Friday, 31 July 2015

My Niece's Grand Wedding Day

Hotel Fort Canning
Used to be the formerly British Military Headquarters of Lt Gen. Percival, Malaysian Armed Forces(1963-65) and this building was built in 1926 as Administration Building of the British Far East Command HQ. You may refer to my previous blog here.
Panoramic view of the Hotel Fort Canning
Did you know that the Hotel Fort Canning is the winner of the 2014 World Luxury Historical Hotel Award?
Hotel Fort Canning in 2012
It was a hot Thursday afternoon on the 30 Jul 2015, my hubby and I were invited to the wedding reception so as my hubby's two elder sisters. It was his oldest brother's eldest daughter grand wedding indeed it was a grand wedding including tea garden reception to be held for the first time. Also, it was the first time for the young couple's grand wedding dinner and tea reception held at Hotel Fort Canning (HFC).
Remind me of my photoshoots of my wedding and ROM at the Hotel Fort Canning and Fort Canning  Gothic Archway over 2 decades ago.
Hotel Fort Canning in 2015
I arrived around 1plus, to see my sisters-in-laws and their husbands waiting for us at hotel lobby. My oldest bro-in-law was no where in sight and learned that he went home to rest as he was tired after woke up early in the morning.
Hotel Room at level 2 (corner)
So we decided to look up my niece and her husband at hotel room. We took a lift to level 2 and walked straight to the corner at the corridor leading to the room that closes to the swimming pool. We found the room at corner end after searching the room number as the light along the corridor of the rooms is dim n serene. The spacious feel extends to the walkway too. Some hotels have such narrow walkways.
 Bath room and toilet
Elements of nature are built into the fabrics and furnishings. The Premier rooms have a bigger work area behind the bed, and a separate bathroom.
Deluxe Room with Balcony
As we entered into the Hotel room with full amenities, a large LED TV on the wall (built-in) WIFI and internet and desk at the Balcony, a bathtub and so on. It is a plush oasis in the middle of the city cocooned by verdant greenery and the stillness of nature. They took three years to convert this colonial building into an 86-room heritage boutique hotel.
Scenery View from the hotel room
It is indeed a spacious room with unique bathroom designs set against a picture-window offering panoramic views of the city skyline.
After we had served tea by Bride and Groom, we chatted for an hour or two. We intended to go out to have our tea break just opposite the Park Mall before the tea-reception started at 6pm at the garden and the dinner at 7pm. But before that, we walked around the tea-reception garden and Grand Marquee where we were supposed to dine here.

