Answers to Q 10 Regarding FDWs' days off: The law before 1-01-13 stated employers weren't obliged to give their helper a day off The law since 1-01-13 states employers must give one day off a week minimum to their helper.
I won't give you the scoreboard just yet, but I will simply say that the girls are clawing back on the points! Mr O, your days are numbered I'm sure!
Question 11 The New Lunar Year brought in the year of the snake. In which animal year according to the Chinese calendar were we born: Delphine, Julia, Andrew, Katrina? 2 points for the correct answers - for all 4 of us
Bonus question - 2 points When Chinese people refer to themselves as being a BbC - what does it stand for? (I'm looking for just 3 words as per the BbC achronym - note: the capitals are there for a reason!).
So snakes have appeared everywhere (Pics 1). Some even before Xmas decorations had been taken down.
It's strange to be writing about the Chinese New Year a month on, but the decorations were so spectacular it deserves a mention (Pics 2).
Especially since it really lifted the mood in the normally very dreary month of January. Some malls just changed a few bits from their Christmas decorations, bringing out more reds and gold. Some malls went well over the top and changed the lot. Some malls did almost nothing for xmas but when overboard with CNY. Red and Gold are the main colours used for decorations. Red symbolises happiness whilst gold is the symbol of power.
Chinese New Year celebrations go on for 2 weeks with different foods to be eaten each days and different activities to perform each day also. This year, we only really came accross three of these symbolic actions/foods. For example, it's traditional to offer oranges/tangerines to friends/relatives when visiting them during or just before CNY. This is because the Chinese words for Tangerine and Orange sound like "luck" and "wealth" respectively. Hence all the tangerine bushes used for decorations around town. I was also told that tangerine bushes are shipped expecially from China for the Lunar Year period as the climate in Singapore is too hot to grow them here!
The other symbolic food we were made aware of is the Yu Sheng (Pics
3) or Lo Hei (means to toss). Traditionally served on the 7th day of CNY, it is loaded with symbolic meanings and made of raw fish and crunchy vegetables. In recent years, the ingredients havebecome increasingly exotic and elaborate, such as jellyfish, preserved papaya, deep-fried yam sticks, pickled shallots, and more. The most important (and fun) part of eating yu sheng is the mixing together of the ingredients. To ensure good luck for the coming year, everyone calls out "Lo hei!"-which means "to mix it up" but also sounds like "to prosper more and more"-while they use their chopsticks to toss the ingredients as high in the air as they can.
Then we saw a few Dragon Dances (Pics 4). Dragons are believed to bring good luck so businesses order the dancers to perform at their premises from shops, hotels, restaurants, schools. You can hear the trucks from far away as they beat the drums at the back. The first one we saw was outside the Hyatt Hotel on Scotts Rd. People took no notice of the bright yellow Ferrari choosing to look at the Dragons instead.
We decided - along with hundreds of other people -
to go to Gardens by the Bay during CNY public holidays, and more specificaly, the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest. The Gardens are located South of the City, on the other side of MBS (Marina Bay Sands). They are the results of a design competition launched in 2006 which was won by two UK firms and consist of: Heritage Gardens; the Flower Dome; the Cloud Forest; Supertree Grove; Bay East Garden; World of Plants; Dragonfly & Kingfisher Lakes.
The Flower Dome (Pics 5) replicates the cool-dry climate of the Mediterranean region. In the dome, we found a display of flowers and tangarine bushes in the shape of snakes. There were baobabs, succulents, bonsais and cactus. Such a strange mix!
In fact, this is what the Gardens' website says, word-for-word: "The Flower Dome replicates the cool-dry climate of Mediterranean regions like South Africa, California and parts of Spain and Italy." Who can spot the error? Anyone? :-) Maybe their marketing manager could be sent on a Geography course!
The Dome was fabulous but not half as good at the Cloud Forest (Pic 6)! A-MA-ZING! One has to pay to get it, but I tell you what,
I'm going to go back again and again and again. In contrast, it is cool & moist in this conservatory. On entering, you discover a mysterious world veiled in mist, a 35 metre tall mountain covered in lush vegetation shrouding the world's tallest indoor waterfall showcasing plant life from tropical highlands.
No sooner had the CNY decorations come down that Easter Bunnies were appearing in the shops...
But in my next blog, I won't be talking about Easter but about other discoveries we made whilst maman and Gaspard were visiting (Pic 7). They left on Monday after a two week trip and I miss them so much already. Andrew travels to Japan on Sunday and then to Corea the following week. Here we go again! :-)
Singapore was founded as a British trading colony in 1819. It joined the Malaysian Federation in 1963 but separated two years later and became independent. It subsequently became one of the world's most prosperous countries with strong international ...more info