Monday, March 28, 2011

Sentosa Boardwalk - Not Your Ordinary Wooden Bridge

 Sentosa Boardwalk - A new way to get to Sentosa Island. [Pic]

Sentosa Boardwalk was officially opened on the 29th January 2011.

Sentosa is a 5km² (2mi²) resort island south of Singapore. It received 17 million visitors in 2010 and is ready to receive more. Before 2003, we used to be able to cross over to Sentosa by ferry. On the site where the ferry terminal used to be, we now find the brand new, Resort World Sentosa on the northern shore of Sentosa waiting to lure more visitors.

Although the ferry is gone, we now have many more ways to get into the island: Car, bus, cable car, Mass Rapid Transit and Sentosa Express (rail). The Sentosa Boardwalk is the latest addition to the list and it now allows you to travel to Sentosa on foot.

 The 700m boardwalk offers a seamless
connectivity between Vivocity and Sentosa.

The 700m (770yd) Sentosa Boardwalk connects Sentosa to the mainland. There are five sections which promise lush greenery of different kind: Mangrove, Rock Garden, Terrain and Hill, Coastal Floral and Tropical Rainforest. These garden themes depict different landscapes found in Singapore.

The Sentosa Boardwalk is made of environmentally-friendly material and consisting of 60%-70% of recycled hardwoods and 20%-30% of resin. According to the Media Release by Sentosa, "the Sentosa Boardwalk features a specially designed catchment structure beneath the timber board surface to capture up 120m3 of rainfall, and thus reduces the need for freshwater supplies."

 Great sunshine on the boardwalk. [Pic]

In the day, the 15-minute stroll is accompanied by great bay view and warm sunshine. In the evening, the Sentosa Boardwalk greets you with cooler sea breeze and subtle play of lights. If you visit at the right time, you might even be dazzled by the spectacular Crane Dance at no charge.

One of the ideas behind the new linkway is to expand the capacity of visitor traffic. The new addition promises to let 8000 people flow into or out of the island every hour. There are five pairs of 2-way travellators under continuous canopy along the entire stretch of the boardwalk to help to make this possible.

F and B outlets are available on the boardwallk. [Pic]

There are four F and B outlets along the Sentosa Boardwalk and a couple of retail shops. Besides buying some souvenirs, you get to sip some wine and dig into endless flavors of gelatos.

The boardwalk is not your conventional wooden bridge. There are varying heights which help to break the monotony of your stroll and the curves of the timber planks also make the otherwise stiff and neat blocks somewhat sexy.

There are reasons why I think the Sentosa Boardwalk is alluring:

Earth-friendly timber planks. [Pic]

1. Environmental sustainability

The boardwalk is made of timber material which is friendlier to the Earth. It is also designed to collect rain water to save water on plant irrigation. Everyone should do something to help protect our planet.

2. Great view

The bay view is a welcome treat for everyone. After all, Singapore is a tropical island and our coastal view is certainly one of the well-loved landscapes.

3. Skip the jam

Now you can skip the mad jam of crawling vehicles from Vivocity to Sentosa especially during the weekends or holidays. Just leave your cars on the mainland and voila, you are at the door step of the new Resort World Sentosa after a short stroll.

Where is the lush greenery? [Pic]

However, I do have my grouses:

1. What greenery?

I expect to see tropical landscapes over an area of 2,870 m² (30,900 sf²). Unfortunately, I fail to feel or see the promised lush greenery. A few potted plants and skimpy flower beds won't do the trick.

2. Too much metal

Wood is cool and wood is natural. But, when you see wooden planks coexist with hard, cold and modern travellators, that somehow makes them a rather odd couple. I feel more cold steel than warm greenery.

3. Loosen up

The F and B outlets are a tad too 'atas' (a local expression for being a snob). I would love to see the outfits loosen up a little and dress down to shed some arrogance. I am sure some affordable light snacks and quick bites would fit the budget of many more visitors.

Here are more pictures taken during my visit last week.

Bay view along the boardwalk. [Pic]

The boardwalk brings you to the doorstep of
the Resort World Sentosa.
There are 5 sets of 2-way travellators. [Pic]

There are some benches along the boardwalk.
There can be more.

Variation of heights along the boardwalk. [Pic]

The design of the boardwalk is brightened up by
interesting curves.

Retail and F&B outlets. [Pic]

Covered walkway under continuous canopy. [Pic]

Mesh-wire sculptures. [Pic]

A mesh-wire sculpture. [Pic]

Read about USS, an attraction in Resort World Sentosa:

See Sentosa Boardwalk Photo Album

"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." ~ William Shakespeare

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Monday, March 21, 2011

You Are in a Top Ten List

Motivate yourself with your very own
personal 'top 10' lists

I see 'Top 10' of everything and anything everywhere.

When a top 10 list of any kind is drawn up, it instantly earns some unexplained authority and respect. It can become so believable that it is unbelievable.

Sometimes, I like to goof around in Top Tenz just to be amazed by the weirdest kind of top 10 lists. Who would have thought of coming up with "Top 10 Ant Enemies" or "Top 10 Feral Children"? So bizarre.

