Siewch

Siewch

Siewch





About Me:
I am a native of Singapore and a professional expat. Since leaving Singapore in 1994, my life journey has taken me first to Bangkok, then to Manchester UK, and then to the United States - starting with Los Angeles, then Honolulu, then Silver Spring, MD, and then back to Honolulu. I took some time off from work between July 2017 and March 2018 to travel and reflect (check out my Midlife Crisis Flashpacking series). I'm now back in the corporate world with a renewed attitude towards life and work. I plan to take another extended trip in the not too distant future.

I started this blog in mid-2012. Some trips are solo, the rest are with my spouse Jeff. I have also written a few blogs about some of my pre-2012 travels. My blog entries tend to be photo-heavy but I do my best to label them and put those photos that are not embedded in the essay in chronological and/or thematic order so that you get a good sense of what I saw and experienced.

Instagram: Siewch808.

Additional Pictures With Maps: https://findpenguins.com/69wt4noajyp9d

My Flight Log: https://openflights.org/user/Siewch






Asia » Singapore September 26th 2023

Established by the British colonial government in the 1920s, the 200 hectare Bukit Brown Cemetery nestled in the center of Singapore is the final resting place for many of Singapore’s prominent ethnic Chinese pioneers. Rather interestingly, the class conscious British were horrified that many poor Chinese were not buried after they died, so they earmarked the lower reaches of the cemetery as a "paupers' section", while the areas higher up the hill became the domain of the bourgeois, with many of its wealthy denizens entombed in elaborate graves. From the 1970s onwards, the cemetery started falling into disuse as the descendants of the departed started dying out themselves. Nature took over, and the profile of visitors slowly transitioned from filial descendants of the deceased to birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. In the early 2010s, Bukit Brown returned ... read more
My Great Grandmother's Grave in the early 2010s
Hello Great Grandma!
My Great Grandmother

Asia » Singapore May 31st 2023

Some of you may be aware that I went to Singapore barely a month ago to help my parents settle in with their new live in caregiver. In mid-May, we were caught by surprise when my father passed away sooner than expected, but we are also relieved because he was spared the worst of his illness. When I received the news, I took the first available flight to Singapore. My first few days were spent with funeral activities. After the funeral, I stayed with my mother and spent time with my family, but I also indulged in some side activities. This blog records some of the more interesting things I did. Please also be aware that FindPenguins will be my primary photo storage now as the app is great for relating photos with timelines and locations. ... read more
Desperately Seeking Great Grandma
Desperately Seeking Great Grandma
Spirit Mediums in the Red Light District

Asia » Japan » Tokyo April 23rd 2023

A Note on Photographs From this blog onwards, I will publish the bulk of my photos on Find Penguins instead of on this blog. Don't be alarmed; I'm not breaking up with Travelblog just yet. I continue to enjoy Travelblog because of the community we have built, and it is easy to tell a coherent story on this platform. However, it can be challenging to relate photos and videos to timelines and locations; when reading your blogs, I constantly have to think about how various photos relate to when and where it happened during your travels. Find Penguins does a superb job of reducing this guesswork, but its Twitter-like format doesn't facilitate telling a contiguous story. The main purpose for my trip to Singapore was to help my parents settle in with their new live-in caregiver. ... read more
Tokyo Pride
Tokyo Pride
Tokyo Pride

Europe » Finland » Uusimaa » Helsinki October 2nd 2022

When I look for flights for my visits to Singapore, in addition to searching for flights departing Honolulu, I often search for flights from Los Angeles because there are more connecting options between LAX and SIN, and the fares, even with a HNL-LAX return added, can be cheaper. This time, on a whim, I selected Business Class in my search parameters, and an intriguing and inexpensive (for Business Class) option popped up - LAX to SIN via Helsinki. I would have long layovers in both directions, but I didn't mind as I would have an opportunity to explore a new city. As an added bonus, I would get to try Finnair's unconventional new Business Class seat between Helsinki and Singapore. Even though it was a relatively cheap fare for Business Class, it was still a sizeable ... read more
Layover 1
Layover 1
Layover 1

