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April 16, 2011 | | Posted in Rants

Took a one day trip to Singapore last monday. It was a last minute decision. Johan was heading down to Singapore for a business trip and Nick was hitching a ride down. So I asked if I can tag along. See Meng also wanted to go too. To be honest, that was the 2nd time I set foot on Singapore’s soil. The virgin trip down was sometime in 2007 when I went together with Yee Woon and cousins. Cant really recall how I felt about Singapore back then. But I remembered I did blogged about it. Hang on..Let me check. Found it! Here is the blog post. Reason to head down to Singapore was simple. We were there to sapu the films. Yes. According to some rumor, the price of film will be increasing by 20-25%. We didnt want to take a bet on it. A few weeks back, Ruby’s shelves were practically emptied off.

First stop in Singapore, we had our quick tea (makan again la) at a local food court. Johan recommended one of the must have whenever he is down in Singapore, Bak Chor Mee. I can tell it is good. Why? The Q was so damn long. Its not an easy to prepare meal. According to them, its very manual. Hahahaha.  Anyway, the taste is pretty interesting. Although its called pork noodle mee, its different from the KL version. It tasted a bit sourish ( I think its the vinegar). The liver is cooked differently as well. Its not greyish like the one you see in KL. Apparently it s not fully cooked. What the chef did was..He poured the hot soup over the uncooked liver. Its like medium cooked. I took a piece only as I sorta outgrow livers. Quite a lot of ‘liew’ if you ask me. Its nice!~

The mission was simple, get to Johan’s place before 8 am as we were supposed to leave by 8 sharp. I left early and got there in time. See Meng was having sinus congestion and he was still 50-50 that morning. He was undecided on whether to make the trip or not. But while on my way to Johan’s place, he sms-ed and said he is on the way too. Johan’s grandma made some really nice Yee Mee for us. The hearty breakfast was complete with some really nice Xui Xian chinese tea, fruits and spicy hot chili padi for the Yee Mee. Many thanks to Grandma for the meal. Also met an interesting character at Johan’s place (my first time there), Johan’s Golden Retriever Max. Such an adorable companion. He greeted me like a long lost friend ( I found out why later.. He was kinda horny and he humped my leg a couple a time LOL).  No time to really play with Max. We had to get going. We need to reach Singapore by noon.

Fuel up

Fuel Up

The journey was really ok ( I am not a big fan of long journey ) as the ‘van’ (according to Singapore term) was really comfy and stable. We were going at a very decent speed. The thing with these better built cars, its pretty stable at high speed. It was like we were cruising at 100 km/hour? But in fact we were doing 160-170 km/hour? Some ‘healthy’ discussions were brought up during the journey making it very interesting. Topics ranged from iPad 2, Development time, X100, Leicas, Rolleiflex and films of course. We entered Singapore via the 2nd link. The first time I passed via 2nd link. Its better and nearer as we do need to pass by Johor Baru. The traffic was lesser here. Interesting that I saw at the Msia Immigration counter. I saw a sign ‘ Homemade Chocolate Cookie for Sale’ pasted on the glass of the booth. I can see why one would try to earn some extra money. But hey, Singaporeans drive past this checkpoint ok? Dont think its an appropriate to place an ad at the checkpoint counter. Next stop was the Singaporean immigration and Customs. Nick has some ‘issues’ with the custom officer. Hahahaha. Was queried why he wants to go to Singapore and etc. Anyhow we had a simple answer. We are here to stimulate Singapore’s economy *grins*  Ok. Here is a plus to Singapore’s Custom. They are so thorough. 3 officers checking the car. On a look out for contrabands Eg ciggie and gums.

Bak Chor Mee

Bak Chor Mee

Something interesting to share. Johan told me its ok to leave the bags in the car while we makan. Its pretty safe. But I cant say the same for KL. Hahahahaha. Another interesting fact to share with you all. The food court was really clean. We got there somewhere around before lunch time, just before the lunch crowd kicks in. The floor were really clean. No tissues paper. Of course when the lunch crowd came in, I can see some tissues on the floor. But generally speaking, its still cleaner compared to KL food court.  Noticed that two items were used commonly to ‘chup’ or reserve the empty tables. The umbrellas and the tissue packets. Hahahaha.


