Malaysian Malaysia and Singapore Singaporetravel


Other travel documents








UK travel

Contents Under construction

My trips to Malaysia were organised by my ex-student Abdullah Mohd Zin. After obtaining his PhD here, he became head of Department at University Kebangsaan Malaysia UKM in Kuala Lumpur. It's a university aimed at the local Malay students, not the many Chinese and others, and is based near Kuala Lumpur.

My many visits to Singapore started with a conference, but there I met staff from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, and they asked me to help install our Ceilidh teaching software system to fit their computer and their teaching programme. They have 3000 students on their first year programming course, split into 5 courses of 600 each. Having a computer based system helps co-ordinate the 5 streams, and all the teachers had to submit exercises in my format.

Singapore is a very organised city, brilliant for short visits. Within hours of arrival each time I had my work permit, transport pass, campus swimming pass all organised. The public transport is superb, the pass works on buses, trams and trains. My accommodation was in a block of flats just over a bridge from the campus, very handy. Many days after work I would walk up the nearby Bukit Timah Hill (where we surrendered to the Japanese), watching monkeys and other animals.

Whenever I'm off to the far east (I seemed to be there at least twice a year for a number of years), for the Saturday gig here with the band (a typical Saturday evening) I would take my ready packed suitcase. After the gig, when we had loaded all the band gear up into the VW, they would drop me off on the way home at Broadmarsh bus station, and I caught the next Heathrow bus. This arrives Heathrow at about four in the morning, more reliable timing during the wee small hours than in the daytime. Then I slept in the arrival lounge (it's more comfortable than the departure one, it's carpeted) until people started arriving at 5:30, that's when the peace and quiet ends. Then checkin and away, arrive early next morning at 7am-ish, off to my accommodation, shower and smarten up and in at work for 9 to chat with the head of department about my duties.

1991 First Malaysia trip

Tuesday 3rd September 1991 Business visit by Eric to Malaysia then China until 4 October. Malaysia -- Kuala Lumpur. I gave a course for Abdullah -- the Malaysian Institute of Electrical Engineers had organised a Conference of Software Specification in a hotel in Petaling Jaya. I stayed part of the time at Andy and Fiona's (one evening playing her accordion). They have high fence and security guards, the more guards you have the less safe I feel. There was a Garden Party at the British Embassy. I didn't see much of the locals, it really was for lonely ex-pats who hadn't integrated! The orchid garden in Singapore is lovely. The next stop was Hong Kong for a China trip.

1994 Singapore conference

Sunday 13th November 1994 My first trip to Singapore was for a conference. I left Heathrow for Singapore by 747-400 (it was promoted as "The 1000th 747") late at 11h15, but they say we'll still arrive on time; they hadn't cleaned out the plane very well, unusual for Singapore Airlines. 12 hour 50 flight with a back wind (13 hour 30 on the return leg), 10878 km (the only longer flights on their books are Hong Kong - San Francisco 11105 and Taipei - Los Angeles 10921), 970 kph = 600 miles/hour. Arrived Singapore the next day at 07h35 local time, that's 8 hours ahead of us, on time. A very pleasant taxi driver met me, I changed another $100 in travel cheques, and (morning rush hour) about 40 minutes to the downtown hotel. They drive on the left, and are good careful drivers. Plenty of double deck buses around, very British! There are quite a few old low buildings still left between all the new high rise. All green and flowery, sun between the clouds, very hot and damp (30 degrees). If you look up Singapore weather on the web, it'll be 30 degrees plus or minus a couple of degrees. The Carlton is not the most super-duper, but fine for me. I felt knackered, my room wasn't ready (09h00 by now) so I went to the cafe for continental breakfast until 10h00, then they gave me a different room 1327. Had a shower and a snooze, then walked round Raffles and a few (expensive) shops. I must hand deliver Steve Benford's paper to the Institute of System Science (University of Singapore) for another conference; Walked down Orchard Road (the famous shopping street) and around some shops, all Christmas themes and decorations, more over the top than in the UK. Dinner in the evening with the conference organisers, I collected all the conference details; the meal was Chinese, not up to China standards, but OK. Chatted with folks from Australia (they kept saying how wonderful Australia was, so we pointed out the poisonous snakes, the many flies everywhere, and my relatives living in a tin house breaking in horses), Vienna, Munich, Brussels, Singapore (ex USA and ex-Australia) and elsewhere.

Tuesday 15th My talk at the conference was scheduled for 14h30, but no, I was postponed until tomorrow. Very pompous 09h00 start to the conference, all stand for the minister! Rather salesman approach in the guest talks, mostly waffle I thought. Lunch was quite western style. I attended a session on fuzzy logic applications, quite interesting, they couldn't answer my question on improving their system! At 16h00 I decided to skip the rest of the day and go for walk along Orchard Road, the supposed great shopping street (of course, someone asked me the way!). It's certainly much cheaper than the Raffles Centre. Back for a swim on the 5th floor open air pool. Then walk out to Raffles for a "Singapore sling" plus satay snack evening meal. It was lovely to be out of doors in the warm, not in an air-conditioned building. Lots of good fan palms here, less wind damaged than in Tanzania. Very good for flowering shrubs everywhere. Then back to plan tomorrow's talk a bit more. At 22h30 there was a phone call from Ngee An Polytechnic, they want me to go and give a chat on Ceilidh on Thursday afternoon, apparently it wasn't easy finding me! He wants to go to the UK next year, and "fingered" my account at Nottingham to try and contact me; he found that my diary said "Conference in Singapore", so phoned every conference he could find looking for me! It was raining hard when I looked out late.

Next day at the conference the first guest address was by Rob Milne was good, not ridiculously over-optimistic like some. My conference talk is at 10h15. It went OK, I handed out a few copies of our brochures. More requests for our software from Singapore. Malaysian style lunch, help yourself to salad, then noodle, rice and meat, then fruit. Guest talk after lunch was Japanese image analysis talk, difficult to follow. More education talks at 14h45, and an interesting looking one on metrics at 16h30, pity, that means I can't skive! Oh yes I can, I popped back to the hotel to drop off some things before tonight's trip, and fell asleep! Woke in plenty of time though. Meet at the conference foyer 18h00 with badge and camera (and money?) for free evening trip to the zoo for a "night safari" and meal. The bus departed late, about 30 minutes to the zoo. The meal (Chinese or Malay) was supposed to be at 18h45, but was late at 19h30. Night Safari is a big tourist thing, you walk or go by "tram" (like the Hengestbury toy train) round the open air zoo. The animals are attracted by the lights, so are usually close to the visitors. Also, you can't see the extent of the captivation in the dark, it all looks very open. Leopards, tigers, deer, porcupines, bongos, hyenas, little deer and more. Coach back left 22h00.

On the next day I was picked up by Peter Choy from Ngee Ann Polytechnic at 12h00 next to the exhibition, to go and give a talk there. First a Japanese lunch (chicken and sushi) in a nicely done restaurant in the shopping centre below the conference, then we drove in pouring rain to a computer shop about half a mile away, I'd seen it before, 3 large floors of computers, peripherals, software, books, CDs etc. I bought a new battery for the Toshiba, much cheaper than at home. Then we drove off to the Polytechnic, and they all seemed interested in our software. I logged into Nottingham from his office, sent some emails, and used Ceilidh to show some recent differences. He drove me back to the hotel for 19h00, I went for 30 minutes walk to the Marina (it has stopped raining), then to Raffles courtyard again. Once again satay and a Singapore sling, very refreshing, lovely to be out in the warm instead of inside in the cold; I should have time for one more tomorrow. .

My last day here could be less serious, and perhaps devoted to tourism. No hurry today, First off to the museum shop across the way, bought a few Christmas presents, they have some nice things. Back to the hotel to dump the things and clear the room (I get charged if I'm bot out for 12h00), then I started walking. Dawdled all the way along Orchard Road and eventually on to the Botanic Gardens. Walked round, of course the orchids were good (coach loads of tourists), plus lots of unusual palms etc. I enjoyed the "Cannonball tree" with big round fruit and fascinating flowers, jacaranda. I disturbed a tortoise at one point, a lizard later. I took photos for others who wanted a picture with themselves in. They gave me free orchid posters and books! I walked almost all the way back, one food stop (I chose Indian)! Then I caught the tube, the MTR, two stops to City Hall 60 cents = 25 pence, easy. Strange thing was that the platforms had screens with doors too, no sign of the tracks, the train pulls up behind the screens, and doors open in the screens (and the train doors line up with the screen doors within a foot or so). 16h00 now, on to the Raffles Museum, the history in photos and artefacts, it used to be a great tourist spot quoted by Joseph Conrad and others. Walked on till I came to the sea, found a nice park with a jogging track by the sea. Back to Raffles 19h00 for satay, and yoghurt ice cream + sauces (spicy orange and chocolate) and nuts plus a Singapore Slings for my final treat; make sure I leave enough money for the airport departure tax. Reached the hotel 20h15, collected and repacked luggage, taxi arrived at 20h50, 20 minute journey for flight SQ322 depart Singapore 23h15. Wrote this while waiting in the lounge, announcements say that the BA flight is delayed! Due to head winds, our flying time will be 14h05, we'll be 40 minutes late at Heathrow.

1995 Malaysia and First Ngee Ann software trip Under construction

Tuesday 14th November 1995 This was a trip first to Malaysia then to Singapore to do Ceilidh software for Ngee Ann Polytechnic. The Malaysia trip was organised by my ex-student Abdullah Mohd Zin, now on the staff at the University Kebangsaan Malaysia UKM here. It's a university aimed at the local Malay students, not the many Chinese and others. I'd arrived yesterday and been taken to a hotel in Kajang, and was picked up at 07h55 today (so early arise and breakfast) by last night's chauffeur, in to work by 08h15, it's only about 8 kilometres = 5 miles. Abdullah's not in today. I logged into Nottingham, the line kept going down (early days of the internet), but I answered an email from Singapore about my trip there. Then long chats with 2 Jordanian research students; one (Hani, hani@fsmk.ukm.my) is trying to automatically produce an English language description of a computer program, impossible. He insists he's a bachelor in love with computers and just enjoys the programming; I'd want to have a hope of achieving something! The other (Ahmad, amayreh@fsmk.ukm.my) is to use a Formal Specification to automatically produce test data and results for a system; it's a logical extension of Abdullah's work, and could be very useful to me. People kept dropping into the room where I was (it's their common room) and chatting and going. There seemed nothing else urgent to do, so at 14h20 I caught the bus home; 5 minute wait (every bus stop has a shelter, essential for both rain and sun), RM 0.60 fare (15p), the bus stops all over campus then drives non-stop to Kajang, so it's quick. I must have caught the correct bus, quarter full, mostly female students chatting loudly! A conductress collected the fare, you don't need exact fare. Back in the hotel before 15h00, under black skies with lightning flashes, today's downpour started (earlier than usual) just after I got in (I would have been soaked walking from the bus stop to the hotel). I planned some of the transparencies for next week's course. No lunch today, so I can have an evening meal! The "New Straits Times" has detailed obituary advertisements put in by the families; today includes "Mr Tang Cheong Leong aged 90", and it listed on the (full page) advert by full name his wife, 10 sons, 4 daughters, 10 daughters in law, 3 sons in law, 49 grandsons, 31 granddaughters, 6 grand daughters in law, 24 great grandsons, 26 great granddaughters, and a few others. All had their qualifications after their names. Could even Joy remember Christmas presents for all that lot? After dinner I discovered the hot pool, and chatted to lots of long-time ex-pats who live here. Then the massage lady, a good relaxation after a day's work, I'll make it a regular. I watched the film "The Power of One", John Gielgud et al, wonderful. [Left RM the same as yesterday less 0.60 bus fare.]

Wednesday 15th November 1995

Pickup by Abdullah 09h00. No, he's ill with an eye infection, so must stay at home, perhaps for a few days, lets hope I haven't caught it. So someone else took me in, and I worked on my own at UKM. First I collected from Nottingham all the course notes together for next week, and someone will get them to the company for duplication. Then I did a set of WWW (World Wide Web) pages for me, zapping them over to Nottingham, and checking them. They have a nice system here for writing, editing and checking such pages. Just a few differences between their system and ours. I now have pages on me, Foresters, our plough play, the band, the music, the magic lantern, serious research, and much else, 20 pages altogether. And it's all installed at Nottingham for the world to see! Lunch with the gang up at the university golf club again, so no meal necessary tonight! The club is on top of a small hill. We had a downpour and thunderstorm, while I was waiting in the entrance afterwards the lightning struck a post and spot lamp 10 feet away, quite a loud bang (understatement), so I took the precaution of going inside! Bus home from UKM in the rain, and a hurried walk from the bus stop to the hotel, but the rain had eased off. Worked on my laptop in the evening, and watched the same "Chef" again, good!

Thursday 16th November 1995

Caught the bus in. More complicated than I thought, one bus had several route numbers, he was doing a combination of several routes. Luckily he did the university part of the trip first, I took the gamble because the university is fairly close! Syllabus meeting cancelled because not enough people could attend. Abdullah was in briefly, still infectious, just clearing some mail. Good contact with Nottingham over the net. I sent an email to Lois about a student Zarina Shukur who wants to come to Nottingham to do a PhD; Abdullah highly recommends her. Lunch in the student refectory with the prince, and on the way home I called in at GSIT computing (Ganding Setia Information Technology, 3A-2 Jalan S 10/1, Off Jalan Bukit, 43000 Kajang, Selangor; tel 03-8342672, fax 03-8378772; their office is 100 yards from the hotel in Kajang, the G in their name stands for "elephant tusk") who are running the course next week. The contact is because they are run by a UKM graduate. They'll provide a computer in their office for me to use on Monday, to set up some coursework. Will I come again in March, please, they say, to give another course! Arrived at the hotel 16h00, and sauna and jacuzzi and steam room for an hour, I expected the sauna area to be deserted, but it's crowded, how do they all get the time off? Then I watched Clive James in Japan on TV, then prepared overheads for next week. Today's rain started lunchtime, short break at teatime, downpour in the evening. A loud rushing noise outside my hotel room (hoovering?), when I went for evening meal I found it was the rain on the roof! I eat "Fish and chips", but it's different fish from the UK, red snapper? And it's in a spicy breadcrumb mix, not batter. I prepared overheads for tomorrow's seminar.

Friday 17th November 1995

Unusually, raining when I got up at 07h00, but it soon stopped. Then it started again, and all day was either light rain or downpour or heavier. Apparently as the monsoon increases, it rains longer each day. At breakfast it's a buffet, I just have melon, white toast and coffee. I observed a westerner taking lots of rolls from the buffet and putting them in a bag for his lunch! The waitresses / waiters are very quick at noticing when you've finished something, to come and whip the plate away, but slower to notice that you need service. Bus to UKM, easy today, it had the route number on! One of the staff has lent me an umbrella, could be useful. Tidied up my WWW entry locally, then zapped it over to Nottingham, the world now knows about the Foresters, Greenwood, Magic Lanterns, etc. I then asked the WWW if it knew anything about "magic lantern", it quickly searched 1000000 sample pages and found only one reference, in an American Arts magazine saying "the new equipment described below makes a video recorder look like a Victorian magic lantern", not a helpful reference. The page was written by Karl Dallas, used to be called Fred Dallas, sang around folk clubs down Kingston way in the 60s! I also registered to read the Electronic Daily Telegraph (page = "http--//www.telegraph.com.uk", name = "ef", password = "ef-telegraph"), and looked at today's, and read the CNN news (UKM haven't got the software necessary to look at the video clips, but they offer it to you on-line). Email from Nottingham authorising me to make an offer to Zarina Shukur if I want to; she's making a written report to me on Monday. More chat with Hani, but he's too interested in his own trivia, although some of his work could be of use to me. 15h00 I give Seminar, I'll make it a philosophical discussion based around Ceilidh. About 8 there, including the ex-Sheffield statistician. Plenty of questions and discussion. Lift back to the hotel, absolute non-stop downpour. Dinner French onion soup, followed by vegetables in spicy coconut sauce, very nice. Then a short walk in the reducing rain round some of the local shops, looking for an advertised fizzy drink in cans called "Joy Juice", couldn't find any. Watched "Blazing Saddles" in TV, the first time I've seen it!

