A Personal Note: Harriet (my wife) and I jointly share a spirit of adventure. As we have no mortgage, we are free to travel the world financially. We built a handmade house in 1981 on five acres of land 35 kms. out of Brisbane, Australia for minimal money.
See the house/land posts:
OUR HOUSE …. An Overview
OUR HOUSE ….The Actual Garden See the photos of the house and garden and the history of how we obtained rejected materials like from the Supreme Courthouse stone (where the Law Courts are now in Brisbane) …. two loads for nothing in 1980. They dumped 100’s of cubic metres as fill and built a school over the top. The stone was cut out of the Kangaroo Points Cliffs in 1877.
See these travel posts:
- Ken and Harriet’s Travel posts from 2003 to 2018. I wrote this in April 2020 even though this New Zealand Travel Blog May 2010.
- An International Perspective ….. Ken and Harriet’s Travel post from 2003 to 2018
Trip 5: FRANCE HOLIDAY in May 2007 …. Stopover in Singapore
Harriet and I went on a three week holiday to France from the 8th – 29th May 2007. On the way over to France, we stopped off in Singapore for two days.
I have a Brain Injury website that connects hundreds of Brain Injured people around the world. The dominant theme of the Brain Injury Community is: ‘Becoming a Brain Injury Thriver and not just Survivor’.
I personally went through a life-changing situation. In December 1995, I sustained a severe brain injury by falling off a boogie-board in shallow surf at Peregian Beach on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia. Consequently I was in a coma for four weeks, confined in hospital for six months, had to learn everything all over again. These things included:
- Get my brain back together from a very scrambled state and learn to live with a new me
- Lost a lot of intuitive ability to discern what other people are saying ….. although that has largely come back now
- I cannot drive twenty five years (1995-2020) out from my accident …. but I have learnt to drive on the Internet …. to go around the world in a few minutes and see hundreds of people at the same time
At the moment these are my continuing challenges:
My balance is still a bit out at the moment this means:
- I cannot ride a bicycle now ….. Used to ride for kilometres when I had one when I was younger. I would now fall off a bicycle from a lack of balance
- I have to be careful in walking up narrow paths
- I have to come down backwards still on steep steps at home whilst holding onto the banister
- My mind has slowed right down …. It is hard to take initiative for one’s life and make clear decisions. The result of this for me, is that my wife Harriet now to manages all the finances on a day to day basis.
I sent out a wonderful story on the theme of ‘Becoming a Brain Injury Thriver and not just Survivor’. I had an e-mail response from Takalah Tan in Singapore. Several years earlier, I had read Takalah’s story on a City News website he had sent me. I then had another reply from him in April. I wrote back to Takalah and said that Harriet and I would be stopping over for two days in Singapore in early May on an overseas holiday trip to France in May. I would like to catch up with him when we there. He wrote back and said that when we got to Singapore, he would like to connect with me and here was his mobile phone number. He would come to our hotel and take us out to lunch.
We were staying at The Peninsula Excelsior Hotel. See the website at:
The Peninsula Excelsior Hotel lounge & office
We spent the morning walking around Singapore and looking at the history and some of the old buildings from the 1800’s when Singapore had been started as a city. See the photographs and words below.
History of Singapore
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The history of the modern state of Singapore dates back to its founding in the early nineteenth century, but evidence suggests that a significant trading settlement existed in the Island of Singapore in the 14th century. At the time, the Kingdom of Singapura was under the rule of Parameswara, who killed the previous ruler before he was expelled by the Majapahit or the Siamese. It then came under the Malacca Sultanate and then the Johor Sultanate. In 1819, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles negotiated a treaty whereby Johor allowed the British to locate a trading port on the island, leading to the establishment of the British crown colony of Singapore in 1819.
During World War 2, Singapore was conquered and occupied by the Japanese Empire from 1942 to 1945. When the war ended, Singapore reverted to British control, with increasing levels of self-government being granted, culminating in Singapore’s merger with the Federation of Malaya to form Malaysia in 1963. However, social unrest and disputes between Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party and Malaysia’s Alliance Party resulted in Singapore’s expulsion from Malaysia. Singapore became an independent republic on 9 August 1965.