Leica Camera Asia

See Meng, Johan and me headed off to the Leica office to collect SM’s M7 while Nick went off to meet up with Phillip Tay to work on his Rolleiflex. After that we met up again at Penisular. Honestly, if I were to work in Singapore, I think it will be a new gear once a month. The analogue community is alive and well in Singapore. The amount of 2nd hand Leica gears reflect on the buying power of Singaporeans. Johan headed over to Konota to pau-ed the Fujifilm while we headed to Ruby. Developer, Fixer and of course FILMs were our targets. I got some Tri X, HP5, Ektar, Pan 400 and Pan 50. The Pan 400 came highly rated as it was cheaper and characteristically the same as HP5. Johan also managed to get some Fuji Superia 1600 (which was said to be almost similar to Natura 1600). Cant wait to test those out. It was not cheap. The Superia is retailing around $10.50. Nick got himself a 5 Reel Paterson. Now we know who to look for besides Johan when we want to do some major dev session.

For Sale

Leicas For Sale

After tapau-ing the film, we headed off to Funan, Adelphi and some other places. We had tea at some place ( I forgot the name). It was raining that day. So the weather was kinda cool and wet. Not much shots taken. I managed to finish one roll of Neopan 400 and took some shots with the NEX3. Have not check the shots out yet. But its kinda interesting in Singapore. Some points need to be taken:

  • I think Singapore is seriously a well planned city. The walkway are well shaded. The trees are well pruned and not chopped here and there. Its like a big garden in the city. Covered walkway enable us to walk around the city. The lights are well maintained and well lit. This is a big difference between KL and Singapore.
  • Nobody Speeds around Singapore. We were doing like 160-170 km/hour along NS expressway, but once we are in Singapore, we were doing 80 km/hour only (Yes! Even on the expressway). Motorcycles keep to the left lanes. Lorries keep to the left lanes too.  Drivers are very courteous. No tail gating and etc. I guess the enforcement were doing a very good job. I noticed there were a lot of automated cameras/Speed along the way. This is good as it cuts down corruption. I think this is where Malaysia has to learn. The Singaporeans have a very good demerit system. If you screw up, they will take your license away. Here..Repeating offenders can try and accumulate as many summons as they CAN!~
  • Clamping Zone

    Subject To GST Too!~

  • No..You dont see the police everywhere to maintain the level of law. Its just that the people in the city are very law abiding. No jay walking. No Stop by The Road and Wait. No price Haggling on Taxi. No Touts. It feels very organized. The underground passage between malls are just amazing. Clean and air conditioned. Ah..Something I noticed. No beggars on the streets.

Generally the feeling is, I feel Singapore is  really a nice place to visit and shop. Somehow, the inflation is lower in Singapore. I can still source a $2 plus/bowl mee. Shopping is comparatively cheaper compared to Malaysia. Electronic items are cheaper too. Hahahaha. How I wish I can shop some of the items there and bring back to KL. But I dont want to risk it by getting apprehended and taxed by the Malaysia Customs.

Camera Book Shop

Specialized Bookshop

We met up with George, Mabel and David for dinner before we headed back to KL. Nice place. Pizza, Sausages , Pork Knuckle and most importantly..German Beer ( I didnt drink la ). Its funny how photography brings people together. We are friends because of a common passion. We met Olivier/Oliver ( An Austrian, hence I am not too sure on how to spell his name) another photography enthusiast who was going for a beer but ended up having dinner with us. He owns a cool Leica M6 classic and a DR 50 mm Summicron. We took quite a lot of shots that night. But my film is still in the container waiting for its turn to be developed. We headed back to KL around 930 and got back real late. Hahahhaa. It was a good trip to Singapore. Fresh stock, good food and companionship. Looking forward to do this again. Many thanks to Jo for the ride down.

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