Thursday, June 30, 2011

10 May 2011: Korean lunch

After the visit to the Justice and Police Museum, my mother and I went to have lunch at a nearby food court. I learnt from a resident of Sydney that in general, the perceptions among people in Sydney is that the food served at food court (in Sydney) are merely good enough but not excellent. I do not know how true this perception was because my sample size was very small.

There was quite a crowd at the food court that we had went to. Perhaps the crowd meant that food court still have a functional role to play. We had a fairly affordable and enjoyable lunch at a total of AUS$18. I was grateful to have an adequate lunch in a clean environment. Since it was a lunch to fill the stomach than to entice the taste buds, I was very happy with the food that we have had.

What did we have for our lunch?

We had the teriyaki chicken bibimbap and the chilli chicken bibimbap from Koba Korean BBQ. I was contented with my lunch.

Somehow the bibimbap from Sydney's food court reminded me of the bibimbap in Singapore's food court. I am very thankful that the bibimbap in Singapore are cheaper, have more tasty appetizers to go along with the main course, and have more vegetables!

I was also fondly reminded of a wonderful Korean dinner with one of my friends, RL, in a Korean restaurant in Sydney a few years ago. Indeed, restaurant food in Sydney are better than the food court, based on my limited experiences. Please correct me if you have differing experiences.

Koba Korean BBQ
AMP Retail Plaza
Food Court
50 Bridge Street,

All the photos on this post were taken using a Canon Digital IXUS 1000HS camera.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

10 May 2011: The Justice and Police Museum

After thirty full minutes of spinning trills on the Oz Jetboating ride, my mother and I headed for the Justice and Police Museum. I was not particularly interested in this museum, but it was the nearest available museum at Circular Quay, so I gladly visited it.

A choice of convenience, the Justice and Police Museum fondly reminded me of the former Supreme Court in Singapore. I later learnt that the Justice and Police Museum is the site of the original settlement of convicts during the earlier days when the first European settlement started in Australia, Sydney.

At this museum, visitors learn about some of the most spectacular crimes that had happened in Sydney. There were exhibits consisting weapons used by law-enforcers. Strangely, there were relics from notorious crimes put on display at the museum. With all these fear inducing weapons and relics, I thought it would take a fair level of guts to visit this museum.

Again, the See Sydney Attractions Pass came in useful.

Usually, it would cost AUS$8 per adult for entry into the Justice and Police Museum. With the See Sydney Attractions Pass, entry is free!

Heading to the cells.

I came across exhibits of the Hangman's Noose and hoods that were used in the early 20th century. The quotation that was printed on the walls were thought provoking.

" is absolutely sickened not by, the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde (From the Soul of Man under Socialism.

The section on the Aboriginal customary law caught my eye but given that I had wanted to get myself lunch before catching a cruise that afternoon, I hardly had enough time to enjoy much of the museum. I had been there, but I felt I did not know enough about the history of crimes and laws in Sydney as I had spent only close to an hour at this museum. If you are visiting this museum, please set aside at least two hours to better appreciate some of the exhibits.

Justice and Police Museum
Corner Philip and Albert Street
Circular Quay, Sydney
Tel: (+61) 2 8239 2288
Admission: AUS$8 per adult.

Please also see: My visit to Sydney, May 2011
All the photos on this post were taken using a Canon Digital IXUS 1000HS camera.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A glimpse of the free unguided tour of Bukit Brown Chinese Cemetery

My friends and I visited Bukit Brown on 26 Jun 2011. We were there specially for the free unguided tour of Bukit Brown Chinese Cemetery which was conducted by Asia Paranormal Investigators, supported by One-North Explorers. During the event, placards were put up at notable tombs to describe the notable achievements and contributions that were made by the person buried in each of these tombs.

During our visit, we found out what the following notable people, Cheang Hong Lim, Chew Boon Lay, Chew Joo Chiat, Fang Shan, Gan Eng Seng, Lee Hoon Leong, Lim Chong Pang, Mrs Lim Nee Soon, Ong Sam Leong, Ong Boon Tat Mrs Tan Cheng Siong and Tay Ho Swee, have in common.

Please check out this post by yours truly for the full account of my visit: Notable People who are buried in Bukit Brown.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The precious flora and fauna along the Railway tracks

This is likely a Blue Pansy (Junonia orithya wallacei).
Photo Credit: Belinda Tan.

