Friday, July 23, 2010

My new toy...

Today, I did the silliest thing in my life... wake up so early to queue for this toy.

But I think it's worth...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

An abandoned railway track... A photographer's paradise

This is the railway line at Sunset Way. The track is no longer in operation, however, it has become a ‘must go’ place for photographers. Although the track is quite close to the road, trekking up can be a bit tricky, worse if you go after a rain as the slopes and grass can be very wet, muddy and slippery. However, once you are up on the track, the level of excitement raise and you can never stop snapping.


This disused railway line lies across the Sungei Ulu Pandan and was actually part of what was called the Bukit Timah Siding (actually, it was an extension of the main Malayan Railway Line which run from Tanjong Pagar to Peninsula Malaysia. It was connected to the main railway line near the Bukit Timah Station. After crossing Sungei Ulu Pandan, it continued all the way to Jurong.


Actually, what you can find on this disused railway track are rusty metal planks and railings, wooden blocks, some almost rotted. It simply showed its wear and tear over the ages, nevertheless, to most photographers, this track is simply heaven! You just cannot stop snapping

This rather small bridge has gaps big enough to cause human tragedies, so be very careful.

Top & bottom: graffiti on the bridge. Would you can call it vandalism or art?

^the wood rotting away...

Some residents use the track as a 'short-cut'.

^The Bridge on the Sungei Ulu Pandan and the Ulu Pandan Park Connector

Ulu Pandan flows below the bridge.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Alkaff Mansion - the past, the present and the future...

In 1918, a wealthy trader and philanthropist from Yemen named Syed Abdul Rahman Alkaff built the Alkaff Mansion on Bukit Jagoh (the old name for Telok Blangah Green). Encompassing an area of 780 square metres and overlooking a beautiful park of 19 hectares with the sea down below, the Alkaff Mansion commanded a panoramic view.


The Mansion was built primarily as a retreat for the Alkaff family and also to entertain their numerous clients and guests of different races. He chose the site for its cool air and spectacular views. Extensive gardens surrounded the mansion and were used for lavish parties. The Alkaff family sold the Mansion after World War II for unknown reason. Thereafter, the abandoned Alkaff Mansion went into a state of disrepair.


In 1986, the Mansion was restored into a restaurant by Hotel Properties Ltd. In its heyday, Alkaff Mansion was the venue for grand weddings and even a Ricky Martin concert in 1999. An Indonesian buffet used to be served on the first level, ala carte on the second level and a bar on the verandah. However, the eatery's fortunes are said to have dwindled since 2001 when the economy tanked. Just months after the 2003 Sars outbreak, restaurant operations at Alkaff Mansion quietly ceased operations. The Mansion was left vacant till now.


Today, 6 years later, the former Alkaff Mansion may spring to life again. Singapore Land Authority (SLA) has launched a tender to lease out the property, which has conservation status, for F&B/restaurant, art gellery, wellness/SPA facilities and musuem. So, let's watch what will become of Alkaff Mansion.


The gardens (not to be confused with Alkaff Gardens) are now part of Telok Blangah Hill Park, popular with local residents, including wedding couples having their photos taken. The Terrace Garden is the main feature,, providing a 360-degree view of Singapore.


^Signages of Alkaff Mansion undergoing restoration.