The MRT series – Pioneer (EW28)

Heheh… what a name. Probably because it was such a new place to build a station they could only come up with this name. And most folks can be forgiven if they think there is nothing of note here.

But that is not true. Because barely 200m away from the station one will find one of the markers of the defunct Nanyang University (南洋大学). That was the only Chinese university established in 1955 outside of mainland China and Taiwan. If one is interested in more about this heritage institution, one can visit the Chinese heritage center (link) in present day NTU.

←Boon Lay (EW27)

→Joo Koon (EW29)

Part of the MRT series here.

Travel Blog topics

When you first started out blogging, what grandiose plans did you have? Or was it all spontaneous creativity that you believed you had that prompted you to make the leap into blogosphere? Did you have a plan at all?

A number of weeks back, we touched on the subject of writer’s block (here). Somewhere in that post, it was postulated there were a few reasons for the blockage and some ways to overcome them. We also shared how we seem to have an endless supply of posts which is published every 2 days (more often too if we wanted). And it does not include photos only posts… that’s for our instagram account. Even though we are actually very actively working folks. Very. We emphasize that.

So today we are continuing that conversation with the thought of having pre-prepared topics. Sort of like meals ready to eat. Simply heat. Wow, did you see that slogan coming? Would you consider any of the ideas Sabina wrote about here?

Of course one needs to be more creative than simply copying these topics. Remember we also said previously that the things you love to do the most can be an endless source of inspiration and creativity? Well, the trick is to make it so. Tweak these topics to suit your own interest and come up with your own list. Expand them as you go along. Be observant and write your thoughts down. Some of them can be topics too!

Before long, we are sure you will not only have your own reservoir of topics and ideas, but also some to share with others!

Snorkel paradise in Malaysia

We have to start by saying – to get to paradise, it takes hard work. Because while some lucky folks might live in one, most others yearn to get to one. Yeah, the fabled 1%. Not too far away from the little red dot, one can really come to one such paradise. Not that we ourselves aren’t one of them tropical island paradises… just a lot more expensive.

An hour plus or so as the crow plane flies north, one will come up to a tiny cluster of islands on the eastern coast of peninsula Malaysia.

In the way past, it used to be an arduous journey on bus and then across the water to get there. A number of years ago, it was possible to fly like a bird to it. Then it changed again to the original arduous approach. This flip flop is regrettable in our opinion, for our adventures there were both fun filled and sunfilled (if there is such a word).


Our larger neighbour to the north isn’t just a place for cheaper shopping or food. It is so much more than that. For the country is blessed with not just natural resources but also natural beauty. And it is the latter that we sought out when making this journey. Think this was the last time we actually snorkeled and interacted with the fishes. Perhaps it is time to check the goggles are still in one piece.

Do you enjoy getting into the water?

The MRT series – Boon Lay (EW27)

A very rich man owned a lot of plantations here… and no surprise he had the name this area and station is named. Mr Chew Boon Lay was a businessman and he owned lots of land around here for plantations. What did he cultivate? Rubber. For that was a very lucrative cash crop riding on the wave of consumption sweeping the west with the advent of automobiles.

Today Boon Lay has been transformed. For in addition to serving a hinterland of housing estates, it serves also a greater industrial zone that stretches much further west. In addition, the nation’s second University is also in the vicinity (well a little far to walk) and the bird park is still a few bus stops away.

And the mall next to the station? It has streets that mimic Hong Kong and Osaka!

←Lakeside (EW26)

→Pioneer (EW28)

Part of the MRT series here.

How good’s your listening?

As you might also notice, there are many people on headphones walking around with their smartphones. Today this would be as ubiquitous as it can get. Since it is also said that there are more than 2 billion smartphone users in the world today though folks may well quote statistics that differ.

Not the point of this post.

We were more interested in how using headphones will affect hearing. This intrigued us because we read of this guy here who can recognize birds just from listening to their song. Wow. Now that surely takes great hearing to be able to first tune in to the chirping and then discerning it. Tweet! LOL.

Where we live (ie the little red dot), its never truly quiet. We have plenty of traffic on the roads and in the skies that contribute to the hustle and bustle of daily life. Then there are the neighbours, the chattering of children and crying of babies… All in a day’s life indeed. Some people simply hate that while others love it. Talk about a man’s meat being another’s poison.

We all encounter challenges in listening in our lives from the office to being at home. How do you filter out the noise?

The Halong bay on land?

With a title like that, we suspected it might invite scepticism. Afterall, what does it all mean? You know the karst limestone hills that dot the bay. And if you don’t, go look it up. Some say it is gorgeous, others say it’s scenic. But that’s the bay. Is there an equivalent on land in Vietnam?

If you ask us, perhaps the scenic views at Ninh Binh could be the reason for answering a yes to the question.

For we spent a good 4 days in them. Not all of it in the mountains, but enough to tell you that it is one place to consider. For not only are there resorts offering you creature comforts but also the views. Just don’t expect a vibrant night life though.

Our days there were relaxing yet full of discovery. For in Ninh Binh time slows down as you are paddled down waterways watching goats forage, padi snails being picked and ducks playfully swim by. We hope it does not change too much and become crowded, because it would all be such a waste to lose the tranquility.

Have you ventured out of Hanoi? If you read our handprint story would it inspire you to make a journey to Ninh Binh?