Saturday 18th November 1995

Free day! Left the hotel 08h20, walked round the corner to catch the "Shuttle bus" to Kuala Lumpur. Standing room only when I got on, it was just leaving, but someone got off early on and I used their seat. They'd told me of terrible delays and traffic on a Saturday, but we went motorway and I was there by 08h55, at the great cost of RM 1.60 = 40p. As we approached Kuala Lumpur, there was low cloud over the city, with two tall buildings sticking out of the top, it would have been a good photo. Walked and walked and walked! I tried to note where the bus had dropped me (I had so sense of direction) and walked towards a known tall building, and found Central Market, shopping centre like Covent Garden. It wasn't yet open, they are late risers here. Past Sultan Abdul Samad building, with cricket on the green opposite! A mile to the tourist office, to pick up a map, then I'm happy. Walked 2 miles up to the sculpture park (Joy would like it), the national monument (to those who died fighting the British for independence). Walk down through a park and found the Orchid garden; MR 1 = 25p for admission plus 0.20 for their loo, wonderful flowers, but not as good as last time, it can't be the best season. I tried the bird park, but they couldn't or wouldn't change a note, so I skipped it. "Loose" monkeys in the trees, I thought it wise not to try a close photo. Back up to the deer park, with fallow deer and mouse deer (6 inches high). On to the National Museum, RM 1 but I had no change so it was free! Nice examples of the best of Malaysian furniture, fabric, etc. Lovely 4 poster bed from coconut palm wood. I bought a good batik picture, they didn't take Visa card so I used a traveller's cheque, and they gave me (too much?) change in RM. Walked past a shopping emporium to the railway station, they've opened one part of their new suburban network, very smart. Out the other side, and walked to Central Market. Lots of knick-knack shops. Snack and more walking, and after difficulty found the bus station for Kajang. Again I started standing, but got a seat later. Slower, through some towns, past lots of shops selling Roman pillars and arches to improve your house. Reach Kajang 16h00, Chocolate shake RM 2 at McDonald's! [Cash left RM 255 = œ 64.]

Sunday 19th November 1995

Another free day! Raining early, but I still caught the bus to Kuala Lumpur after breakfast. Today I had a seat. At the bus station here, the conductor stands outside shouting "KL highway" (meaning an express bus), and the bus won't leave until there are at least 2 or 3 standing, perhaps he gets paid by the fares he collects. We stop to drop off people even at the side of the motorway (not at a service station). We pop into petrol stations when he's out of fuel! The rain had almost stopped when we got there. Walked round, this time leisurely, watching others about their business. The railway security were teaching people how to use the new automatic ticket machines, the new suburban railway from Kuala Lumpur to Kajang starts tomorrow, I'll just miss it. The markets were busy but the shops closed. I dropped in on a Catholic church service for a bit, live rock group music. Bus home for 13h30, snack lunch, and spent a long time on the laptop getting a whole heap of sample programs ready for the course. There are still more overheads to do. Watched the Malaysian Motor Cycle Grand Prix on TV; they were all on mopeds, 100cc, not real motor-bikes! Long sauna, steam and jacuzzi, and chatted to two other Brits, one goes home every 6 months and his wife comes out in between, the other (I guess ex-SAS) goes home only once per year. Dinner = French onion soup (they do it well), omelette, then ice cream. [Left RM 250 = œ 62.]

Monday 20th November 1995 *** Work at GSIT in Kajang for part of the day? See Zarina? Abdullah away? Went to GSIT to work; Zarina was already there waiting for me, with a written report on what she wants to do; I accept, I'll email Nottingham at some point. GSIT were missing a number of significant pieces of software on their machine, ones which I will need on the course; we listed them, and I left the folks there to install them, and bussed to UKM. The internet was down, so I played with local copies of WWW pages. Then the internet came up, so I fetched some more notes I need to here, and read email at Nottingham. Edmund has phoned Joy, so that's good. Email from Singapore confirming meeting arrangements. I also started to set up on the internet lists of the folk tunes I have stored, just in case anyone starts looking. Talked to Ahmad about how his work could solve a problem of mine, I think he understands. 13h30 lunchtime, so I walked once round the inner bit of campus (it'll be my last day here, wow it was hot) and took 3 photographs; the vegetation is great, but any building material which absorbs water soon goes green and mouldy. Bright blue sky, absolutely scorching sun midday. Then bus back to Kajang. GSIT still hadn't got everything working, so I went and had a chocolate shake at McDonald's and back to the hotel! Tidying, organising, sauna, extended blissful massage, and more making of overhead transparencies. TV news reports of flooding near Malacca and on the east coast; the monsoon has started with a vengeance! Also news of Nottingham Forest's 7 to nil thrashing last Saturday! The new suburban train line opened today from here to Kuala Lumpur.

Tuesday 21st November 1995

Weather forecast back down to max 31, min 24 today. Course in Kuala Lumpur, day 1, at the Kuala Lumpur Travelodge Apartment Hotel. Cost to you for 3 days RM 1190 = œ 300. Unix software tools. Try to remember to phone Joy 06h45 or so, when they're home from morris/clog; I did remember, they were all there, Joy's out teaching tomorrow, and we have a new gig for 2nd December. Which shirt today? Bright red, elephant tie, waistcoat that Becky mended, navy blue trousers. Pickup at hotel 07h00. Take notes, overheads, cough sweets, spare transparencies, pens. Travelodge 08h00 tea available; 08h30 members arrive; we arrived about 08h30, endless traffic jams. It's near the not-yet-finished tallest building in the world, twin "corn-cob"-like towers with a bridge between them at the 40th floor (apparently for safety, escape in the event of fire), is the whole project worth-while? 09h00 welcome to guests (about 18 including 4 females) and introductions, very amateur; 10h30 to 11h00 tea. Lecture for 2 hours with a short break. Buffet lunch 13h00-14h00 was good (and bread and cheese), no need to eat tonight! Lecture. Tea 15h30 - 16h00. Lecture until 17h00, a long day. Lift home via UKM, not back until 18h30, eat and slob.

Wednesday 22nd November 1995

Last morning to hand in laundry, it's a slow service here. Course in Kuala Lumpur, day 2, awk (since I didn't have time yesterday) and Unix system calls, basics, IPC old style, IPC new style, client-server architecture outline. Purple trousers, matching silk shirt, new red tie, same waistcoat as yesterday. Pickup at hotel 07h30 by "CAD Tool for schools" in his maroon Mercedes, we went a different way but took just as long, arrived 09h15 at the hotel. For today they've set up one Linux PC on each table (we are 3 or 4 people per table). 09h00 to 11h00 chat on "Awk", to 11h30 tea, to 13h00 chat, to 14h00 lunch, it's good, buffet with plenty of choice. I was quick eating, then installed Ceilidh on one of the PCs. No problems, very impressive! Up to 15h30 chat, to 16h00 tea, to 17h00 chat. Then a lift to Putra near the "World Trade Centre" (where I was earlier in the year) and walked to a nearby station (I had to find it, no signs, the ticket machine changed a note for me) on the new railway. RM 2.70 for train, change at Kuala Lumpur central (seemed a long time, trains are every 30 minutes at the moment), all very clean and fast, one third to one half full. Each station has a VIP room, prayer room, a cafe, and various. Very little advertising for a new service, you would expect publicity everywhere. Walked from Kajang (22 km from Kuala Lumpur) station home, 15 minutes, I was soaking with sweat! Stopped at a Shell garage to buy a map of Malaysia, RM 10. No evening meal needed. Abdullah popped in. We had a good chat for 2 hours, work, his weekend with his folks up in the north-east, my new map of Malaysia discussing where to go next time, his visit to Nottingham in December (13-15) before the conference in Amman (17-21). We sketched a report for me to write to his V-C when I return. He brought a cheque from UKM for RM 1300; do I build it into my accounting system somewhere? I must do a thankyou letter when I return. Watched "New Adventures of Superman" on TV! [Left RM 120 = œ 30.]

Thursday 23rd November 1995

Course in Kuala Lumpur, day 3, practical day. I must hand back my umbrella. Blue trousers, blue shirt, Joy's waistcoat, blue tie. Into Kuala Lumpur by yet a different route, 5 or 10 minutes faster (or was it just luck?). Practical sessions all day. Not all of the 10 machines worked perfectly at first, but all OK fairly soon. I set shell examples for 09h00, awk examples for 11h00. Most folks got something working, with help. Lunchtime I ran a Ceilidh benchmark, average response over 600 tests 1.3 seconds. Afternoon I copied lots of C programs onto each machine separately (they're not interconnected), they looked at some. Formal farewell 15h30 (they all wanted to finish a bit early to avoid the traffic rush which starts at 16h00), I handed signed certificates to everyone, various thank you speeches and photographs. All the GSIT people stripped things down and packed them into boxes. Back to Kajang with Mr CAD again, but this time through the countryside, hills (good views back over Kuala Lumpur), rainforest and villages, lovely. Back 17h00. Nosh at 20h00 at the hotel with the GSIT people. No,not at the hotel, they decided we should go out to a satay house, Kajang is the satay capital of Malaysia. Satay is grilled meat of wooden skewers, we had chicken and beef, with peanut sauce, solid rice. RM$ 22 = œ 5 including drinks for the four of us. Great, and it was open air, so no air conditioning! GSIT paid me some cash in an envelope, MR 2000. I'll settle the hotel bill in cash! [Left RM 2120 = œ 530.]

Friday 24th November 1995 Now it's the day to continue on to Singapore. Fly to Singapore [book says that on average it rains heavily on 13 days per month, currency Singapore dollars are S$ at 2.2 to the pound, the area of Singapore is 640 square km, same size and shape as the Isle of Wight, 2.2 million people (aiming to go up to 4 million by 2020), 2 degrees north of the equator.]. Alarm 05h15, settle hotel bill RM 380 using cash from GSIT. Depart Hotel with Abdullah 06h30 (downpour while I was waiting), reach airport before 07h15 (no serious traffic jams, a bit slow in some places), check-in (airport tax RM 30) then changed left-over Malaysian money (RM 368 to Singapore S$ 200, the rest RM 1356 to sterling s 335) and coffee with Abdullah, we chatted about research. Singapore Airlines flight SQ103 depart Kuala Lumpur 09h00, actually 09h20. KL to Singapore 334 km. I was in business class because they were full in economy, that's nice. Arrive Singapore Changi airport 09h50 actually 10h10. Very efficient immigration as usual. Floods pouring through the ceiling in the baggage lounge, smoke everywhere, you couldn't see to the other end! "Due to malfunction of a baggage conveyor, there is smoke in various parts of the building. The situation is however under control and airport operations is not affected. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Please note that smoking is not allowed in the building." The baggage arrives very quickly here. (I arrived a day after Nick Leeson, famous as a fiddling banker heading for prison here.) I was met by Parv Nobar (4606656) and Ho Send Yong (4606532) at 12h30. We drove to a Chinese restaurant for lunch (chicken with lemon, prawns in breadcrumbs, mixed vegetable, beer) and had a good chat. They have fixed a big flat for me in one of the staff apartment blocks, big (in case Joy was coming). Block 90, floor 8, room 1B, I have living room, bedroom, bathroom with shower, washing machine, iron, kitchen. They left me to unpack, but I slept instead! After a bit I walked over a footbridge to the main campus, plenty of sports facilities, shops for snacks (spent S$ 8 on biscuits and crackers), limited number of students as it's vacation time. Picked up by Parv 18h00, he's one floor up, we went 2 up to Peter (ex-sea captain, lecturer in thermodynamics) and June (large, she has problems in this heat going up steps) + 2 BYU kids, and David (from Bolton). After coffee (instant) Peter drove us in their ancient Mazda minibus downtown. We eat in the converted vegetable market Lau Pa Sat (an old cast iron Victorian open building, reminders of Covent Garden), I had beef murtuba (large pancake with egg and minced beef, folded many times and cooked on a large flat hotplate) served on a banana leaf, with a revolting pink drink of soya milk. Then a long walk around that district, a mixture of high rise and old remains, I hope they preserve some of the latter. There's a big statue near the sea of a "merlion", the national emblem, a lion with a fish tail. Back to the vehicle 22h30, stopped at a 24-hour food street, home just after midnight. Saw a car being towed, on the back a sign "on the toe".

Saturday 25th November 1995 *** Alarm 07h15. Breakfast (cup of tea and cracker) and wandered over the footbridge, bright red shirt for work. Located Parv's building (number 23, "MSC" = "Maths, Science and Computing"), and wandered around to the Computer Science and Centre. Then I found Parv's office. Met six of the staff and chatted history; included Peter Choy (5621617) who was in Nottingham in the summer. Then off to 3 computers they've allocated to me. After much hassle, logged into Nottingham, and answered about 100 emails. Send email to Neil offering him a job here with Peter Choy's lot. Fetched various files, and printed them, some to OHPs. Parv took me to lunch on campus (canteen 1, there are 5 plus the staff restaurant), S$ 2 each, we chatted allsorts. Then we walked to a local shopping centre, lots of Christmas junk, lots of (framed) pictures exhorting "Leadership" "Courage" "Excellence" "Perseverance" "Risk" "Success" "Teamwork" etc, it would nice to find one with a spelling error! 18h30 with Parv, Peter and David (who talks a bit non-stop, he's on his own here) but no June, walk through the apartments to No 173 bus to Clementi (60c, terminus?), then MTR (Mass Transit, underground, similar to Hong Kong, the underground stations have screens all along the platform edge, the doors in the partitions open when the train is in and line up with the train doors; apparently it saves air conditioning costs) to station West 2 (S$ 1.10, all stations are numbered N S E or W, or C for Central and a number, they do have a name as well). Then walked around town, Singapore Handicrafts Centre (junk + excellent mixed). Long walk to find a restaurant, ended up at an Italian, I had ravioli with gorgonzola, it's nice to be European occasionally. Home by No 61 bus (S$ 1) all the way home, took ages but it's direct. Machine washed when I got home (23h45), 2 shirts, 3 undies (took 30 minutes), and hung up to dry.

Sunday 26th November 1995

Washing almost dry when I woke up. Leisurely slob and do the ironing. Went for a walk around the neighbourhood, through the apartments, past the community police centre, past the local shops (bought red tiger balm), and to a couple of shopping centres. About half the shops are open. Home and watched TV for a while. Out with Parv and David 16h00. Bus No 61 (S$ 0.80) to a local area (Holland Park) with good craft shops, lots I would like to buy, mostly too heavy or fragile to dream of taking home! Shops stacked high with all sorts of (mostly eastern) objects, I'm sure the shop owners don't know what's there. There are all sorts of restaurants there. We had a Thai meal (wonderful asparagus, pork, shrimps, Thai rice) and then Haagen Das ice cream across the road ("Do you want to sit inside or outside, sir?" "Inside" "Sorry sir, inside is full, there are only outside seats"). Bus back home, it was pouring with rain so we stopped at the food hall above a local market for a cane sugar drink (pressed from a yard of sugar cane squeezed in a mangle, served in a pint tankard plus ice and slices of lime and lemon). Home 21h00. There's air conditioning in the bedroom, I sometimes put it on to cool the room before bedtime, but switch it off when I go in.

