Hi! It's me again! Lucy Blue! It's about time that I told you about my new favorite place, Katong Park. This is where I go to pee and poop and walk and play with my ball and hook up with new buddies. It's probably about a 20- to 30-acre park right next door to where we live, with big shady trees, a small playground, a reflexology walk and a dog run, where I can go off-leash and see buddies (although I'm often off-leash in the main part of the Park, playing ball). Everyone else does it, and no one seems to mind.
Dog run area
The Park has been around since the 1930s, and reached its "heyday" after WWII. During the war, it was used as a place to repair airplane engines for the Japanese. Before it became a park, a fort was located there (1879 - 1901), Fort Tanjong Katong - there is a small fenced-off area where you can see an excavated portion of the fort's foundation. My ball went in there once.... thought we were going to get in trouble! There's a picture of the Park's big beach house - ha! No beachfront here anymore, due to landfill! Well, better go now - time to go to the Park! Yippee!!!
I went to Tekka Market in Little India yesterday, one of Singapore's larger "wet" markets. This is a large multi-level space where one can buy vegetables, fruits, fish, meat, beans, herbs, spices, home-made noodles and pretty much every other food item in existence. There are also hawker stand sections, where one can sit down and have a wonderful plate of goodies originating from Singapore, just about anywhere else in Aisa or the Middle East. They are called "wet" markets, because the floors can get wet in primarily in the meat and fish areas - I don't go to those sections..... Yesterday, I had a long list of veggies to buy, so hopped on a bus and went there, instead of going to my usual supermarket. I love strolling past the spice stalls and catching a whiff - the big colorful tubs of turmeric, cayenne, cumin, etc. smell heavenly. There are some stalls with big bags of dried stuff - haven't asked what they are yet..... (see pic).
I went to an event last evening where I listened to an amazing woman. Considered the Mother Teresa of Singapore, Teresa Hsu arrived here in 1961 to care for her ailing mother and founded the Home for the Aged Sick in Singapore. She is now 114 years old, is sharp, funny, humble and driven, still, to care for the poorest of the poor. It was a privilege to be in the room with her and listen to her gems of wisdom.
Hsu said whenever she was faced with a problem, she would try to solve it but if she could not, then she just accepted it.
To another question, she said she wasn’t born naturally caring but shared an incident that deeply affected and changed her. Her late mother once dug up potatoes to feed the family but gave away the entire pot to a starving beggar who arrived at their doorstep with a child. “That was the day I learnt that to give what you have in your hand to others is a great blessing,” she said.
When asked how important religion was to her, Hsu said, “Nobody ever told me what a religion was”. She cited an incident when a Buddhist man and a Christian lady were arguing and singing praises about their respective religions. She told them, “Brother and sister, there’s just one door”. When asked the secret to her longevity and good health, Hsu responded, “Ha, ha, ha! Make sure your heart is always happy”.
Here is a YouTube link to a blurb about her on CNN: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msVGPOTG37Q.
It's my birthday today! Mom and I went to Singapore's Botanical Gardens with my new buddy, Ralph and his human, Louise. Lots of good smells and squirrels and birds to harass! We got caught in a rain storm and hung out in a gazebo for a while. The Gardens are beautiful - it takes over a half hour to stroll from one end to the other, and includes at least two good-sized lakes. A van with petmobile.com dropped us off and picked us up!
A new buddy, Tumble, had a birthday today - he's 2! (Big goofy yellow lab.) So his human baked a bunch of doggy goodies, and invited a bunch of other buddies and had a party at the Katong Park dog run. Yippee! It was fun! Except I guess I played with my ball instead of sniffing butts. Mom says she's gonna leave my ball home sometimes, so I can be more "social", whatever that means!.....
We needed some noodle bowls, so I went to Chinatown where Sia Huat is located, a restaurant supplier for anything needed by restaurants - dishes, cookware, gadgets, and many unidentifiable widgets that we never see in Western cooking. It was fascinating. Amazingly, there was a limited supply of noodle bowls, except in melamine, which I guess makes sense, as one usually sees dishes made of that material in the local restaurants. But, they had just about everything else! A whole wall of woks - wok wall.... ha! And another wall of just cleavers, those big rectangular-shaped knives. I had wanted a bamboo steamer, so picked one up, as well as a few other things. Then, next door, found a couple noodle bowls for everyday in a porcelain shop.
On the way back to the subway station, I was lured into a Chinese medicine shop by Ruth, a very enthusiastic seller of Chinese herbs and tonics. These shops are all over Singapore, displaying bizarre-looking dried plant and animal items, beans, and seeds, spilling out onto the sidewalks. I followed Ruth into the shop where an elderly Chinese lady sat, who, according to Ruth, was a long-time established Chinese medicine doctor. She felt my pulse for a few minutes and told me a few things about my health, or lack there-of, and prescribed a bottle of pills..... for S$168 (US137). I choked on the price, so ended up with a good-sized bag of dried shiitake mushrooms for about the amount I pay at Costco. It's made me think, however, as the symptoms she saw in me, tho easy to predict at my age, were most likely spot on - may go back for a half bottle and see... In the meantime, the mushrooms are apparently good for cancer-prevention and cholesterol reduction (this was corroborated online), and they were delicious - had some in my miso soup last night.....