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Scenes from Singapore: day and night November 23, 2014

Posted by hslu in Food, Travel.
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If you haven’t been to Singapore and haven’t stayed on 44th floor, you can take a look of these picture and get a feeling of what it was like here.

Here we go:

 

 

Driving into downtown from the airport. You couldn't help but notice the strange shape of the Marina Bay Sands.

Driving into downtown from the airport. You couldn’t help but notice the strange shape of the Marina Bay Sands.

My local tour guide told me that townhouses like these cost many million dollars. The two-income professionals live here.

My local tour guide told me that townhouses like these cost many million dollars. The two-income professionals live here.

Apartments or condos like these in the foreground and the background are for blue collar workers. Some closer in town will go for one million dollars. It is ridicules and many people just can't afford it. Singapore let millions of immigrants into the country in previous years and the nation is paying for the flood of immigrants. My tour guide told me that after working for 10+ hours and sweats like a pig, he has to ride the metro back home sharing a crowded and smelly metro with people from Malaysia and India. 10 out of 10 times, he will not have a seat and he has to stand all the way out of downtown into suburb where rent or housing prices are somewhat affordable. My driver came from Malaysia.

Apartments or condos like these in the foreground and the background are for blue collar workers. Some closer in town will go for one million dollars. It is ridicules and many people just can’t afford it. Singapore let millions of immigrants into the country in previous years and the nation is paying for the flood of immigrants. My tour guide told me that after working for 10+ hours and sweats like a pig, he has to ride the metro back home sharing a crowded and smelly metro with people from Malaysia and India. 10 out of 10 times, he will not have a seat and he has to stand all the way out of downtown into suburb where rent or housing prices are somewhat affordable. My driver came from Malaysia.

The line started around 11:00 in the morning. We tried to get some because it was so popular. After 20 minutes, the line barely moved because many customers  ordered several ducks at a time. We gave up finally.

The line started around 11:00 in the morning. We tried to get some because it was so popular. After 20 minutes, the line barely moved because many customers ordered several ducks at a time. We gave up finally.

Singapore has nation (city)-wide WIFI. And how do like that for the name of your restaurant: 長江邊上?

Singapore has nation (city)-wide WIFI. And how do like that for the name of your restaurant: 長江邊上?

A very old picture about Malay (馬來.)

A very old picture about Malay (馬來.)

An outdoor mall with many road side cafes.

An outdoor mall with many road side cafes.

An old picture of the Singapore city.

An old picture of the Singapore city.

Singapore downtown skyline

Singapore downtown skyline

The indoor malls adjacent to the Marina Bay Sands hotel. Huge. and new with upscale shops and restaurants.

The indoor malls adjacent to the Marina Bay Sands hotel. Huge. and new with upscale shops and restaurants.

The mall has a small river inside and this is where it begins.

The mall has a small river inside and this is where it begins.

Restaurants inside the mall. I decided to try the Indian restaurant because I was hoping to change my bias against Indian restaurants with this experience. We'll see.

Restaurants inside the mall. I decided to try the Indian restaurant because I was hoping to change my bias against Indian restaurants with this experience. We’ll see.

Todai has a restaurant here in Singapore as well. There is one at a local mall which seems to have done pretty good business. It is an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet.

Todai has a restaurant here in Singapore as well. There is one at a local mall which seems to have done pretty good business. It is an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet.

I like this ad inside the mall.  命嗎也不是我們這些凡人能夠左右的.你說是嗎?  有一天的福就享一天的福. 可是這一起的日子能在一起走多久呢? 命啊.

I like this ad inside the mall.
命嗎也不是我們這些凡人能夠左右的.你說是嗎?
有一天的福就享一天的福.
可是這一起的日子能在一起走多久呢?
命啊.

A view of the Singapore Strait from the top of the roof.

A view of the Singapore Strait from the top of the roof.

 

 

The roof top swimming pool at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. It was kind of scary looking from another angle. See for yourself.

The roof top swimming pool at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. It was kind of scary looking from another angle. See for yourself.

Would you like to swim to the edge and take a look?

Would you like to swim to the edge and take a look?

A view of the Singapore Strait from the top of the roof.

A view of the Singapore Strait from the top of the roof.

The roof top swimming pool after dark.

The roof top swimming pool after dark.

鐵樹銀花. The garden lights up after dark.

鐵樹銀花. The garden lights up after dark.

The view of Marina Bay Sands in the evening.

