Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Turkish Bowls

The nuts and fruits that I got from Turkey have long been eaten or given away since I came back months ago but I've yet to unpack some of the bowls which were tightly bubble wrapped till recently. It does bring back memories of a happy holiday ! And I do feel that I need a holiday real soon.

Red tulips are commonly found in Turkish tiles and bowls

Incorporating evil eyes in the hand drawn designs of the bowl

Monday, July 15, 2013

Vintage porcelain animals from Japan

I have encountered many strange and kitschy porcelain figurines at flea markets, figurines which are just not proportionally correct, have bad finishing or are just plain ugly. But something did catch my eye yesterday. It was a lovely collection of porcelain animals with the word Japan stamped on their belly. Following Word War 2, Japan was a prolific producer of porcelain figurines, from the era of Occupied Japan right up to the 70's. By then, most of the economy had diversified into higher-end electronics. The zebra, giraffe, lion and jaguar were very well made in terms of expression, proportion and finishing. I just had to bring it home, even though I hardly collect figurines.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Beautiful food at ME@OUE

Gorgeous food is such a transient beauty. They give pleasure to the eyes before giving pleasure to the taste buds. In this day and age of smart phones, at least that moment can be captured. Here are some pictures I took of the food at Me@OUE which is just part of the menu specially chosen for a National Day Red and White dinner amidst the fireworks. 

Singapore cherries

I have happy memories of my mum and me plucking little cherries from my grandpa's little factory compound at Tanglin Halt Road. They were sweet like cotton candy and I could eat many at one go. That was around 30 over years ago and ever since, I don't remember ever seeing a tree like that. But during one of my evening walks, I chanced upon some little trees by the road with red cherries and it brought back those memories. I just had to plucked them off the tree ! The avid gardener uncle at our community garden might just know and true enough he did. "You got them by the road, right ? I 've eaten them a few times already but this variety is sour ! I put one in my mouth and lo and behold, I discovered that I had dimples after all. Part of that happy memory came back but it fell short on sweetness.

Native to Central America, it has been called the strawberry tree, Jamaican cherry and Panama berry but here, we call it the Singapore cherry.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Growing vegetables

Spontaneous smiles from 3 brothers who were each given an okra (ladies' fingers) by the uncle at the  garden

Oka (Ladies' finger ) 

A rack for potted vegetables, handmade from the wood of a discarded bed 

Little seedlings of kai lan sprouting from the pots. 

The leaves of the sweet potato plant make a delicious vegetable dish

Pak choy 

Japanese cucumber 
I just love dropping by at my neighbourhood community garden. Either to get some rosemary for my bread and chicken, some dill for my fish or perhaps some fresh mint to add to my tea. But most of all, to see what vegetables are in season or what new planting apparatus has been diligently put together from recycled materials. There is so passion and pride put in by our resident gardening enthusiasts that it warms my heart and makes me appreciate what mother nature can provide.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Bishan Park

A meandering river runs through Bishan Park

Wild mushrooms growing on a tree trunk 

A place of tranquillity and relaxation

Children with their improvised bamboo fishing rods 

An interesting water play feature at the playground 

I love the spiral design of this wooden bench at Bishan Park

Great for lying down and soaking in the relaxing atmosphere 

 Little nets and pails will lead to endless hours of fun and discovery 

Trees are the gift of nature 

Dogs are a big part of this park

Bishan Park is home to many birds, including migratory birds from North Asia during winter

A lazy afternoon at Bishan Park 
The canal that used to be running through Bishan Park has now turned into a meandering river, integrating seamlessly with the green spaces. During low tide, one can walk along the river bank or even enjoy a lovely picnic while kids engage in hours of discovery with fishing nets and pails. 

To me, having open green spaces in a crowded city like Singapore is a true luxury, one I never take for granted. Friends wonder why I never moved out of my first family home and the real reason is the park. Situated just conveniently across my place, it is where my family and I spent our weekends-jogging, cycling or fishing. Morever, the recent landscaping of the park has given rise to 3 children's playgrounds at Bishan Park - the adventure playground for active kids with slides and climbing apparatus, the water park with interesting features of interactivity where kids can learn and appreciate the value of water and the sand filled bubble playground with its fascinating array of colored molds.     

One of the most interesting features at Bishan Park is the biotope pond which helps maintain the quality of the water flowing through the park. It is amazing how this is done using plants of natural cleansing properties without the use of chemicals.