Tag Archive | Bishan

I am dead serious!

Someone I know sent me this link about the columbarium brouhaha in West Sengkang and added for good measure: “by some accounts, this Lam guy
doesn’t seem to be handling this very well. sounds a bit like the HDB and URA functionaries of old. more trouble for Baby God.”

This is what I wrote in response: “Frankly I don’t know y these people r making such a fuss… Bishan, Takashimaya, even some good class bungalows in Kheam Hock Road r all built around or on top of old graves… soon it will be Bidadari.

So what if there’s a columbarium?

The people in landed prop around St Ignatius Church in King’s Road have not only a columbarium as a neighbour but also wakes day in and out…

The West Sengkang people are making a fuss now probably as an excuse because prop prices r falling and they want out…

If I were BG, I would say to those who want out: “Please take back yr deposits. And for good measure, I will offer those returned units to those in the Pioneer Generation, who have never had the benefit of buying a discount price home from the Government, who own private property and who would like the privilege of also owning a HDB home direct from the Government. As a special concession to this special group of Singaporeans.”

And I would be the first to jump at such an offer — as after all, with the best of effort, I probably won’t have more than 30 years to live and what better way to get daily reminders that I am not going to live forever than by living next to a columbarium!

I am dead serious about taking up such an offer, if it materialises.

I am also dead serious when I say that I hope our Government would re-learn how to take a firm stand when the occasion arises. Not try to accommodate more and more demands, especially when they aren’t reasonable. Otherwise why should caveat emptor apply to anything any more!

Pioneer perks and pains

First, I was pleasantly surprised today when I visited my GP — an ex-neighbour with a clinic in Bukit Batok — to consult about a suddenly super itchy throat and occasional coughing.

After the consultation and receiving three types of medication, I was told that no payment was needed as I hold a Pioneer Generation card. ūüôā

Second, I was pleasantly surprised again at the Bishan Fairprice Finest outlet to be told that I would get a discount on my purchases if I had a Pioneer card. This was the Monday bonus for us Pioneers!

Well, I have and showed it with alacrity.

Only to be told: “And now your IC”.

Huh? Why an IC?

The cashier auntie deadpan: “to confirm you aren’t using someone else’s Pioneer card.”

I duly showed my IC but the pleasure that Mr Lim Swee Say hoped to give us Pioneers was destroyed in one go.

For heaven’s sake. It’s only a 3% discount!!

Would I, or anyone, be so desperate to get 66 cents off our bills (that’s my discount) as to borrow someone’s Pioneer card? And if someone elderly (but doesn’t belong to the Pioneer Generation) and so desperate would it kill Fairprice to let them have that discount just once or twice?

Today’s request reminded me of the days when I was asked for my bus pass to prove that I qualify for the Tuesday 2% elderly discount, even though I have a union member card.

As I don’t have a bus pass, I had to show my IC. There were even a couple of times at an outlet with unbending cashier aunties when I was refused a discount with my IC as the bus pass was the stipulated proof!

Thank goodness that ridiculous demand has long become history.

Hopefully our good Lim Swee Say will now mandate those who man cash machines at Fairprice be more flexible and not ask for our IC. If nothing else that is showing true respect for Pioneers and not start by implying we would be so cavalier with our Pioneer privilege from NTUC as to let others use our card.

Mr Lui continues not to get it!!

Ages ago — oh all right, I exaggerate, it’s only a couple of years ago — I wrote that Mr Lui Tuck Yew, our august transport minister didn’t get it. You can read about it here. https://singaporegirl.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/mr-lui-really-really-doesnt-get-it/

Judging by the derision that’s greeted his recent pronouncements on bus fares and higher pay for¬†bus drivers (service leaders, for heavens sake!), he still doesn’t get it.

Never mind.

Since he doesn’t feel the pain of sky-rocketting COEs and doesn’t as a rule have to take bus, taxi, MRT or walk to get from point A to point XYZ, why should he get it.

But since I do feel the extruciating hurt of COE prices — as a consequence of which I will have to have more than nodding acquaintance with BTMW sooner than later, let me add my one-cent worth to what can be done to help make it unnecessary to raise bus fares –yet.