Facing severe unemployment and a housing crisis, Singapore embarked on a rapid modernization programme beginning in the late 1960s through the 1970s that focused on establishing a manufacturing industry, developing large public housing estates and investing heavily on public education and infrastructure.
By the 1990s, the country had become one of the world’s most prosperous nations, with a highly developed free market economy, strong international trading links, and the highest per capita gross domestic product in Asia outside Japan.
Today, Singapore is one of the five founding members of ASEAN, is the headquarters of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Secretariat and Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) Secretariat, is a member of the United Nations, World Trade Organization, East Asia Summit, Non-Aligned Movement, and the Commonwealth of Nations, and is a recurrent guest invitee to the annual G20 summit; its outsized influence on global affairs, relative to its size, has lead to it being classified as a middle power. The country is the most developed sovereign nation in Asia, being ranked 9th on the UN Human Development Index, and has the 7th highest GDP per capita in the world. It is also considered by Transparency International to be the most incorruptible nation in Asia, and the fifth most incorruptible worldwide.
Raffles: Raffles Hotel is one of Singapore’s most graceful landmarks. This luxury Singapore hotel celebrates a tradition of unwavering service excellence spanning more than 125 years. Immortalized in the novels of Somerset Maugham and Rudyard Kipling, Raffles Hotel, Singapore’s colonial-style architecture and lush tropical gardens exude an atmosphere of timeless elegance. This luxurious Singapore hotel lies in the heart of the city, in close proximity to the banking and financial districts, Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre (SICEC), as well as leisure attractions including the casino at Marina Bay; the cultural sights of Arab Street and Chinatown and shopping at Raffles City shopping mall and Orchard Road shopping belt.
Raffles Hotel courtyard
Singapore City: Singapore, officially the Republic of Singapore, is an island city-state in Southeast Asia. It lies one degree north of the equator, at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, with Indonesia’s Riau Islands to the south and Peninsular Malaysia to the north. Singapore’s territory consists of one main island along with 62 other islets. Since independence, extensive land reclamation has increased its total size by 23%. The country is known for its transition from a developing to a developed one in a single generation under the leadership of its founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.
Photos of Singapore City: On the first day we had from 8.00 am. till 11 am. to walk around Singapore City to initially see as many sights as possible. We then had planned to meet Takalah Tan at 11am. at our hotel. The second day we had all day in Singapore City to see the sites before we went to France.
A high-rise building in Singapore City
Looking down into a sunken courtyard in Singapore city. There is a feeling to explore …. you feel as though you are protected in this urban environment.
A coffee shop very early in the morning before people start to arrive. See the photos above and below.
Capital Building …. reflects the colonial-style architecture of Singapore
Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce
The Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1906 by prominent members of the Chinese community in Singapore as the General Chinese Trade Affairs Association. Its first president was Goh Siew Tin, who was one of the most influential Chinese merchants in Singapore at the time. The chamber’s name was changed to the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCCI) in June 1977 to better reflect the involvement of the chamber in both trade and industry matters.
The SCCCI has a current membership network of some 149 trade associations and 4,000 corporate entities. It plays a key role in representing the interests of its members, and in promoting economic development and international trade for Singapore. The SCCCI founded the biennial World Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention and the World Chinese Business Network, which is a global online business information portal.
Takalah came at 11.00 a.m. in the morning. It was a strange experience in actually seeing him in actuality versus only seeing him on a website photograph. He took us out to his district or community on Singapore’s very efficient train system. We went to a communal restaurant where Takalah went around the various restaurant owners introducing us in a very personal way as his Australian friends. It was interesting to us as Australians to see how Singapore is very different to many Western cities. It is the mixing of an Eastern culture (Chinese) with a Western Culture. An Eastern culture focuses more on the family and the community (Cooperative) whereas Western Culture is highly individualized (Competitive and Corporate).
He says ‘I think we can all agree that having a cohesive communal society is one of the greatest strengths a nation can have …… in a community we will work together for a common goal. We can put aside our differences and fulfill our role as active citizens. Working towards a common good also teaches cooperation, understanding and the ability to listen to others. It also helps to resolve conflicts. Be a volunteer: It could be your contribution towards building a united and resilient community, the basic building block of a cohesive and strong Singapore.’
The Government of Singapore has seen Singapore as a cohesive community with the whole city broken up into interconnecting cohesive communities. Each community was to work towards the common good of the community. Each community had its own residential, leisure, shopping and transport hub. Each community had an interconnecting transport system ….. the train system which connected each community with the next.
We even caught the train out to where Takalah lived in a residential complex at Woodlands with his mother and brother.
Scenes in walking to Takalah’s residential complex :
Blocks of apartments where people hang their washing out to dry on extended clotheslines.
Takalah took us out to his community to the communal restaurant and the communal shopping centre (things are so cheap in Singapore compared to Australia where I come from) and the general layout of the community, we saw this COMMUNAL MODEL being well illustrated.
I wanted to buy a small portable seat I could sit on when resting, so Takalah took us out to his communal shopping centre.
We even caught the train out to where he lived in a residential complex with his mother in Woodlands. We walked up to his apartment block and caught the lift right up on one of the upper levels of the block (13th level). See the photographs below.
The three of us together: Ken Aitken, Takalah Tan & Harriet Aitken. It is really amazing that Ken & Takalah initially met over an e-mail story I had sent around the world in April 2007 and we finally meet in person in May 2007 when we had a two day stopover in Singapore en-route to France for three week holiday there.
Further Photos of Singapore City: On the first day we had from 8.00 am. till 11 am. to walk around Singapore City initially see as many sights as possible. We then had planned to meet Takalah Tan at 11am. at our hotel. The second day we had all day in Singapore City to see the sites before we went to France.
This building shows the colonial parts of Singapore that are a call back to when the British Empire ruled this city-nation as an Asian outpost. See the outdoor hall in the photograph below.
The paving here is very interesting. The paving in curves in small square stones is very unusual. I haven’t seen this sort of paving before as it is very old style of paving from the ancient past. We later saw in a major way on our trip to Italy in September 2017. When we were in Verona for two days, we saw vast areas of it. See it at this post: Verona = 20th 21st September 2017.
The post says:
When we came out of our hotel, we entered a huge public square of several acres in size. The whole public square was made up of small hand cut stones about 75 mm x 75 mm all placed in intersecting curves. They were hand placed and cut vs. machine cut and placed. This gave a very personal and historic dimension to the town.
This historic dimension to the town was immediately given in what the paving came up to ….. a very old, spectacular Arena – the famous Roman amphitheater from 2,000 years ago. Built around 30 AD, the Arena di Verona is among the best preserved amphitheaters of the Roman period. Over 30,000 spectators were accommodated here in ancient times, as they are still today. The monument was re-established as a theater during the Renaissance, and in 1913, the tradition of opera at the Arena di Verona began with a 100th anniversary production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida.
A church reflecting the colonial parts of Singapore
Interior of another church
This building shows the colonial parts of Singapore with a garden set out in a formal manner with a low wall on the righthand side boundary, an open space of green grass and palms defines the outer edge near the buildings. A formal garden has a sense of defined
Trip 15: POST 2: OUR HOLIDAY IN JAPAN …. Singapore …. Day 1 of 16: 5th April, 2017
Located on Airport Boulevard, Singapore Airport is more simply known as Changi Airport. The airport is located in Changi and is 17.2km northeast of Marina Bay (in downtown Singapore). It has been recognized as Skytrax’s World Best Airport from 2013 to 2016 and is one of the largest transportation hubs in Asia.
Services and Facilities
This airport is quite unlike most other airports and prides itself on being a destination in itself. At Singapore Airport, visitors and travellers are invited to stop in at the Butterfly Garden, The Social Tree, The Sunflower Garden and there’s even a fantastic playground for the kids to tire themselves out in. Additionally, you can take a free tour or even catch-up a movie at the airport’s 24-hour movie theatre. As for the internet, you can enjoy free Wi-Fi in transit areas of the airport.
…. The customer service desks at the Changi Airport …..
…. Walking down the big hallways of Changi Airport with many shops on either side …..
…. the very long moving walkways at Changi Airport …..
…. The internal landscaped garden of tree ferns with large trunks with a large rock pool and moving fish ….
….. Looking out the window to the waiting plane area …