Garden Terrace (Then)
Rattan furnitures@Garden Terrace (Now)
The Garden Terrace is where hotel guests and visitors will have relax in an open space at nights and also perfect outdoor activities in front of Hotel Fort Canning facade. The changing of furnishing tables and chairs at the same location but different time.
Tea Reception
The Tea-reception is where my niece's grand wedding were held. Further up the reception is the Water feature with a pond sit near the Tea House close by.
Water Fountain and The Glass House
The Water feature & The Glass House is located at the corner end, within the pond, is the a restaurant and a centre called "The Legends" is a Chinois Spa. The Legends Fort Canning Park took over the premises in November 2002, and in October 2010, it re-opened as Hotel Fort Canning.
Before Grand Marquee is built
I recall that in 2012, there was no built in white huge "tent" in front of Hotel Fort Canning fa├žade called "Grand Marquee" is a special event venue, a Singapore's largest fully-air conditioned hotel marquee.
Water feature
Custom water features work well next to walkways in front of Hotel Fort Canning. The dramatic affect of a flowing waterfall without the pond typically found at the base. This unique new design is perfect for areas limited on space or where an open pool of water is not desired.
Walkway to Grand Marquee
Hotel Fort Canning’s new Grand Marquee is the largest* air-conditioned marquee at a hotel. The Grand Marquee sits on the sprawling Palm Terrace, with the colonial edifice of the Hotel forming an opulent backdrop. Set to Australian specifications and engineering endorsement, the outdoor structure is over 165 feet long and 20 feet high at the ridge. The Grand Marquee is able to host 500 to 1,000 guests.
Grand Marquee in 2015
Dotted with elegant chandeliers, Grand Marquee offers sophistication to annual dinners and large-scale conferences.
Summer Love@Grand Marquee
This is where we were invited to my niece's grand wedding at 7pm. It looks grand conference and can hold a meeting and annual gatherings as well as weddings. Of course, it costs a bomb, as each table would fetch about S$1000-1308 on weekday (Mondays to Thursdays). My niece chose on the weekday instead which falls on Thursday during SG50 promotion for the price of S$1008 per table. I presume.
 Outside Grand Marquee
Weddings are very popular here (it is just a stone's throw away from the Registry of Marriages).
They set up the tables and chairs and decorated the Tea-garden reception for my niece's grand wedding early since morning till late afternoon before the starts of the Tea-reception at 5pm.
Their Solemnization ceremony was held at the newly restored Grand Marquee so that friends, families, colleagues, relatives and close friends will attend their solemnisation in their grand elegant way at their actual wedding day. Both the bride and the groom, two credible witnesses that are Bride & the Groom's parents and the licensed solemnizer must be present at the marriage solemnization. In the centre, a table and chairs were set up in the hall of Grand Marquee.
A Summer Rose Wedding Cake
A summer rose wedding cake was on display in grand elegant and its beauty atop of the roses on each level of the display decoration cake.
Table Decorations
It is indeed the perfect setting for a grand romance, really appreciating the row of chandeliers hanging above the aisle. Near the stage were two ten-person tables for either side for the Bride's and Groom's families and the most distinguished guests. A close up at the table decorations and with the tiffany chairs.
 Multi-coloured fantasy
The Grand Marquee is adorned with gleaming chandeliers, and a computerized multi-coloured fantasy lighting system, making it a beautiful garden venue for the dream wedding. We were in awe upon seeing the multi-coloured lighting of the wedding hall with special effects. There are big portable white Air-con machines placed inside every 2 or 3 meters along the row of the huge tented.
Grand Chandelier
We hardly see the dishes while serving and the Chandelier is remarkable awesome with mood lighting setting. it's like a indoor banquet venue in an outdoor garden setting! There are spot-light on each side as if there will be dancing event after dinner. But we were not stay up late after dinner.
Live music entertainment
There was also a live music entertainment while we wait and chatting to the relatives. At 7.30pm, the announcement was aired by a musician cum host, and the Bride and Groom started walking down the aisle together to the front of the stage
Piggy Bank
Foods were delicious and yet a huge plate and bowl would fill our stomach full and thought we are huge appetite people and the dinners. Invited guests will have a piggy bank each that placed on the table. They are a pair of piggy bank (male and female) and it was so cute.
Start of Solemnisation
 Exchange of Wedding Rings
Groom putting a wedding ring on bride's finger and then..
 Sealed with a Kiss
Groom sealed with a romantic kiss while the photographers filmed and invited guests cheered loudly.
Wedding Vows and Certificate
It was indeed a grand solemnization for the Bride & Groom and their parents for the happy occasion once in a lifetime. Glad to see both families of the Bride & Groom were happy with each other. My niece grows up into a beautiful and gentle lady. I remember when she was a kid and she was naughty and playful, hate to study and strict upbringing by her father (my oldest brother-in-law) who was a Chinese educated in Chinese schools in 1950s.
Groom's father sing-along
The Groom's father (second from left) came up to the stage and liked to sing along with the English old songs. I do love to sing too when I was a teenager and frequent to KTVs (Kaaroke) and Kbox in the neighbourhood areas and community centres in those days.
Huge plate of Roasted Crispy Chicken
What a fantastic caterer! The food was simply incredible. Its all "family style" so they'll put a large plate in the middle of the table and you take as much as you want. It's 8-course Chinese meal dinner and free flow of drinks and draught beers from 7pm to 11pm.
There was also a video show, re-enacted shooting at the Chinese Garden by the bride and Groom wore traditional ancient costumes, also their special moments on their wedding day.

screenshot from my videocamera
In between the meal, a funny video was on the screen and its story about a young lady (my niece) waiting for a a man to save her. Her man has to fight with the imperial guard in order to save her. It was very touching and yet amusing and funny story. And the storyline was spoken by the Groom's father in this movie clip. Well, I did record the video from the white screen.
A Wedding Slideshow and movie
There was two large white screen and photos with showing on their younger days, how they met and their romance outings stimulated to blaze from the projector onto the background. It was indeed an enjoyable and a great live music entertainment.
Last but not least, we thank the Bride and Groom's parents for inviting us to their children's grand wedding.

