Blog statistics for 2012


As this is the last day of the year, WordPress has provided a statistics report for the year 2012! In short:

27,000 views this year…

15,000 visitors approximately…

82 comments overall…

41 visitors per day on average…

34 posts so far…

25 blog followers…

… and most importantlyΒ ONE BIG THANK YOU to all my readers and supporters !!

Let’s keep up the good work πŸ™‚

If you want to learn more about this blog’s statistics :Β Click here to see the complete report.Β I especially like the “where did your visitors come from” part… Check it out it’s fun!!

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Christmas season in Singapore


Season‘s greetings to all !!Β 

For non-Singaporeans spending the Christmas season in Singapore this year, we’re probably thinking the same thing… It’s really interesting to have a hot Christmas!! I don’t know about you but usually in my home country Christmas comes together with cold temperature, snow… and a hot chocolate by the chimney πŸ™‚

This is not my first Christmas in Singapore… At first I was a little put off, like probably other fellow expatriates living here. It’s just so different from our usual Christmas atmosphere! But Singapore always has something different to offer. What I like most about being in Singapore around Christmas and New Year’s Eve is:

– the Christmas decorations around town make you feel like it’s Christmas (even though inside you might be dying of heat!). Sometimes I feel lightings are too colourful and shiny, but it’s a good start to help you get in the mood πŸ™‚

– Business partners will most likely deliver hampers or small gifts to your office! That’s part of the small things that make me happy!

– But most of all, you still feel like you’re on holiday in summer πŸ™‚ !! Don’t you just love waking up to a warm weather and having a cooling drink by the beach next to neighbouring coconut trees?

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Speaking of Christmas decorations… did you know that each year there is an implicit “competition” for the tallest Christmas tree in Singapore?Β Especially between Singapore attractions and hotels, but also including shopping malls… Check out these ones for example!

Xmas tree @Ngee Ann City

Ngee Ann City

Xmas tree @Shangri La lobby

Shangri La Hotel lobby

I even heard last year that Singapore Flyer claimed they had the tallest Christmas tree in Singapore… even though their Christmas tree is not a tree!! So which Christmas tree is your favourite this year? πŸ™‚

new year images

And as the end of the year approaches, here’s wishing you a wonderful new year of 2013 !!

Zouk Out 2012


Hey guys! Have you heard of ZoukOut? Surely you’ve heard of Zouk, one of the most famous night clubs in Singapore. Zouk usually features very good electro-dance DJs, and also had (until July this year) a very popular theme night on Wednesdays, the Mambo Jambo night, where they played retro music from the 80s.

Well, Zouk decided in 2000 to bring the party… to the beach!! Branded “ZoukOut”, this annual event is a dance music festival where world renowned DJs fly in to Singapore. A must-do for newcomers!

The stage at Zoukout

The stage at Zoukout

This year I went there for the first time. The ticket price was (I felt) very high… 98 S$ per person for just one night (there are 2 nights, usually Friday and Saturday). You do have an early bird ticket at 78 S$ but you really have to be quick to get one, as tickets sell REALLY fast!!

I reached Siloso beach (on Sentosa) around midnight with some friends and there was already quite a crowd. The festival showcases artists from 8pm to 8am… so you can imagine the size of the event πŸ˜€ ! I found the beach quite nicely set up, with sponsors booths lit up, and 3 large well-positioned scenes (not too close from one another). It’s also well thought that there are many bars, all around the area, and they are numbered so it’s easier to find meeting points with your friends.

Lightings at Zoukout

Lightings at Zoukout

There are also a few “fun” booths, were you can participate to games or have your fortune told by a guru… Quite entertaining I must say! And of course some food and beverages outlets, with a quite diverse range of options, however quite expensive as expected.Β If you’re lucky, you might also catch the 5mn fireworks – as we did!!

Fireworks at Zoukout

After a while though, I felt the music was not of my taste, and the crowd really started to bother me (with time crowds get drunker… πŸ˜‰ ) so I headed home. But I think if you’re really into electro/disco/trance music you will definitely enjoy this event. This year’s edition featured Calvin Harris and Paul Kalbrenner for instance!

My recommendation is to go if you like beach parties and excitement πŸ™‚ but think about it twice if you’re weary of the price, or do not like crowds too much! Also, if you go, please wear comfortable footwear, and remember not too bring any food or drinks with you, as it will be taken at the entrance (but you can buy food and drinks inside).

For more info on ZoukOut music festival, it’s right this way!!Β So… ready for party time?? πŸ˜€

Botanic Gardens and National Orchid Garden


Well, it’s been a while since I haven’t written anything here… but I’m back! And even more so, I have now moved to Singapore and am ready to discover new places to share with you πŸ™‚ How great is that? Yoohoo !!

I recently went back to the Botanic Gardens, and re-discovered how big it is. It’s really a great feeling to be able to step out of the buzzing city for a while and relax. I particularly like the Symphony Lake, especially at the end where it stretches out to a little wooden hut where you can cool off and observe turtles swimming by…

Another bit of the Botanic Gardens you really don’t want to miss out on is the National Orchids Garden. It is very famous and is worthwhile for any person who likes orchids (but who doesn’t really?) !! As you may know, most Orchids are bred by humans, and Singapore was particularly skilled in creating orchids and assigning them to political personalities, so as to honour other countries. You can have a look at the “VIP Orchids” wall in Burkill Hall, it truly is very interesting. And did you know who the last VIP Orchid from Singapore was dedicated to? Prince William and Kate Middleton, now Duchess of Cambridge…! In September this year.