YOG 2010 mascots, Lyo & Merly [Pic]

I chanced upon "Top 10 Worst Olympic Mascots" and I just had to check it out. I wanted to know if Lyo and Merly, our mascots for the 1st Youth Olympics (2010, Singapore) were in it. They were not simply because the list was compiled in 2008. But then again, why should the opinion of the contributor matter at all to me? 

There you go, I was lured by the charm of 'top 10' simply because someone said those are in the top 10.

The magic of 'top 10' does not stop there. You can use the 'top 10' phenomenon in your personal life too and see how it boosts your motivation and confidence. When you draw up a list, be sure to label it positively. "My top 10 favorite childhood friends" is definitely more helpful than "My top 10 most hated neighbors".

A positive personal 'top 10' list can change
your life perspectives.

When you draw up your own positive 'top 10' lists, you would consciously remind yourself of all the good things you once had or still have. You would begin to feel grateful that your life is filled with goodness. Your attention is then drawn to people and things that encourage you and your mind is free from unhelpful self condemnation (albeit temporarily). In a way, 'top 10' list can be used as a tool to recharge.

Here are 10 examples of useful 'top 10' list you can compile:
  1. "My top 10 sweet childhood memories"
  2. "My top 10 favorite teachers"
  3. "My top 10 most inspiring persons in my life"
  4. "My top 10 moments I feel most proud of"
  5. "My top 10 mistakes I have avoided"
  6. "My top 10 inspiring movies I have watched"
  7. "My top 10 lessons learned in life"
  8. "My top 10 public figures I admire"
  9. "My top 10 decisions I am glad I have made"
  10. "My top 10 favorite quotes"
To wrap up, I shall share "My top 10 reasons for telling you the usefulness of top 10 list" ...

Because I want you to know that:
10. You should not just believe in any top 10 list.
9. Top 10 list can be lame or insightful, so go for the latter.
8. You can have your own personal top 10 lists.
7. You can use your void time and draw up a personal top 10 list.

... and if your personal top 10 list is crafted positively, it
6. can motivate you.
5. can be a powerful life enhancement tool.
4. can be shared to inspire someone.
3. can be your route to realize the power of gratitude
2. can shape your life perspectives

... most importantly,
1. You are top 10 in many ways and you just have not noticed.

All of us are winners in our own right. [Pic]

All of us are winners in our own right. However, we often make ourselves losers simply by choosing to think like one. Phrases such as "I will never gonna make it" and "I am good for nothing" are poisons to our minds. Be careful not to let them creep in your head.

Why not start drawing up your very first 'top 10' list that goes "My top 10 reasons why I am a winner"? I hope one of the reasons is ..."because I choose to read this article" and I hope it has helped you.

You might also want to read:
"We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same." ~ Carlos Castaneda

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Get Yourself a "Cheer Up' First Aid Kit

How do you handle your moments of blues? [Pic]
Last week was a rather trying one for me.

Nothing unusual actually happened. However, there are times when all the planets are aligned, you feel a stronger gravity of life testing your endurance.

Such moments are commonly experienced. Many people would naturally indulge themselves in personal rants. Unfortunately, bitching around isn't the smartest thing to do. It may look like you are erasing your blues or lightening your stress. But, as soon as your ranting stops, you find yourself retreating back to your moody self.

It is alright to experience blues but it is not alright not knowing how to handle such moments. Friends would say "Cheer Up!" but few would tell you what that really means.

"CHEER UP!", is it really easier
said than done?

My suggestion is that you prepare a "Cheer Up" first aid kit. Just like the one in your cabinet, this 'first aid kit' should contain a slew of reliefs and treatments. You wouldn't want to start looking for bandages after you get a cut. Be ready.

The next time your are having a down moment, a bad day or a moody week, turn to your carefully prepared kit and get some help. However, if you need more than temporary or symptomatic reliefs, turn to the professionally trained people for help. You probably need to do more than just 'cheering up'.
    Here are some of the stuff I have in my "Cheer Up" first aid kit. Prepare one for yourself: 

    1. Listen to favorite music. [See 'Music : My Multivites']
    2. Sip a good cup of coffee. [See 'Not For The Insomniac' and 'Caffeinism? Nay!']
    3. Take a deep breath.
    4. Write with pen and paper.
    5. Go for a night swim.

    Dark chocolate: The happy food. [Pic]

    6. Have some dark chocolates.
    7. Read a few inspiring quotes.
    8. Whip out my camera and shoot some pictures.
    9. Write down three things I have done well.
    10. Complete something on my to-do-list.
    Watching little children play can be therapeutic. [Pic]

    11. Watch little children play.
    12. Listen to a moving TED speech.
    13. Think of something positive and go over it several times. [See 'You Are Your Worst Enemy']
    14. Visit my favorite restaurant.
    15. Watch my favorite MTVs.

    House cat Oreo. [Pic]

    16. Pat our house cats.
    17. Read an inspiring story. [see 'The Last Lecture']
    18. Think of three good things that happened in the last 24 hours.
    19. Say 'thank you' to someone who has been helpful to me. [See 'Sometimes, I Forget...']
    20. Watch a happy movie.