The view of Marina Bay Sands in the evening.

Downtown Singapore after dark..

Downtown Singapore after dark..

Driving into downtown from the airport. You couldn’t help but notice the strange shape of the Marina Bay Sands.

That was more than 100  years ago

That was more than 100
years ago

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Singapore Chinatown.

Singapore Chinatown.

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Mask for sale.

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Local specialty food Malaysia style.

Local specialty food Malaysia style.

It was so hot that you have to use an umbrella.

It was so hot that you have to use an umbrella.

Temple was busy with worshipers. We donated some and wished everyone in the family healthy and happy.

Temple was busy with worshipers. We donated some and wished everyone in the family healthy and happy.

Night view of the Marina Bay Sands after dark.

Night view of the Marina Bay Sands after dark.

Everyone is waiting for the laser show.

Everyone is waiting for the laser and water show.

A scene from the 10-minute show.

A scene from the 10-minute show.

Water comes out from 16 nozzles and then flows down through the hole in the middle to the small river below.

Water comes out from 16 nozzles and then flows down through the hole in the middle to the small river below.

Part of a mural in downtown Singapore depicting old Singapore.

Part of a mural in downtown Singapore depicting old Singapore.

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Long Bar Steakhouse, Raffles Hotel, Singapore November 22, 2014

Posted by hslu in Food, Restaurants, Travel.
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Raffles Hotel Singapore is one of the best hotels in the world. Unlike Marina Bay Sands, Ruffles, according to its website, stands at the crossroads of civilization and culture, a colonial oasis in the heart of one of the world’s most exciting cities. It first opened in 1887 and has been a destination in its own right. it blends the romance of the Far East, a sense of luxury, history and colonial ambiance that no other hotel can match. Also according to its website, many famous people have visited the hotel over the years: Somerset Maugham, Rudyard Kipling, Ernest Hemingway, Alfred Hitchcock and Elizabeth Taylor.

We took this picture after we finished our meal. It was about 10:30 PM.

We took this picture after we finished our meal. It was about 10:30 PM.

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The court yard inside of the hotel.

The court yard inside of the hotel.

Elizabeth Taylor and Mike Todd.

Elizabeth Taylor and Mike Todd.

Diana Ross

Diana Ross

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That’s why we chose Ruffles’ Long Bar Steakhouse for our meal of the trip. The steakhouse got its name from the famous Long Bar which is the home of the Singapore Sling.

The sign at the Long Bar.

The original Long Bar.

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We had a bottle of 2005 Chateau de Chantegrive Cabernet Sauvignon from the Graves district in France’s Bordeaux region. I have been told that 2005 was a great year when we visited Bordeaux in 2007.

We ordered a bowl of French Onion soup, two appetizers, a plate of wild mushrooms and shares a filet mignon. For dessert, we had Chocolate and Vanilla Profiteroles.

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Rich and wonderfully made. Don’t ever think this is an easy dish to make. It is not. I dare not to try because I know better.

 

Long Bar Sampler:  Dungeness Crab Cake,  Foie Gras "Picatta" and Scottish Smoked Salmon.

Long Bar Sampler:
Dungeness Crab Cake, Foie Gras “Picatta” and Scottish Smoked Salmon.

Escargot with garlic butter.

Escargot with garlic butter. I could use some more butter though. I like it dripping all over the place: inside the shells and on to the plate. At least that’s how I make it.

Foie Gras “Picatta.” Very yummy. Very rich and goes well with the wine.

Foie Gras “Picatta.” Very yummy. Very rich and goes well with the wine. You have to do it slowly and enjoy every bite of it. It is not cheap though. That’s why you have to do it slow.

Half of the filet mignon.

Half of the filet mignon.

Wild mushrooms with butter and gravy.

Wild mushrooms with butter and gravy.

My steak and the wild mushrooms: tender and juicy with a nice crust. Just the right amount: about 4 oz.

My steak and the wild mushrooms: tender and juicy with a nice crust. Just the right amount: about 4 oz.

A little too sweet but a good finish with a cup of coffee.

A little too sweet but a good finish with a cup of coffee.

We took our time and stayed pretty late until after it closed. Relaxed, full and satisfied. Great choice.

We took our time and stayed pretty late until after it closed. Relaxed, full and satisfied. Great choice.

The service was impeccable. We had plenty of time to talk and enjoy every dish.

