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A Peak At Singapore Istana and Some Labor Day Messages

May 3rd, 2008 by Wai Loong (2 Comments)

First of May is a real break for many folks around the globe. Unfortunately for some countries, it’s time for demonstrations and riots. Where the world are there peace and harmony?!

In Short: 1st of May is a different day for each human being.

To the Chinese in China, it is the beginning of the Golden Week. The Golden Week is a national week holiday celebrated close to what you’ll get for Chinese Lunar New Year. It’s a real break for Chinese to visit their parents, relatives or just having a great time traveling within mainland China with friends or family.

Thankfully, we don’t have demonstrations here in Singapore!

In Singapore, 1st of May is a public holiday, also known as Labour Day.

In particularly, the Istana (home office to the President of Singapore) was opened to the public on Friday.

Believe it or not – it’s almost embarrassing enough to have live for over a quarter century on this planet and have missed the hallmark compounds here in Singapore. I did a quick check and found the following information on Official Website:

The Istana grounds are open to the public annually in celebration of the following occasions:

  • Chinese New Year
  • Deepavali
  • Hari Raya Puasa
  • Labour Day
  • National Day

The next Istana Open Houses have been scheduled for:

  • Thursday, 1 May 2008 (to celebrate Labour Day)
  • Sunday, 3 August 2008 (to celebrate National Day)
  • Wednesday, 1 October 2008 (to celebrate Hari Raya Puasa)
  • Tuesday, 28 Oct 2008 (tentative) (to celebrate Deepavali)

If you’ve missed it this time round, you can still grab another chance to slip into the compounds on National Day, Singapore.

And since I’ve taken my first tour of this ancient land here in Singapore, here are some pictures I’ve taken around the compound with my trusty camera.

For many visitors, it was their first visit to the Istana. And iIt’s very big… much bigger than what I would have expected.

President S R Nathan, who was around to meet the public, server as a reassurance for Singaporeans to overcome economic challenges in these uncertain times. To help the less fortunate cope with higher prices, there were about 2 locations around to collect proceeds from the sales of items to the Community Chest, including admission fees from foreign visitors and tours to the staterooms.

Entry into the Istana grounds is basically free for Singaporeans and Singapore permanent residents, while it was S$1 for others. Entrance fees to the staterooms are charged at S$2.

Singapore Istana 1st May 2008

Singapore Istana 1st May 2008 with President S R Nathan

Singapore Istana 1st May 2008

Singapore Istana 1st May 2008

Singapore Istana 1st May 2008

Singapore Istana 1st May 2008

Singapore Istana 1st May 2008

Singapore Istana 1st May 2008

Singapore Istana 1st May 2008

Singapore Istana 1st May 2008

Singapore Istana 1st May 2008

President S R Nathan getting ready to take a sit before the performance.

Singapore Istana 1st May 2008

Singapore Istana 1st May 2008

Taken using superb optical zoom, standing far away from the crowd.

Singapore Istana 1st May 2008

I wondered why an artillary gun was doing on the middle of the greens.

Singapore Istana 1st May 2008

That’s the so-called legendary nine-hole golf course.

Singapore Istana 1st May 2008

I caught sight of a stunning combination of the deep blue sky, tree leafs and a lamp post and took the opportunity to snap a shot.

While many folks are just like me crazy snapping up exotic photographs, others are enjoying great time with mouth watering pastry and puffs, such as one I’ve found on AromaCookie. These all-time favorite finger food include some stunning home-made chocolate-covered strawberries and bananas. Oh, and the article was written almost 3 years ago on National Day 9th August 2006.

If you enjoy the Istana photos, do check out the Istana Park located opposite the Istana. A quick check on the Web reveals some stunning photos of Ashley, a toodle girl of a fellow Singaporean. Noticed the blur area behind the subject? I suspect that could have been the works of special DSLR lens of which I can’t fake. 🙂

On this special day, some individuals will be commemorated for their long term contributions to the economy of Singapore. Others will be celebrated for their fantastic feat to upgrade their skills to maintain survivability.

Labor Day may be a day to rethink about the concept of “JOB”.

I know… some people love this 3 letter word. Others hate it like a pain in the *** (you fill it).

Be very careful over here. There is motivation for everything, including JOB. As a matter of fact, it’s about survivability. No one provides a service in exchange for nothing. We’re talking about compensation for the value we provide to others. It’s about a fair contract of payment to the labor or service one provide or render.

Interestingly, Singapore is one country that looks ahead with its economy, but not in the general opinion of her citizens.

