New Home: wanderfolly.com

Almost a month into the new year and it’s time for a new beginning.

I’ve been writing in this space for a past 8 months or so and it’s time to move to a new domain. Better still, it’s time to move to my very own domain.

Thanks for a support these few months, and I do hope you’ll continue to support me in my new space here:

wanderfolly.com

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Hello 2011 – Here’s 2010 in 25 photos

2010 has come and gone.  And an amazing year it was for me.

I haven’t been in this space for a couple of weeks now, but I thought I’d start the new year well by sharing these photographs of how I spent the past year.

Presenting, my 2010 in 25 photos:

This post will also be my second last here. Thank you for reading these past 7 months. But I’m not dropping off the face of this earth! I’m simply moving. So watch out for my last post as I finally reveal my new home.

Thank you 2010. You were absolutely fantastic. Now, I wonder what my 2011 would look like?

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Foto Friday: Monkey See Monkey Do

Nikko, Japan
July 2009

Monkey see monkey do

It was a wet afternoon at the Akechidaira plateau. I was walking about alone trying to catch a glimpse of the famed Lake Chuzenji and Kejon Waterfall and saw neither; it was too foggy and could barely see anything 10 metres in front of me. Seeing how I had wasted my time and money making the trip up to the plateau, I headed to the bus station to take the next bus back down to the city centre of Nikko.

There was no one else around, save for one person who was manning the visitor centre booth. Or so I thought.

I heard a scream and saw two tourists, about the same age as I, running. After a few metres, they stopped, turned around and whipped out their cameras and began snapping. There they were, a family of five Japanese macaques.

What follows was the second smallest one (not pictured here) chasing and scaring the sh*t out of the three of us. The other four did not bother much about us, thankfully. I would not have wanted to leave Nikko mauled. Here’s the father macaque and youngest macaque standing by the side of the bridge we were on, staring out into the distance. The cutest sight ever. Would not have been too cute if they did chase us too though.

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Every photograph we take contains a story, but we often do not spend enough time sharing that story with others. Hence, Foto Friday was born to give some recognition to these forgotten photographs and the memories they hold. Taken over many trips (2004-present) using my crappy cameras and whatever minimal photography skills I have, these photographs serve to give you a little insight into my travels. And if you haven’t realised by now, they’ll be out on Fridays.

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Foto Friday: The Swanlake

Hamburg, Germany
May 2010

The Vain Swan

We were sitting by a pond in the middle of the city watching the swans and ducks swim about as we waited for our turn to go for the Hamburg Rathaus (City Hall) English tour. Occasionally, some passersby would stop by the pond and feed the birds some pieces of bread. This swan, probably upon seeing that it was getting quite an audience, decided to strike a ‘pose’ for us.

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Every photograph we take contains a story, but we often do not spend enough time sharing that story with others. Hence, Foto Friday was born to give some recognition to these forgotten photographs and the memories they hold. Taken over many trips (2004-present) using my crappy cameras and whatever minimal photography skills I have, these photographs serve to give you a little insight into my travels. And if you haven’t realised by now, they’ll be out on Fridays.

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Foto Friday: Tibetan Grandfather and Grandson

Somewhere in Tibet
June 2010

Tibetan grandfather and grandson

We had taken a stop at a tsampa (barley flour) mill when we met this Tibetan grandfather and grandson waiting by the side of the road for someone to stop and bring them to their destination. A few vehicles passed by and none ever stopped to give them a ride. I can’t recall where they were going to exactly but they were headed in the same direction as we were. My friend asked our guide (it’s mandatory for foreigners to hire a guide and a bus/van when travelling in Tibet) whether they could join us on the bus, but our guide said no, explaining that tourist vehicles were not allowed to pick up locals. When we left, the Tibetan grandfather and grandson were still standing there waiting for a kind soul to pick them up. I wonder whether they ever managed to hitch a ride.

_____________________________

Every photograph we take contains a story, but we often do not spend enough time sharing that story with others. Hence, Foto Friday was born to give some recognition to these forgotten photographs and the memories they hold. Taken over many trips (2004-present) using my crappy cameras and whatever minimal photography skills I have, these photographs serve to give you a little insight into my travels. And if you haven’t realised by now, they’ll be out on Fridays.

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Fulfilling Childhood Dreams: Being an Archaeologist

Archaeological Works in Progress | Caution!