 

 

 

 

 

Breakfast buffet at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore November 22, 2014

Posted by hslu in Food, Travel.
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Singapore has been one of the most interesting places that we have ever been: modern, vibrant, clean, filled with exciting activities, easy to get around and plenty to eat. It was a great city to visit. The only thing bad to say about this small nation city was that it was too hot even in late April. Well, we just have to adjust our schedule to get around the burning sun in the afternoon. Early morning and evening were great and we had a lot of fun here. We will come back again some time in the near future. Next time, we will fly into Singapore and visit surrounding cities such as Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia or Chiang Mai in Thailand.

We stayed at the 44th floor of the Marina Bay Sands with a great view of the Singapore Strait. We also sampled several restaurants in the hotel and in the city. Our tour package included breakfast buffet at the lobby restaurant called Rise just off the check in counter. High ceiling, open space and an inviting ambiance made this place a great place to enjoy a wonderful meal, great selections and friendly service. You eat until you drop. That was the deal and we tried.

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. very unique. The moment I saw the picture of this hotel, I told my travel agent that I wanted to stay here. And we did.

 

 

The waiting area of the lobby cafe: Rise. The front door is in the background.

Just a Beautiful place to have a meal.

Just a Beautiful place to have a meal.

 

 

 

 

This is the serving area.

This is the serving area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hostess at Marina Bay Sand Lobby Cafe

The cafe was huge with as many as 200 tables spreading out over several sections. There were multiple serving stations and a few had chefs on duty to serve us.

The presentations were beautiful, the food was tasty and the selections were plenty.  It was one of the best breakfast buffets that we had ever had.

 

I wasn't sure what was that in the middle. Didn't try. Too many other to choose from.

I wasn’t sure what was that in the middle. Didn’t try. Too many other to choose from.

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People in line to get eggs served the way your liked it.

People in line to get eggs served the way your liked it.

 

 

Noodles and fish ball with green onions and fried shallot. Yum, yum, yum.

Noodles and fish ball with green onions and fried shallot. Yum, yum, yum.

Nuts, cheese, dried berries and fresh fruits.

Nuts, cheese, dried berries and fresh fruits.

One of several hot food serving stations.

One of several hot food serving stations.

Some kind of Indian rice cake.

Some kind of Indian rice cake.

Vegetarian stew with Indian curry. Didn't try.

Vegetarian stew with Indian curry. Not too spicy. Good.

Chinese noodles with fish balls or wontons.

Chinese noodles with fish balls or wontons.

Indian version of 手抓餅.

Indian version of 手抓餅.

Baked Canadian bacon with cheese.

Baked Canadian bacon with cheese.

Got to have waffle with maple syrup.

Got to have waffle with maple syrup.

The setting.

The setting.

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Chinese, Indian, Malay, Western. You could try them all.

Chinese, Indian, Malay, Western. You could try them all.

Pastry. Sausage, French toast. Syrup.  Canadian Bacon. Just so much to try.

Pastry. Sausage, French toast. Syrup. Canadian Bacon. Just so much to try.

稀飯,小菜和包子.

稀飯,小菜和包子.

Did you see bacon and egg? Not quiet the healthy food we were supposed to eat. 顧不得那麼多了.

Did you see bacon and egg? Not quiet the healthy food we were supposed to eat.
顧不得那麼多了.

$41 a piece if you were to pay for it out of your pocket.

$41 a piece if you were to pay for it out of your pocket.

Fried rice. 潮州裸條, stirred fried. More 包子 and 潮州粉果, etc.

Fried rice. 潮州裸條, stirred fried. More 包子 and 潮州粉果, etc.

Taxi, anyone?

Taxi, anyone?

 

山雨欲来风满楼 May 3, 2014

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我们在Marina Bay Sands 的这几天,麻六甲海峡的天气极美:风平浪静蓝天白云一眼看过去好几百艄船在眼前慢慢的走着,不急不缓很有秩序。

可是这老天变还变得真快,刚刚天上还有一片蓝天一转眼西北边就有动静了。

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风也吹起了,云也动了,连阳台上种的花的叶子也都吹的到处飞。天的那边一下子就黑了。

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新加坡的天气变得快,在我们住的44樓看的更清楚。刚刚还看到好多船转眼就被乌云遮住不见了。

远处打雷闪电可是我们这没什么动静只吹吹风而已。

这就是我们说的:”天有不测风云”吧!
当然啦 “人有旦夕祸福。”

不知道这些船是不是要下錨还是继续往前走。

Too many to count April 23, 2014

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Have you ever seen so many ship before? 1st time for me.

