After a lot of persuasion I gave in to my daughters request for a trip to Legoland, Nusajaya. We thoroughly enjoyed our time there. The games were fun and we found that people of all ages were having a great time. I would like to go there again to try out some of the games that I missed out.
The theme park is made up of the Lego Technic, Lego City, Imagination, Land of Adventure, Lego Kingdom and Miniland. Construction of a resort and water sports is also under progress.
As Indians we have to bow our heads in shame! We have collectively allowed a savage assault on an unarmed girl. We can point fingers at the politicians, at the police, at the law. But in the end we all have blood on our hands!
This girl – Amanat or Damini or whatever name you call her by had the courage to fight on and the will to live on. She epitomised the anger and hope of millions of girl children in India who want an end to crimes against women. But in the end her bruised body succumbed to the severe organ damages and she breathed her last. India has lost a daughter and a fighter.
Her suffering and death has brought together many youth onto the streets to fight for the cause of women in our country. Every day we hear of numerous cases of girls being raped, eve-teased and killed. Many of them are heard in the media only months later. Our draconian laws allow the perpertrators to come out of jail through bail and there is no deterrent for such crimes.
Recently, a police officer in a Punjab rape case asked the victim to marry the perpretator or settle the case outside court. So, how can we expect any change if the police force itself is not revamped?
A lot of questions will be asked –What was the motive of the Indian government to shift the patient who was already in a critical condition to Singapore? What about the numerous other cases in different parts of India? Are we going to take action only after the rape has occurred? Can we promise such treatment to all victims of such crimes? What change in laws are being enacted? Are our police and outdated laws able to bring the culprits to justice?
The mourning, anger and strikes go on in India but usually after a month or so everything is forgotten. There is a need for education, laws, fast-tract courts, justice and drastic changes in the law, police force and politicians to address the root of the problem. But in the end even these are just containment actions. However, the need of the hour is that we start with actions that address the immediate problem.
The long-term need is a transformation of our male chauvinist attitudes and patriarchal systems which establishes the male as the supreme authority . And I call it a long-term need as such attitudes are ingrained in our social fabric and it is going to take years of education to transform these attitudes. But only a change in these attitudes can address the problem of crimes against women.
Every male Indian has to take an oath not to show disrespect to his sister, his wife and mother first and to also to every other woman . We cannot be a witness to such incidents any more. We must inform the police, our friends and mobilise ourselves to catch the culprits – these savage men who make our country a dangerous place for women.
Let the spirit of this braveheart awaken in us the urgent need to bring justice to every single girl in our country who goes through abuse. Let the spirit of this girl make us fight for equality and dignity for every girl in our country. More than our prayers the spirit of this braveheart demands our action!
We decided to spend a night at the Celestial Resort in Pulau Ubin. The resort is a chalet-type resort with basic amenities lke a queen bed, bath, a mini-fridge and air-con. It is quite clean and a nice place to wind off with not too many distractions. Also once we were in the room, there were no mosquitoes to trouble us. For those on a tight-budget you can even spend the night camping in a tent at one of the beaches on the island – Jelutong, Noordin and Mamam beaches. But, it is advisable to carry a mosquito/insect repellent.
Just outside the resort they have a herb and spices garden with a variety of plants like Hawaiian tea leaf, midnight horror, passion fruit (buah susu), Midnight horror (oroxylum indicum), Cat’s whiskers, Lemon grass, Mint, Pomelo, Bitter Gourd, Sweet corn, Ceylon spinach, Lady finger, Indian curry leaf tree, Basil, Cucumber, Long beans, Groundnut, Sweet potato, Elephant yam, Chili padi, Pitaya/Dragon fruit, Wild pepper, lengkuas, ginger, Turmeric, Bilimbi, citronella grass etc. Nearby they also have durian trees, nipah palm tree, coconut trees, jackfruit trees, coffee plants etc.
We spend the first day cycling along the island. The paths have slopes but it is a fun way to stop and explore the plants and wildlife on the island. The resort does serve breakfast but for lunch and dinner you have to go to the nearby village.
We also enjoyed kayaking in the waters in the morning at high tide. A pet dog followed us into the water and would swim along our kayak throughout our 1 hour in the waters.
The next day morning after a simple breakfast in the resort we set for Chek Java wetlands by van. Chek Java has one of Singapore’s richest ecosystems. It has a visitor centre and the mangrove and coastal board walks which uncover a lot of biodiversity like mangroves, mud lobsters, orange fiddler crabs, mud skippers, barnacles, lichens, sea weeds, nipah palms with globular flower clusters, monitor lizards, monkeys etc.
