Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sugarcane Juice: A Must Try

In tropical Singapore, anything that keeps one cool naturally becomes the favourite of Singaporeans. I can definitely vouch for this drink - Sugarcane juice.

When I was much younger, I was shown the traditional way of extracting the juice. That was through your bare teeth crunching into the sugarcane. It's a risk to your teeth, but it raises your manlihood quotient, proving how strong your teeth are.

For the normal man on the street, my advice to you is to just visit the local hawker centre, look for a suagrcane stall, and order a glass of the sweet greenish liquid. Throw in the ice and lemon, and you'll get one of the best drink in the land.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

ERP: Ever Ready to Pay? More Gantries?


In the past, Singaporeans would complain about very high car prices and no one could fault them as Singapore cars were one of the world's most expensive. Just imagine that in the 90s, a brand new Toyota Corolla would have cost you a hefty US$50,000.

So how do we try to keep Singaporeans quiet albeit unhappiness still prevails? Build a electronic toll system called the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) that charges by the usage. While car prices have seen some reduction (Toyota Corollas cost US$35,000 now), maintenance and daily cost for using the car has sky-rocketed.

There are now more than 60 ERP gantries in Singapore, ranging from those located in and around the Central Business District (CBD) and city area, to literally every expressway in Singapore.

The toll charges also differ, ranging from a mere S$0.50 to S$5 per gantry. So if you're renting a car in Singapore, do remember to ask for a cashcard when you rent a car. Also, try not to travel during the peak hours. i.e. 8-9am, 6-8pm as that's when the toll charges are the highest!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

MRT: Moving People En Mass

One of the things you must try when you're in Singapore is the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT). The first line was completed in the 1987 and from there, the number of MRT stations around Singapore has grown leaps and bounds.

There are alot of pluses about taking the MRT and they are definitely good reasons why you should try out our trains.

1. No messy train cabins
The one thing the government meted out was a No drinking, no eating and no smoking rule. We did not have any problem with that as the people in Singapore has been primed not to do all these even in our public buses. The great thing about the trains are that they are pretty new and that the older trains (Most of them are at most 15 years) have been phased out. So the air-con filters in the trains are well maintained.

2. It's Safe
I have never heard of train robberies in the MRT. It's pretty safe and the train stations are very well managed. Also, there's no need to worry about which cabin is safer. I still remembered taking a train in Europe where there're safe train cabins where there are guards to protect you. If you ride in other cabins, you're left to your own perogative.

3. Not Crowded if Travels Are Done Off-Peak
Don't rush with the working crowd during the 7-9am and 6-8pm timebelts. Other than that, travelling in the train is a breeze. Still, there's enough standing space even during peak hours and yes, there are no official "pushers" to help you into the train such as in Japan.

4. It's Efficient
There are no confusing signs nor major train delays. You'll know that you'll get to your station safe and sound.

Do note that you can even take a train from the airport to city. Totally cost effective!