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Paya Lebar Region: The Burgeoning Hub of the East

In the early 2000s, the area around Upper Paya Lebar Road and Paya Lebar Road (which we shall now refer to as the Paya Lebar region for simplicity’s sake) was Singapore’s equivalent of a chaotic mess, with major road diversions, temporary roads and the terrible traffic that ensued, all in the name of development.

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Orchard Central: From Dying to Thriving

When it rains, it pours. In 2009, three shopping malls opened along Orchard Road in succession–Orchard Central, ION Orchard and 313@Somerset. Prior to this, there had been no new mall openings along Singapore's prime shopping belt in over a decade.

Both ION Orchard and 313@Somerset found their footing and thrived rather quickly, in part because they were located right next to the MRT, and in part due to their selection of tenants. Meanwhile, Orchard Central struggled.

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Endless Wonder: Christmas 2017 along Orchard Road

December. It’s a month of nostalgia, of reflection, where you look back at the past eleven months, and marvel at how much you’ve progressed (or regressed?) since. It’s the Friday of the months, the season of giving, and a month of school holidays (and clearing leave, now that I’m an adult). And in the absence of snow in Singapore, at least we have the annual Christmas light-up along Orchard Road, a staple since 1984.

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Capturing the National Day festivities and fireworks

With some spare time on my hands, I made my way down to the Promontory at Marina Bay, camera in hand, on 29th July, the final National Day Parade preview before the actual day. My intent was to get some practice with my new camera as well as to soak in the festive atmosphere despite not having a ticket to the show itself.

I had done this once before some eleven years ago with a Canon PowerShot camera. Back then, the parade was still held at the old National Stadium. But after that, it felt like such a chore having to lug a tripod around and camp for a good spot hours before.

This time around, I wasn’t that prepared either. I adopted an “anything goes” attitude and brought my D7500 with kit lens and 55-200mm along.

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One Last Look – Sungei Road Thieves’ Market

One of the entrances to the market.

10th July 2017 marked the last day of operations (if you can call it that) for the second-hand flea market at Sungei Road, more popularly known as the Thieves’ Market. It being a weekday, I didn’t get the chance to witness its last closing, but I was present on the last weekend on both evenings. …

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Nine Months On — Where have the Funan shops moved to?

It’s been nearly nine months since Funan shut its doors, and perhaps now’s a good time to take stock–where have all the shops in Funan moved to?

Challenger

The Funan outlet on its second last day.

While other shops have come and gone over the years, Challenger was a mainstay at Funan. The Funan outlet was Challenger’s oldest and biggest one, spanning an entire floor divided into themed sections. It had a far wider selection compared to your neighbourhood Challenger store. There were sections dedicated to gaming, networking equipment, laptops, smartphones, cameras, and even office furniture.

While Challenger initially said that it had no plans to set up a new flagship store, it eventually signed a lease to takeover the basement floor at Bugis Junction which was formerly occupied by Virtualand. The new flagship store is slated to open in Q2 2017. Here’s hoping that it will feature a similarly eclectic mix of products as with the Funan store.

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Tourist’s Guide to Singapore: Getting Around

An old Singapore patriotic song goes “you can take a little trip around Singapore town, in a Singapore city bus”. That may be true 50 years back, but ‘Singapore town’ is much bigger today, and with it the number of transport options have also risen considerably. With skyscrapers and similar-looking high-rise apartments towering all around, it can be easy for one unfamiliar with Singapore to get lost in this concrete jungle. What, then, is the best way to move around Singapore for the inexperienced?

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August 2016: A Most Eventful Month for Singapore

A Chun Cui He bottle that I managed to get by some stroke of luck
A Chun Cui He bottle that I managed to get by some stroke of luck

What were we doing at the start of August this year? Well, obsessing over 纯粹。喝 (Chun Cui He) milk tea bottles. Because we Singaporeans are savvy hoarders and flippers (just look at the number of opportunists on Carousell), 7-Eleven had to limit each person to just six bottles.

I managed to get my hands on it only after the craze died down somewhat–and the milk tea tasted almost exactly like Mineshine as I remember it. Nothing too special, and certainly not up to the standards of Gong Cha or Koi. The latte was slightly better, but nothing worth queueing for.

Of course, within the same month itself, the AVA discovered that the milk tea version contained a food additive that was banned in Singapore. The latte version is still being sold sporadically, though the demand has mostly subsided.

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The Rise of the Pokemon GO Economy

A few weeks ago, someone wrote in to the Straits Times Forum, urging Singapore (or rather, the authorities?) to think twice before giving Pokemon Go the go-ahead. While she has a point–I’ve seen people standing beside dustbins looking silly just because it was a Pokestop (apparently dustbins with graffiti artwork on it qualify)–she has neglected the main reason why Pokemon GO will probably be given the go-ahead anyway.

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Pokemon GO: Places to Scout in Singapore

Source: Pokemon GO
Source: Pokemon GO

Update 6/8/2016: Pokemon GO is finally here in Singapore! And yes, it seems that most of the places in Ingress are also Pokemon stops.

As the original article was written before Pokemon Go was released, you may find the main contents irrelevant. So here’s what you need to know:

Based on my personal experience at Bishan Park, Serangoon, Botanic Gardens and VivoCity, you should check out VivoCity if you want the most fertile catches–you can find hoardes of Magikarps (you need a hundred of these to evolve a Gyarados), a number of Tentacools (and Tentacruels as well), Slowpokes, Horseas, Psyducks (and the occassional Golduck), Zubat (and the occassional Golbat), Meowths and many more. Not to mention, there are more than seven Pokestops at the rooftop of VivoCity alone, in very close proximity to each other. On National Day, most of these stops had lures, making it very fertile land indeed.

After what seems to be an interminable wait, rumour has it that Pokemon GO is all set to be rolled out in Southeast Asia within the next couple of days. If you want to stay ahead of the game, you may want to start scouting for possible PokeStops and Gyms scattered across Singapore. This is something you can do legally even before the game’s released.

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Dr Chee’s Redemption Tour: Will He Make It?

Dr Chee Soon Juan has come a long way. Once known as a man who ousted his mentor from the party the latter founded, who raised his voice in front of the then-Prime Minister during a walkabout and shouted “Where is our money?”, who staged hunger strikes and protests, he has mellowed considerably.

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