Many complain in forums that the place is boring and not maintained but I would say to the people who are so used and pampered with five-star amenities that Pulau Ubin is a fabulous place to get dirty, cycle, hike and just enjoy.
Lone spectator in the audience
Watching the movie of life unfold
Your hands keep moving
To the beat of your heart
Watching babies cry
And teenagers mature
Counting gray hairs on our heads
And the number of wrinkles on our skin
Innocent wonder is lost
To anger and vapid worry
Days, months and years pass by
As you keep a faithful watch
This game of hide and seek goes on
You think it is childs play
Time you cannot bind me
For I am fearless and free
Like a gullible fool you standby
As the body withers and dies
Well, If you think you have won the game
It is you who will be put to shame!
© copyright skm, 26th Dec, 2012
Many events have shaped the year gone by. The world witnessed the London Olympics, Spain winning the Euro Cup, Felix Baumgartner’s supersonic skyfall, the US Presidential election, catastrophes like floods in Manila and hurricane Sandy in the US.
The Arab Spring and the Israel-Gaza conflict continued to dominate the Middle-eastern news. In Asia, the East and South China Sea dispute has drawn a lot of countries into the conflict and it triggered a spat between Japan and China which could hurt economic ties in future.
In entertainment, Gangnam style a video featuring Psy the K-pop star from Korea garnered more than a billion views on Youtube. The world lost people like Whitney Houston, Neil Armstrong, Ravi Shankar, Gore Vidal, Stephen Covey etc. Indian celebrities like Rajesh Khanna, Yash Chopra, I.K. Gujral ex-PM, A.K. Hangal, Verghese Kurien, Thilakan , Bal Thackeray and Jaspal Bhatti also left us.
The year also witnessed the opening up of Myanmar after decades of isolation and the visit by US President Obama to the region.
In India, Pranab Mukherjee was elected 13th President of India, Narendra Modi wins third consecutive assembly election in Gujarat and Sachin Tendulkar quits ODI cricket.
You can witness some of these events in the video below:
If I had all the time in the world, with no deadlines or responsibilities, what would I do first? (Pg.16, The Intuitive Way by Penney Peirce)
- I am greatly inspired by entrepreneurs/leaders and would like to start something on my own. Some ideas are in education, web design and training/motivation.
- I love travelling and would like to travel around the world learning about different cultures and also to soak in the beautiful sights and sounds
- I would like to try out some adventure sports like river rafting, bungy jumping, parasailing, sky diving etc
- I believe that some of the greatest pleasures in life come from the simplest activities – like watching a sunset, taking a stroll in the park, skating, cycling, flying a kite, building a sand castle with my daughter or taking a nap in the afternoon. I would love to make time for these simple priceless pleasures.
- I would like to volunteer my time with the needy. This always makes me feel connected with the world and to look beyond the narrow confines of my family to the community and the world as one.
- I would like to learn new stuff like flying a plane
- I would like to spend more time with my family
- I would like to spend a lot of time reading books as there is an immense treasure trove of information there in books of science, technology and scriptures. I would also read many novels and biographies.
- I would spend more time seeking answers to questions that baffle me.
- I would love to mix and network with more people with like-minded interests
Coral reefs and clown fish
A whole array of life forms
Adorn the sea floor
In a multitude of colours
Through my goggles
I scan the seabed
By their beauty divine
The turquoise waters
Embrace us as we snorkel
In the waters
Of the Tioman island
Like a mermaid decked
In myriad jewels
The patterns of wriggling life
Are etched in my mind
As I move
New images unfold
Like hidden masterpieces
On a giant canvas!
© copyright skm, 9th Dec 2012
I am reading Al Jaffee’s Mad Life by Mary-Lou Weisman. It is a very poignant, detailed account of how a Southern boy, twice uprooted by his mother to Lithuanian shtetls on the eve of World War II, grew up to enliven the lives of generations of American kids through the pages of the MAD magazine.
Reading this book one cannot help but think how many satirists, cartoonists, humorous actors etc have put their past behind them or even made use of self-deprecating humour to forget their past and at the same time change the lives of countless people through humour.
This book is also shows us that though Al was broken by the persistent and physical traumas of Zarasai, he survived and thrived by being down-to-earth, by his good humour and by the guiding comic principle of The Plausible Impossible!