Last week, I found myself at Newton MRT station, having taken the train first from Bishan and then Toa Payoh, the result of my deciding to get down midway be4 Newton to take a look at the heartlands, not because of a train breakdown ūüėÜ

I had sent my car for servicing at one of the Sin Min workshops and the workshop boss had as usual dropped me off at Bishan station in his land rover, not jeep, he insisted. One is American; the other British.

Frankly I don’t know the difference and don’t care, so long as I’m saved the hassle of finding my way back to civilisation.

After an hour or so at Junction 8 and then another hour so at Toa Payoh, I suddenly realised that i was going to hit the after work crush on the public transport system¬†— if I didn’t hurry up.

I needn’t have worried.

The 4.30pm-ish train from Toa Payoh to Newton was pretty empty. I had my choice of seats and a few minutes later I was leaving the station.

My next worry was how to bridge the 3 bus stops to my home, since the after work hordes would surely weigh on the buses like an albatross!

I could of course¬†cover the 3 bus stops by walking but it’s slightly more than 1km leh and there was a drizzle.

I could take a taxi but the Auntie Scrooge within me took over. I would probably have to pay $4 to cover the short distance. In any case, anyone trying to catch a taxi on this side of Scotts Road at close to 5pm won’t have much success!

I decided to take a bus, as I discovered from the time-tables displayed that I had a choice of 171 in 11 minutes and 900 and 900A in 9 minutes — not exactly a short wait but as¬†my shopping comprised¬†only 10 oranges and 5 persimmons, it’s not too heavy and certainly won’t perish in minutes.

However what truly irked me during the wait was the arrival in quick succession of Bus 124, all 3 of them, the 3rd one just be4 Bus 900 arrived for me.

Worse, each Bus 124 was virtually empty.

I don’t know which transport company — SBS or SMRT — Bus 124 belongs to¬†but to schedule 3 buses within 10 minutes or so is surely a gross waste of¬†$$$ and manpower and taking up unnecessary road space to boot. Worse, none of the buses could have made any money for their owners during that particular run.

Mayb be4 Mr Lui talks again about raising bus fares, he should think of telling the operators to first cut waste by refining their scheduling? ūüôĄ

PM & Govt must do more for elderly

I know my heading may sound ridiculous especially coming on the heels of G announcing that it would spend $500 million on building facilities for elderly Singaporeans and no less than the Prime Minister urging fellow citizens to support them!

However, I look at it this way.

The $500 million would be spent over five years; so fact is, it’s only $100 million a year. And many of the old-old in Singapore today¬†may not be around to smell, let alone use, the facilities that are currently no more than a twinkle in the G’s eye.

Also, given the vociferousness of the anti-senior facilities lobby, the NIMBY snoots from Toh Yi to Bishan and Woodlands aren’t going to be won over so easily — simply because Mr Lee Hsien Loong urged them to ūüôĄ

So IMHO the G should employ some knuckle duster tactics, albeit figuratively of course.

Besides standing firm on sites already identified for the facilities to be created, the HDB should be tasked to embed elderly facilities into all new-builds under its purview. BTO, Sers, DBSS etc.

Give every applicant who has at least an elderly person in his family who will be living with him/her preferential treatment. After all, those who don’t value the old in their family — or the elderly in themselves in the future — aren’t likely to make good parents. So why waste preferential treatment on “moi, moi, moi” couples?

And, G, pse don’t just stop at public housing.¬†Pse identify private property ripe for development near MRT stations and such like and invite public-private sector partnerships to create elderly facilities in their new builds!

Allow greater density ie plot ratio for developments that embrace putting seniors in the heart of all they build! And by the same corollary, those who say no could see them having to pay extra development charge as a penalty.

Bukit Cina vs Bishan

He was probably the youngest in our “bonding” 2-day outing to Melaka last week-end. So he was probably more¬†sensitive to¬†stuff associated with death than older members¬†on the¬†trip who, with age, have developed¬†a more philosphical outlook about the inevitability of what comes after 80 or 90 years in this world.

He wasn’t a terribly articulate young man. He said he didn’t know how the tourists could ride in “them”.