Friday, 24 July 2015

My Time in Orchard Road (Part Three)

Orchard Plantations In Early Years

Source: NAS
Orchard Road is like flowing river over a century from 1800s till present where people live and work. Most of the buildings has been changing overtime from old to new. Most Singaporeans would love to see the old orchard road as if it brings back from the past. Old generations would love to see the old Orchard road but everything changed even though they couldn't even recognise the new buildings from old. Gone were the days when people come and go, the horse-drawn carriages were seen on the street lined with dirt path that was once a nutmegs plantations in the past. The area of Orchard road prone to flooding in 1840s till 1960s during raining seasons  when Orchard road received proper systems drainage.
The stretch of Orchard Road was named after the numerous farms such as nutmeg plantation, pepper plantation, spice gardens and fruit gardens (orchards) that was used to cover the area since 1830s. Early in the 19th century it was home to Pepper and Gambier plantations, which years later gave way to Nutmeg and Fruit Orchards that had diminished mostly due to disease.
It’s rumored that a “Mr. Orchard” used to own some of the land at the corner of present-day Scotts Road and Orchard Road, But no evidence was found or brought up in Mr Orchard's case.

Orchard Road Railway in 1910s
Source: Postcard
There used to be a Orchard Road Railway near Emerald Hill west side of the Singapore Cold Storage in early 1910s were introduced. The train were cross the bridge next to the row of shophouses (Emerald Hill on the right).
Orchard Road was once the locations of the cemeteries - A Chinese Cemetery (mandarin Hotel & Ngee Ann City), A Sumatran Cemetery (behind of today Concorde Hotel) and Jewish Cemetery (now the site of Dhoby Ghaut Mrt). One of my colleagues (a Jewish accent) whose ancestors buried in Jewish cemetery, had been moved to Choa Chu Kang cemetery. There was a cemetery at Orchard theatre in the past if I could remember. I worked at Plaza Singapura in early 1980s and saw cemetery - Jewish cemetery (demolished in 1984) is the present site of Dhoby Ghaut mrt. 
Across the Dhoby Ghaut Mrt, there was Supreme House (now known as Park Mall), a 14-storey office-cum-shopping complex located along Penang road. By 1991, Supreme House renamed as Park Mall and their main tenant was Metro Department store that occupied first three floors which was opened in 1971.
Metro@Centrepoint (pic taken in Dec 2014)
Metro has five department stores within Orchard Road and Scotts road of which I worked both Metro Grand and Metro Far East indicated in my previous blog. The newly Metro at  The Centrepoint which opened in Nov 2014. I have both Metro, OG and Isetan cards that issued to me since 1980s after I left the department stores.
Park Mall (pic in 2015)
One of the oldest buildings along Orchard Road - Park mall(former Supreme House). I used to frequent the shops, dine at restaurants and made a booking at offices (Genting and Cruise o) since 1980s. Hong Kong Celebrity Ms Nora Miao Ker Hsui was invited to open the Metro Supreme department store at Supreme House in 1971.
YWCA & Park Mall (2012)
YWCA hostels and Park Mall (background) taken in 2012 from Fort Canning where I stood at the bridge.
At last but not least, I have to pen down here and will continue in my next blog soon.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Past and Present of Singapore Botanic Gardens

