Moving back

Finally, moving back to India over the weekend.  Bringing to an end my 11 year old saga in Singapore 😉  Lots of packing done over the past 2-3 weeks.  Never knew that relocation was so tiring. Updates will be slow in the meantime (not that I have been any active in the past few months on this blog).

Moving back to your home country  after working abroad for a long time is not easy.  Brings about a lot of changes, changes in lifestyle, mentally getting adjusted to the new environs even though its the same place you were born and bred.  Still, its something I needed to do to jolt myself out of the comfort zone.  Of course there were personal reasons too that were instrumental in this move back home.  Some of which i will write in detail later on.

There are a lot of things that i have done over the past 1 month that i feel i could share on this blog and would help someone else who is either planning or is in the process of moving back to India.  Resigning the job, relocation, cancelling the numerous subscriptions, giving up the work status in the country, moving money, documents, dealing with cargo etc…

I plan to write more in detail about how i went about sorting all of them.  I will miss Singapore and all the wonderful friends i made here.  The place and its people will always have a special place in my heart and I will always wish the country and its people well.

Till then its goodbye Singapore.  Hyderabad, here i come 😉

Above picture courtesy: RehannaBernard

+++

Universal Studios Singapore – 2012

Before leaving Singapore, i thought i would go around and see the last one place I hadn’t yet visited.  So off we went to the Universal Studios during the Chinese New Year weekend.  Contrary to what i feared, it was an overcast sky the whole day and had a cool breeze, so walking around wasn’t a chore.

Seriously, if you are not a fan of roller coasters, the place doesnt really justify the high entrance fees (SG$74 per head) it demands.  Not to mention each of the eating joints are nothing but rip-offs with high prices.  If you can, pack some food from home as the prices of eatables are sure to drive your hunger away.

As for the souvenirs, the lesser said the better.  Prices are again out of this world.  No wonder i hardly saw anyone buying anything.  For kids though, there are enough attractions and stuff to keep them occupied.

Resorts World Singapore
Resorts World Singapore

Universal Studios SingaporeUniversal Studios Singapore

WaterworldWaterworld

Dinosaur - Jurassic ParkDinosaur – Jurassic Park

Ancient EgyptAncient Egypt

Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Rollercoaster - Battlestar Gallactica
Rollercoaster – Battlestar Gallactica

Far Far Away

Far Far Away

Transformers
Transformers
Universal Studios 1
Universal Studios 1
Dancing Girls
Dancing Girls
Hollywood Dreams
Hollywood Dreams
Madagascar
Madagascar
Shrek & Gang
Shrek & Gang
Art on the boardwalk
Art on the boardwalk
Stairway to Heaven
Stairway to Heaven

Final word: Avoid this overpriced hyped up place unless you are dragged by the scruff of your neck by friends and family.   The Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park and the Science Park are still the best attractions in the country.

+++

Return 2 India

The first major decision of 2012.  Yup its time for me to close my 11 years old chapter here in Singapore and move back to India.  It hasnt been an easy decision to take, but ya it took time to come to this.  Have been thinking about it for more than 2 years now.  The time is here.

Will write in detail later.  But as of now, i can only say that I will miss Singapore a lot.

Above picture courtesy: portalhunt

+++

Jurong Bird Park – Singapore

On the first day of the Chinese New Year holidays, visited the world famous Jurong Bird Park here in Singapore.  Its my second visit.  I love the lush rainforest like feel inside the whole sanctuary.  Most of the birds have a bigger place to fly around and not many of the birds are in cages.  That makes you feel very much in contact with nature.

It rained in the morning and there was a nice breeze.  Couple with the smell of the wet mud and the greens, the place reminds me of Kerala.  Some pictures of the bird park

+++

Marina Bay Sands – Singapore

Over the new year holiday, went to Marina Bay Sands here in Singapore.  No regrets at not having gone earlier.  Honestly, there is nothing great about the place.  The hotel looks like 3 giant pillars and doesn’t even look pleasing in the day time.  Maybe the interiors of the hotel are world class, but the noisy crowd in the lobby of the hotel dragging their luggage around combined with a few girls standing around the doors dressed in cheongsam looking utterly bored and uninterested.  You wonder if this was what they could produce after spending more than SG$ 5 billion?

