Saturday, July 23, 2005

I've lost count

That's right!

Been to Ubin several times, and the OBS/ODAC memory always lingerrrrr.....

Good old Puaka hill top view is still so magnificient. Haha

Woke up unwillingly at 7 plus to go Ubin with secondary school friends. Our cycling chemistry is there liao so no need to waste much time. Within the short 3-4 hours there for myself, it's enough to make me satisfied. Our first destination was the granite shore opposite Pulau Ketam. Over there, you can get a clear view of Punggol and our dearest Coney Island (Pulau Serangoon). After a series of rock throwing nonsensical game, we proceeded to the far east... Kampong Chek Jawa. High tide so nothing to see. That leads us on to the Infamous English Cottage that still stands. We wanted to get in but there were no holes in the fences. Then, an Indian security guard came out from the premises and we were surprised. I didnt know this place is now guarded. We had a nice chat with him actually and he told us young people like us like to cut holes in the fences and he has to cover it up over and over again. Then he talked about the developments of the cottage in the future (it's going to be renovated and used again, with conjuction to the board walk in front of it to lead to Chek Jawa Mangrove area). It's really interesting to hear from him different things like Pulau Sekudu. He told us weekends there will be ppl fishing there and even camping overnight...Wow! That island is so small, and it looks like its going to be submerged any time. He even told us during low tide, we can walk half way to the island... but the rest must swim, but quite a feat already. We ended our chat with his encounter with snakes and wild boars. Hehe... Very interesting. Though we couldnt get into the the building interiors, its satisfying enough to learn so much.

We proceeded to another shore site near the jetty which I favoured but was on high tide... the journey back to the jetty was quite bad. That's it..haha. Met up with Lester and we went to climb Pulau Puaka again...the highest point in Ubin. The view is great. Must go! I left promptly at 2pm for tuition afterward.

Today was very tiring, Ubin, tuition and cell group... Heheee. Gonna take a good rest tmr after my tuition in the morning. Gonna catch my sleep. Below are some photos to share.

The Gang

Initial "D" Pose

Great view from Puaka top. overseeing Mainland & Pulau Ketam (left)

Monday, July 11, 2005

Went cycling

Yupz... it's great to have my bicycle in function again. Was cycling near my usual running route from Geylang to Mountbatten to Tanjong Rhu to Stadium area to Kallang river then back home. Here's some photos to share on the scenery along the way.

Beneath Benjamin Sheares Bridge facing Suntec City

Beautiful scenery of suspension bridge and water-resturant

Evening glow on Indoor Stadium

Goodbye Leisure Park

At Kallang River facing the skyscrapers, nice reflection

Took this myself while cycling on the road..haha. So unsafe.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Sorry Folks!.... for the outfield bashing

This morning, Jianyu, Gun Kiat, Liyuan, JJ and I went to the HSBC Treetop walk and then to the "mysterious" or you can say historical ruins of the Shinto Shrine, Syonan Jinjia. As known, Singapore was named Syonan-To during the Japanese occupation, and that is where the name is derived for the shrine. It was a grand and fine shrine of the Japanese with a majestic bridge across the reservoir. However, they destroyed the shrine by dropping a bomb after they were defeated. What is left are ruins of bits and pieces. The location is so "geographical strategic"! It sits opposite the reservoir and surrounding it are the water bodies. There is a dam that connect to it indirectly, and is near enough, but the dam consists of just stone boulders placed wide apart the gap of reservoir water body... no one is able to jump across unless you do an accurate and far standing broad jump above them.

We all didnt predict the trip in search of Syonan Jinja can be so tough. At first, the trail looks fairly easy. It gets a bit tougher when we hiked inwards, where no one will venture unless you are going to the shrine itself. Lots of dead falls lie across the already squeezy mud trail. After much effort we reached the elusive shrine. As documented by Hey! Singapore, we could find the flight of stairs, purification basin and here and there stuffs. The journey inwards was already quite physically exhausting, so we suggested not walking back and continued westward to the other exit, never to realise the challenges that lies ahead. This time, the trails are much tougher, and you cant make out where to walk.. Thank God there are kind people who placed plastic bags and spray paint marking on the trees so we can follow their trail out. Many times we had to backtrack and do some stunts that we usually do during scout outfield infiltration, including crossing of streams. By the time we were FINALLY out, shagged already.. LOL.

Well, this is the result of my insistent of going to the place I always wanted to go. Hahaa.. Felt guilty to drag them along to suffer.

We settled down to rest for a while before proceeding to Jelutong Tower aka Mosquito Ring. It's tall and we dragged ourselves to go up. Hahaa...After a mini photo session, we continued walking, feeding tortoises in the reservoir, etc etc..before endex, or end of exercise. Hahaa.. Just at that time, something awful happened to me.. ok skip that. We ended up at Thomson Plaza for lunch, n I ate the worst meal of the year, even considering I was very hungry. lol. Jianyu, Liyuan and JJ left without going to Gunz's house cos...too tired. Haha.. My fault.

Only me went to Gunz's house and Daryl joined it. We had a few rounds of pool and chatting here and there. Then I dyed my hair for the first time. Dun worry, not obvious one. First time don't dare to try anything too visible or striking. The bus 67 trip back was great...cos the bus driver drove well with adequate speed. That's all for the busy day. Feeling sleepy cos of today's activity and bad sleep last time (kena mosquitoes...).

