Tuesday, April 26, 2011

election day song

election fever is in the air. like i told some of my friends before i left for australia to babysit my grandson, this year's election will be interesting and more exciting than all the previous ones. people are more open and they are not so fearful. the electorate, especially, some of the younger ones, are openly declaring that they will vote for the opposition. those of my parents' generation actually kept their vote secret; they would not even reveal their choice to their own children.

in the late 50s or early 60s, when i was in primary school, i remembered singing the election day song. this song was intended to tell the people that voting was compulsory; that their vote was a secret (it still is); and that their choice could affect the future of the country.

our election day is on the 30th may

do please remember that you must vote

only you will know whom you voted for

do remember on our choice depends

the future trends of singapore

so go to the polls on 30th may

and cast your vote on election day

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

thomson road hospital

b&w photos from national archives of singapore

my blogger friend chun see (of goodmorningyesterday) commented on my posting on tan tock seng hospital and made a suggestion that i write something about another hospital that was at one time located not far from tan tock seng hospital. i have nothing much to go by because i had visited that particular hospital only once or twice.

so for the sake of younger readers who may not be aware of the existence of thomson road hospital, i am going to provide some information on it. thomson road hospital was located along toa payoh rise, which is also the location of the school for the blind. today, that school is called the school for the visually handicapped.

thomson road hospital was opened in 1959 as a single ward hospital, served by two doctors and seven nursing staff. it was designated as a hospital for the chronic sick and for the people living in that area. soon it was taking in more patients, including those suffering from common diseases and illnesses.

in 1965, the extensions, which included an outpatient casualty ward and a surgery, were completed. as the hospital took on more responsibilities, its role as an acute hospital providing a range of medical services was recognised in 1968 when it was renamed the thomson road general hospital.

not long after this name change, it was renamed toa payoh general hospital to identify with the new satellite town.

toa payoh general hospital was closed down on 15 february 1997. the staff and patients were transferred to the new changi hospital at simei.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

eating 4 peking ducks at one sitting
in singapore and in most other countries, when you order peking duck, you will normally order one to be shared by all the diners at the table. not so in the case of this restaurant in boxhill, melbourne, australia. you are advised to order one duck for every 2 or 3 persons at each table. last sunday, there were 9 of us, so we pre-booked 4 ducks for the party. yes, you need to order the ducks one day in advance. i was told that there was one instance when a group of 14 ordered 3 ducks. the owner of the restaurant felt so slighted that he told them not to eat at his restaurant again.

the name of the restaurant is simon's peiking duck. it is named after the owner and chef, simon lay, who goes around serving the duck and chatting with customers. on that sunday when we were there, all the tables in the restaurants were filled but he still found time to exchange a few words with us at our table. he also instructed us on how to fold the pancake to hold the duck's skin and meat.

instructions on folding the thin pancake: spread one spoon of sauce, place one piece of cucumber and one piece of spring onion; fold up at 6 o'clock, 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock. you can also do the 6 o'clock, 12 o'clock and 9 o'clock and get the same result.

on a notice-board outside the restaurant, you can find information on how the duck is prepared. stuff ginger, shallots, aniseed and 5-spice powder in its belly, sew it up using a long needle and pump air into it, between the body and the skin to separate them.

next, it is plunged into boiling water to shrink the skin. then it goes into a wok rolling with vinegar, maltose and soy and oyster sauces - this is the glaze that gives the skin its shine and flavour. the duck is then hung (up) for 6 hours to dry before roasting.