I have been trekking pretty often along the railway tracks recently. Here is a link to a recent post on The precious flora and fauna along the railway tracks. I hope you will enjoy the beautiful sights along the railway line that Nature has so generously created for us. All that it asks of us is to take good care of it.

Friday, June 24, 2011

10 May 2011: 3-2-1 Spin!

Make a guess where my mother and I went to after alighting at the Sydney Opera House after the Gray Line Tours?

We took the ultimate way to travel about the Sydney Harbour with Oz Jetboating. The boats of Oz Jetboating can perform 270-degrees spins and jet boat stunts. The See Sydney Attractions Pass came in very useful to let us enjoy huge savings.

Oz Jet Boating
Pass Benefit: Free Jet Boat Ride on weekdays (exclude public holidays and NSW school holidays)
AUS$15 supplement is payable on Saturdays, Sundays, public holidays and NSW school holidays.

Usual Price: AUS$60 per adult

Full weatherproof clothing is provided for all passengers. The clothings kept my mother and myself relatively dry. Nevertheless, be prepared to get wet on the face and at the hair areas. Personal belongings are not allowed onboard the jet boat as they are likely to get pretty wet if they were allowed! Oz Jetboating provides a locked storage area for the passengers' personal belongings.

At various points of the Sydney harbour, our jet-driver will give us a nice introduction to the given part of the harbour. Whenever the jet was about to make a 270-degrees spin, our jet-driver will prompt us to shout "3-2-1, Spin!".

This spin is not suitable for people with back, neck or spinal injuries as the momentum of the spins could be pretty strong at times. All passengers are required to sign an indemnity form before taking the jet boat ride.

This jet boat ride is wonderful for the adventure-seeking folks who like to spin their way about the Sydney harbour. I enjoyed the ride as it was quite a thrill. However, I am not sure if I would like to do it again because I prefer to enjoy the views of Sydney harbour at a more leisure speed. Nevertheless, this is a fun way to remember the Sydney harbour!

This was taken by the people from Oz Jetboating.

Oz Jetboating
The Eastern Pontoon
Circular Quay
Tel: (+61) 2 9808 3700

Please also see: My visit to Sydney, May 2011
All the photos on this post were taken using a Canon Digital IXUS 1000HS camera.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

10 May 2011: Sydney Highlights and Bondi Beach Gray Line Tours

The Gray Line Tour.

I foresee that my mother would like a less physically demanding itinerary on 10 May 2011 so I had made reservations for two to Gray Line Tours' Sydney Highlights and Bondi Beach half-day tour in advance. We set off on this tour on 10 May 2011 in the morning.

See Sydney Attractions Pass comes in handy

The See Sydney Attractions Pass was the card to use. When we collected our See Sydney Attractions passes at the Australia Travel Specialist outlet, the staff member at the outlet strongly recommended the "Sydney Highlights and Bondi Beach" Gray Line Tours. Since I do not know better, I went along with the suggestion with the intention to catch a ride to Bondi Beach. I was very happy with this choice of mine.

Usually, a half-day tour with Gray Line Tours would cost AUS$71 per person.

Pass holders of the See Sydney Attraction Pass have the great privilege to enjoy the half-day tour free!

Service by Gray Line Tours was wonderful. Shuttle bus services from one's accommodation in Sydney's city to the departure point of the tour are available upon request. Making reservations over the phone was a breeze.

The Sydney Highlights and Bondi Beach Gray Line Tours is indeed the quintessential introduction to Sydney. It brought us to many scenic and picture-perfect places that I wish I have had many spare batteries that came along with my Canon camera. Thankfully, I had another extra camera to take lots of photographs with.

Lord Nelson Hotel. One of the Oldest Hotels in Sydney.

The Rocks and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Sydney city on the bus:
The first part of the tour began with a tour of Sydney city on the bus. During the journey, the bus-driver and also our very important guide for the day added interesting commentaries to share with us anecdotes of the Sydney city.
Martin Place.

Fabulous views from Mrs Macquarie's Chair:
The first stop of the tour was Mrs Macquarie's Chair near the Royal Botanic Gardens. Mrs Macquarie was the wife of one of the governors of New South Wales, Major-General Lachlan Macquarie. We were told that she was known to visit this very area near the Royal Botanic Gardens to enjoy the views of the harbour.