Monday 27th November 1995 *** Home in 3 days. Seminar 1 on Ceilidh; principles and experience, smart purple outfit. 08h30 in to my office, copied Ceilidh data from floppy onto the Unix system. Chat 09h15 to 10h45 (the room has "Teamwork" type exhortations all round), tea break, then continue question/answer till 12h00. Then I installed Ceilidh on Unix properly, no serious problems. Lunch with Parv, Mr Ho and Head of Department Mr Kou in the cafe overlooking the swimming pool, appalling grot Christmas music over the tannoy! Mr Kou is talking about my next visit... We shall see. Afternoon setting up Ceilidh on PC and checking out the Unix one, and logging into Nottingham. Thunderstorm and downpour outside! Back to the apartment to change into shorts and casuals at 17h00, and met by Peter and Jennifer Choy. Out for a meal at the bottom of the road (said grace beforehand), 18 courses for S$ 18, crab, baby squid, shrimp, scallop, some bivalve or other, etc. Then drove to the "night safari", I went last year, it's wonderful. We caught the "tram" (toy motor train) half way round, walked a bit, caught the train again the rest of the circuit, then walked a complete circuit. Saw Himalayan tahr, bharal, mouflon, otter, assorted deer, bongo, bear, sloth, serval, rhino, buffalo various, jackal, hyaena, lion, tiger, leopard, fruit bats, maribou stork, anteater, giraffe, elephant, wonderful. Part of the walking trail crosses a small valley on a footbridge, you're at tree-top level in the rain forest. It's all very well done, most animals are very active and near the carefully placed low lighting where the spectators are. Then we drove down Orchard Road to show me the Christmas lights, completely OTT, Santa, snow, reindeer, yuk! Then along through various parts of the city centre, past last year's Carlton hotel and Raffles. Then along near the sea, I hadn't realised how huge their container port was, it stretches for miles. Home 23h00. [Spent not a cent. Jennifer calls the Singapore dollar a "sing".]

Tuesday 28th November 1995

Home in 2 days. Seminar 2 on Ceilidh; the marking process, blue outfit. Talk about the marking process for about an hour, then an on-line demo (it's always risky doing an on-line demo in case something goes wrong, but it was OK) of first the Unix version as a student, then coffee break, then the PC version as a student, then the Unix version as a developer. I think some folks really support me (partly they see my system as improving standards which everyone has to comply with because they all use the same software), others want to keep on teaching the lazy way they always have. Lunch in the same place (by the pool) as yesterday with Parv and Ho; lots of chat about future co-operation. They develop a new version, we both market the CD, we split the profits. I come out every 6 months for liaison. Parv will come to Nottingham to discuss the matter sometime before Christmas. After lunch a visit to their CBL (computer based learning) centre where they are developing school mathematics teaching software. I found a misprint in the first example they showed us (a serious mathematical error, not one of their common mis-spellings). Also some school kids visiting doing their own CD learning program, quite good. Back to my terminal, set up one of the questions they had asked me to mark. Most of their solutions don't even compile, let alone run, so I can't mark much. They should teach much more carefully. Some came and chatted. Quick log into the web, to look at the Daily Telegraph. Walked home with Parv 17h15. Put on a last load of washing, 3 shirts, undies, socks, finished and hung it up just before I went out with David at 18h30. (David says that the palm I like, with red stems, very popular around houses and buildings, is "cyrtostachys renda", sealing wax palm, from swamps in Malaysia and Indonesia.) Bus 66 (double decker, air conditioned, S$ 1.10) to Little India, lots of trishaws (3 wheeled tricycle rickshaws) carrying Japanese tourists. Long walk around, past Chinese and Indian shops including Mustapha's department store (but strings of hundreds of small lights were not as cheap as I wanted). Down a narrow street in the red light district, every doorway open with a number of girls waiting in the front room, all with red illumination, I was assured that number 67 is the best. We ended up eating fish head curry; lovely. They put a banana leaf on the table, heap on rice and goodies, then bring on a big bowl of curry. I treated him, he's been guide several nights. Back 22h00, the washing is dry in under 4 hours! I had carefully left the big fan on (every room has 2 fans on speed controllers). [Left S$ 100 = œ 45.]

Wednesday 29th November 1995

Home tomorrow! [Early TV news included yesterday's UK budget, a straight fiddle for the next election.] Lightning, thunder, downpour 04h00 until 07h00, still raining at 09h00 but not much. [Hang on while I swat that huge cockroach!] General chatting on Ceilidh 10h30 to 12h00 with anyone who turns up. Six or seven turned up, and wanted to see it work, to mark their programs. A lot of sweat getting it to do what they want, which isn't what it was designed to do. Lunch same place with Peter Choy, his boss Cheng Kim Meng (Subject leader for "Systems Development and Implementation", the department has a head, a deputy, 3 managers and 6 subject leaders), Parv (invited himself). Chat about future co-operation. Then to a bank with Parv (Parv says his wife couldn't stand it here after 3 weeks and went home) to cash the Ngee Ann cheque for my pay of S$ 400 (we had to find a branch of the issuing bank) and change it to sterling (several were out of sterling), but OK; rate 2.25, S$ 360 to œ 160. I kept a bit of local (just in case I need a taxi or anything), I'll change it at the airport. After lunch carry on with the same, my system all works now except viewing the marks, but it generates them OK. Then to Parv's office to write a quick summary to be signed tomorrow by Pok. Evening with Head of Department Dr Pok Yang Ming. He drove us (Pok, Parv and me) to a restuarant adjacent to the American School, Pok reckons its good. A real plastic plate this time, not a banana leaf! Beer, big prawns, baby squid, a huge crab (nutcracker provided), various veg and rice. It's so messy doing the prawns and crab. I noshed all the chilli sauce, Parv had a little and thought it incredibly hot, he needed a glass of beer and a glass of water to wash it down! Pok paid, of course, he's a talker of big ideas, we'll go cautiously to see if they actually come to fruition. The lady who came with the bill was offering watches for sale, Pok bought me 2 for the twins! There's a lot of pressure for me to come again, I will (when?), fees for short visit = S$ 100 per day = S$ 3000 per month = œ 1400, come for a whole month is fee of S$ 10000 = œ 4500, much better; we shall see. Parv enjoys my company, we think on the same wavelength. Home 21h00, watched some of the "Russia House" (you can tell Sean Connery a mile off) and packed and fell asleep. Alice Louise Markham born to Sue and Alan, weighed 8lb 10. [Left S$ 136 = œ 62.]

Thursday 30th November 1995 *** Home today! Remember airport tax is S$ 15. Ready and packed early, walked round the neighbourhood, the man came round insect spraying all the green areas, great clouds if insecticide powder, I ran from it, then decided to run back to photograph it. Handed the apartment key to the office. Depart hostel 10h00 (no crack of dawn rush for a change) with Peter Choy, he's been very helpful, his department unfortunately doesn't talk to Parv's. Check in at the airport (hope it's not on fire this time, no it's not) (you pay departure tax at the checkin instead of the silly system of buying a ticket elsewhere) 11h00, change last cash S$ 120 to s 53. (Should be my 24th stamp in the passport this year = 12 visits, but EU countries don't stamp it now, not even the Czech republic.) In the terminal building I thought they were spraying plastic plants, but actually they were real plants, very perfect. Quick ride on the free monorail between the different terminal buildings even though I didn't need to. Depart Changi airport (Changi is infamous world war 2 Japanese prison camp associated with the forced labour railway) 12h30 (actually 12h50) on Singapore Airlines flight SQ320. Singapore to London 10878 km = 6800 miles or so, flying time in the book 13h30. Set watch back 8 hours. Four full length feature films on the plane, plus news etc. Big meal (lunch) after take off, then snacks, then dinner before we land. A display (when they're not showing a film) gives our height (33000 feet), ground speed (810 kph = 510 mph), head wind (80 kph = 50 mph, our air speed must ne about 890 kph), distances of towns which you might be able to see, distance remaining to London, time remaining to London, outside temperature (-80 Celsius), local time, Singapore time, London time, and maps to different scales showing our route and current position and local towns; keeps me interested. At almost exactly 3 hours (2500 km = 1560 miles) to go we passed over Istanbul and into Europe; it feels like being home! Due to arrive Heathrow 18h50 (the computer display says 18h32, but I don't think it knows that we slow down for the final approach). Quickly through immigration, luggage slowish, as soon as I was through I got out warm clothes, it's 7 degrees here. I hurried to the bus terminal, got quite wheezy with the hurry and the cold air combined. There was a bus ("National") in, the driver told me when he expected to get to Nottingham, waited for me to phone Joy, and set off as soon as I was on board, wonderful. He took small roads to avoid M25 traffic jams. Victoria bus station on time at 22h28, Joy collected me, home 22h45. We stayed up chatting and unpacking tol 01h00. [Left cash = little, I hope!]

1996 Second software trip Under cobstruction

Sunday 25th August 1996 *** Eric business trip / visit to Singapore. Woken up at 01h45 English time, is that 09h45 Singapore? No, 08h45, its only 7 hours ahead in summer time. Should arrive Singapore 09h35, but we are an hour late. (After we'd completely stopped, the tracking software said "3 mph, altitude 1 ft"!) The plan is to get a taxi to Ngee Ann (ask for Kismis Avenue) and be met by Parv at block 90, but no, Dr Tan Whee Keng was there to meet me, being met is a very much appreciated luxury after a tiring journey! I took out a further S$ 200 at the airport, so I have about S$ 400 or so. Tan's first question in the car was "What are the UK laws about the short selling of shares?", typical Singaporese! I'm in block 90 (the same block as last visit) room 04-01A, that's floor 4, the big apartment 1 has been split into 1A and 1B. Living room, kitchen (washing machine, tea, instant coffee), small loo and shower (a "loose" shower onto the floor and down a drain, I must check that cockroaches don't come up the drain) and towels, and bedroom with air conditioning. Slob, unpack, shower, change. Wandered over the footbridge (over the "Pan Island Expressway" = motorway) to campus hoping for a swim, but I need an identity card before they'll let me in. Back, and out for a walk (with sun hat, wow it seems hot) to Bukit Timah shopping centre; I remembered it once I was inside. Mostly open even though it's Sunday. Bought postcards and stamps (S$ 10), coke cans + sliced cheese + dry biscuits (S$ 20), and knickers (S$ 8 from Yaohan Dept Store). Home, Parv dropped in between student supervisions; he also works for Singapore National University on Saturdays and Sundays. I wrote 10 postcards; Lucy Liz; CompSci, Mum, Pat+Ian, Nan, Campbells, Jeannie L, Paul+Jacqui, Dunkirk School, Earwicker. Then I walked down to Bukit Timah, looked round the rest of the area, posted the cards [post boxes are white with a small red rectangle saying "Post"), bought a map (S$ 8), and ended up at a Korean restaurant "Seoul Garden" in BB Plaza. I had vegetarian assortment (S$ 20 included tip); they also do a steamer, looks good, but needs a gang of people really. Home 20h00. [Spent S$ 66.]

Monday 26th August 1996

Slept well, woke about 08h00. To work! Contact Peter Choy and Lee Ngo Hock (ex No 25 Greenfield St, now a lecturer in Electronics here). Remember to take the floppies of the new system. Arrived 09h50, no-one in yet! Meeting with Pok at 09h30, they want to get an Internet version of Ceilidh going to generate interest, but haven't got the grants they want yet; if we can produce a demonstration version, the grants might then come. Lunch in the refectory nearest (Ngee3 Ann Refectory 2) with Parv, Chinese, S$ 2, that'll do for today! Noticed heavy rain outside, it's has all gone dark; apparently it's not the rainy season. Afternoon meeting about their use of Ceilidh already; they think it marks too hard (Nottingham all think it marks too generously). So they want to tweak the marking system to give more marks. Many of the programs don't even work, but are required to be given very good marks! At 17h00 I carried on to implement some of their suggestions. All OK. Left work 18h00, still raining but not so hard. My Rohan trousers soon dry out, even here. I don't need a meal, I snacked my own biscuits and cheese bought yesterday, and read and watched TV and listened to BBC World Service, all at the same time.

Tuesday 27th August 1996

Didn't sleep so well, it's hard to get to sleep when your internal clock says it's tea time. In at 09h00. Take passport, air ticket and travel receipt to the Human Resources office (Block 1, level 6, Sor Khum, 8169) for my fee and air fare reimbursement after lunch; they gave me my subsistence cheque (S$ 787.50, how do they calculate it?) straight away, and I'll cash it tomorrow. Then they want the passport for the formal immigration procedures. They'll pay fee plus air ticket as a UK banker's draft (should be S$ 3000 + œ 785 = approx œ 2300). Morning was a brief chat about Internet problems, then I went over to the CBT (Computer Based Training) Centre, and had a productive time putting WWW pages for Ceilidh up. There are enough there for quite a good demonstration. Lunch with Parv at Refectory 1, Chinese again, I paid S$ 4, and to HR (above) on the way back. Afternoon showing 3 people plus Parv how to set up a new exercise. They are all going to set up the same one, and we'll see how differently they do it. They all got the model program up, but then varied in how far they got in setting up the marking process. I stayed behind specially to help Mrs Tan complete her program. Then she took me for evening meal at the food hall nearby; she had a fishy Chinese dish (big prawns, squid etc), she each the shrimps whole and spat out the bits! She bought satay and green veg (after I'd said that Joy tells me to eat veg while I'm away) for me. She went back to work, marking; I walked on to the Bukit Timah shopping mall, and bought ryvitas, Bon Maman jam, apples, cheese, tomato juice (S$ 10) and more knickers (S$ 15). [Spent S$ 29 today, total S$ 95 so far. S$ 111 left of the 200 I got at the airport. Spent so far S$ 90. 3 days gone, 10 to go, S$ 30 per day spent so far]

Wednesday 28th August 1996

Slept better, woken by BBC World Service at 07h30. Morning-- more work at CBL, no, they haven't got the compiler ready yet. Instead I worked on the MSC Ceilidh. I wrote a script to compare all the model programs written yesterday; three staff plus Parv + me all have to write a program and a marking scheme, I'm applying each person's marking to each person's program! 09h30 off to the bank on campus to cash my cheque for S$ 787.50, no problem, then I took the passport to Human Resources for them to complete the immigration procedures. Rest of the morning chatting teacher facilities in Ceilidh. Lunch with Parv at another student refectory, number 3, I had Muslim food, he paid (S$ 3 for two!). Who should sit next to us but Peter Choy (Computer Science, we've met here and Nottingham), I arranged to see him tomorrow 14h00. Head of MSC Poc also eat with us. I phoned Lee Ngo Hock (6991, Electronic Engineering, lived at 25 Greenfield Street for a while) but he's away until Monday on military service (compulsory week or two each year for all men under 30). Afternoon-- more work on setting up a new exercise, concentrating on dynamic tests. The department got my temporary staff pass to the swimming pool, so 17h00 straight from work to the flat, put on bathers, and off to do 4 lengths. Very pleasant. Evening slobbing, did washing in the machine (4 shirts + undies), put them under a turned up fan, and ironed the two silk shirts before bed!
4 days gone, 9 to go! $S 111 still left, I have S$ 209 + 787 = 996 as well, spent S$ 89 = 22 per day so far.

