The camera is dead - long live the new camera!

My old Sigma DP-1 went out of function last week. The repair cost was high considering its age, so I decided to buy a new camera. It was quite a project to find a camera that suits my needs. Thanks to photomaniac Singaporeans and tough competition, there is a wide range of cameras available here in reasonable prices.

At first, I thought I would buy a true DSLR as they take the best pictures. But then I started to think about the size. DSLRs are huge. That is why I zoomed to semi-DSLRs, Olympus PEN series and Panasonic GF-1. They have changeable lenses and small bodies, plus stylish design that the traditional DSLRs lack.

Yesterday I went to Funan DigitaLife Mall to try the PENs and GF-1. After trying both labels with different lenses and bargaining about the price, I ended up buying the Panasonic GF-1. I got it with two lenses, with a 20mm pancake lens and a 14-45mm zoom lens. I think the GF-1 has the best hands on experience for me and I like its design a lot.

Picture from panasonic.net

Now it is time to learn how my new GF-1 works. Here is the first shot:

Picture taken with the 20mm pancake lens. I love the way the autofocus. It makes the front part clear and blurs the background giving the picture a nice feel.


Chinatown patterns

Singapore's Chinatown is an endless source of patterns. Every time I go there, I spot something new - erm - old, I mean.


Bangkok temple patterns

I found these beautiful patterns from my Bangkok picture archives from last January. The temples in Bangkok may look too overwhelming with a quick glance, but a closer look tells that God really is in the details.


Night patterns


World Design Capital Helsinki 2012

I found this rather cool video of made for World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 project.

Btw, sorry for not posting any pictures lately. My camera is out of order and I am trying to get it fixed asap. Until that I need to use my archives.


Ladies who lunch

One of the first Chinese words (see above) that I learned was 'tai tai' or '太太'. It is a nickname for a privileged lady does not have the burden of working. She can spend her days socializing and shopping, etc. There is not a single word describing these ladies in English, but something came up to mind. They could be called 'the ladies who lunch' like in the song below. It is from Stephen Sondheim's musical Company.


Macaron mania

Macarons, those plaisirs parisiens, are sold in every well-stocked patisserie in Singapore. They are, though, quite expensive, but I love them. That is why I decided to bake macarons myself and here are the results. Crunchy and tasty, oh la-la!

Here is short article about macarons in the Singaporean I-S magazine.

And here is a good recipe for macarons and here is another one.


The cutest coin in the world?

One Australian Dollar coin - the cutest in its class?




Let's play cards!

A mystery solved

A blooming Cannonball tree

Last October I wrote about strange fruits I saw in a tree. Those fruits were huge, like cannonballs. Yesterday I walked in the Esplanade Park and saw a signboard next to a familiar looking tree. The tree was blooming, but the signboard told that the tree will have huge cannonball like fruits which looked exactly the same I had seen earlier. And the tree's commonly used name is Cannonball tree, Couroupita guianensis in Latin.

One always learns something new :)


Frog porridge, anyone?

If you like frogs and porridge, go to Geylang area in Singapore. The signboards are cute, but I am going stick to just basic oatmeal, for now.

My favorite dish #2

Shredded meat with bun, Putien

Sesame cake with minced pork, Hand in Hand Beijing

In addition to dumplings, another of my favorite dishes in Singapore are sesame buns with meat. They are carb bombs, but yet tasty. If you fancy these crispy and yummy buns, head to Putien or Hand in Hand Beijing Restaurant. If you are lucky, you can even find me.


My favorite dish

What are these countless hands doing?

No, not ravioli. Guess again!

Yes, dumplings!

They are one the tastiest dishes of the Chinese cuisine I know. In Singapore one of the best places to have them in a reasonable price is Din Tai Fung, a chain, which now has a fairly new outlet in 313@Somerset.

Making of dumplings is a form of art itself. Look at the first picture. There are five chefs preparing them around one table. I do not even dare to think how expensive dumplings would be in Helsinki, if there were so many people to make them.

Color for the weekend

Colorful HDB living in Rochor Centre in Bugis.

Stairs on a backyard alley behind the Bugis street market.

Small street shrine on the same alley.


Rain, finally!

It has been dry lately in Singapore. I do not remember when it last rained. But today it does. I hope the golden lawns turn into green again.


Waiting on the East Coast

Singapore's catch phrase

Singapore has a new catch phrase 'Your Singapore'. Is it just me or does that sound a bit lame? I must say I liked the old one, Uniquely Singapore, better. Singapore is unique and uniqueness is impossible to imitate. Your Singapore sounds as it is meant more for Singaporeans themselves than visitors. The locals know what Singapore is. For a visitor Your Singapore remains quite empty.

There is a similar brand work going on in Finland. The new brand identity for Finland should be ready by the end of 2010.


A submarine in San Pellegrino

An odd thing happened when I was in Bali having lunch at Four Season Resort's restaurant. I ordered a glass of San Pellegrino. There was a lemon seed in my glass which started to make dives like it had a mind of its own. Watch carefully!


Chinese New Year Carousel at Changi Airport

I have uploaded my first video to Youtube today, hurray! It was a baby step for mankind, but a huge one for me. There will be more videos to come, stay tuned. Here is a link to my Youtube channel youtube.com/user/urbanpatterns


Chewing gum ban in Singapore remains

Photo by Benjamin Dauchez

This is not and will not be a familiar sight in Singapore. The parliament decided to continue the famous chewing gum ban today. The ban was first introduced in 1992. Only chewing gums for medicinal use are allowed, such as nicotine gum, and sold by pharmacies only.

It is hot in here!

Singapore's temperature level goes like a dead man's pulse, a straight line. The temperature does not change much around the year, but lately it has been up. This week the temperatures have been varying between 33 and 35 Celsius. For a cold blooded Scandinavian like me, it is getting hot. As the temperatures fall in the evenings it would be easier if the humidity would not lay on one's skin. But it does. So, day and night, Singapore is now a one big sauna.

By the way, last February was a record breaking month with the lowest rainfall in years in Singapore. It has been a record breaking winter in Finland, too. In the capital Helsinki area there has not been as much snow as there was in the sixties.


Weekend break in Bali

Rocks Bar at Ayana Resort and Spa.

At the Rocks Bar the waves come close.

Sunset seen from the Rocks Bar.

I had a nice and humid weekend break in Bali last weekend. It was a very short stay, but I believe I got to know what is the essence of being in Bali: lying by the pool or beach and doing absolutely nothing at all. After a hard day of sun worship and spa treatments, one could reward themselves at Rocks Bar at Ayana Resort and Spa. It is advisable to go there early to get a table and not to queue in.

High temperature and especially very high level of humidity (day and night) give the visitors hard time moving around. We defied the humidity and rented a car and a driver for one day to explore some Balinese villages, like Ubud, which offers a wide variety of wood carvings and other traditional handicrafts.

PS. Be sure to spare some rupiahs (150.000) to the Ngurah Rai Intl' airport, because there is a fee to paid at the airport before leaving the country.