Even since I spent my childhood days as a kid at the Botanic Gardens and I am thinking of how the Singapore Botanic Gardens would declare the Singapore's first UNESCO World Heritage that I had mentioned earlier in my blog: Singapore Botanic Garden of the Past.
And It was indeed come true - Singapore's first UNESCO World Heritage! It was reported in the news and international news spread across the world.
Singapore Botanic Gardens UNESCO World Heritage
More than 150 years of history of Singapore Botanic Gardens, the 74-hectare Gardens holds a unique and significant place in the history of Singapore and the region. Through the botanical and horticultural work carried out today, it will continue to play an important role as a leading tropical botanical institute, and an endearing place to all Singaporeans, young and old alike.
Signage Stand
The Gardens has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site at the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) on 4 July 2015. The Gardens is Singapore's first nomination as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Gardens provided the expertise, skills and resources needed to implement the vision and continues to contribute through its plant research, education and conservation work towards Singapore's modern City in a Garden vision.
The Bandstand
Decades ago in 1930s, a music that was played at the Bandstand, originally known as 'Gazebo' a pavilion structure, sometimes octagonal or turret-shaped, often built in a park, garden or spacious public area. I was there with my family and my mum's old friend sat on the grass which was near to the Bandstand. Surrounding the pavilion is very quiet and lonesome place where people would walk pass by. I hardly see people walk up to the Bandstand till now, only to see technical workers to repair to the ceiling at the Bandstand.
Burkill Hall@SBG (Then)
Burkill Hall (built in 1868) was named in honour of two former Directors of the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Isaac Henry Burkill (1912-1925) and his son Humphrey Burkill ((1957-1969), who served the Botanic Garden. It was home to the Burkills as well as the Gardens' Superintendents and Directors until 1969. It was designed in the 'Plantation style', this black and white bungalow was gazetted as a conservation building by URA in 2008.
Burkill Hall@SBG (Now)
The key feature is its steeply sloping pyramidal roof which extends far beyond the external walls to protect the core of the bungalow from the sun and torrential rain. In 1969, Burkill Hall was once the School of Ornamental Horticulture and it was restored in the 1990s during the developments of the National Orchid Garden. Today, it is a popular for the weddings and special events. The ground level serves as an exhibition area, showcasing information on the different hybrids named after VIPs who have visited the garden.
VIP Orchid Garden
At the back of Burkill Hall is the VIP Orchid Garden with hybrids of some of the VIP orchids on display. There are also sculptures on display too.
Ascocenda Yingluck Shinawatra
One of the VIP orchids - Ascocenda Yingluck Shinawatra is named after Her Excellency Yingluck Shinawatra, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand on the occasion of her visit to the National Orchid Garden on 8 Dec 2011.
Holttum Hall in 1920 
Holttum Hall was once served as the office and laboratory of Eric Holttum, who was assistant Director of Singapore Botanic Gardens from 1922 to 1925 and then became Director from 1925 to 1949, was an eminent botanist expert on ferns, orchids, gingers. Later he became the first Professor of Botany at the University of Malaya (which was located at the present site of NUS Bukit Timah Campus) from 1949 to 1954.
Holttum Hall as Heritage Museum
Holttum Hall is the only building in the Gardens to be built in European style even though its roof vents and louvered vents over the windows were incorporated to cope with tropical climate. Gazetted as a Conservation Building by URA in 2008.
POW Brick Steps
During the Japanese Occupation, POW was forced to make brick steps (staircase) in 1942 - 1945.
Imprinted of arrows from POWs
As a sign of defiance, POWs imprinted of arrows (as seen on the left above my name) on most of the bricks to indicate that they were "detained by the authorities".
POW bricksteps
In August 1995, at the 50th anniversary of the cessation of hostilities, eight former Australian prisoner-of-war (POW) visited the Singapore Botanic Gardens in order to observe their wartime workmanship and gleefully recounted their memory of that time.
Plant House in 1882
Plant House was constructed in 1882 to display ferns, ornamental plants and aroids. It was later extended to display orchids and also served as a venue for public flowers shows, flower festivals and exhibitions, plants sales were held here to generate revenue. 
Structure at Plant House
It gained a roof in 1885 which was later replaced with beams and restructured to showcase many ornamental, exotic and rare climbers. An example of the rare climbers still thriving here is New Guinea Red Jade Vine that introduced in 1930s, blooms irregularly and feature spectacular tresses of orange-red claw shaped flowers.
Ferns@Plant House
It is indeed creepy of climbers of plants and large flowering climbers that are such a spectacular element in tropical garden.
Frangipani Grove
Frangipani trees and garden swings may seem like odd bed-fellows at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. 12 garden swings lure passer-by to pause for a moment and sway along with the breeze under the frangipani trees. Those were the days when I was a kid, I sat on this swing at my late grandma's kampong since 1970s.

My childhood friends and me (1980)
In 1980, my childhood friends and I were sat wooden bench at Swan Lake at Singapore Botanic Garden. Those were the days, where we were having a good time together and already keep in touch wherever we went.
Rainforest Tree park at SBG (1980)
It was then sunny at that time I remember, we took shelter at the nearest rainforest tree where there was a bench to sit on. It was indeed cool shade under the tree to have a photo shot by one of my childhood friend using my old camera - Pentax. Oh yes, at that time I was working at Pentax company located at No 98, Pasir Panjang - Rank O'Connor's at O'Connor House. It specialised in CCTV, P.A. Sound, CATV, Energy Management, Sign & Score-Board and to name a few.