Thursday 29th August 1996

Jeannie L birthday. Paul Blackwell birthday. 09h30-- A Java "expert" to chat, we'll see how much he knows. Poc came to the meeting. It turns out that we can't really do anything we want to using Java, what a hassle. We'll have to think of another way. I wandered round campus at lunchtime, looking in the various student shops (bought 5 more postcards S$ 5, and some scissors S$ 1.30) and a ham croissant S$ 0.90 at the deli. 14h00-- Over to CCS to see Peter Choy, floor 7; he's very busy with Open University and Ngee Ann marking, I shall choose to teach things I can mark with Ceilidh! He sends regards from Jennifer. 15h00 onwards I worked on the WWW data here; but they hadn't room for me at CBT, so I had to work from MSC by fetching a file over the net to an MSC machine, editing it here, putting it back to CBT, then viewing the CBT copy from MSC over the WWW. Very slow, but I got some work done, and clarified something else that CBT have to do for me. I borrowed an umbrella from work, pouring again (it's NOT the rainy season), then for a wet walk to post the 5 cards, and end up at the BT Plaza "Wishbone" restaurant for a Hainan beef noodle, and a beer, expensive S$ 16. Spent S$ 24 today. Spent S$ 113 so far, S$ 87 left in wallet. 5 days gone, 8 to go.
Cards to-- Jenny, Clare B, Tim+Sabina+K, John Cooke, Liz+Peter.

Friday 30th August 1996

Cool day, only 30 degrees, very pleasant. Still no C compiler on the CBT machine, but at least I can login from MSC and do some development; I need one machine to do the changes (it keeps going dead, I have to switch off and on) and a second to view (a lovely new Apple). A student from National University came, we chatted with Poc, he'll do some programming for them, it might be ready in a week. I spent the rest of the day working on a real WWW version, where the student types the program in. Lunch with Parv and XXX who is writing the "Developer's Guide" with him, refectory 3, Chinese. Parv paid. Afternoon I helped Parv, and got my WWW version (student gets the skeleton, edits it on-screen and submits) working. After work (17h30) Stephen plus two others took me out, to a steamboat meal in another local shopping centre "Beauty world". Top floor, in the open air. A camping gas burner, on top a boiling saucepan in the middle full of stock, and a griddle surface all round it covered in aluminium foil. We helped ourselves to unlimited food (all raw, eggs, green veg, sliced beef, lamb, chicken, king prawns, meat balls, fish balls, the trouble is that you don't know what's what). You boil things in the central pan (raw eggs + noodles + veg + king prawns) and fry the others round the edge. I eat a reasonable amount (including 3 king prawns), one of the others had 30+ shrimps! You can go back for more. The raw shrimps are black, they go red as they cook. We each had plate, bowl, chopsticks, ladle. Very chatty, they insisted on paying. Finished 19h30, then wandered off, I walked home looking in the shops, home at 20h00. 6 days gone, 7 to go. Left S$ 117 in hand, spent S$ 113.

Saturday 31st August 1996 *** [Peeping Tom at Sutton Bonington.] Walked through the flats to Jalan Jurong Kechil, catch a 174 bus on the far side. S$ 1.10 fare (drop cash in the box like Nottingham, but you can buy a stored value card). 30 minutes, I got off downtown near Raffles. Wandered around, then to the National Museum shop (I'd forgotten where it was, but went to the Carlton Hotel where I stayed once and headed out from there, and found it), spent S$ 95 including postcards & notelets. To a bookstore across the road, S$ 16 for a Morris West newly published, I haven't seen before (or have I?), "The Ringmaster". Then to the museum, S$ 3, it'll be cheaper when I'm 60! The "History of Singapore" dioramas were interesting, and old local drawings and paintings, but not much else. Spent more in their shop too S$ 72! Then I started the long walk up the great shopping street "Orchard Road", but decided (lazy) to take the underground half way, S$ 0.60. The underground has doors all along the platforms hiding the tracks. Wandered round various shops, then up to the Botanic Gardens (free). Then it poured with rain (I have no umbrella), so I had an ice cream, then wandered round the Orchid Garden (extra S$ 2) in the drizzle. It's all new since I was last here, in a different part of the Botanic Gardens, bigger and better laid out. Then the rain got heavier, so I headed for the bus home (S$ 0.80), dropped into Bukit Timah Plaza to buy an umbrella! I got a medium good one at S$ 7.50. Then a banana split & Pepsi S$ 8, then home to slob for a bit. Wrote cards to Ann W, Fiona+Martin, Bren+Jamie, Marion, Frankfurt, Gillian Figures. Wallet S$ 382, cupboard S$ 209+250, spent 1195-841=354. 7 days gone (S$ 50/day spent), 6 to go (S$ 140/day left), past half way now.

Sunday 1st September 1996 *** [New minister Michael Cassidy+Linda at Chilwell Road. John+Gail Hudson move to Bingham. I must send a thankyou letter to them.] 09h00 through the flats for a number 61 bus S$ 1.30 from the other side of to Jalan Jurong Kechil. Got off near the World Trade Centre, I had intended to walk to the Cable Car Station, but the bus station was closer! S$ 7 fare to Sentosa Island, apparently that's a $5 or such entrance fee to the island, plus the fare. The whole island (only 100 yards from the mainland) is a theme park a couple of miles square, you name the theme and it's there somewhere. You can get there by bus, cable-car, or ferry. Got off at the second stop, on top of the hill, another museum of Singapore history, "Pioneers of Singapore", "Surrender Chambers", S$ 5. A comprehensive section about the British rule, then the Japanese invasion and its problems, then independence. Then I walked down the "nature trail", mostly artificial statues of dragons skeletons. Ended up at the beach, palm trees and white sand, beautiful, but lots of ships just off shore, it's not very clean. I rented a bike (S$ 12 for 2 hours from 12h30, a good "Giant" mountain bike) and cycled as far as I could that way round the coast, all on a smooth cycle track. I saw only one other cyclist! All very beautiful. Then I cycled over the top of the island (I don't think you're supposed to go off the cycle tracks) down to the other side. I headed round the north coast (the island is perhaps 2 miles across), stopped for sandwich and beer, and dropped the bike off. Walked round more, too much of a queue at the aquarium, I ignored Lego Sea Land. Caught a ferry back ("Penguin Boat Services Ltd" S$ 0.80) to the World Trade Centre; there was a special "real snow" event S$ 5 admission; I didn't pay to throw a snowball! Home, and to the polytechnic pool for 4 lengths and a long read. The weather changes quickly from warm sun to threatening black clouds and thunder (still 30 degrees), no rain today. Put all my recent shirts to wash (that might be the last use of the washing machine this trip) and put them under a turned up fan to dry. Evening meal was Nasi Goreng (rice, egg, shrimps veg) and a Tiger beer at Bukit Timah Plaza, S$ 15. Ironed the shirts. Wallet S$ 340, cupboard S$ 209+250, spent 1195-799=396. 8 days gone (S$ 50/day spent), 5 to go (S$ 160/day left).

Monday 2nd September 1996

Confirm homeward flight with KLM phone 7377622, done 08h00. Washed the towel and hung it to dry, all done by evening. Forecast showers. Work, some fights with the CBT system and the MSC interface, it kept going down and giving "File system full" messages. Someone phoned CBT and it miraculously cleared. Lee Ngo Hock from ECE phoned, we meet tomorrow morning. Lunch with Parv, we needed my umbrella, downpour all day, it was almost a cool breeze at about 29 degrees. By the end of the day the Interactive WWW Ceilidh was all working except for their missing C compiler, and it needs a bit of beautifying. It's all quite impressive really! I wrote a command to collect all my new commands together, to take back to Nottingham on floppy disc. Evening out with Parv, we went to Holland Village on a 5 (or 75) bus, walked round the shops, admired a heavy wooden elephant, bought 2 nice extra large shirts for S$ 35 the 2. Then a Thai meal, we shared king prawns (I'm getting quite into King Prawns!), chicken with ginkgo nuts, and asparagus. Then coffee in a separate place, and a long chat about the world. The I wrote a draft report on the WWW implementation. 9 days gone, 4 to go.

Tuesday 3rd September 1996

Sylvia (1934) birthday. Washed my nightie and hung to dry. Reports which I have to write-- WWW Ceilidh design (done) and user guide (done), draft paper for Malaysia (done in the evening), Nottingham University / Ngee Ann co-operation document. 09h30 Lee Ngo Hock from ECE (phone 6991) comes to find me, we walked round campus, had a Coke in the refectory 3, I was back for 11h00. 12h00 lunch with Mr Ho in the staff restaurant, rather a rush as he was lecturing (statistics, and handing back last week's exam papers) at 13h00. There were 3 of us, he ordered a set meal for 4! Soup, a whole bass, asparagus, beef, all Chinese style. Back to work! I keep tweaking the WWW system to improve the appearance of the pages. Then I chatted with Parv, and we carried on with describing the teacher facilities. He really confuses concepts all over the place. Home for a rest, then walked to the Bukit Timah shops just to wander round. Bought biscuits and oranges, S$ 3! Wrote a draft Malaysia paper on the laptop, and improved the WWW user guide one. Dry clean nightie. 10 days gone, 3 to go.

Wednesday 4th September 1996 *** [Trent University gig (22h00 to 02h00) cancelled.] The usual boring weather forecast on "A.M. Singapore" TV, showers, 31 max, 24 min, it's been the same most days. Tidying software. Quick lunch and chat with Parv on "Exactly what do we mean by the word 'knowledge'? And what is 'information'?" He likes such philosophical chats. Wandered home after lunch, read a chapter sitting on the balcony (I'd worked 08h00 to 12h30), and back in for 15h00. More chats with Parv, this time over the "Ceilidh" documents he has written for Ngee Ann, they just don't make sense. Quick chat about problems (lack of compiler) with Pok at 17h00 and showed him my new bits, then picked up by Lee Ngo Hock. First below the flats to the "Hawker Market" (Food Market) to buy mangos and a huge (Japanese) red apple! I wish I'd known it was there! Then ?185? bus to his apartment. It's on the 6th floor (the lift stops only at 1, 5 and 8, you walk the rest), overlooks grass, a school, and a mountain. Bukit Timah hill is the highest part of Singapore, 580 ft high! It was the site of the last British stand against the Japanese (all this history I know). They have three kids ages 2, 5, 10 (the gap was while he was at Nottingham). Wonderful family meal, rice, fish balls, minced meat in tofu, green veg, "porridge" (rice soup), clear soup with ginkgo nuts (shell and peel the nuts, and boil for at least 30 minutes). Afterwards chopped fresh mango, wonderful! They all came on the bus 22h00, and they stayed on to go home again, great family. Wallet S$ 303 drawer S$ 450 = 753 from 1195 = 440 spent. 11 days gone = S$ 40 / day spent, 2 to go.

Thursday 5th September 1996

About 04h00 woken by noise, a gales and downpour, with everyone slamming their windows shut! And it was the first night I'd left windows open! Forecast showers 32 degrees max 23 min, what a change! Traffic noise quieter than usual early morning; walking to work you could see that one lane of the expressway was seized up. On the TV news in the evening a crash at Changi (the other (east) end of the island) had caused a 28 km backup from 06h30 to 09h30. I spent the morning implementing two new ideas to the new WWW Ceilidh. First was a change so that the course notes can use hot-spots to refer to relevant exercises. The second was to enable any exercise to have a personalised page instead of the standard one. False rumours at 17h00 that CBT had installed a C compiler, but no, they were still trying to nick a free copy, and it requested a licence number. Evening with Parv, we walked 20 minutes along Bukit Timah Road to an Italian, good Italian pizza. I paid, S$ 60. 12 days gone ($S 500 spent = S$ 42 / day), 1 to go (S$ 700-ish left).

Friday 6th September 1996 *** [Joy to Don+Mary's.] Forecast showers min 24 max 31. Meeting with Pok and Parv 09h00. He wants a dummy Pascal course, soon done later in the morning. Overall he's happy with the results, and wants me to come back in due course. I gave him one of my bowls, he chose the green with pink splats. I gave chocolate to the programmers. I showed Parv how to search the net, we found a Vienna paper by him. Lunch with Pok, Parv and me at the Novotel (Pok drove), shark fin soup and various. Then we came back, and I had to design my own tee-shirt (motto "to dance is to live, to live is to dance"), which they then printed and ironed on. Lee Ngo Hock to deliver mango, ginkgo nuts and fried peanuts at 16h30 (I gave him the other bowl)! I left the whisky with Parv. Back to the apartment to finish packing. Pok to pick me up 20h00 at the apartment. All the way we chatted about economics; Singapore has a fuzzy control economic system, because of all its regulations? Communism is open loop feedback, capitalism in closed loop (cyclic), Singapore is fuzzy. Sign in at the airport 21h00. Bought mooncakes, and changed all my leftover S$ into s270. I looked at the "Internet Center" in the terminal building, but you have to pay S$ 2 / 15 minutes to use it, no thanks. Depart Singapore 23h10 KL 838 = 10 minutes late. The aircraft tracking system says expected arrival 05h35, early because of back wind, good, gives me a bit more time there. 13 days gone, 0 to go.

1997 First trip

Sunday 16th March 1997 This time Joy came with me to Singapore. Although I'm working at Ngee Ann Poly, there will be plenty of ex-Pats to keep her company in the day.

*** Depart 10h00 to drive down to Joan+Gerry's. Fast run, but huge pile-up on the other side of the M1 blocking part of our side too, averaged 60 mph until we got off the motorway towards Woking, arrive 12h30. Wonderful lunch, and walk round their local common. Dropped off our VW at Don+Mary's, arrived Heathrow 19h00. Singapore Airlines SQ321 report 20h00 depart 22h15. After checking (seats 59D and E, middle block, near the back) in we bought books to read, and booze for gifts. The aircraft has individual TV screens in every seat, you can watch any of 22 TV channels (including the usual map of our position) and play interactive games, and make phone calls (but it costs a lot on your credit card). Good meal (Joy had chicken, I had sweet and sour fish) then we watched different films. Very bumpy in places, Joy says her worst ever.

Monday 17th March 1997 *** Written 16h00 Singapore time Monday just N of Sri Lanka. Height 11300m, speed 1030 kph, predicted arrival 30 minutes early at 18h30, outside temp -49 degrees. Breakfast = omelette, nice and cheesy but too rubbery. Arrive Singapore half an hour early at 18h30. Passport check very quick, luggage 5 minutes. Changed s 200 at 2.247 into S$450. No-one was waiting for us, so we caught a taxi to Kismis Avenue flats (I told him the way, Jalan Jurong Kechil, Toh Yi Close, Kismis Avenue!), S$17, we were just starting to look around when Parv appeared with the keys. We unpacked, and slobbed. There seems to be everything we need. The radio is already tuned into BBC World Service, they said that John Major has just announced the election for 1st May, the longest ever election campaign. At least 2 (one Singaporian, one Malaysian) English speaking channels on the TV.