This place offers a fabulous view of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. I urge that if schedule would permit, please do visit Mrs Marquarie's Chair for the world class views that it offer. There is no admission charge at all to get a great view from this lookout position.
One of the trees at Mrs Macquarie's Chair area.

One of my friends told me that her husband had proposed to her at Mrs Macquarie's Chair. I wonder whether the knowledge of this had made me kept my eyes wide open to admire the beautiful view from Mrs Macquarie's Chair, and to imagine how my friend's heart was won by the sincerity of her lover and the beauty of the views?

The scenic views from Rose Bay:
The next stop was nearby the Convent of the Sacred Heart at Rose Bay. This building overlooks the bay and has a scenic view of the harbour. I was told that it now houses the Kincoppal-Rose Bay school for girls.

Awesome Watsons Bay:
An essential stop before reaching Bondi Beach was at Watsons Bay. Our driver-and-guide drove us to experience the entrance to Port Jackson (Sydney harbour). I am still trying to figure out why the folks in Sydney call them "Sydney Heads". The good news is that I have managed to learn to recognise North Head and South Head. I wish I had more time to while away at Watsons Bay.

North Head in the background. South Head in the foreground.

Macquarie Lighthouse

Bondi Beach:
The attraction of the day was Bondi Beach. The word "Bondi" is Aboriginal in its origin and means "water breaking over rocks".

Our driver told us that it could rightfully be named Bondi Bay since it was not large enough to be considered a long stretch of beach. Whatever its name is, Bondi Beach is a place to witness large waves and to see many seagulls. My ears enjoyed the constant music made by the sounds of water breaking over the rocks and the shores.

This photo was taken using the Fish-Eye program of the camera.

Bondi Pavilion.

We saw a dog at Bondi Junction.

Back to the city and the Sydney Opera House:
After our visit to the Bondi Beach, the tour group headed for the city. On our way to the city, the bus passed by Bondi Junction and that reminded me of a memorable dinner the previous night.

The bus stopped by Sydney Opera House before heading back to the various hotels. My mother and I decided to end our bus tour at the Sydney Opera House. My mother could not figure out why I would still visit the Sydney Opera House again when I was there just a day ago. Anyway, my reply to her was that for each and every visit, the Sydney Opera House will look different because of the lighting and weather condition. Isn't it the same in life? Each day may seem no different from the other, but each day is actually unique on its own?

Sydney Opera House.

Overall, this is a tour that I would recommend. Firstly, it is easy on the feet since most of the journey will be covered while the guests are sitting on the bus. Secondly, it brings its guests to places in Sydney with beautiful views. Thirdly, the guide often enlighten its guests with interesting anecdotes of Sydney.

Last but not the least, I am feeling grateful for the good weather that day.

Sydney Harbour Bridge, taken nearby Sydney Opera House.

Gray Line Tours
Tel: 1300 858 687


Please also see: My visit to Sydney, May 2011
All the photos on this post were taken using a Canon Digital IXUS 1000HS camera.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A place in Singapore called Bukit Brown

An untouched jungle, a cemetery where many pioneers of Singapore and notable people are buried, a place to find a number of rare species of bird, a place of Nature that offers its visitors peace and rejuvenation. This is Bukit Brown, Singapore. It may, however, disappear soon. Unless we as a community see a value in conserving it.

I had the pleasure to visit Bukit Brown on 18 Jun 2011, and here is an account of my visit: Bukit Brown: a place with a rich heritage and biodiversity. Enjoy!

Read: Liu Kang's Essays on Art & Culture

Image source:

Title: Liu Kang: Eassays on Art and Culture
By: Siew, Sara (Ed.)
ISBN: 9789810876753
Published in 2011. (1st edition)
Publisher: The National Art Gallery, Singapore.

This book is an interesting compilation of essays by Liu Kang. I had purchased a copy of the English version when I was at a forum titled Liu Kang: Tropical Vanguard held on 2 April 2011.

The original essays were written by Liu Kang in Mandarin. For the ease of reading, I had decided to get myself an English translation of the compiled essays. There are pros and cons to it. The advantage was that I could read it with relatively greater ease. The disadvantage was that at some points, it was in fact much better to read the original Chinese text. Now that I have read the English version of the book, I will be happy to exchange my English version of this book for the Chinese version, at least for a read.