The view of 马六甲海峡 Singapore Strait from the 44th floor of Marina Bay Sands.

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鍍星- 台湾的悲哀 March 30, 2014

Posted by hslu in Taiwan.
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2011          350 人

2012      1,000 人

2013      4,000 人

What is this,you might ask?

Well, these were the number of Taiwanese people, mostly students freshly graduated from colleges, who went to Singapore looking for a better life.

Why Singapore, isn’t Taiwan a wealthy country, you continued?

Well, these students get paid more in Singapore than they would earn in Taiwan.

What do they do in Singapore; engineers, financial analysts. accountants or managers?

No; most of them work as waiters, waitresses, hostesses or store clerks at hotels, restaurants or boutique stores at  shopping malls and airport.

This is called 鍍星 or gold-plated in Singapore. Not a very pretty picture, isn’t it?

World Journal called it “穷茫世代” and asked “台湾,下一个菲律宾?

To be able to work in Singapore, these students received the lowest level working visa from the government. While there, as many as 20 of them share a four-bedroom house; get paid for $48,000 Taiwanese dollar a year (vs. $22,000 if they stay in Taiwan,) have no possibility to advance in their work, can’t get married in Singapore and can’t get pregnant while in the country. If they get pregnant, they either have to get an abortion without their employer’s knowledge or they will get deported by the government.

Is this the same place that I once lived for 20+ years many decades ago? Where is the hope for the young people?

 

 

馬英九’s government is a no-gut, middle of the road, government December 30, 2011

Posted by hslu in Economics, Global Affair, Politics, Taiwan.
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馬英九’s government is a no-gut, middle of the road, government

Taiwan has been plagued by elections at many levels: they cost too much, they raised the hatred between party loyalists; the blues and the greens, and they kept the society in general on edge because of constant uncertainty in the political system.

A few months back, the current government, under 馬英九, decided to look into combining the upcoming presidential and legislator elections. Instead of deciding the outcome based on its own merit, the government chose to conduct a survey to see how popular this idea was. And to raise the bar a little further, the government conducted a press conference to make sure every voting citizen knew about this.

Well, the survey came out positive as shown by this picture from the Chinese World Journal and sure enough the elections were combined into one to be held in mid January, 2012.

Chinese has a perfect term for this kind of behavior: “牆頭草” “qiang2 tou2 cai3,” or grass on top of a wall. It bends both ways depending on the directions of the prevailing political wind.

Same can be said about 馬英九’s decision not to continue with the chemical plant in central Taiwan because he catered to the demand of the environmental group before the election. Ditto on Taiwan’s nuclear power plants.

The decision was also influenced by the decision of the opposition party which came out against both projects. I thought this was a very unwise move because it will

  • Further reduce the Taiwanese economy to a serviced-based economy for generations.
  • Continue relying on imports for necessary chemicals from foreign countries such as Singapore, and
  • Eliminate high-paying jobs which are desperately needed in a society filled with low-paying jobs such as taxi drivers and foot massagers.

It demonstrate once again that politicians such as 馬英九, have a pair of weak knees and they bend easily just like a “牆頭草.”

Average Home Prices of Major Asian Cities December 12, 2010

Posted by hslu in China, Economics, Global Affair, Shanghai, Taiwan.
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When you talk to people about Shanghai’s real estate market, nine

out of ten times, the immediate response was: “The home price is too high.”

However, based on recent data collected from major Asian cities, the

average home prices of these cities may surprise you.

Here are the average Home Prices of Major Asian Cities as of

November 11, 2010

Average Home Prices

City
(TWD/坪) (US $/坪) (US $/sq ft) (US $/sq meter) (RMB/sq meter)
Hong Kong 2,020,000 $ 67,043 $         1,885 $          20,280 ¥134,256
Tokyo 1,720,000 $ 57,086 $         1,605 $          17,268 ¥114,317
Singapore 1,129,000 $ 37,471 $         1,054 $          11,335 ¥75,037
Seoul 860,000 $ 28,543 $            803 $            8,634 ¥57,159
Taipei 469,000 $ 15,566 $            438 $            4,709 ¥31,171
Shenzhen 366,200 $ 12,154 $            342 $            3,677 ¥24,339
Shanghai 337,600 $ 11,205 $            315 $            3,389 ¥22,438
Beijing 285,800 $   9,486 $            267 $            2,869 ¥18,995
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