We’re in a two metre deep pit, with an archaeology trowel in one hand and a dust pan in the other, ready to attack the one metre pile of dirt in front of us. We had already dug through 30centimetres worth of gravel – made up of cement and sand I believe – and barely found anything save for an occasional piece of ceremic n some old plaster. I learn that the section I was digging was not old, probably not more than a few decades old since it was previously dug up for telephone line laying purposes.

Dust pan and archaeology trowel

Dust pan and archaeology trowel

Another volunteer hard at work. Notice the grey band? That's the 30 cm gravel we had to dig through.

Some of the things we found

Some of the things we found

One of the two pits we were working on that day

Undug portions of the area

With me for company was a First Year Arts student from a local university. Other volunteers included an Archaeology exchange student from Australia, a recent graduate from a local polytechnic  who was interested in taking up Southeast Asian Studies at a local university, and some members of “Southeast Asian archaeology” I believe. One volunteer had even taken two weeks of leave off work to be part of this meaningful exercise. Another man had stumbled upon the site, walked in for a chat, and for the next one to two hours began digging away.

Some of the volunteers

Some of the volunteers

This group of people have been at this for a couple of days, while this was the first time I was joining them. My back was starting to ache, and my hands were cramping up from the constant digging, while my fingers were starting to blister due to the roughness of the gloves against the skin. I begin to wonder how they could do this everyday without a rest day.  I look around and see two volunteers digging and chatting at the same time, completely unperturbed that their clothes were gradually becoming a shade of soil-brown. I look down at my own clothes, and saw that it was still as good as new. “I must not be working hard enough,” I thought to myself.

Soiled gloves

Soiled gloves

As I continue to dig, I imagine a whole pit full of 14th century vases waiting for me to discover them. It has always been a childhood dream to become an archaeologist but I’ve never found the means to becoming one, especially not in Singapore. I’ve always dreamed of ‘hanging out’ with King Tut and his ‘mummy’ friends, as well as sweeping 2,000 year old Vesuvius-ian ash off the perfectly preserved bodies of Pompeii; digging here in between two of urban Singapore’s oldest buildings – the Former Supreme Court and the Old City Hall –  is the closest I’ve ever been to becoming an archaeologist, and probably the closest I’ll ever be.

Archaeology site

The Archaeology site

After six hours of digging an approximate 2 by 1 by 1 metre space, this was all that was found:

The Find

Some rusted nails and bolts, blue and white European/Chinese ceramic pieces (could not be identified at that time), Fourteenth century water jugs, celedon pieces, a mouth-blown glass bottle mouth piece, Twentieth century machine-made glass bottle pieces. Not a lot for a day’s work, but still giving a little insight into the life of present, colonial, and Temasek (pre-Raffles) Singapore.

In the archaeology pit

Actual sand of Singapore's beach of the past

This is the actual sand of Singapore's beach of the past. Legend says that Sang Nila Utama was allured by the white beaches of Singapore at that time. The City Hall area has been built on top of this old beach. Thanks Chen for the mini History lesson.

Soil Stratification

Stratification of the soil. The area of the left is the "untouched" land of Singapore. The bottom-most is the old beach, the middle, soil that was placed on the beach when land was being build, and the above band, rocks that were placed for foundation for the roads. The right side is an area that had once been dug up to place piping.

More artefacts found

More artefacts found

The green shards are pieces of celedon ware

The green shards are pieces of celedon ware

It was fulfilling one day of digging and playing archaeologist. If you want to join in to help Singapore understand her past better, you can contact Chen (shien[at]seaarchaeology[dot]com) with your name,contact number n available timings. The dig goes on till 30 Nov (0930-1830 everyday, rain or shine, save for Mondays). For more information on the archaeological happenings in Singapore and on this dig click here and here respectively. I’ll be there again next Sunday (14 Nov) if you would care to join me.

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Heritage Trails in Singapore


I can’t believe I just discovered this website (http://heritagetrails.sg).
This website, brought to us by the National Heritage Board in Singapore, offers trails for one to discover’s Singapore’s heritage and look into the history of the country.  This website reminds us, Singaporeans and foreigners alike, that there is much more to Singapore than Orchard Road and its shopping malls. One can, for instance, explore the areas of Balestier, Bukit Timah and Fort Canning, to name a few.
Now a perfect addition to this website would an phone app so that one can walk through the area with ease.

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