Walkabout: 2017 Geylang Serai Market Bazaar

Ramadan is upon us once again, which also signifies the start of the annual Geylang Serai Market Bazaar. Billed as the biggest pasar malam event of the year in Singapore, it hosts 900 stalls across a few roads right outside Paya Lebar MRT.

Stalls are well in demand, since the bazaar is always teeming with crowds all month long, Muslim or non-Muslim alike. Rental is said to be as high as $17,000 this year, and some shops (probably those not selling food and those not blessed with TheSmartLocal’s or LadyIronChef’s midas touch) are still struggling to break even.

As you would expect, prices are exorbitant (at least, by pasar malam standards) and are at least on par with that of recent large-scale pasar malam events like Artbox and River Hongbao. Still, that isn’t enough to deter the millennial crowds, who are apparently willing to pay $20 and upwards for a slice of avocado toast.

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TribeCar Review — Fuss-free, Ad-hoc Car Rental

Update 11 March 2017: TribeCar has formed a partnership with Grab allowing freelance drivers to drive on an hourly basis under the Grab PowerHour scheme. Check out my thoughts below.

I first knew of TribeCar a few months back, when a promoter gave me a flyer somewhere along the City Hall area. Initially, I didn’t think much of it.

Then, it was time to make some Valentine’s Day plans this year and I toyed with the idea of renting a car for an entire Saturday. After some research, I found this was harder than I anticipated. Most car rental companies operate on a traditional model where you have to make a trip down to their offices to collect the car. On weekends, this poses a problem since their offices are not open. Weekend rentals for these companies would then mean you have to rent the car from Friday to Monday and incur the extra costs that come with it, including overnight parking.

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Walkabout: Chinatown Street Decorations & Bazaar 2017

For a few weeks before Chinese New Year every year, Chinatown will be all dressed up, with the centrepiece being the sculpture at the intersection of Eu Tong Sen Street/ North Bridge Road and Upper Cross Street.

This year, the sculpture is that of a giant rooster, one that is so conspicuous that it appears in almost every other post about Chinese New Year.

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A Last Look at Tanjong Pagar Railway Station

Corroding tracks.

I first knew of the existence of the KTM Singapore-Malaysia route some ten years ago, when we were whisked to a train station in the middle of the night, on the last day of our Secondary 3 overseas adventure camp at Taman Negara. I alighted at Woodlands terminal, not knowing that had I stayed on, I would be able to enjoy a rare glimpse of the disappearing Singapore wilderness through a train at ground level. That was something I never got to do before the Tanjong Pagar-Woodlands route closed for good in 2011. The only silver lining? Someone made a video of the entire train experience before it shuttered and uploaded it on YouTube.

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Photo Essay: 2016 Orchard Road Christmas Light-up

There’s no possibility of a White Christmas in Singapore. The next best thing for us, perhaps, would be the annual Christmas light-up along Orchard Road, which has been a staple since 1984.

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MINISO: A better Daiso than Daiso?

MINISO entered the Singapore market late last year with some fanfare and much ridicule. With a logo with the same shade of red as Uniqlo, a name that one would naturally associate with Daiso, and a tagline that looks like MUJI, on top of the fact that MINISO isn’t quite Japanese despite what they insist, one would think that MINISO wouldn’t stand the test of time in brand-conscious Singapore.

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Parting Thoughts: A Last Look at Rochor Centre

Rochor Centre

When you mention Rochor Centre, the one image that pops up in everyone’s minds is that of four colourful blocks, draped in the richest shades of red, blue, yellow and green. The place has become a popular hotspot for Instragammers eager to take their last shots before the place fades away into history.

As it turns out, Rochor Centre wasn’t always painted this way. If not for the colours, would we even bother? Perhaps.

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Christmas Wonderland at Gardens by the Bay – Mini Photo Essay

Unlike the two previous editions of Christmas Wonderland, this year’s edition charges an entrance fee ranging from $4 to $8. Call it human psychology, but Christmas Wonderland feels a little more appealing with an entrance fee put in place. You would expect a ticketed event to be better organised, with a line-up of activities and food in a carvinal-like atmosphere, rather than what seems to be little more than an over-glorified Christmas display.

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It’s Time for a Freesheet Format Change

I was at Ang Mo Kio station on a Saturday morning and a lady was giving out copies of the weekend edition of TODAY, a local freesheet. I was low on data and it would be a long ride to Beauty World, so I grabbed a copy. I went about on my merry way, reading …

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Sony SmartWatch 3 Review: Still Relevant in 2016

Update 17 February 2017: It has now been officially confirmed that the SmartWatch 3 will NOT support Android Wear 2.0. As such, it is difficult to recommend you buying this watch any longer.

As I write this, the Sony SmartWatch 3 (SW3) has been out for more than two years. That’s an eternity when it comes to consumer electronics, and even more so when it comes to smartwatches, an industry that has yet to come of age. And yes, the SW3 preceeds even the first generation Apple Watch.

Since the SW3’s release, we had seen a move towards more stylish (or differentiated) watches with round faces from the likes of Tag Heuer, Fossil, Casio and Nixon. Meanwhile, Sony has been unusually quiet in this regard, with little indication of an impending successor.

Still, while the SW3 may not be a looker (even with the stainless steel band) the SW3 holds its own in terms of specifications, with processing speed, RAM and storage space by-and-large on par with contemporary watches, and even features a built-in GPS, a rarity when it comes to Android Wear watches.

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My 1st Jay Chou Concert — Great Start, Lacklustre Finish

Like most other Singaporean Chinese teens in the mid-2000s (or at least those who listened to Mandopop), Jay Chou was a constant in my playlist. Don’t ask me how–but I ended up having every of his albums in my iPod then.

I never got a chance to attend his concerts, though. Maybe I wasn’t that big of a fan, or perhaps his tickets were just too expensive. Meanwhile, I made do by listening to his concert CDs, which I enjoyed very much, because of the way he would try to sing the song in a slightly different way each time.

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