Tuesday 18th March 1997

[SWT lecture 12 cancelled.] Alarm 07h30. I slept well early, bad after 03h00. Joy did the reverse. Both showered, coffee, tea, oatcakes. Wandered over (showing Joy the swimming pool and shops) to report at Parv's office 09h00. Introduced Joy to Pok, he chatted (a bowl of mine was on the table), showed us a Tai-Chi video, and gave us two big Ngee Ann mugs. They've set a lot of work for me to do, my timetable (which I haven't seen) is organised by Mr Lee Heng Tak. Also saw Mrs Tan-Tng Whee Keng (deputy boss), who picked me up at the airport last time. Joy came home to the flat, and we met at the staff "Sunshine caterers" restaurant at 12h00 for lunch. Fish and chips for me, "salad" (egg, cucumber, tomato, lots of dressing) for Joy. Then we walked down to Bukit Timah Plaza, but the main shop (where I bought knickers etc last time, "Yaohan") was closed, the whole place was looking dingy. Then home and to work, I finished getting most of WWW Ceilidh working, two files from UK missing. Home, Joy had contacted Marie Pavel (floor 9 of our block, we had met her at the CBLIS conference in Opava, Czech Republic). We went up and met her and husband Frank, both Czech, he never stops talking waffle [Egyptian hieroglyphs show aircraft and helicopters etc]. Then she drove us to the local food supermarket called "Cold Storage", shopped for S$85. Then they drove us (Marie driving, lots of comments from him, several arguments, flashing from following lorries) to a noodle bar, and I had beef & onion noodles, Joy had prawn noodles. Then drove back (got lost), and stopped for a drink at our place. They chose a pot. Bed about midnight.

Wednesday 19th March 1997

I slept fine, but up at 05h00 for a read! Joy slept better, I woke her as I left for work 08h30. Fetched a number of missing files from Nottingham (the Internet is fast in the early morning) and got WWW Ceilidh working, but lots of failures which later proved to be Netscape errors on Windows 3.1. What a pain, there was me thinking it was my fault! On Windows95 it worked fine. Removed lots of references to Nottingham in the code, both text such as "See your tutor at Nottingham" and addresses in the content such as "cs.nott.ac.uk". Then to the Sports Centre with a letter authorising Swimming passes for Joy and me, but the right (boss) man wasn't there, and no-one else can possibly sign in his absence. Home for lunch, Joy had cleaned through, it's now all sparkling instead of dusty. Then we wandered to the student shops to buy felt pens, note books etc. 15h00 Parv organised a laboratory session with 20 students all using WWW Ceilidh with a new exercise he had set this morning. It all went fine, Pok was in attendance, I hope he was impressed. Pok suggested a form of page for the teacher in charge to monitor the progress of the class. Home 17h30 for a shower, Joy had gone to town with Marie Pavel and wasn't back. Walked to Bukit Tima Shopping Centre, then chose a Greek restaurant Panagopoulos opposite "Beauty World", salad and veggie pizza, then ice cream, S$35. Wandered back, looking at the local hawker market, still busy at 21h45. Showered yet again!

Thursday 20th March 1997 *** To work 08h15, developed a teacher's WWW page (at Pok's suggestion yesterday) to look at the progress of student marks. Added a histogram to the output. To the PE centre again, this time the boss man was in so I got the swimming passes. Then to Finance (see Rose on floor 6), got my cheque for fee and subsistence. Off to the campus bank (OCBC = Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation) to cash the cheque (S$3630 + 450 at the airport makes S$4080 total). Then to Human Resources (see Joanne 8169), filled in miles of work permit form (primary school I went to etc), they kept my passport and air ticket, and need an invoice from Nottingham for the air ticket. 12h00 lunch with Parv, no, he was too busy, so Joy and I went to the Deli on campus, S$10. Croissants with tuna and ham. Afternoon email to our kids, telling them to phone Grandma. Email to Carol at work, asking her to FAX a copy of my ticket invoice. Tweaked the WWW marking to change certain things in their programs, like C++ comments to C comments, and a "getch" they always finish with for no reason at all (it's all a programming myth)! Swimming in the 50m by 33m pool 16h45 to 17h30, 4 lengths each, Joy said the water was hard to swim in. 18h00 caught 75 air-con bus from near "Cold Storage" to Holland Village, S$0.80 each. Wandered round junk (Chinese Import/Export Emporium) shops, bought an Indonesian shadow puppet S$18, and ordered a big framed mirror to be packed S$180 (Jim Art 468-2858, 211 Holland Avenue #03-04, Holland Road Shopping Centre, Singapore 1027). Then a Mexican meal S$44 and to a specialist coffee shop for coffees and ice cream S$15. Blue Mountain special coffee was S$15 = s 7 a cup! Home by 75 bus to Ngee Ann main entrance for 21h45 and walked home across campus and over the bridge. CIH Joy S$ 242, me S$3275 = 3510 so spent S$570 so far.

Friday 21st March 1997

[Ian Campbell arrives at the Marco Polo hotel 22h30.] It must be the coffee, but I couldn't sleep so read the rest of the Colin Dexter Morse novel before sleep at 04h00. FAX from Carol with my air ticket bill. Added menu items to Ceilidh for WWW pages and passwords; the folks here want everything done off a menu, not done by hand. 13h00 lunch with Parv at the Sunshine, they were out of sandwiches, out of ice cream, we did manage salad and spring rolls. Then I went home with Joy for mango (super). Back to work, did some documentation, and worked on a new "shar" command, never finished it, I must take it with me next time. Phoned the Marco Polo Hotel and left a message for Ian. Posted 10 cards (Mum, Beth+Barrie+Caitlin+Callum, K+A, J+R, A+H, Ella+Keith, Jenny, Astleys, Pat), and took Carol's FAX to Human Resources. Went to John (and Caroline) Brown's flat block 92 04-01 at 19h00 for drinks. She used to live in Stillwater Oklahoma (where Joy and I went, I've been twice); his boss used to be Heini (who used to be Nottingham Maths Prof), small world! They are returning to USA in June, he's going to build his own house in New Mexico somewhere. Parv arrived late after doing Open University classes. Then we all walked to Chinese nosh somewhere local (out of the flats, turn L up Kismis Road, R L R), wonderful, baby squid, frogs, crab, etc. Walked home, up to our room, and they chatted, and chose a white pot of mine from the collection we had brought.

Saturday 22nd March 1997

09h00 see Stephen (email address "cfc2"), and used "ftp" to get various files from Nottingham; it was slow. Looked at my email while I was at it. 10h00 lectured to various regarding Ceilidh dynamic marking. 11h00 meeting regarding putting Ceilidh on the Polytechnic's main server with their Computing Centre networking boss, the Computer Based Teaching unit boss, Parv, me and eventually Pok. Then more lecturing, home for 13h00. Joy had phoned Ian, he'd arrived, and she'd arranged to go there for lunch at 13h00, We caught 75 bus to just past the Botanic Gardens, and opposite the Marco Polo. Ian had a colleague Ken (he has a Korean wife, Ken is from another company but they work together) with him. Lunch (Joy avocado salad, I had chicken and chilli, it was literally just that). We all walked 5 minutes (past the British Council, the American Embassy like a fortress, and the Australian Embassy) to the Botanic Gardens. Long leisurely walk, lots of interesting trees with names, orchid gardens (S$2 for them, S$1 for us senior citizens, ice lollies S$10, postcards S$3), the bromeliad house had lots but none like ours, more ice lollies (it was hot), and the cannonball tree was not in flower or fruit. Walked through the rainforest. Amazing trees with masses of aerial roots (taut like a bow string!), some with buttress roots and long surface roots, others with lots of small roots growing out just above ground. Back to the hotel for drinks and a sit down. Then Ian (Ken was tired) and us caught a taxi (S$15) to the Night Safari (S$45 admission for us 3), very crowded (2 hour queues for the train). We walked round 20h00 to 22h00, saw mouse deer, fishing cats, slow loris, leopards, tigers. Everything was visible except a new long-tailed porcupine. Nosh in the restaurant there S$35. The taxi dropped us off at Kismis avenue at 23h00, then went on with Ian.

Sunday 23rd March 1997

[Ian leaves.] I slept like a log. Lazy getting up. Went shopping 10h30 to Bukit Tima Plaza, the shops were just opening! Looked at new suitcases, big and cheapo S$30, but a better one at S$90, we may come back for it. I bought sandals at S$29, Joy tried them but they were too chunky. Looked at nice kids books of photos of local flowers and birds, but not really sensible to take home. Walked on to Cold Storage (general food supermarket), S$45 for children's book, bread, focaccia garlic bread, mango (Philippino?, just right), bananas (great taste said Joy), beer, wine (both very expensive by UK standards) but it's a thirsty place. Home, lunch, slob during the mid-day sun. Off 16h00 on the 174 bus from beyond opposite Cold Storage, S$1.20 each, 20 minutes into near Raffles. The museum shop (new premises since I was last here) was closed, we walked to Raffles Hotel. I showed Joy the famous Raffles courtyard, but they weren't yet serving. Looked at the VERY upper class shops, S$3000 for small antique pottery! We bought in "Blue Ginger" after trying lots on, a lovely shirt for Joy S$90. The lady serving was a football supporter, knew all about Forest! Then walked on to Raffles City Plaza, coffee/chocolate (S$6) by an interesting fountain (big splats up into the air, and sideways outwards pulses pushing the water back). Then wandered on down North Bridge Street, through Boat Quay conservation area, down Market Street to Lau Pa Sat Festival Market (between Robinson Road and Raffles Quay), a "Covent Garden" type Victorian cast iron framed building recently re-done as an eating mall. Quite busy. Joy had chicken tandoori rice etc + gulabjamen S$4, I had paper dhosa S$2, amazingly cheap. Next time I'll try murtaba. Then number 75 bus home S$1.20 each, walked through the campus again, home 21h30.

Monday 24th March 1997

Joy shopping with Caroline, not back when I got home at 17h00. I tidied up Ceilidh. New panic from Parv, Pok wants us to put Ceilidh on a departmental Pentium (called MSC3) running Solaris, all done with Steven's (Chow Fook Cheong, cfc2) help in less than an hour. Then fetched and installed the C++ course from Nottingham, its WWW files, and the PostScript, it should be interesting for them to look at even though it's not essential. Then I tidied up the various CGI scripts to make them all uniform and clean. Report to Pok 13h45. See the Principal Khoo Chin Hean 14h00. Then another chat with Pok. Then I tweaked the marking command to set the page red (in China) for a good mark, down to green for a bad one (but later Pok said to reverse it, use red = bad and green = good). It all works! Then worked on my final report, and some documentation. Home 17h00. Joy back 19h15 after a good day's shopping, mostly in the Arab quarter (Arab and Indian stuff), shirts, material, cards, earrings, the shops used Sainsbury's plastic shopping bags! Some rain. Walked down to Panagopolous again opposite Beauty World Centre, had soup in a loaf, salad, ice cream, S$50. Emptied the mail box downstairs, absolutely crammed with junk since before Christmas. CIH = S$935+2040=2975 dollars.

Tuesday 25th March 1997

In early, sent email to Don regarding our day out with Ian, continued with my notes and reports, and tidying up the software. I got all the pages uniform with "Copyright Eric" at the foot. More postcard and stamps S$30 at NP Orchard Avenue. Lunch with Joy+Poc+Parv at Sunshine, very good Chinese this time, it's always better when Pok is with us, he's a boss man. Parv had to rush off, he'd forgotten a lecture. Pok said "Take the afternoon off", so I went back, gave some files to Steven to print for tomorrow's lecture, and then skived. Taxi 14h30 S$7 to the National Museum S$1.50 for oldies. Gallery of old prints of birds and plants, and a Chinese Peranakan room. Museum shop souvenirs S$20. On to the old museum shop (the one I've been to before), S$75 for earrings, bag, tee-shirt etc. Drink in the cafe outside, then on to the National Art Gallery. Exhibition of modern painting (so-so) and 2 galleries of a modern Chinese painter Chang Dai-Chien, both traditional and new styles, interesting. The building is a newly converted old Baptist school. Taxi S$6 from outside the Carlton to World Trade Cable Car tower, S$22 for 2 tickets to Sentosa, includes admission to Sentosa and return ticket. Cable car across the water (good view). On Sentosa we caught the monorail round to "Underwater World", S$12 each. Well worth it, a walk through a plastic underwater tube through a huge aquarium with sharks, lots of huge rays, eels, hump-headed maori wrasse, catfish, metres long. Ice cream, and the monorail all round again to the ferry terminal. Two beefburgers and some mineral water, then the (free) ferry back. Number 61 bus past Holland Village and Ngee Ann, off at the Shell garage. Spent S$200? CIH E 1800, J 915.

Wednesday 26th March 1997

In at 08h15 to read Nottingham email etc. Talk at 09h00 about CGI scripts, about 8 in the audience. Steven had printed and photocopied my notes beautifully, all tarted up with proper headings using "Word". I said to them "To understand this you need to know shell scripts, WWW message passing, HTML, and Ceilidh, each worth 10 lectures, that's about 40 lectures!". Still, I summarised and answered lots of questions. Part way through Pok said "Wouldn't it be nice to have a page for the teacher to monitor class progress.". I had it done by 11h30, very pretty to look at, shows each student's progress as nice coloured boxes. 11h30 started exercise setup with Parv and Mr Chew Boon Choon. Lunch 12h30 with Peter Choy and Wing Chow (Choh?). They drove us to a nearby Indian restaurant ("Maharajah" in Clementi), nice help yourself buffet and wonderfully done Nan bread. Wing Chow wants to spend 3 months sabbatical in Nottingham. Afternoon documented, then finished exercise setup with Mr Chew. Joy wrote lots of postcards. Number 185 bus for evening with Lee Ngo Hock. Children Felicia (10), Lemuel (5), Norman (3). Lovely meal, then back home at 21h30, just in time for Joy to watch X-files on TV. Spent S$1.20 only.

Thursday 27th March 1997

More exercise setup with Mr Chew 09h00 to 10h00; we put up one of his on stock control. Then they had got the WWW server on the MSC Solaris Pentium next door working, so we zapped Ceilidh across (with "tar", via "titan") and I spent a couple of hours changing "cc" to "gcc" in the source "Makefile" and the course "type" file, and removing all the "cbt" references and replacing them with "MSC3". Other problems, but it now works. Took Steven and Mr Lim Chong Ming (his boss) for lunch at the Korean Restaurant in Bukit Timah Plaza, we had steamboat, S$64. Then we bought a green suitcase for S$98, to our surprise it's as big as the red one. We leave the red one behind. Afternoon documentation and tidying. 17h00 swimming with Joy, only 4 lengths. Evening with Peter+Jennifer Choy, meet 18h45 by the swimming pool. We drove to their flat towards Jurong. It's 2nd floor, beautifully furnished in dodgy taste. Jennifer teaches English and creative writing classes at home. They're moving in 2 years to a new 8th floor flat near Lee Ngo Hock, it's s new block under construction. Long chats, apparently Jennifer said to him after their last UK visit "Will you still love me the way Eric loves Joy when we're that old?" I played on their amazing Yamaha keyboard, but I don't want one. Home just after midnight. Spent S$162 today.

Friday 28th March 1997

Good Friday, holiday. 08h30 Parv here, we found a taxi behind Cold Storage to go to Jurong Bird Park, S$8. Admission was cheaper for pensioners! First were talking birds. Walked on past flamingos, saw falcon (and eagle and vulture and secretary bird) demonstration. Past Parrot World, 300 species they say, one section very noisy. Then into the huge netted enclosure (2 hectares) and the world's highest artificial waterfall. Lots of birds all around, and amazing nests on the end of twigs, some good vantage points, lots of folks with cameras with long lenses and tripods. Regular feeding sessions in different places. Definitely the highlight of the park. Joy was tired, so we took the monorail (air-conditioned) back to the entrance, and snack. Taxi to Holland Village, bought shirts and waistcoats (S$95), collected the mirror (all nicely packed) and home for a rest. I popped out to Cold Storage (wine + raisins + mangos, S$27) and the local hawker centre (mini bananas S$1) for a walk. Then by bus with Parv 19h00 to Holland Village, meal at the "Siamese Fins" Thai restaurant (S$125 for 1 course plus drinks, good but very expensive, very sulky service), walked, then coffee at the "coffee club" S$24. Lots of discussion of politics and tax systems. Bus to the poly, walked through, home 23h00. Spent S$290.