Liu Kang was one of the pioneer Singapore artists whom I had studied during my years as an art student. This book gave me a deeper understanding to Liu Kang's philosophy towards life and his approach to art. In this book, he also shared his ideas about the growth of art in Singapore, of music and dance. I thought it was a great idea to list the essays in chronological order for this made better sense to me. This is a book to read for anyone who wishes to better understanding Liu King's approach to art and life.

Details on ways to purchase this book can be found here:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

9 May 2011: A superb dinner with friends

Great food at Kelly's with wonderful friends.

I am grateful that during my visit to Sydney in May 2011, I have had the opportunity to meet up with a number of my friends.

9 May 2011 (Mon): After my visit to the Sydney Tower, I accompanied my mother back to the apartment before taking the monorail to head for Circular Quay to meet one of my friends, FHQ, and her family.

We have had a delicious dinner at Kelly's Bar and Grill located at Bondi Junction. My friend, FHQ, had received recommendations to visit Kelly's Bar and Grill and she brought me there for a hearty get-together. On the way to Bondi Junction, I was fondly reminded of an excursion to Bondi Junction with yet another group of friends, R&W about six months ago.

Kelly's Bar and Grill servings are generous and the food, I dare say, was fabulously yummy. My dear hosts ordered quite a lot of food to share. I love the mashed spinach with garlic. The peri-peri sauce that went along with the char-grilled chicken with BBQ sauce with Kelly's bast was wonderfully spicy too. The servings for the ribs and steak were very generous! I was told that Kelly's serves one of the best steak and ribs in the town of Sydney. The ambience of the restaurant was comfortable and relaxing.

Here, I would like to take the chance to thank my wonderful friends and hosts for a memorable dinner. It was wonderful catching up with FHQ and her family. I was pretty fascinated how FHQ's daughter has grown and developed positively over a span of two years. Many thanks to FHQ and her family for the unexpected belated birthday treat too.

Kelly's Bar and Grill is a great place for quality food, and with wonderful company!

For myself, I was more than happy to be in the company of good old friends.

Kelly's Bar and Grill
500 Oxford Street
Level 6 Shop 6008
Bondi Junction NSW 2022
Tel: (+61) 2 9389 8288 ‎

Please also see: My visit to Sydney, May 2011
All the photos on this post were taken using a Canon Digital IXUS 1000HS camera.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Read: Paulo Coelho's The Devil and Miss Prym

Image source:

Title: The Devil and Miss Prym
Author: Paulo Coelho
Publisher: HarperCollinsPublishers
(First published in English in 2001. Read 2003 edition.)

I borrowed this book from the library, and had just finished reading this book recently.

In this book, a man who had a painful past visited the remote village of Viscos. He came in search for the answer of whether human beings are good or evil. The protagonist, Miss Prym faced the challenge of making the choice between good and evil.

This is an interesting book about making choices. I would so say. When faced with a choice between good and evil, what are the processes involved? I suppose the story between St Savin and Ahab who were characters mentioned in the book illustrated the battle between Good and Evil. At the end of the day, it boils down to choice and a matter of control.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

9 May 2011: The Sydney Tower and the walk in the skies

9 May 2011: It was my first time visiting the Sydney Tower and I was looking forward to it.

I had never thought of visiting the Sydney Tower during my previous solo visits to Sydney. I felt I could have better fun learning about the culture and history of Sydney than to look at modern Sydney from a sky tower.

Travelling with my mother to Sydney influenced the way I would plan the itinerary. I included Sydney Tower as a place to visit. It was interesting how having a travelling companion could influence one's choice of itinerary. I suppose I had felt that visiting the Sydney Tower was an excellent way to bring my dear mother to the top of Sydney. Won't it be an experience to brag about being at the top of this fine and charming city of Sydney?

Getting to Sydney Tower:
The nearest train station to the Sydney Tower is St James station. St James station is just one stop after Circular Quay train station. Alternatively, one could take a train to Town Hall station to the Sydney Tower.

Another way to get to Sydney Tower was to take the monorail to City Square monorail station.

Sydney Tower is located in the new Westfield Shopping Centre at 100 Market Street. Take a lift to Level 5 and look around for signs to the Sydney Tower.

