Christmas on a great street!

Christmas is always so beautiful in Singapore. I know that it is a hell load of money blown on the illuminations and the ads placed all over the island, but the results are still mind blowing! There are trees made of angels, macaroons, chocolates, toys and what not!

I am very thrilled every year when the dates for light-up inaugurations are announced. And then, we start going around all the places and shopping malls to enjoy the decors.  

This one, you get to be inside a christmas tree :-)

Merry Christmas !! 


Spice up the connections!

Remember the times when only Singapore Airlines opearted flights between Signapore and Kochi/Trivandrum ? Those days when we had to anxiously wait for the "super hot deals" from SilkAir ? Or that one time when we were too excited about the home trip and booked tickets few months ahead of the vacation, to eventually realize that SilkAir again rolled out the hot deals? That heartbreaking moment when we realized that the last minute ticket was substantially cheaper than our purchase price? Well, that is all in the past now, thanks to AirAsia for breaking the monopoly.

I remember everyones thrill and excitement when AirAsia started the budget flights -Singapore-KL- Kochi. Most of us were fine to spend a night in the Kuala lumpur LCCT (Air Asia bus stand), because two or sometimes three tickets in Air Asia were cheaper than a single ticket in SilkAir. 
And, who needs dinner in the flight when going home, Right ? :-) 

What followed was a direct Tiger airways flight between Kochi/Trivandrum and Singapore. I even have a friend who goes home to visit his wife and kid whenever Tiger Air have seat sales. He goes home so frequently that I usually dial his India number first, even though he lives in Singapore.

Even though, we have multiple options these days, we are still a bit jealous when we look at the options for travellers from Chennai. But you must realize that those from Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, etc are equally jealous of us in this matter ! Just becasue all the good (budget) fortune were only for Malayalees until yesterday. 

There is a rumour among friends and colleagues that I spend a bit of time everyday looking out for flight tickets to numerous destinations, which I completely deny. I know the following lines might make my defence weaker, but I am compelled to share this page I came across "by chance".

Spicejet has new tie up with Tiger Air and we have connecting flights to more cities in India.

So, in case you were planning to go Goa next time during you home trip, fly to Goa directly, enjoy the break and then take a train home :-) 


Keep Reading - Libraries for life !

Just remember how lovely the libraries and bookstores smell. The new books, old books, the combinations – all sorts of papery smell! Awesome right? 
In the last 4 years, libraries in Singapore have been the only place, which has consistently delivered satisfaction. The huge collection and amazing volumes have always bought a smile to my face.

I love the libraries more, when my dad is visiting. He likes to read Tamil literature. We have never spotted such a collection, in even Kerala! The Ang Mo Kio library has a whole room dedicated to Tamil books. He could spend hours there. Once he has his collection checked out, I need not worry about him being alone on our working days. Thank you NLB!

When I was taking a break between jobs, I used to spend my weekdays in Queenstown library. It is such a laid back place, with amazing garden views and perfect setting for quiet reading. It was just a 10 minute bike ride away.

When the mostly creative Manu’s mum was here are we were racking our brains on what to create next, I took her to the library. She couldn’t believe the amount of jewellery making, candle making and knitting!

What made me think fondly of libraries is this particular page.

One of the books I borrowed recently has this still attached. Even though this system is no longer in use. The guys at NLB just left it there, I guess for old times sake. It made me remember the small libraries I have been member of, back in my town.

If you are living in or moving to Singapore, do not pass up the membership.


I loved my half marathon!

Earlier this month, I participated in the Singapore Standard Chartered marathon 2013. It was my first attempt at 21K - yes the freaking Half marathon.  

Why did I sign up for it ? 
Around July, when the registration opened, two running enthusiasts promised to be in Singapore for a vacation and be part of the marathon as well. 
Lesson learnt - Always register together. Don't trust people without passports to participate in international events.  

As per SCM statistics, 12,000 runners participated in the half marathon. And a total of 54,000 runners participated in the different categories. What I learned from this marathon is that even though we all run towards the same finish line, each and every one of the runners are engaging in a different marathon in their minds. Each one of us have a different demon to tackle. I absolutely fell in love with the idea and guess what, registered for the next run with my girlfriends :) 

While running, we all spot someone as markers. We tend to keep up with them. When we fall behind and eventually catch up with our marker runners, it feels great. What we realise is that we have those markers not to compete with, but to keep up with. Those are the runners who help us to keep up our pace and help us achieve our targets.

Personally I enjoyed this 21K run more than last year’s 10K.  The route for half marathon here is amazing - starting from beach side and then through the universal studios where the whole of Madagascar, Sesame Street, Shrek & Co. and even Marylin Monroe cheer for us. After that we get to run along the expressway enjoying the views of the Marina and downtown Singapore! 

I want to encourage each and everyone of you to attempt a communal event or sports which would test and push your limits.  I want you to enjoy and revel in the incredible feeling when the target is achieved. It is an amazing experience running the race and getting the emotional and motivational high. 

When we crossed the finish line, I still couldn’t believe that we achieved such an amazing feat! Two years back, if you had told me that I would be running a distance of 21K I would have laughed at you. But today I feel proud of my achievement.  

Obviously, the most important factor in all my runs is Manu. Cheers to him for constantly pushing my limits, motivating me always and at times dragging me along ;) 


Little India Riot , Singapore

December 8, 2013 will go down in the history of Singapore as the day when riots broke all over Little India.

If you haven't heard about the riots yet, skim through the news here. It has been more than 24 hours since this incident happened. Most people I know, even the ones who have never taken any interest in Singapore till now, are aware of this incident. Thanks to the amazing news coverage, facebook and twitter feeds & not to forget real time videos in youtube! Rioting in Singapore is so unimaginable and shocking, that the Indian community here talked more about the riots than the revolutionary election results back home! 

Unlike the riots in India which commonly results in a "Bandh", many involved were rounded up under police custody within couple of hours. The whole street was cleaned up by early morning and most business resumed as usual.  

The Deputy Prime minister called for a conference within hours (by midnight)and ensured the citizens that situation was under control. You could find pictures of him on site inspection as well.  

Prime minister has ordered a committee of enquiry into the happenings, the factors leading to it and on how efficiently the situation was managed. His press statement begins so -  "The riot in Little India was a very serious incident. There is no excuse for such violent and criminal behaviour. We are investigating the incident thoroughly and will deal with the culprits with the full force of the law.

This area where the riot occurred was a popular gathering place for workers from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and SriLanka. On Sunday evenings, guys used to get together there, buy alcohol and drink together in the grounds.  I am specifically using past tense for these sentences because, this is Singapore and such an incident will not repeat. The government, which had turned a blind eye on this weekly entertainment won't do so again. For starters, there is a complete ban on alcohol sales in the riot area for the coming weekend!

The strong message sent out by government doesn't stop just in Little India. All over the public transport system, messages and posters are on display. 

The message is loud and clear. 
In this country, Rioting Achieves Nothing But Caning And Imprisonment!