Asia » Cambodia » North » Angkor October 1st 2022

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I found myself with extra time on my hands in Singapore because I didn't have to begin working on certain family logistics. I therefore decided to cut short my time there to spend a few days exploring a site I've always wanted to visit. As an added bonus, I figured Angkor would be without the pre-Covid tourist hordes, which made this an even more attractive time to visit. I arrived in a rainy Siem Reap late morning on Wednesday. As soon as I checked in to my accommodation, I headed out the door to explore Siem Reap. My first impression was that there were lots of Prius (Prii?) on the road. Siem Reap felt like your typical Southeast Asian tourist boomtown; you see lots of motorcycles, a mix of ... read more
Siem Reap
My Tuk Tuk
Angkor Wat

Asia » Singapore September 27th 2022

In general, I return to Singapore at least once every year. This time round, I scheduled a longer than usual stay anticipating that I may need to take care of certain family logistics, but it turned out we did not need to put these plans in place yet. But, this left me with a fair bit of time on my hands. Even after I cut short my stay by four days to make a trip up to Angkor Wat, I still needed to find ways to occupy myself. Because I grew up in Singapore, there isn't much that I haven't already seen and done. So, I assigned myself a small project: I would seek out sites from Atlas Obscura, and blog about them. Singapore currently has 57 entries in the Atlas Obscura. Because the listings are ... read more
Ramblings in Abandoned Quarries
Ramblings in Search of World War II Relics
Ramblings in Search of World War II Relics

Europe » Croatia » Istria » Rijeka July 24th 2022

Why Rijeka? Jeff has always wanted to dive at the Kantrida Swimming Complex, which features a spectacular world class springboard and platform diving facility with the Adriatic Sea as a backdrop. So, when the Croatian Masters Diving Championship was scheduled for at a time that did not clash with school, he eagerly signed up for the meet. To get to Rijeka, we took a short flight from Berlin. Rijeka is about 18km west of the airport, and our accommodation (and the pool) was another 6km west from the city center. We were planning on taking the local bus, but we lucked out as Jeff's friend and age group rival was on the same flight and he had rented a car. We scored a ride with him. As soon as we checked in to our rented apartment, ... read more
The Good: Our Victorious Masters Diver
The Good: Our Day Trips to Rijeka
The Good: Trsat Castle

Europe » Germany July 16th 2022

Like many other people my age, I grew up fearing nuclear annihilation, communism, and a host of other perceived existential threats. Of the many theatres in which the Cold War played out, no other city fueled my imagination as much as Berlin did. My imagination was further colored by an eclectic mix of films such as Cabaret, Atomic Blonde, The Bourne Supremacy, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, as well as Marillion’s somewhat melodramatic track Berlin. More recently, I've been fascinated by how Germany seems to be looking forward without denying its past, and how Merkel, with her understated leadership style, seems to have steered Germany into becoming a beacon of liberal democracy as the United States moved in the other direction under Trump. My main goal of this summer trip was to accompany Jeff as he ... read more
Simon James Park
Checkpoint Charlie
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok December 4th 2021

I didn't come to Bangkok with many specific sightseeing goals in mind. Rather, my goal in coming here was more abstract - I wanted to reconnect with the city that shaped and defined much of my life as a young adult. Bewarned that this blog entry is somewhat introspective. A Sort of Homecoming I landed in Bangkok on the evening of December 2nd. From the airport, I took the Airport Rail Link to my hotel, FX Metrolink Makkasan. I stayed in this hotel back in 2013, and I specifically chose it again because it is located next to three critical transport lines: the Airport Rail Link, Petchaburi MRT station on the blue line, and Asoke Pier, a stop on the Klong Saen Saep water taxi route. After checking in, I took the MRT to Terminal 21 ... read more
My Old Neighborhood
My Old Neighborhood
Klong Taxi

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Sukhothai December 1st 2021

It Isn't Business As Usual Pre-Covid, Thailand was one of the easiest non-English speaking countries to navigate. One could simply step into any of the numerous agencies and book transport and day tours. When planning this trip, I was a little concerned about whether the usual backpacker transport routes were running between Chiang Mai and Sukhothai (as it turns out, they weren't), and I was also a little concerned about the risk of being crammed into a minibus. Fortunately, Paul saved the day once again. His wife Renu had gone to her hometown of Kamphaeng Phet to vote, and Paul was planning to drive down, visit her family, and then drive her back. As Sukhothai was a short diversion, he offered to drive me. Our drive took about 4.5 hours with stops en route for coffee ... read more
Wat Si Chum
Wat Mahathat
Wat Mahathat




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