    Take a walk. Doing some light exercises
    can improve your mood. 

    21. Take a long relaxing walk in the park.
    22. Help someone in need.
    23. Make someone laugh.
    24. Play a musical instrument.
    25. Doodle something humorous. 

    "Tough times never last,
    but tough people do." ~ Robert Shuller

    My list can go on but the point here is to show you how a 'cheer up' first aid kit may look like. You may find some of the items in my kit useful but you should customize one. If you have a dog, you can add 'Walk my dog' and if you find short naps helpful then pack in "Take 40 winks". How about "Read a gripping novel" and "Go through photos of happy moments"? The idea is not a sophisticated one and I am sure you are well able to draw up your own list.

    Constantly review the usefulness of the items and find better 'treatment' to be included. You would have noticed that most of the stuff in the kit cost you very little or nothing at all. I did not say you have to walk down a shopping street looking for Hermès. In fact, material things are seldom effective as a cure.

    The next time the going gets tough, just turn to your 'cheer up' first aid kit. Don't bitch around.
    "Troubles are inevitable but misery is optional." ~Joel Osteen~

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    Monday, March 7, 2011

    Go Ahead, Criticize Me

    Did you just criticize me? [Pic]
    Have you ever regretted asking someone "What do you think?"

    Such a question is meant to invite comments but very often you are not prepared for what you are about to hear. We like to know the truth and get an honest opinion of ourselves. Yet, we are afraid to take criticism. The fear usually gets the better of us and we rather forgo the truth.

    Most of us deal with criticism in a defensive way. Sometimes, we may even lash at the person who did nothing wrong other than telling the truth. In doing so, we are missing out something really big.

    Criticism, when taken in the right light, can open up a brand new perspective. It is never easy on our ears but it is almost always useful. The thing we really need to learn is 'how to accept criticism with grace and appreciation'.

    Sugarcoated words are not
    necessarily useful. [

    Here are some of my thoughts:

    8. Get the idea right

    The first thing you need to do is to convince yourself that criticism is a good thing. Our minds are often trained to resist bad things. You would need to undo that. Once you get this right, you will find yourself soliciting for more criticisms and thus benefiting greatly from them.

    Sugarcoated words are not necessarily useful.

    7. Kick the habits

    Just like any other behaviors, the way we take criticism depends on our habits. Check and reflect on how you would normally react towards criticism. Do you interrupt? Do you raise your voice? Do you sneer? 

    Kick those bad habits.

    Criticism does not have to be painful. [Pic]

    6. Don't take criticism personally

    It hurts to hear bad things being said about you and no one enjoys that. However, if you learn to detach, you feel less awful. Just imagine that the critic is giving his opinion about someone else and ask yourself what the criticized person can do to avoid those comments.

    Criticism does not have to be painful.

    5. Get the real meaning behind those words

    It is common to feel upset (sometimes for days) upon receiving criticism. That is because you allow the words to replay in your head and give them an emotional response. Instead, focus on the true meaning of the criticism and ask yourself questions such as "What is the one thing I can learn from that comment?" In that way, you will pay more attention to what you can do rather than how you should feel.

    Be logical, not emotional.

    You can always find the positive in criticism. [Pic]

    4. Negate the Negatives

    You can find the positive in criticism. You always can. Rewrite any negative sentences and they will all sound positive. For example, you can turn "You always state the obvious as if I am a moron!" into "I need to improve the way I explain so that he understands the significance of what I have to share."

    The usefulness of criticism depends on how you look at it.

    3. You are not always right

    Our pride can kill. We can be so defensive of our rightness that we are dead convinced that the critic is making a big mistake. In accepting criticism, you do not have to swallow all your pride and feel insignificant. All you have to do is ask yourself questions such as "What could have been the one thing that I might be wrong about?". Such a question can help you slowly re-examine your own flaws without losing your confidence.

    Self-doubt does have its side-effects too.

    View criticism as opportunities to learn. [Pic]

    2. Learn to filter

    Criticisms are often bundled with harsh and rude words. These are the words that hurt the most but help the least. You would have to learn to filter them. For example, you can filter "You are such an idiot! Why can't you just get the project going?" into "Why can't you just get the project going?". After that, negate the negatives and rephrase it as "I have to find more effective ways to manage the project."

    Don't let unhelpful words reduce the goodness of criticism.

    1. Say 'thank you'

    It sounds odd but this can help you accept criticism. After what might seem like a nasty round of belittling, thank the critic. Very often, your unexpected behavior can help to soften his approach and make him more objective. After criticizing how awful your writing has been, he might just add on by saying "Actually, you have great substance. You just have to polish your language."

    Your act of appreciation can be humbling, for you and the critic.

    Criticism is like dark chocolate. Once you get used
    to its bitterness, it can actually taste good. [

    Finally, a quick recap...

    Criticism is good stuff when taken constructively. Let it help you discover yourself and create some room for improvement. Stay positive and accept criticism with grace and appreciation. Stay on top of things, focus on the 'do' and not the 'feel'.

    When it comes to criticism, let your brain rule, not your heart.

    "Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing" ~Aristotle~

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