The whole shopping place looks as if all the premium brands of the world have been rounded up and put up in a giant warehouse.

There was nothing pleasant about the place.  It looked like a hodge podge of ideas.  Too much of money spent but hardly any class in the stuff.  The other structure sticking out like a sore thumb was the helix bridge.  Neither does it protect you from the rain nor from the sun.  Only God knows why they built that structure.

Maybe the whole thing looks awesome in the night.  And yes, it does look good in the pictures (taken at night).  Maybe the hotel up above and the rooms are terrific.  But the general view of the whole place was a big thumbs down.  The shops were all deserted with people not even interested in window shopping.  The only place (as usual) that was filled with people was the food court.  Just like any other eating joint in Singapore, it was chock a block with people and no place to sit.

The Casino was out of bounds for me and Iam surely not stupid enough to pay $100 to go in to gamble or even to look around.  It too looked crowded inside just like the food court.

The best thing about the place is the spectacular view of the skyline of the business district.  The view was great.

Would love to go see the Resorts World Sentosa too, but this experience has simply dampened my expectations.  So, that can wait.

+++

Of War Games & Defence Diplomacy

Indian armed forces have chalked out a stunning round of combat exercises with foreign forces over the coming several months to use “defence diplomacy” as a tool to bolster national security as well as promote strategic cooperation.

Defence ministry officials say the 1.13-million Army alone has planned 14 to 18 exercises with countries ranging from the US, UK and Russia to Bangladesh, Mongolia, Thailand and Tajiskistan, both at home and abroad.

For instance, the armies of Seychelles and Singapore will be in Belgaum and Deolali in January for joint combat exercises . Similar is the case with Navy and IAF. Indian warships will hold combat manoeuvres with French warships, including nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, during the “Varuna” wargames on the high seas in January . “Indian and French navies and air forces have build a high-level of interoperability through such exercises… We have a strategic partnership ,” said visiting French chief of defence staff Admiral Edouard Guillaud.

The US, of course, is leading the charge in this “interoperability” game, with Indian and American armed forces holding a staggering 60 or so wargames over the last decade.

Many more are in the offing. After the ‘Malabar’ naval wargames on the western coast, the “Habu Nag” amphibious exercise at Okinawa (Japan) and the “Vajra Prahar” counterterrorism drills at Belgaum earlier in the year, around 200 Indian soldiers are now leaving for Alaska to take part in the “Balance Iroquois” exercise with American special forces.

Despite defence minister A K Antony always being eager to downplay the expansive Indo-US defence relationship, the armed forces of the two nations have set a scorching pace in their bilateral engagement . Of the 64 exercises conducted by the Army between 2001 and 2009, well over one-third were with the US.

“The US is the only superpower around… We learn a lot from exercising with them. With the vast counter-insurgency experience of our professional forces, we also teach them a lot,” said a senior officer.

Above news source: TimesofIndia

Pictures courtesy: Military photos, Getty

+++

Christmas Trees in Singapore

A few random pictures of Christmas trees that have been put up in various locations in Singapore.  These are just a few of them that i managed to see and click.

PS: Ignore the dates on the pictures. I forgot to set them properly.  And neither do i have the patience to edit them 😉

christmas

Bugis Village Christmas Tree

A Christmas tree made up of Ferrero Rocher chocolates. Not sure if they were real / fake

UOB

christmas

Tangs

ION Orchard

Heeren Christmas Tree

Paragon

Some funny looking tree

and finally, the Christmas Tree at my home

According to Wikipedia

A Christmas tree is a decorated tree, usually an evergreen conifer such as spruce, or pine or fir, traditionally associated with the celebration of Christmas. An artificial Christmas tree is an object made to resemble such a tree, usually made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

The tree was traditionally decorated with edibles such as apples, nuts or dates. In the 18th century, it began to be illuminated by candles, which with electrification could also be replaced by Christmas lights. Today, there are a wide variety of traditional ornaments, such as garland, tinsel, and candy canes. An angel or star may be placed at the top of the tree, to represent the host of angels or the Star of Bethlehem from the Nativity.

The custom of the Christmas tree developed in early modern Germany with predecessors that can be traced to the 16th and possibly the 15th century, in which “devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes.”. It acquired popularity beyond Germany during the second half of the 19th century. The Christmas tree has also been known as the “Yule-tree”, especially in discussions of its folkloristic origins.