Saturday 29th March 1997

[worldservice.letters@bbc.co.uk] Working morning! Left at 08h15, got to work, but they had already disabled my computer access to CBT (for security reasons), so I wandered to another room to work. Then I found that there was a lecture in there so I had to move. I printed my reports on a computer in the department, and someone photocopied the notes for all of us, and the two reports for Pok, Parv, Lee and me. Lecture 09h00 to 12h30, Pok in for part of it, Parv for part, mostly Tan, Lee, Chew and ?Chiew?. Mrs Tan did a complete exercise on the new MSC3 Pentium machine (helped and hindered by the rest of us), Lee acted as scribe, then we ported the complete exercise to another machine, re-implemented it there, and then analysed it on the WWW. All fine! Lets hope they remember it all! Then another lesson on the oracle. Meeting for summary and farewell with Pok 12h30 - 13h00, we'll see what contract comes out of it for me. Home tired and relieved to have finished successfully! Then Joy and me on number 75 to DeliFrance at Jelita for filled baguette, shopping, and back home S$50. Evening 18h00 with Caroline+John Brown, taxi to an Egyptian restaurant "Cleopatra" near Riverside Plaza opposite Clark Quay. We just had mezza (nice, but intended as a starter) and baklava (sweet shredded wheat) S$60 each couple. The restaurant is new, the service could be improved, we had to point out several things to them. Then next door for coffee. Taxi out and back S$10 each way. Spent S$120.

Sunday 30th March 1997

Lazy getting up! Tidied, clothes washing and ironing, and packing. Then swimming about noon, four lengths. Frank was there, Joy has tried to ring him while Marie is away and has left messages on the answerphone. He claims that people here are nutty (the word "pot" comes to mind), says he doesn't answer the answerphone (so hadn't received the messages we'd left). Lunch was cheese and ham croissants bought at DeliFrance yesterday, we're almost finished all our food and drink in the fridge. Picked up 15h00 by Peter+Jennifer Choy. We drove to Chinatown, parked in a multi- story. Wandered round the stalls then, buying cloth, earrings, etc. Then a "drink" (a soup-bowl of sweet liquid) and wandered across a main street (New Bridge Street?) and into a more posh store. Amazing expensive furniture (S$150000 for a carved chair set). Then drove to Lau Pa Sat Festival Market (second time this trip). I counted 80 food stalls, each sells at least 5 different things. I eat chicken and garlic (Taiwanese, the murtaba stall was closed), Joy had pineapple rice in a pineapple (Thai). Peter eat Chinese, Jennifer eat little, she has a bad cough. Then sweet drinks, home 22h00. Finished packing. Phoned taxi company again, she said she'd phone back and confirm, but didn't. CIH S$640+1340=1980.

Monday 31st March 1997 *** [Typed at 9400 metres (6 miles) above the Bay of Bengal, just passed the Andaman Islands I think. We are in the middle of turbulence, so it's difficult to type, I have to hold the laptop down, speed 874 kph, 10h53 to go to London, outside temp -32 degrees C (say -26 F), head wind 105 kph (65 mph), 3.25pm in Singapore, 8.25 am in London, ETA 07h19. We have the navigation channel on the individual TV screens in front of us.] Yesterday's taxi company (near Cold Storage) hadn't phoned back, so at 07h00 I phoned "Comfort taxis", long wait on the phone, but then all OK, they phoned back and confirmed with the taxi number. Final packing, but most was done last night. Automatic phone call at 08h20 to say that the taxi had arrived. Lee Ngo Hock popped in to say goodbye, and then Parv, who took our keys, and left-over food etc from the fridge. Depart taxi (Sikh driver) 08h30, fairly slow traffic because of the rush hour, for Singapore Airlines SQ320 check-in 09h30. No queries about our large fragile package, someone came to carefully carry it away. Joy shopped in the terminal (unusual!), we had a coffee/tea, then we changed the left over S$ into s. The plane departed 35 minutes late at 13h05 (we were waiting for transfer passengers from an incoming flight from San Francisco). Arrive Heathrow 19h05.Arrived 30 minutes late, the mirror was hand delivered to us, Don was waiting. Back to their place to find Joan+Gerry, Sally+Herbert and Mary and another birthday party for me. Super cake by little Mary. Presents were 3 bottles of whisky and 2 "Happy Birthday" roses (from Wisley). Bed after 23h00.

1997 Another trip

Saturday 15th November 1997 Another work trip to Singapore. *** [Joy at Bikaner.] Biscuit firing ends 07h10, used only 31 kwh; I'll open it when I get back. Across to chat to Mum 07h45, pickup 08h15 by Helen+Steve, Helen drove the 1st half, then (change at Toddington) Steve, they dropped me at Don+Mary's for 10h45; there's a new route through the Brooklands Retail Park. Coffee, went to see Norma's house overlooking Shepperton weir, they're doing a complete overhaul before moving in. On to the sailing club, a few retired codgers there. Then some shopping at Gateway. Lunch, chat. Polite scone for tea, then Don delivered me to terminal 4 for 18h00. Long queue (25 minutes) for checkin. Bought duty free disposable camera, whisky, chocolate. Flight BA15 depart 21h40 on time from LHR to Singapore. No TV's, no newspapers, no working reading light, headphones didn't work, grot food, no drinks with the meal, no navigation software, apart from 8 problems British Airways was up to scratch. Dinner was stir-fried chicken, I should perhaps have tried the steak.

Sunday 16th November 1997 *** [Joy at Mandara.] [Manushi show at the Theatre Royal cancelled.] My neighbour is "Laurie", changed from being a bank manager at age 50, is now selling WWW Internet teaching software! He's here for an exhibition this week. Mixed grill for "breakfast" at 17h00 local time. Arrive Singapore on time at 18h30, changed s200 at 2.622 (better than the rates at Heathrow) to S$524 singapore dollars, picked up by Lee Heng Tak deputising for Pok. Parv was waiting at the Kismis Avenue Flats, I'm in block 90, room 03-1A, I think the same as last year. I changed into shorts, and we (Parv & me) wandered to Bukit Timah Plaza for a snack on the lowest floor (blueberry waffles and a double coke) and shopping for breakfast (milk, fruit, mango, butter, biscuits S$

28). Home and unpacked properly, it's warm! The smog level ("PSI" + "Pollution Standard Index") is 30, 0 to 50 = good, 50 to 100 = poor, 100+ = bad, it was 100+ at one time. New TV, gets CNN. TV adverts use Wallace and Grommet.

Monday 17th November 1997

[Joy at Delhi.] [Parv's passwords are nk5544, npm123 and natc12.] Slept badly, as expected. Cool shower. Start work at Ngee Ann. 09h00 meeting with Pok, no, no sign of him all day to everyone's surprise. Brief chats with Lee Heng Tak and Parv, then Parv went off to run a Ceilidh course for teachers. They've used Ceilidh a lot, with 660 students. While Parv taught, I put Ceilidh up on their "Titan" machine under his username, together with C and SWT courses. It all went very easily, I don't know what the machine is. Then I had a brief chat on current developments with Parv's course. Parv and I lunched at number 1 (S$2, he paid), then I went to the adjoining Ken-Air travel office and looked at 2 or 3 day holidays. Jakarta and Bali look the best, Jakarta more interesting, Bali more restful, mostly S$600 or so for air travel plus 3 nights. Bought 5 postcards and stamps, S$5. Parv showed me some exercises he's written, they are appalling! Then more chats on what they want from me. Better statistics. More of a database system, I still insist that the exercise base is kept in Ceilidh, not in a real database. Printed some documents for tomorrow, then tried one of Parv's programs on their PC; their compiler hasn't got the maths library, problems. Lee Ngo Hock (ex-Nottingham) phoned. Walked out, soup and beer at Panagopoulos S$10:76, bought cheese and jam in Beauty World S$5.60. Thunder, rain and wind in the afternoon.
Ceilidh-2 developments [I have latest with me gzipped on floppies]
More WWW interface--
Encrypted passwords
Better student / tutor / teacher / administrator menus
Student-- view marks, compile, run v. test data
Teacher-- View audit trail summaries
Attach student files
Alternative typographic marker from SHU.
X-windows interface
Tailorable menu interface
Hold spare exercises in a separate course, and browse them
Random question-answer exercises
Better structure analysis
Java course (Pavlos)
Prolog course (Fatma)
Z course (Zarina)
Digital circuits course (Thanasis)
Ceilidh-3 / JavaCeilidh developments
Cleve is working full time, Pavlos half time.
Cleve will be here next Monday (I must email him).
It will be chargeable.
Written in Java, client-server, object-oriented, language independent.
Beta release of single user system (for back of book) by Easter?
Multi-user secure version later, cheaper to existing users.
More flexible mark actions.
Possible three night holidays--
Jakarta ParkRoyal -- S$698 Dep Saturday 15h40
Jakarta Dai-Ichi -- S$609 [Full day tour ...]
Bali ParkRoyal -- S$798

Tuesday 18th November 1997

Forecast of rain this afternoon, it's the rainy season. Temperature will be 32 or 33, typical! Most of the morning teaching REs to about 10 staff, all intelligent questions. I worked on one terminal, they all saw copies of what I was doing. Lunch with Lee Ngo Hock and Parv at the Sunshine, OK, enough for today; the piped music is appalling rocked up Christmas carols. Afternoon chat with head of department Pok; he's not quite as dynamic as usual, apparently he's got to submit his PhD at the end of the week and is very preoccupied with it. My duties are to be
0-- Continue teaching the setting of exercises.
1-- Produce documents on programming standards for model solutions and general recommendations for setting exercises.
2-- Install 4 more Ceilidh systems on their server; it will run with 2 development systems (one for ECE, one for MechE), one "superceilidh" (where all Ceilidh exercises go after quality checking), and 2 teaching systems (into which teachers pull exercises selected for a course). Write a document on how to set up a new Ceilidh.
3-- Write a program to display the first and last marks of each student's work in a given exercise. We wish to show how much they improve.
4-- Work on the presentation of random exercise to students. The teacher nominates a batch of exercises, each student gets a random one from the batch.
5-- Write commands to transfer exercises between Ceilidh systems; from development to superceilidh, from superceilidh to a teaching course.
6-- Write a browser for a teacher to select exercises from superceilidh. There may be a need for extra keyword files.
7-- Install Ceilidh on a Linux system if one is ready in time.
I spent the evening writing outlines for the two "standards" documents. Then wandered to Bukit Timah Plaza, there's a sauna, steam bath and massage place there, I must try it. Bought tiger balm (my ankle's aching) and some ribbon. [Today's max 31, tomorrow 31, next two days 32.] In the top left of the TV screen it keeps saying "PSI--37" or some such. I thought it was the TV telling me something about its channel setting, but it's the "Pollution Standard Index" report updated every hour. Up to 50 rates as good, up to 100 medium, over 100 stay in and get your mask on! I shall keep an eye on it. They all talk about the "haze", it was very bad a few weeks ago, visibility 100 metres. The rains have started (every day since I've been here) and today is said to be the first clear blue sky for ages (in between the rain).

Wednesday 19th November 1997

[Joy back from India.] The Polytechnic now has a "Technopreneurship Centre", what a word! Posted 3 post cards (Mum, Don+Mary, H+Z) on the way in. Morning spent teaching, I printed the reports I wrote last night (duty number 1 done). First half was teaching the last few oracle features I hadn't covered, the second half going right through the setting up of the marking for a new exercise; that's most of duty number 0 done. Lunch at Sunshine with Parv and Foo Kin Shern (spinach + hot chilli, sea bass, tofu), Foo paid this time! Read email from Nottingham, nothing vital. Then off to "Human Resources", filled in forms for work permit and for my pay; I'm sure it will all happen eventually. Afternoon set up three new Ceilidhs (the NP system will be say 5 development Ceilidhs (one per course), a superceilidh to store all the exercises after quality testing, and 5 teaching Ceilidhs (one per course). Setting up involves creating a new user (as root, Yap [Ng Yap Soh Chin] did it for me, but not quite right), then setting up the Ceilidh system and one course, then stripping out all that isn't needed. Took longer than I thought, but that's duty number 2 well under weigh. Then Parv and I skived to town by bus to Clementi MTR (suburban railway) station (S$0.70), I bought a rail/bus card there for S$12. MTR to Raffles, the Christmas decorations are really appalling and over the top. I withdrew S$100 on my VISA card just to test it. We walked up Orchard Road. Parv bought a cyber-pet for his daughter. Stopped for a coke and reminisced about the olden days of computing! Walked on, and number 171 bus home for 21h00. The evening TV news says that they are going to stop giving out the PSI now, since all will be well! Today's TV said PSI--38. 1 bus trip.

Thursday 20th November 1997

[Joy home.] Slept very well for the first time. Morning had the usual chat with Parv, I think his programming is bad, we keep arguing about what's important. I wrote a program to do the analysis of student marks they require. It all works OK, they don't know quite what they want, but printed out lots of analysis, they should find what they want somewhere. They want some evidence for how student's programming improves with Ceilidh. Free lunch eating leftovers from a visit of school children. Skive the afternoon. Took a 171 bus to Orchard Road, wandered round shops (bought knickers for me), down to the National Art Gallery to look at a Leonardo exhibition, it's Senior Citizen's Week, free for me! Then to Raffles, shopping for Joy. Then took a 171 (or 77) bus home from near the National Library. To the "Health Club" on the Bukit Timah Centre top floor, S$40 for sauna, steam room and extended blissful massage; I spent 2 hours there, very pleasant and relaxing, felt good. She gave me quotes for lots of even more and expensive "additional services"! Meal in the basement family restaurant in the Bukit Timah centre, omelette, beer, banana split S$19. Home 21h45, TV says "PSI--33", getting better! The "PSI" (pollusion index) number disappears during adverts, presumably they don't want us to be reminded of bad things while we're being persuaded by the adverts. I feel very clean after the sauna. 2 bus trips = 3 total.

Friday 21th November 1997

Phoned Joy 06h45 [22h45 there], she was asleep having gone to bed early. She got back a day early on a scheduled flight due to over-booking of the charter flight, all's well in Nottingham. Before work I checked all the documents I've written here (6 so far) and copied them to a floppy. I took another floppy to work, and took copies of CStudImprove's output, useful for a research paper. Printed (using "word") all my documents. Set up a couple of problems with Parv, his programming is appalling! I created (with Parv) a new Ceilidh system on their Linux machine, amazingly fast. Lunch at the nearest with Parv and Lee, I paid, S$2! Last main teaching session from 14h00, we set up 2 exercises, then tea, then I summarised the 5 papers I've written and photocopied for them. Home, and bus 75 (or 61) to Holland Village. Wandered round the shops, attracted by a Chinese make-up box, elephant stool, and expensive tables. The problem is one of space! DeliFrance was out of most things, so ended having a Mexican meal S$23; not as good as Nottingham. 2 bus rides, 5 so far, $455 left.