I did a little snooping and found some very interesting articles by fellow bloggers. One of them is “Record number of Jobs… but for Singaporeans?“:

Firstly we look at 2007’s job creation figures. An astonishing 236,600 jobs was created. But, 144,500 of them when to PR/Foreigners. That is like nearly 62%? Only 92100 jobs were created for Singaporeans. That is 38.9%. Very strange considering the fact that this is SINGAPORE we are talking about?

The downturn in the US economy and the weakening US dollar is one major cause of worry in our economy. The May 2nd NFP (Non-Farm Payroll) report released yesterday did boost the confidence of traders worldwide, but will it last? According to the report, there were about 20k job cuts in the US last month, a big gap from what economist have estimated, from about 74k+.

I’ll let you judge for yourself if this is optimistic news, or is this a fear in disguise?

So, exactly what are we looking at now?

It’s almost exactly as what people have completely missed – we all look at the trees, but have all forgotten about the forest.

I believe everyone should be in charge of their own career and finances, no matter what their present situations are now, because that’s what you were, not who you are.

Nobody enjoy struggling their lives for the dreams of others. And that’s especially true for anyone struggling as employed or self-employed.

As Steve Jobs said it best, your lifetime will filled up mainly by the work you choose. Seek only the work you love, those you’re passionate about, or be prepared to be left out and live for the dreams of others?

Just how many people are really following their hearts?

I don’t even dare claim that I’m close to being completely passionate about the work I do. At the very least, I’m constantly finding ways to make that happen, and that has nothing to do with the JOB I do. It’s about who I strive to be.

The second half of this article is best supplemented by a MUST read article, “Connecting The Dots: 1,694,984 YouTube Hits And Still Madly Counting!” by Steve Jobs. Do make a point to watch the video and take charge of the directions in your life.

Thanks and do drop me your comments and see if I can learn something new from your sharing!

Stay hungry, stay foolish and live a life with passion!

Posted in Life

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2 Responses:

INK on May 4th, 2008 at 12:05 am

Thanks for visiting my website! I found your post on what’s inside the Istana very interesting too as I’ve never gone in myself. I must make it a point to visit one of these days. Just curious, did you see anyone else inside taking pictures with a DSLR? I’m just wondering if that’s allowed considering how paranoid people are today about security.

As for that “special DSLR lens”, I was using an 85mm f/1.4 which is really suitable for portraits as the large aperture (f/1.4) and moderate focal length (85mm) really help to isolate the subject from the background, thus making the photo “pop”. Let me know if you’re curious to know more and I’ll be glad to elaborate. 🙂

Oh, and yes, I’d love to hear about your experiences with other web hosts if you do decide to switch. I’ll probably be making some updates on how the Brinkster Linux hosting is getting along too though no news is good news! On the CAPTCHA, it’s been surprisingly effective for me as I don’t get any spam at all with this plug-in enabled. I guess if my blog were really popular, I’d have to beef up security. 😛

Wai Loong on May 4th, 2008 at 12:43 am

Hello INK!

Really appreciate you for dropping by! I’m surprise that you respond fairly quickly too! 🙂

Indeed, security at the Istana open house is amazingly tight and I see no less than 20 uniform policeman and at least 10 plain clothed police officers scanning the public and watching out for who might look like terrorist to them.

There’s no problem if you plan to carry your DSLR into the premises. All you need to do is to declare it when you are being screen past the security X-rays.

Honestly, I’m a dummy to professional photography. Quite dramatic, but it’s quite true. I currently own a compact camera, Lumix DMC-TZ3 from Panasonic. I believe it can’t do the popping effects like you did using special lens. Of course, if you can make things pop out using ordinary compact cameras, I’ll be the first one to pick up that tip! 🙂

I’m currently evaluating web hosting services from (also with domain registeration) and I plan to try out other services that offers PHP acceleration on a cheap LAMP configuration. Apologies, I’m a technical person and if you want clarifications, I’m glad to elaborate!

As for CAPTCHA, you can supplement it with Askimet and WP-SpamFree. I dropped CAPTCHA because I didn’t like the idea of asking people to type in a hard to read turning number.

I’m certain that you’re enjoying blogging with WordPress like me! I look forward to put up an article or two to share some of the plugins or tricks I use, and hopefully that will make blogging a much more fun and enjoyable thing for all! 🙂

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About Insights, Inspirations, Tranquility, Peace and Harmony

Ng Wai Loong

Wai Loong is an electronics engineer by profession. He currently resides in Singapore, a thriving hub at the heart of South-East Asia. When he is not so stress out on the computers or laboratory, he enjoys value reading, jogging at his own pace and blogging in his spare time. Other times, he likes to catch up with some close friends over a cup of latte or teh tarik. As a gift from this friend, you are invited to interact freely with him on his personal blog.

PS: May the person reading this blog transforms his/her businesses, finances, relationships and life for ALL to WIN!