Thanks to all who went thru today's "ordeal" with me. Appreciate it.

Photos below>>>

Ecstatic. Can u see the three behind also? They must be thinking I'm mad.

Inside the shrine ruin, with the purification basin

Strange coin like structures on the ground

Huge holes dug from the ground by treasure hunters in search of Yamashita's gold

Group photo on the long flight of stairs upward to the shrine. Can you decipher what I'm doing? Yes, I'm doing navi with map and compass. Heee

The way out with a series of bashing... serious siah!

Out finally, near Petaling Hut

Will the golf ball hit us?

Come on! you can do it... the bread is on your way.

Finally a full force photo at the top of Jelutong Tower

On roof of Gunz's house, with the not-so-visible new hair colour

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

MacRitchie Treetop

I dragged myself to wake up at 7:30am for Cell Group outing at MacRitchie. After meeting at Novena, we took bus 167 that brought us to Upper Thomson Road, near Venus Drive. That was the start point of our 7km worth of walk up and down slopes.

We were greeted with monkeys that are not shy at all.

After walking for a while, I recognised this particular part of MacRitchie where there is a knoll beside the water pipes barren long land and it was one of my checkpoints during the navigational exercise when I was undergoing ISPC Scout course during NS. At that time, I was quite bewildered why would there be construction in that place since it’s so deserted and deep into the central catchment area. Now, then I know that it was actually for the building of the treetop walk.

Soon, after of about an hour of walking and resting at Ranger Station, we reached the entrance of HSBC Treetop walk. The length is 250m, which is quite long for me.

The bridge was rather stable for me but big sis, Joanna, was rather nervous and intimidated by the height. However, when we tried to take a photo of her, she still can fake a nice smile, but her fear of height can be proven by her two tight hands on the railings. Haha…

A pic of James and I on the treetop walk. (PS: He’s also rather nervous too…hehe)

After the treetop experience, we walked up and down and my feet were feeling painful due to the stupid SAF new sandals which I wore for the first time and it gave me nice blisters.

Soon we reached Jelutong Tower or the army guys say……MOSQUITO RING, another landmark of our Navigational exercises and the Endpoint of our torturous Longwalk Exercise of 40km in FBO.

At that time, mosquito ring…opps, no, Jelutong Tower was still not opened to the public but this time I got the chance to climb up and catch the breathtaking view of the surrounding. Above is one group photo.

Leaving the place, we walked and walked and reached into the “elusive” spot near opposite (so near yet so far) Syonan Jinja. I first got to know about it from Hey! Singapore, a show which captivated me so much when I was younger). Lisa Ang was a great host…oops, got carried away again. Ok, what’s Syonan Jinja? Refer to the Appendix at the end of the blog ok? I will be back to this place to explore the ruins of this lost Japanese Shrine that holds great historic value of Singapore during WWII. That place has been marked as a historic site by the National Heritage Board too.

Above are the left foundations of the blown-up bridge leading to the shrine. It’s rather wide and grand. Can you imagine? Btw, the bridge and the shrine were built by POWs.

We took another group photo.

On our way out, I saw two kayaks in MacRitchie Reservoir… the rates are expensive ($10 per hour), or else I’ll try them out too.

And I saw the elusive pitcher plant…yeah!

Finally, when we reached Lornie Road, I was pleased and glad everyone made it, though the walk can be quite tough on some of my cell group friends. Everyone was rather happy and I enjoyed myself a lot today discovering a lot of things. It’s really a great trip that cheers me up positively and made me enjoy nature like I was before NS.

Hey Jianyu or Gunz, join me to explore the Syonan Jinja ok? I’m dying to explore that interesting place. Maybe you may stumble upon Yamashita's gold??! haha

If you are interested, you can go to this gallery, which this guy took photos of themselves searching for the Shrine. Or also visit the SPI link below.


1. Gallery

2. Another Gallery by NUS people

2. SPI Website

Syonan Jinja

Above photo from SPI website

Buried in the dense jungle of the MacRitchie Catchment Area are the ruins of Syonan Jinja, a Japanese Shinto Shrine dating back to World War II. Built to commemorate Japanese soldiers who died fighting in the invasion of Singapore, Syonan Jinja was the location of many Japanese religious and cultural ceremonies. The original structure, built during the Japanese Occupation (1942-1945), was a temple with no walls. Raised from the ground by a stone platform graduated with a few steps, the sloping temple roof rested on pillars that stood at regular intervals round the perimeter of the platform. It is believed that during rituals, worshippers would drink from a huge granite ceremonial fountain located outside the shrine.

A Shinto ceremony took place here every New Year's Day for the few years that the shrine existed. This was marked by the sounding of the temple bell, the arrival of devotees and the presence of a Shinto priest presiding over rituals. After the proceedings were completed here, the worshippers moved on for a second ceremony at Syonan Chureito, a war memorial for the Japanese soldiers, located at Bukit Batok.

Syonan Jinja was destroyed when the Japanese Occupation ended in 1945. Crumbling granite steps that once led to the shrine are visible, as well as the stone fountain. Of the temple building itself, there is a low stone wall that runs one length of the building and several square pits in the ground that probably once supported pillars.

Today, remnants of the shrine are covered by jungle vegetation. As it is no longer accessible, Syonan Jinja is best seen through old photographs and drawings by the Japanese military as well as the POWs who helped build the shrine.

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