Saturday 22nd November 1997

[Gig at Christchurch Chilwell cancelled.] [Chris Alton 50th birthday party.] Woken by BBC World Service at 07h30! Left about 09h30 by 174 bus to downtown, walked across to the National Museum to look at the shop. Then along to the other museum shop (I've used it before), bought various for Joy S$144. On to the latest national museum, new in April this year, "Asian Culture Museum", history of Chinese, Asian and Middle Eastern cultures, free to OAPs this week! Not all there yet, but quite good, a good film of Chinese pottery in a huge kiln, 3 tons of wood per firing! Walked to Boat Quay (DeliFrance coffee, salad and croissant S$10), on to Lau Pa Sat to sit and read. Bus 75 to the Botanic Gardens, walk, sit, read, and a can of orange juice. I hadn't noticed the hundreds of turtles in the lake there. Bus 75 to the Cold Storage (food supermarket, cheese, mangos, milk, ryvita, S$27) near Ngee Ann. Home 6h30. TV says PSI--44, up again. Watched TV (New York marathon then UK football) and read. 3 bus trips, S$2.00 left on the card.
Pronunciation-- seeds=children, fish=prosperity in Chinese.

Sunday 23rd November 1997 *** Dr Tan Whee Kay's phone is 4623150 home, 4606597 office. Took first weekly malaria double pill just in case I go somewhere on Sunday next. Checked through all Ngee Ann reports, jobs done and jobs to do; there seems a lot yet to do. Went in to work at 10h00 to do a number of jobs. Let myself in and found the light switches! Got a number done quickly (finished CStudImprove, edited tutor.c, finished CSharEx and CInstEx, checked localised version of CSharSys and CInstSys). Walked on 14h00 to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, and started to walk up to the top, followed a troupe of monkeys for part of the way. Got 2/3 of the way to the top, sweating profusely, then a great thunder storm. Back down with umbrella, and very late lunch at Panagopoulos's, soup in a loaf plus soup great, bought-in sweet not interesting. Home again, phoned Dr Tan, she'll pick me up at 18h00. Another wonderful thunder storm as I waited outside (under cover) for her, frightening lightning! She took me to the Singapore Science Centre. Nosh (I had little), looked in the shop (astronomical telescopes S$4000!), then to an "Omni" cinema (free for me of course, it is "senior citizens week" after all), you sit in a sphere, screen all around. The "Volcano" showing was full, we saw instead "L5" science fiction, a city constructed in space. If in doubt, shut your eyes and wait for the others to stop screaming. Home 21h00, no lights or power! Went to neighbours across the way, they said that lightning often trips the fuses, and he came with a torch to reset it. All OK. PSI--43.

Monday 24th November 1997 *** Cleve Gibbon in Singapore; no sign. Most wonderful blue sky yet first thing, I wore my cap to work! Not a very productive, trying to sort out their original main Ceilidh. Lunched nearby with Parv. Demonstrated the installation of new Ceilidhs to Yap and ???; also just a useful chat, they don't know Unix very well yet. Human resources should have my work permit and limited money tomorrow, more later. Got a letter for my swimming pool pass, went over but "the man isn't in until Thursday, sorry". I suggested politely that they might let me swim upon showing the letter requesting a pass; they decided that was a good idea. 4 lengths, then more thunder, so I scooted home. PSI--43.

Tuesday 25th November 1997

Another blue sky, great; but afternoon downpour, I always think it's the hardest rain ever, the locals tell me it's nothing! Go to Human Resources to collect my work permit (and for my passport back), and to collect some cash; no, phoned and it's not ready yet. Worked on "mcs3" first thing. Checked and tidied lots of things, their WWW seems OK. No lunch! Afternoon, discussed with Parv why he wants so many Ceilidhs. We ended up with a compromise, one Ceilidh with lots of courses, but a password for each level of user for each course. That means lots of little changes, keep me busy tomorrow. Out with Parv in the evening, walked 30 minutes to an Italian restaurant on Dunearn / Bukit Timah Road. Pizzas, he paid, good chat. We are really 2 oldies reminiscing! PSI--44.

Wednesday 26th November 1997

[Dunkirk governors 18h00.] Today's list of jobs to do is even longer than yesterday's, I seem to add each day more new ones than I complete. In to work for 07h30, got through lots of modifications by mid-morning. Parv then came down to say that Finance Dept had phoned. My work permit and money are ready to collect, then I walked down to the OCBC bank in Bukit Timah shopping centre (not the plaza) to cash the cheque and convert most of it to sterling; the rate gets worse every day at the moment. Changed cheque for S$3735 to S$500 cash and œ1190 cheque (rate œ1 = S$2.70). I also have a œ750 cheque for the air fare. Back in, and Parv set up a complete new exercise, and it appeared on the WWW without problems. He then set up 6 courses, and we checked the pages, titles etc. All the important tasks are now done, I must just explain a few more things to Parv. Home 16h00, went into Ken-Air kiosk and asked them to move my homeward flight to Saturday. Pickup 18h45 by Peter Choy. Jennifer is not too well, they've just been on holiday in Malacca. He drove me to an eating place in the basement of the plaza opposite the Marco Polo hotel where Ian Campbell stayed. Food fried while you wait, good. Then fresh fruit bits, mango, chiku, melon, water melon. Outside the Santa and sleigh were having imitation snow (lather) sprayed everywhere, the crowd loved it. Then we drove down Orchard Road to look at the illuminations, amazingly over the top. The TV says PSI--58, that's bad; I'm surprised, it appears fine, but no rain to clear the air today.

Thursday 27th November 1997

In early again, to get on with jobs. Tried but abandoned a benchmark in "msc3", the machine is too primitive! Did most jobs, then up to see Parv 11h00. Phoned Ken-Air, all Saturday flights are full, so I'm on Sunday late evening, arrive Monday early. They'll sort it. Pok was in, very relaxed now he's submitted his PhD, so we had a long chat. He'll get half my annual consultancy fee from finance by tomorrow. I gave him Colin's CV. Off 14h00 with Pok to a seminar, three speakers on the WWW. One (Australian in the Accountancy department) VG, using the WWW for teaching. One by the head of the Ngee Ann Poly repository of useful bits for the WWW, could be useful when I'm here. One from an upper class British waffler, useless! But the lecture theatre was good, computer keyboard at every seat! All mod cons. Then I showed Pok some of the new features, all worked! He wants a few more changes, that's tomorrow morning used up! Still, today I crossed more jobs off my list than I added! Phoned Joy 16h45 = 08h45, still in bed there! She said that our camera had died, over œ100 to repair it. Out to eat at Panagopolous, salad, salmon, but they gave me a huge beer, I drank only half S$40. Then wandered round B T Shopping Centre and B T Beauty World. Found a good camera for much cheaper than the UK, I'm tempted. Pentax 38 - 160 zoom with remote control and all mod cons, S$499 = œ170. They also had a digital camera suitable for work, Olympus C400L at only S$849, buy a printer as well for only S$88 (incredibly cheap). But the paper for the printer is S$75 for 50, more expensive than developing at Boots! Film of Robin Hood, he was fighting karate with the sheriff! PSI--44, better again.

Friday 28th November 1997

Last day at work. Finished some more jobs, printed the report for Pok, then over to Finance Dept to collect my third cheque! To lunch at Sunshine with Lee Heng Tak. Then to the OCBC bank again, cheque for S$3000 to S$500 cash and œ925.41 bank draft. Went on to the camera shop I visited last night, and bought the Pentax and a film for S$502. Tried it on the way back. Then Pok wants lots of changes to the report, but I was dragged around downstairs to explain lots more to Yap and Jonathan Lim. 17h00 back up to finish the report, Lee H T helped, all done. Off to Ken-Air to collect my air ticket, I must get it stamped at the BA office or the airport. Checked out the camera a bit. To Holland Village with Parv for the evening, shopping in the usual (I bought a stool and box, S$360) and coffee; the coffee (Ethiopian) was so good I bought some beans S$7.50 for 200 grams. The previous coffee place was closed, this was nearer the bus stop. I had "wicked chocolate brownie" too. Home 21h45, did some packing!

Saturday 29th November 1997

[Gig for Barrie.] Into work to say thanks to Pok, and finished a few bits with Parv. Dumped changed files to disc, but missed, there was nothing on the disc when I got home. Pok was busy, so I left. Phoned BA to confirm my ticket, and requested an aisle seat. Bus to Botanic gardens, pleasant walk around and used old and new cameras. Bus to near National Museum S$1.50. Temporary exhibitions on Elizabeth Choy (wartime nurse) and "Colony to Independence", good history of 1950 on. Walked to Raffles, into an MTR station to renew by transport card with S$10, Merlion Park (Coke S$2), Boat Quay, DeliFrance coffee & croissant, Lau Pa Sat, 75 bus home. Photos all day with the new and the disposable cameras. Out with Parv 19h30 to local Pizza Land, I had soup and salad, he had soup since he'd eaten at lunchtime; long reminiscences. Then to the food shop below, he bought 2 water melons, his recommended Chinese diet is 3 per week for asthma. Finished packing more-or-less. 23h00 live UK football on TV. TV news-- Yaohan (who used to have a shop in Bukit Timah Plaza, I bought things there) have gone bust, riots in their closing sales in Hong Kong.
Didn't use-- long sleeved shirts, ties, one short sleeved shirt, trainers, one pair long trousers, one pair short, all but 3 pants, vests, socks.

Sunday 30th November 1997 *** Pop in again to dump files. I had to knock on the door to arouse Parv, I've given my keys in. Problems doing what I wanted because "msc3" was down, by I eventually succeeded. Then home to check all the files, all seems OK, it'll take quite a while to install the useful modifications at Nottingham in a portable way. Positively the end of this time's work at Singapore. Off to the swimming pool for a long read (V S Naipaul), swim and read. Home and walked up to the Nature Reserve. Very sweaty, I was dripping. All the way to the summit (only 162 metres = 500 feet, but it seems a lot more in this temperature. Plenty of monkeys around, I keep well clear, they bite! Back down by a smaller track, very steep at times, clambering down rocky slopes hanging on to roots. Then for a last soup at Panagopoulos, good as usual. Home 18h00. Remember all receipts to reclaim GST. Pok picks me up 20h00, dropped at the airport at 20h40 for .... Flight BA16 depart Singapore 23h59.

Monday 1st December 1997 *** No, it was not "late" but "re-timed" for 03h00, I tried to get on an earlier flight but couldn't. British Airways had a very inconvenient arrangement so that we could get refreshments while we waited.I wandered to a seat near where it would leave, in case I fell asleep. Plenty of time to read. We eventually left at 04h00 with many more excuses and apologies, something was wrong when they came in from Australia, so they had stopped to repair it. The pilot at first said that we would gain time, but then said that we had been re-routed and would be later. Watched "Batman and Robin" film among others. The usual bad BA food, not a patch on Singapore. Arrived Heathrow through clear skies at 09h40, baggage arrived 10h25, it's always very slow here, is it Heathrow or is it BA? At Singapore it takes 12 minutes. Booked a National Express number 230 depart here 11h30 for s26, arrive Nottingham 14h50. Phoned Mum (Joy was engaged), the phone charge card is very convenient when you don't have change handy. Convenient coach journey, arrive Nottingham on time 14h50, walked to the station and taxi home. Unpacking. Apparently this morning was the first snowfall. To clog with Helen and Ann, played while half asleep!

1998 Trip to Singapore and Malaysia

Saturday 14th March 1998 *** Joy dropped me at Broad Marsh bus station at 14h30 (lots of traffic on Castle Boulevard, perhaps it's a Forest match) for the 14h45 bus on time to Heathrow. It arrived early, due 17h50. Plenty of time to wander and shop, I bought a new Arthur Hailey novel not yet published in the UK. Eric to Singapore, report at 19h00, phoned Mum from the lounge. Depart Heathrow SQ321 22h15.

Sunday 15th March 1998 *** Slept on and off. Food OK, I had chicken for dinner and omelette for breakfast. Their individual TV system was more reliable than last time (with Joy). I watched a James Bond, and bits and pieces. They have a WTN news programme. Arrive Singapore 19h00, early at 18h40. Picked up by Dr Tan, and got S$500 out of a machine. [Flat Kismis Avenue block 90 03-01A 4676843] Arrive Singapore 19h00, pickup by Dr Tan. She dropped in at her office to collect the key. The PSI (Pollution standard index) is still on the TV screens, but it's lower than before. It started at 34, but was 25 by early morning.

Monday 16th March 1998

New Ceilidh on the Compaq 6000 (Jonathan) - done 17th Improve Ceilidh performance Get "file append" method working - done 18th Make Ceilidh C and student PC C compatible - done 18th Improvement statistics tables to HTML (Chiew, Anson) - done 18th Grade details as histograms on HTML - done 19th New statistics from files they provide - done 20th Teach exercise setting to staff who missed last time (Nelly) - done 21st Teach program quality (Nelly) - done 25th Teach advanced exercises (Nelly) - done 27th Test multi module Ceilidh exercises Discuss proposed Java syllabus for CP1 CP2 - done 19th Talk to ECE about Java (Lee Heng Tak) - done 20th Marking Java with Ceilidh
Not a bad night, but up early to switch the aircon back on. PSI only 21, it was 40 at the evening rush, then 30 later. Long day at work, first chat to Nobar. Then Lee Heng Tak arrived, and summarised their document of jobs for me. Then down to Jonathan, and started putting the new Ceilidh onto their new Compaq 6000 machine. It's big, with 250 Mb of RAM and a RAID disc (three discs running in parallel, you can take any one out and replace it without interruption). No lunch, stopped at 17h30, then found Pok in. Long chat with him, he's renaming the department from "Maths & Science Centre" to "Centre for Maths Science & Computing", still to be called "MSC"; it's all political empire building. Then off shopping in the Bukit Timah Plaza basement at NTUC S$16:15, then soup-in-a- loaf, salad and ice cream at Panagopoulos S$26:85. Home to watch James Bond "Live and let Die" and rest. The laptop needed recharging.

Tuesday 17th March 1998 Work mostly on the Compaq, the new Ceilidh is all working now except that the browsers won't send long files back. Nelly came to check some times for teaching, including Saturday morning. Left work 16h30, to "Cold Storage" for beer, cheese, biscuits, butter, jam S$36:45. Then home, change to shorts, and off to the nature reserve. I sweated freely on the way up. There were others exercising too. Then to Bukit Timah Plaza for a extended blissful massage (basement 1, by "Serene", S$36, good) and eat downstairs in "Wishbone" (beef & noodles, beer S$15:81), home for 20h00. Put assorted clothes to wash and hung them up under a fan; they were dry for morning. [SWT lecture 12 09h00 in PC14 cancelled.] [PR2 lecture 12 11h00 in CC24 cancelled.]

Wednesday 18th March 1998 *** Morning I asked Jonathan to put up a NetScape 4 on a local terminal (that's what the students use, as long as things work on that I'm OK), so that I can check out submitting student programs as an attached file instead of by pasting into a window. It also seems to get round the size limit on messages; of course, I got it all working, with improvements from an old version. The super new browser on the Compaq is useless. Lunch with Parv at Sunshine, so much I won't need to eat tonight; typical, he paid, but hadn't enough money, so I had to help. After lunch staff members "Chiew Anson" came to see me about the Ceilidh statistics they want displaying. One is tables of student improvement as a 2-D table on the WWW; I did that before going home. Two other things look harder. At home I'd forgotten the laptop password, it took a while to find that it was just "fred". Email from Rory t all the band, about the Worthing gig. I replied from Singapore. Cash left S$296. [PR2 lecture 13 12h00 in CC24 not me.]