+++

Christmas lightup at Orchard Road – 2009

Christmas is always early in Singapore. By November, the main shopping street of Orchard Road gets fully decked up with lights, christmas trees and other decorations.  This year’s lights were switched on November 8th.  We were there to see the light up.  Paragon had a live band and some pyrotechnics to go along to mark the light up.

Overall, it was fun.  A massive tree has been setup outside ION Orchard.  You can go inside the tree and see the lightup. Its simply awesome.

Tangs as usual takes the cake for the most opulent and innovative kind of decorations. Like always, they are simply over the top.  The shop gets a total golden makeover.

Putting up a few pictures here.  Once all have been uploaded, will put up a link here.

DSCN1185

DSCN1191

DSCN1207

DSCN1225

DSCN1234

DSCN1243

DSCN1262

DSCN1268

DSCN1282

DSCN1288

DSCN1294

DSCN1301

DSCN1308

DSCN1319

DSCN1332

DSCN1333

+++

Am back

Had been to Hyderabad for a short 4 day trip as my brother was getting married.  Back in Singapore in the morning, and was in the office early too.  But very tired as there was the usual crying of kids in the flight and combine with it the cattle class airlines called Tiger airways.  The seats are so close to each other that it seems that the seats have been designed for pygmies.

Travelled via a garbage dump of an airport called the Chennai airport, a so called ISO 9001 certified airport which they so proudly display on the airport.  But from the floor with lousy and dusty tiles to leaky and stinking toilets to a new domestic arrival hall where the aircon is set so low that its enough to freeze you to haphazardly placed tubelights in the cielings. The Chennai airport is the best example of a pathetic government and its abject apathy towards its citizens and the infrastructure.

If this is what the Airports Authority of India (AAI) can provide, its high time, the Chennai airport is handed over to some private company.  When you travel from the sleek, ultra efficient, modern and brilliant Hyderabad airport, Chennai airport reminds you of some village in the remote part of India.  Even the Chennai central railway station is the same, smelly and dirty.  Often making me wonder which moron named Chennai a Metro city.

People cutting queues while showing off their official powers, indifferent authorities, misplacing luggage, airport employees who steal stuff from your luggage, ripping off your hard earned money while paying for food is how you can describe the Chennai airport.  Just outside the airport you have a huge congregation of people waiting everytime as if some superstar is arriving.  With cars, buses, two wheelers and everything in such close proximity of the airport, its just a matter of time before you might hear about a terrorist attack there.  The policemen / women just go about their motions as if they are in la-la land.

And then look at the issues in our elections starting tomorrow, the Samajwadi Party has an agenda to get rid of English and Computers.  Meanwhile, the moron called Mulayam Yadav has both his sons studying in an english medium college. The same is the case with his chamcha Amar Singh.

Some moron wants to gift colour TV and another one free rice as if the national exchequer is their father’s property. The Election Commission should come out with a ruling that the party promising freebies in the manifesto should foot half of the bill for the freebies, then we can see the fun.

So, who do you vote for?  The openly communal BJP which talks and commits hatred against a section of people or who dont follow their Hindutava (dunno what kind of tava it is) manifesto or Congress who has perfected the art of playing divisive politics or the Communists who are nothing but agents of the Communist Party of China or the scores of uneducated and criminals with enough murders and rapes in their resume so as to be called legends in their fields?

You make the call.  Meanwhile, do go out and vote. Vote against divisive, communal, casteist, socialist parties and people with criminal records against their name (oops, that rules out most of the leaders of all parties).

+++

Singapore pics

Full2 bijee at work.  Blogging is almost non-existent these days.  Though, am trying  to read as many blogs as possible.   Meanwhile, some random pictures of Singapore taken over the past month.

esplanade-and-business-district

spore-skyline

Singapore’s skyline (business district in the background)

fullerton

Fullerton hotel

t3

Changi Airport – Terminal3

t3-1

Changi Airport – Terminal3

skytrain

Skytrain @ Changi Airport – Terminal3

sentosa-beach

Beach @ Sentosa

south

psa

Cranes idle @ the port

psa1

+++