Friday, August 08, 2014

My Thoughts on the Eve of the 49th National Day of Singapore

It is the eve of Singapore's National day and all the buildings have been adorned with flags.


I've just completed reading a book that was acquired since Easter. Took me awhile as I would buy several books at a time and would multitask reading the different books in my free time.

During the day when I'm out running errands or going for a meeting, I would bring along the book with me.

In Singapore, I can say that it is safe enough to read while walking on the five-foot way as there won't be any surprise pot holes, or obstacles, to cause you to trip and fall or cause you to have a twisted ankle.

A few weeks ago, as I walked in the neighborhood, I noticed large posters of the political leaders in the area's constituency with their well wishes for the special day. 

 
I zoomed in on the man on the right of the famous Mr Lee Kuan Yew. He is Mr Chan Chun Sing, a member of Parliament who is currently, at this time of writing,  the Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for Defence. My experience of meeting him is recorded in this previous post.

My reading of the book, "The Triple Package" enlightened me about 3 factors that are inherent in all the successful groups in America i.e. a feeling of superiority, also a sense of insecurity and last but not least the possession of impulse control. I felt inspired to obtain another copy of this book and had it delivered personally to Mr Chan. I felt the success of Singapore as a country can also be attributed to the presence of the 3 named factors as they were a majority of people of Chinese descent who had the superiority feeling of a culture that dates back over 4,000 years yet had felt insecure as a small island with little or no resource to create a strong drive in them to succeed. With a strong impulse control culture to eradicate corruption and create a hard working and efficient work force, the small island state has indeed impressed the world with success of the conventional kind i.e. of wealth and a high standard of living.

A video to hear from the authors themselves about the book, Amy Chuah (a.k.a. The Tiger Mom) and her husband Jed Rubenfeld, both law professors from Yale, is found here.


Talking about Yale, our wonder boy Han had his first assembly at Yale-NUS college just a few days ago on 5 Aug 2014. This is the start of his four year program in this new campus that is adjacent to NUS’s University Town. 



Yale-NUS College is a liberal arts college in Singapore. Yale-NUS was established in 2011 as a collaboration between Yale University and the National University of Singapore. It is the first liberal arts college in Singapore and one of the few in Asia. The first class, the class of 2012, consisted of 157 students entering in 2013. Han is the second class, the class of 2018 with about 170 students entering in 2014. The college will have 1000 students eventually.

Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Kristin Greene, gave the welcome address to the new class, and spoke about her happiness at seeing the class gathered and ready to begin their College life.

“Out of 12,127 applications, you were selected not just because of your grades, or your extra-curricular activities, or your essays, although they were fabulous, but also because of your spirit, your passion, and your desire to make the most of the Yale-NUS experience,” she said to the new class in her address. “From here on, it is not what you have done in the past that matters, but rather what you will do during these four years that matters. You’ve run so hard to get where you are and now what you get is a blank slate to create who and what you want to be.”


I went to visit Han later in the evening at his residence. His group RC 2 was preparing to leave for their Sarawak adventure trip the next day with a brief meeting. His facebook album of photos from the trip can be found here.


Yale-NUS's student life is modelled on the residential colleges of Yale. There will be three residential colleges of 330 students, each having its own dining hall, courtyard, student suites, sky-gardens, faculty residences, study-spaces, intramural teams, and butteries, informal student-run eateries that are a Yale tradition. Students live in suites of six single rooms. These small-scale communities are arranged vertically in residential towers, which contain both student suites and faculty apartments. Floors will be grouped into neighborhoods, each with its own skygarden, a landscaped outdoor space for high-rise buildings that was pioneered in Singapore.

The above is an artist impression of how the new campus will look when the construction is finished in 2015.

Singapore continues to advance and change rapidly. Having the first liberal arts college is Singapore is a sign of more changes to come. The Triple Package factors of its people have indeed propelled the island to enjoy the immense success to be celebrated on this National Day of Singapore!


The Kindness and Beauty of Singapore

The wealth and success of Singapore is not the only things to celebrate about on this National Day. Early in the morning before the sun rose, I set off to hike/run to Kent Ridge Park for an early morning testimony meeting arranged by members of Clementi Ward of our Church. Beautiful testimonies were shared about God and gratitude for the peace, freedom of religion and opportunities on the island that has attracted people from all over the world. The following photos may reflect the spirit shared :

The meeting place was at the highest look out point in the park where an enlarged photo of how the sea looked at the time the look out point was created. Click below to see a panoramic view of the sea taken today and note the difference. 


Can you see a further extension of Singapore's busy port?

Members had gathered early in the morning to share their testimonies and there would be breakfast too!

Click the above photo to see the panoramic view of most of the group members

Some of the kindest people I know are in this group, some of whom go back to the years of the early 80s when I first came back from Australia as a single adult to find the mom to be of our 6 children today! 

Some are also new to Singapore who come from all over the world and give selfless service in a close tight community of various needs. They are fathers and mothers, sons and daughters of all ages...

... including little ones born in Singapore whose parents used to live close to our family when they were without children yet. We also know their grandparents on their Mom's side living in Logan Utah! These two are my two special models for today seen in action later at the end of the post.

Coincidentally they were heading to nearby Hort Park where I was going to and we left Kent Ridge Park to continue our walk to enjoy the space, beauty and nature that Singapore has some how planned and delivered to its people. Here we go on our morning's journey and I was ready to snap away to my heart's content not only the beauty that surrounded me in the parks and gardens, but also the beauty of the family with kids at an age reminiscent of ours when we were a young family!

With us was another family of a father with teenager kids going to another direction and I got one of them to snap us before we parted ways. From now on, the camera is completely in my hands to snap way!

From the canopy tree top forest walk we head down to ground level...

.... to our destination.

Now for pics of flora & fauna :






Ahh beautiful flowers


When there are flowers, we find....

Bzzzz Bzzzzzzz
Let's zoom in closer....

....even closer!

Wow!

Beautiful architecture is found too :


Matched with beautiful architectural landscapes

Flowers above circular stair wells
With mosaic tree designs on walls
Is there a comparison with the beauty of real trees?
Wow! What a tall thorny tree.


Next for the even more beautiful :


Wait a minute!!!  The real ones are still dressing up!

Here they are finishing their break.... ready?

What can be more beautiful than watching children play in a nature's park?

He has got onto a log with his toy car ,,,
...and here she is getting on herself
Isn't she wearing a pretty flower on her head?
He is now down on the ground digging out millipedes in the soil!
What is she looking at with those fearful looking eyes?
Is it the scarecrow?
Or is it the giant beetles close by?

Now he has hopped onto a toadstool....
...and hops from one to the other
 
She follows suit
 
...but would rather crawl onto the next one
 
She made it!
Now they are on the sand patch together!
They seem to have made a new friend
They're all happily playing together now

What a beautiful day it turned out to be! I'm glad I decided to hike to the nature parks of Singapore to enjoy the National Day holiday. Life is still Good in Singapore! Or put into other words, listen and watch the video below :




Indeed!

I must admit that watching the little children play in the park brought flashes of memory when our own little children played in another park far away a long time ago......




What great joy our memories can bring to us!

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