Here is a selection of beautiful Orchids in the garden:

No wonder the Vanda Miss Joaquim Orchid was proclaimed National Flower of Singapore!!

So if you are planning a visit to the Botanic Gardens and National Orchid Garden (which you should), remember that entrance fee is 1$ for students and seniors, and 5$ for adults.

Also, I would recommend you to find a convenient bus line for you to go there (there are many). Another option would be the MRT station “Botanic Gardens” on the Circle Line, however it will take you to the far end of the park, so you might have to walk a little distance.Β Enjoy !! πŸ™‚

Seah Street Deli


Who says Singapore is boring and always the same? If you look hard enough, you might find a couple of surprising places… like this American Diner on Beach Road, incorporated into the Raffles Hotel building !

Seah Street Deli is a very surprising restaurant to find in the Raffles Hotel. While you might be expecting fancy European food or beautifully served Chinese meals, Seah Street Deli will serve you typically American food! Interesting for a restaurant located in an iconic hotel of Singapore right? πŸ™‚

Their menu includes salads, burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, pizzas and snacks… basically anything you might be in a craving for if you are American and miss your home country. The portions are huge too, so make sure you don’t eat too much during the day before you go there πŸ™‚

I must admit the food is sometimes a little oily or fat… However one of the reasons why I love this place is because of the atmosphere! The decoration, floor and furniture really make you feel like you are in a whole other place. There’s even a jukebox in a corner!! And even though I’m not American, I love to be able to “travel” while still being physically located in Singapore. Well, actually, located in the HEART of Singapore!!

That is yet another great thing about Singapore, it’s that it is truly global and connected to the world, and not only to Asian countries!! I guess that is why so many Foreigners choose to settle down in Singapore… not only are there great career opportunities, but it’s also a place where you can feel at home, no matter which country you are from!!Β And from my point of view, it is very rare to feel at home in another country… so if you are American and need a taste of home, do try out this restaurant! And let me know what you think πŸ™‚

Playing Mahjong


One of my favourite activities when I am in Singapore is to play mahjong… with relatives and friends there who know how to play and enjoy it too πŸ™‚

Careful though, I am not referring to the Mahjong game you can play on your computers where the aim is to match pairs… I am talking about the 4-player game which you have probably less heard of.

Mahjong is a chinese game where you use tiles to build combinations (three of a kind or sequencing numbers), gain more points thanks to the “winds” and “dragons” tiles… and overall win (or loose) money. (as you may know, Chinese people love to gamble, and I must admit it is more fun when there is something at stake!) It is a little like rummy, if you’ve played this game before.

One of my best hands so far !! 2 flowers and all of a same kind

It is originally a game from continental China, called Ma Jiang (ιΊ»ε°†οΌ‰but it was later exported to other countries when the Chinese community moved to other countries. “Mahjong” is the name for the Hong-Kongese version, which is the most played in Singapore. So there are no longer “fixed” rules of mahjong, since every region or community has its specific rules and way of counting points. Also, different versions of mahjong exist in other Asian countries, like Japan, Korea and Vietnam.

The funny thing about mahjong is that sometimes Asian people you meet do not know how to play (especially in the younger generation), whereas tourists or foreigners (like me πŸ™‚ ) sometimes know the rules! I wonder if that’s because it’s an easy item to bring back to your home country and share with your foreign friends…

However if you have the chance to visit elderly people in Singapore, you will probably see them play mahjong. It is said to be a great game to keep your mind alert… and boy! Are they fast when they play!! I wish someday I’ll be able to compete with them!!

Another of my winning hands… with jokers!

Overall, mahjong is really fun and a great way to get closer to the Chinese culture if you are not very knowledgeable about it and wish to learn more. Don’t worry, you don’t need to know how to speak Chinese, just read a few characters which you can find on the internet.

Also, there is a growing trend of mahjong competitions in foreign countries, so why not join a club and start practicing?

I even thought about starting a Mahjong club in my school a few years back… it’s a pity I didn’t have enough time to carry this project out, I’m sure it would have been a great hit! Especially since more and more Chinese students are studying in foreign countries like France, it would have been quite easy to find knowledgeable players πŸ™‚

Bar Stories on Haji Lane


Remember Haji Lane? Small, discrete and yet trendy street hidden in Kampong Glam near Arab Street?

I was there last time I was in Singapore and although some places are still there, I must say that shops there change quite quickly! Maybe because the rent is very high… Even so, it is also nice to see new shops and places to discover, it’s a good change in a place like Singapore where people complain it’s too small and always the same… πŸ™‚

I discovered a new place that people had told me about, Bar stories. You have to look for it, it’s not very well indicated, and on the second floor too.

The originality of this place is that you can customise your own cocktails/mocktails. And if you have no idea what combination would be best, the bartender will help you out if you tell him your usual preference (sweet/sour/fruity/else…).

I really enjoyed my drink, and so did my friend with hers. I asked for something not too sweet and refreshing and I was given a cool lime-based mocktail with little bits of kiwi, while my friend had a sweeter and fruitier drink with strawberrys. Yummy.

The setting is also quite relaxing, with nice cafe-style touches. And prices are ok (although they must be higher at night for cocktails). So go for it πŸ™‚ I recommend it !!