See Sydney Attractions Pass yet again:

At the ticketing counter of the Sydney Tower, I could once again make use of my privileges as a See Sydney Attractions Pass holder. Admission into Sydney Tower and OzTrek, a virtual movie of an amazing adventure across Australia, was AUS$25 per adult usually. See Sydney Attractions Pass holders get to visit Sydney Tower and enjoy OzTrek free!

In addition, for the adventurous See Sydney Attractions Pass holders, we would be delighted to know that to enjoy Australia's highest outdoor viewing adventure on the roof of Sydney Tower, i.e. Sydney Skwalk, instead of the usual fee of AUS$65 per person, we would only need to provide a supplement of $30 per adult.

I gladly signed myself up for the Sydney Skywalk while my mother preferred a break from this adventure.

The Observatory Deck:

It was an evening with fairly dull skies. Nevertheless, I was thankful to witness a beautiful evening skies from the observatory deck of the Sydney Tower.

The sunset.

On hindsight, I realised that my mother has had too much walking during the earlier part of the day. I could tell so when she merely sat down on her own to take glances of the scenic views of Sydney city from the observatory deck of the Sydney Tower.

The skies were pretty grey after a rain.

Where was I? I was too delighted making rounds about the observatory deck to admire how different parts of Sydney would look like from the deck.

Observatory deck.


I chose to challenge myself to a Skywalk experience. I felt I was almost close to touching the skies. It was very windy up on the roof of the tallest structure in Sydney. My Skywalk mates and I have had an amazing time experiencing an open-air view of Sydney. Our guide shared with us many interesting anecdotes about Sydney's landscapes and cityscape. We also put our courage to test when we admired Sydney from a moving platform that extends out over the edge of the tower's roof.

During the Skywalk, we also heard nugget information of the history of this iconic Syndey Tower. Sydney Tower was opened to the public in Aug 1981. We learnt that the design of the Sydney Tower makes it capable of withstanding earthquakes and extreme wind conditions.

Skywalk group photo. We too individual photos too.

All safety measures are in place. I think this is a great way for an outdoor height-overcoming viewing adventure.

From the observatory deck in the evening. This was taken just before 7 p.m.!


I learnt that I was very lucky to have caught a glimpse of Oztrek. It has closed for renovations as of 17 May 2011 and will be back later in 2011.

OzTrek is essentially based on a storyline about an expedition of Australia. I quite like it. This virtual movie was of the right duration and brought me virtually to places such as the Great Barrier Reef and Ayers Rock. I noticed a group of Chinese tourists who were in the same theatre enjoying themselves throughout the show. The real-motion seating offered quite a thrill.

Overall, the Sydney Tower is a great attraction for anyone who would like to enjoy panoramic views of the Sydney city. Skywalk completes the adventure by offering open-air view of Sydney. I was very happy with my choice of visiting the Sydney Tower.

Sydney Tower and Sky Walk
Level 5
Westfield Shopping Centre
100 Market Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Tel: (+61) 2 9333 9222
Opening Hours: 9.00 a.m. - 10.30 p.m. (Closed on Christmas Day)


All the photos on this post were taken using a Canon Digital IXUS 1000HS camera.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

9 May 2011: The lucky rainbow that I saw

The rainbow that I saw with my mother on 9 May 2011.

9 May 2011 (Mon): That afternoon, before the start of a rain, I caught a glimpse of a lucky rainbow while I was near Circular Quay.

Thinking about this rainbow, I am feeling very grateful that I have had the good luck to capture this sight on digital film. The rainbow last for no more than five minutes and I suppose it was great fortune to have seen and recorded it.

The weather has been extremely kind to me and my mother. Generally, it had been great weather throughout our trip and we had only encountered one occurrence of rainfall during our entire visit to Sydney this autumn (May 2011).  Thankfully, I would like to think that the purpose of the rain was to help me earn the good luck to catch the sight of a beautiful rainbow.

When I saw the rainbow from nearby Circular Quay, I was reminded of the rainbow that one of my friends and I had seen a few years ago on a ferry ride to Circular Quay. Perhaps life on both occasions was giving me assuring and encouraging signals for whatever may lie ahead.

As such, it is with gratitude that I share my rainbow sightings with you. May this help you count the blessings that life has been gently bestowing you with each and every day. Best wishes!

The first photo on this post was taken using a Canon Digital IXUS 1000HS camera.