saying "a spy is supposed to spy". He has given an interesting interview to the Sydney Morning Herald:

Meanwhile, there are always buffoons, such as this Australian man (TODAY, Nov 22):

What a silly man. Marty (whom I got to know when we were both PhD students at the ANU) had no choice but to express outrage the moment the scandal broke out. Why try and antagonise him?
What's next? North to Alaska, and south to Singapore?

I felt this ST news item (Nov 22) below has strategic import:

I think it is another example of Singapore's long-horizon savviness when it comes to ensuring its national interests. And how would such shale gas be delivered to Singapore? It will not be so soon, and -- who knows? -- by then, the Arctic route (Northern Sea Route) might well be in operation. Alaska to Singapore?

What did she say while hanging on for dear life?...


..."My life is in your hands, so watch it, I'll still come after you, if you let go."? That must have done the trick.

What did the patient say? I've got a Ring of Fire!

Finally, if you enjoyed the parody song "Waking Up Is Hard to Do" in yesterday's blog entry, here's more. The group of singers, called the Laryngospasms, are actually medical professionals: