Wednesday, 4 January 2017

An old fashioned spiral

Pic taken on 1 Jan 2017.  
GUESS this spiral staircase belongs to which building? But the colour may be a giveaway. This is the first time I see a spiral staircase with such long connections to each floor. Usually, the door of each unit opens immediately to the spiral staircase without such a longish extension.

The topmost one linking the rooftop to the staircase is the most exciting, I think. It is like a bridge! Imagine standing there on a breezy day and taking in the view of the surrounding area which incidentally, is changing rather rapidly.

Fellow blogger once told me that this may be the area where my "bird street" was -- where bird shops lined the canal and one could smell the bird food -- those little cakes which you stick between the bird cage railings, using toothpicks or broken bits of satay sticks.

Those were days in the 60s, when my dad would take me for a walk down this bird street. I can't really recall where, except that there was a canal running along the length of this street.

Hotel 81 Rochor. Picture taken at the junction of Rochor Road and Rochor Canal Road

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

How to polish a rusty cross stitch needle


Polishing a fat rusty cross stitch needle is as simple as ABC
VERY simple. You just put the rusty needle on the rough cement floor and use your shoe to roll it back and forth a few times. And there, your needle is, not bright as a new pin, but almost there.

There used to be needlework classes way back during my primary school days. (Not sure whether they still have them? Guess not.)

My first cross stitch lesson was an awful mess and my crosses ended up getting a BIG cross from the teacher.

I just couldn't grasp how to stitch that cross -- even after the teacher had demonstrated several times. We were each given thick threads and fat needles, and a small piece of cross stitch cloth. The teacher was exasperated and sort of slam the cloth over my head (not very hard) and said "Why are you so stupid?" (That teacher had a good reputation for being stern, strict but good.)

Back home, Mum showed me how to do those stitches. And soon, I became a whiz kid at it. Taking patterns from a table cloth at home, Mum and I worked out a splendid design that no one had in class. It was selected, among other good pieces, to grace the seats of tiny wooden stools (done by the boys) -- and exhibited at the end of term!

But the polishing of the needle back to its original health, was something my good old classmate taught me. What a great trick!

Monday, 17 October 2016

Ringing in the cash


THE owner of this provision shop is very proud of this shiny tin. While many shopkeepers have swapped their rusty Milo or Ovaltine cans for the cash register, this shiny tin has remained, very much treasured, more or less the family heirloom.

It keeps its shine through two generations of handling -- the bell making a nice tinkling sound when being pulled down from the ceiling, whenever change is needed. Then, it slides smoothly up again to a safer height. Works faster than the cash register, says the daughter of the owner.

This tin was customised for him by a skilled crafstman.  It took some time to make, as it had to be hammered into a smooth, round shape. You probably won't find such crafstmen today in Singapore.

Yes, the tinkling of the bell sounds better than the kerching of the cash register -- anytime.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Hail Hartono, for the Milo idea

I THINK Sing! China finalist Nathan Hartono has a really good idea. He said he would treat everyone to a drink (or more I hope) from the Milo van if he wins. And now the Nestle people say it doesn't matter whether or not he wins, the van will go round Singapore anyway. How cool.

The Milo van spans so many generations. The drink itself, according to Wikipedia, was developed by Thomas Mayne, an Australian chemist and inventor -- way back in 1934. So indeed, the drink has been around and been places.

The first time I drank Milo was at a sports day during primary school. There was a long queue of sweaty and panting kids snaking to the green van. You gulped down the drink in one fell swoop and then dumped the pointy cup into this humongous bin next to the van. I thought it was the best drink I had ever tasted.

My mum bought Ovaltine for the house and so I didn't know Milo until then. Later, mum also bought Milo but always insisted that we drink it piping hot.

But I think it tastes best ice cold and nothing comes close to the Milo served by the van. Hartono is right, the Milo van folks must have put in something more. Don't know what it is.

Wonder whether he will he be paraded round Singapore in the Milo van when he returns a champion?