“Why?” I asked, even tho I actually shared his feelings but wanted to hear them articulated by someone else.

“Looks like..” Pause. “Looks like a funeral hearse..”

tourists in trishaw

waiting for fares

 But then, this was Melaka. Old country, old city, just old.

When one of your premier tourist attractions is Bukit Cina, a grave-yard¬†dating back to China’s Ming Dynasty, it’s no wonder that whoever’s running¬†tourism promotion in Melaka doesn’t see the flower decked¬†trishaws with the same eyes of those from¬†Singapore where one of¬†the biggest graveyards had long been turned into one of the biggest HDB satellite towns to cater to the thriving living.

I’m talking¬†about Bishan of course.

When Bishan first began taking in living residents –more than two decades ago — mum read stories in the Chinese newspapers about¬†eye witness encounters with the previous¬† “residents”.¬†One account that caught her eye was about an apparition which turned up nightly uninvited to do the laundry for a particular family.

“I don’t know what they are complaining about,” shae said.¬†“If a ghost comes and helps me¬†with my housework for free, I won’t let it go.”

Whatever the apprehensions of the early Bishan residents, those fears have long since evaporated and that estate and its popular Junction 8 bus and MRT stations and environs are always a bustling hub of activity.

Personally, I prefer to see Bishan this way than have it looking like Bukit Cina, preserved and left practically untouched — and somewhat unkempt — to give tourists a frisson on what it is like to slumber for 600 years or more, undisturbed, untouched.

I say better to have change than standstill and become ruins, or as Tennyson puts it in one of my favourite poems from Secondary School, Eng Lit class:

The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
And God fulfils Himself in many ways,
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.

Birthday haul

With my birthday already over for almost a month, I must record this year’s “haul” before more time passes and everything¬†becomes a blur.

First, MK kindly bought lunch at Din Tai Fung at Bishan (my choice because I wanted to shop at Fairprice afterwards), followed by cake n coffee at Coffee Bean. She also gave me three CDs of Hokein songs.

Unfortunately, I misplaced two of the CDs¬†immediately so¬†have to make do with the remaining CD. She kept asking y I’m playing the same CD in my car when I gave her lifts and I had to tell her the truth. Of cos, she was none too pleased.

noodles, soup n dumpling

noodles, soup n dumpling

TC n CT were regular as always with their celebratory meal treat and also their regular bottle of wine gift, for me to drink at home. I like going out with them as CT always wants to drive, something I could do without at nightРespecially when I drink!

As usual, they picked the Cathay Restaurant and we always have the table¬†that gives us an eagle’s eye view of¬†the junction of Orchard Road,¬† Penang Lane,¬†Bras Basar Road¬†and one exit¬†of the Orchard MRT that’s always¬†“people mountain, people sea”.

The dishes they picked were: ¬†shark’s bone soup, green Hongkong kailan and soft¬†steamed rice¬†crepe rolls¬†filled with delectable seafood in a¬†superior broth, all generously accompanied with garlic and¬†chopped¬†red chilli padi, followed by¬†pomelo beads ¬†in mango¬†and sago soup which is my particular favourite.¬†¬†

emerald green vege

emerald green vege

shark's bone soup

shark's bone soup

roll full of gdness

roll full of gdness


chilli n garlic

chilli n garlic

rich mango sago with pomelo beads

rich mango sago with pomelo beads

Then there’re the usual and predictable hongbaos from immediate family: Daffy and bil.

Mum skipped this year becos she’s stopped handling money in a meaningful way. Last year, she named a sum for me to withdraw.¬† The latest¬†change means she’s become more detached or simply she can’t cope with money details any more. Either way, the result is the same.

Also, among the MIAs are my two regular well-wishers from overseas. Friends of over 40 years, they’ve both overlooked the day. But life goes on and life gets busier…

Nephew H provided a Philip’s electronic photo frame which I’m still trying to fill with pix… all 500 of them…be4 calling in the electrician uncle in to add a new power point to run the gadget. Wish he¬†would stick to giving¬†me something virtual (like MS Office which he gave as a X’mas present), as I loathe to acquire too many physical posessions.

And of cos I treated myself n immediate family to lunch at Kuishin-bo as recorded here.