.... carry on to Malaysia ...

First 1998 trip

Thursday 19th March 1998

Didn't sleep well, but got up and watched Manchester United live! They lost to Monaco! To work early and got all three WWW statistics presentation programs going by late lunchtime. Chiew was surprised how quickly I got them done, too quick again! Home for cheese and biscuits, then document the new programs (a bit), but left early. Email for Rory from Tim in Thailand! Walked to the Nature Reserve (20 mins) to the top (25 mins), down (10 to 15 mins). Soup and salad and beer at Panagopoulos S$17, good. Then across the road looking for a camera for Jan, and one for me. Fell asleep watching TV, then to bed and slept with the aircon on! [SWT lecture 13 09h00 in PC16 cancelled.]
Postcards to-- Nantwich, Gem + Brainy, Russ + Lindi, Jacqui + Paul, Jenny, Shays, Campbells, Shipleys, Bisakha, Celia + Harry, Liz + Peter, Marjorie K, Marjorie S.
The nature reserve and rain forest are wonderful. Such tall trees with their straight trunks. Such complicated knotted down-trailers and up-climbers. Such a variety of shape and form. So noisy with cicadas, birds and monkeys. Over a dozen monkeys at the bottom this time, they watch you go past.

Friday 20th March 1998

Meeting with ECE department 10h10. They aren't happy about MSC's decision to change to Java programming next year; MSC want me to convince them. I just described our decision, but didn't try to force it on them. They still don't want to change. Lunch with Parv and Foo at Sunshine, Parv paid (but he went to a hole in the wall first for some cash!). Mended the thermostat in the departmental water heater; worth the visit just for that. Home via Cold Storage (biscuits, orange juice) to write a report on plans for next year. Evening watched "Braveheart" on TV, good. [Nottingham Term ends.]

Saturday 21st March 1998

Woken by the alarm at 07h00, I must have slept better! I didn't use the aircon again last night, was it cooler? Went into work 08h30 to try out the system briefly before my talk. Teach "Setting C exercises in Ceilidh" and "Writing quality C programs" 09h00 to 13h00 room 04-03. The audience was about 8 experienced including Pok and Lee HT and Nelly, and about 4 new ones. Did a general introduction to Ceilidh first, from viewpoints of both student and teacher (showing off new facilities) for Pok's benefit. Then I flogged through setting a simple exercise. Break for coffee, they brought me sandwich, cake and coffee! I got through everything, some of the experienced ones are now very keen, that'll be helpful to newcomers after I've left. Home to write report on the laptop (frustrating to have to learn so many new techniques), but I now have a single big report of-- 1 - jobs done; 2 -jobs to do; 3 - easy future jobs; 4 - bigger future jobs. Extra shower, and went out with Parv to Holland Village. Looked around shops (where I bought the elephant stool and the Chinese makeup box I was tempted by Chinese wedding present box, a huge wooden tiffin-like thing, too big), then a Thai pizza in an Italian restaurant called "All Dente" S$50:76 I paid. Then Surinam coffee and mango cake at the "Coffee Club", Parv paid. Home, I stayed up till 01h00 to hear the football results on BBC Wild Service, Nottingham Forest won 2 - 1 after being 0 - 1 down 5 minutes before the end.

Sunday 22nd March 1998

Free day! Woken by the alarm again! Washed the towels and my nightie after my shower, and hang them out to dry; all dried by the time I came home. Bus 75 to town 10h30, I got off at the Botanic Gardens. Walked all the way down Orchard Road (hundreds of Filipinas on their day off hanging around outside shops meeting their friends), but couldn't find a heart rate monitor. Went into a photography exhibition at the National Art Gallery (S$1.50 for OAPs), looked in their shop (not inspired), then had a coffee in their cafeteria. On to Raffles, nothing inspired me to buy in Blue Ginger, on to Sogo, they had a heart rate meter, but it wouldn't do the things I wanted. Walked on to Boat Quay, had a beer while waiting for a S$9 half our boat trip round the bay. Walked on to Lau Pa Sat, that's a lot of walking. Had a pineapple rice (the same as Joy had), then 75 bus home (S$1.10). Diverted because of a fire at the top of a skyscraper, smelled strong, very blackened. Home, then to Bukit Timah Plaza for another blissful massage, such a good feeling. I smell sweet of oil even after a shower. Phoned Joy 16h50 here, 08h50 there, Hamish answered first, then Joy. Long chat, their gig last night went well, 200 teenagers in fancy dress costume!

Monday 23rd March 1998

Frustrating day at work, lots a problems. 14h00 room 05-07 invitation from Pok to a talk on expert systems. It wasn't an expert system, just a big and quite useful analysis of student marks for a lot of maths questions. Left work 17h30, home to change into shorts. Walked up Bukit Timah hill again, it's still amazing and exhilarating. Lots of others were exercising. Back down (no monkeys seen) to Panagopoulos. After I'd eaten the manager came for a chat, I got a free beer, a plate of cheeses and 10% off the bill. Bill S$19:36. Then he brought the lady who supplies his bread (the soup comes in a hollowed out loaf), she'll give him the recipe if she remembers. Home 20h15 to James Bond "Golden Gun". The PSI is 51, highest yet, just into the medium category.

Tuesday 24th March 1998

10h30 room 04-05 meeting with Dr Tan (home phone 4623150). Most of the day one-to-one with helping staff to set Ceilidh exercises.

Wednesday 25th March 1998

Teach "Writing quality C programs" 16h00 to 18h00, room 04-11. I told them what I think, they didn't agree with all of it, that's their loss. Evening to the BT shopping plaza to buy a digital camera. I insisted they demonstrate it on my laptop. We put in the CD-ROM, pressed the "install" button, and the machine never woke up again. The motto is-- Always dump to floppy every day! Chocolate croissant at the DeliFrance S$2.70.

Thursday 26th March 1998

In to work early, and redid my report for Pok. I think it's OK. Finished with Parv's help in the afternoon. Part 1 is what I've done, part 2 is what's still needed (at least 5 visits). (Jonathan and friends tried to wake up the laptop!) Lunch with Parv. Dumped all my changed files to floppy to take home. Evening up BT hill again, 50 + monkeys, I went up Quarry Road as well for the first time. Cashed VISA S$200 at the OCBC machine. Evening to Panagopoulos with Parv, I think he approved, S$41.

Friday 27th March 1998

Teach "Advanced Ceilidh exercises" 08h30 to 12h00 in room 04-11. First weekly and daily malaria pills ready for KL. In 08h00 for more editing of my report. I asked Haslinda to pester HR. Talk 08h30 to 11h00 on "Advanced Ceilidh" for everyone. Set up a Java course for Lee HT, I later finished it off when he wasn't there, but didn't tell him. We'll see if he finds it! Chat to Pok, he pestered HR at the top! 15h00 talk to the department about what I've achieved. I photocopied and handed out the "what I've done" part of my report for Pok. 16h00 rush to collect pay cheque from HR office. 17h00 home in time for last BT Hill walk. Popped into the big furniture shop. Parv collected my apartment keys 22h30, last time I forgot them!

On to Singapore

Saturday 28th March 1998 *** Eric Depart Singapore SQ112 12h45 to Malaysia arrive KL 13h40. Taxi 09h15 to Bukit Tima shopping Centre OCBC bank to turn my cheque into a sterling bankers draft. On to the airport, bought a camera in duty free. Changed leftover S$182 to MR 400. Depart flight SQ112 12h45 to Malaysia arrive KL 13h40. Long queue at immigration! Abdullah was waiting. Changed s40 to MR226 at the airport bank. Drove to the same hotel as before, Metro Inn 4300 Kajang, phone 03-8375555 fax 03837 6666. Caught the hotel minibus up the hill to the swimming pool, but there was no water for showers or loos, so I did only two widths. Walked into town to buy orange juice and coke, MR 5.80. Big new shopping centre, fairly tatty.

Sunday 29th March 1998

Buffet breakfast = fruit (water melon, melon, papaya) + toast. 15 min walk to Komuter train station, MR4.50 for a return ticket to KL. Walked to the National Museum (Museum Negara) MR1; gallery on "Weapons and Musical Instruments", exhibition on "Infidelity" extra MR2. The shop used to be good, now useless. Walked round to the bird garden (all enclosed by netting, separate section for hornbills) MR3, the orchid garden MR1 (chatted to an Australian Indian John da Silva ex-Goa), hibiscus garden. On to the Butterfly Park RM5, and the Insect Museum. Walked back to Central Market, and train home. No water at the hotel, so no shower.

Monday 30th March 1998

Still no water at the hotel, no shower! Pick up 08h30 by Abdullah. He's now vice-dean of the IT faculty. They're in a new building, sharing with Engineering faculty (except for computer labs scattered all over campus). Talked to CS staff in the morning about the Nottingham Department and its research. Lunch at the golf club, and took a shower! Afternoon chat to the faculty, chatted about government policy, research assessment exercises, teaching quality exercise, and significance of the BCS and CEng. Question at the end-- Are you English or Scottish? Me-- half and half. Question-- Do you wear a skirt at work? Lift home with Hani. Water was back on, so OK for another blissfil massage while I have the chance, onion soup and banana split, and then watched Robin Hood on TV!

Tuesday 31st March 1998

Pickup 08h30. Teaching all day on Unix inter-process communication. I used Abdullah's Instruction Set notes. All OK, not desperately interesting and really rather out-of-date now. Lunch at the golf club again, but forgot to have a shower. Home with Pilal (Jordanian). No water! Wandered round Kajang.

Wednesday 1st April 1998

Pickup 08h30, Abdullah was late after car starting problems. Long chat with Hani about his PhD on "Program Understanding", he reads a program and prints an English summary. He's been writing a huge program, but really need to do lots of testing and analysis. Then taken by Hani and Pilal to see local hotels (one was pumping water up from a lake, the other had a power cut) and sights. Lunch at the golf club, then to finance to get my cheque (fee MR500, allowance MR200 per day, I pay the hotel bill) and to the university Bank Bumaputra to cash it. Home, and to the satay centre with Abdullah, I eat too much. No need for hotel nosh. Two showers since there was water!

Thursday 2nd April 1998

Another shower! Pickup and off to work, but nothing to do there. So I took the Komuter from UKM station, MR5.00 return to KL. Walked to the tourist office opposite the station, and booked an afternoon tour MR25. Then to the National Art Gallery (not enough Malaysian influence) and the National Textile Museum (good displays, and a not bad shop, bought various bits including a throw which suits our TV room perfectly for MR 389). Through the Central Market (bought jade heart and crystal pendant) back to the tourist office. Minibus at 14h30 (45 mins late) with 5 of us to-- Chinese village, Jade Centre (too expensive), Malaysian Village, Royal Selangor Pewter factory (bracelet), old rubber plantation (mosquito bite), batik factory, insect mounting factory, and Batu Caves (climbed 225 steps up to a Hindu Temple in the caves). Back on the Komuter from Putra station, hordes of school kids and buses everywhere at Kajang at 18h40, hotel 19h00. Downpour and thunder storm, during which a tanker came to deliver water to the hotel! So I had a shower!

Friday 3rd April 1998 Hone via Singapore! Alarm 05h45, breakfast including Malaria weekly pills, paid the hotel bill MR877 (MR115 per night, meals about 5 times MR35, laundry MR 12). Late pickup 07h30 by Abdullah + Pilal. Slow traffic locally, then motorways OK. Arrived at the airport 08h30, Abdullah had breakfast, coffee for me. Changed my leftover MR for s75. Depart KL SQ105 09h55, arrive Singapore 10h45. A man was swatting mosquitoes with a sticky plate on a pole in the indoor palm trees. Depart Singapore SQ320 45 mins late at 13h15. I had stomach cramps etc on the plane, the steward gave me some powder. Arrive LHR 20h20 after 20 min hold over London. National Express bus depart LHR 22h10 arrive Nottingham 01h25. Taxi home s3.30, bed soon after 02h00.

Second 1998 trip

Monday 23rd November 1998 *** Eric business visit / trip to Singapoer. Should arrive Singapore 07h40, actually 08h10. Clocks on 8 hours. Changed s200 at S$2.68 per pound to S$536. Picked up by Chew BC and straight to the usual flat, 03-01A Ngee Ann Staff Apartments, Kismis Avenue. Shower and unpack, can't find BBC World Service at the moment. Into work for 10h15. Chat to Parv, he leaves soon after me, at last! There's a Russian Alexis sharing his office. After work to Human Resources (Sook Yim) to hand in my work permit form (they fill in the rest of it), they had my living expenses cheque for S$735 all ready. Then to the Cold Storage food supermarket (it's an equivalent to Waitrose, up-market) nearby (S$45 for biscuits, butter, cheese, fruit, jam, milk, beer) and home. Into shorts, and walked up Bukit Timah Hill (with heart meter, 01h00 total including 11m high), along to Bukit Timah Plaza for a massage (still S$36, still extended and blissful), and back to Panagopolous Greek restaurant (shame, no soup in a roll, no Roquefort salad, they've really gone down market) S$18. Found BBC World Service, good! To bed with the aircon on for now! I'm amused by the polytechnic's "Technopreneurship Centre", what a name!

Saturday 28th November 1998 *** [Joy Bedford camp follow-up? Clog at Chilwell Road?] MSC department closed for the day, it's a "Staff family day", they all go off to the seaside I gather. Day in town. Bus 174 from Jalan Jurong Kechil (far side) to Bras Basah Road S$1.20 30 minutes, down Orchard Road, the Christmas decorations aren't as over-the-top as last year. To the National Art Gallery (OAP S$1.50), some nice sculptures by Brother Joseph McNally, Irish monk with Singapore connections, nice BlueBird, tree, Celtic abstract sculptures, and some based on Chinese characters. Also paintings by Trimurti and pupils. Then on to the other (the usual) museum shop, spent plenty on Visa (including more postcards). The to the Asian Civilisation Museum, and guided tour by Christina took over an hour and shop S%28. Then to Raffles Hotel arcade, but the Blue Ginger shop was closed. Croissant and ham and tea at the cafe there S$6. Into the Raffles City shopping centre, then 77 bus to the Botanic Gardens S$0.60. Wandered and photographed, bought and drank a big bottle of water. Home 174 bus S$0.75 (left S$4.30 on the card) arrived at the Shell garage 15h00. Posted cards near the Botanic Gardens main gate. Mr Chew comes here by car with family 18h30 for evening meal out. We drove to the "East Coast" (south-east) to an area of sea-food restaurants. Very busy & popular. You could see Indonesia beyond all the waiting ships. Meal of prawns, mussels, baby squid, spinach. Very messy but tasty, I used fingers. Back showing me lots of bits, the new "Suntec City" (reclaimed area), stopped for a walk at the original Raffles landing place statues, through Little India, Malaysia bit, Chinatown, home 22h45. Good evening. Downloaded today's photos, and listened to live sport UK on BBC World.

Thursday 3rd December 1998 *** [Peeping Tom at Massey's.] up 06h30, 07h30 listened to Martin talking about the mythical dangers of mobile phones on BBC Wild! In to work 07h40 to print out my reports to show to Pok. I'd forgotten the floppies, so home and back again! Good exercise. Lunch with Chew, same place as yesterday, Muslim chicken and rice. Talk to staff 14h00, 2 hours, took some photos. Chat to Haslinda (department secretary), and HR said my cheque would be ready 10h00 tomorrow; I'll then have to go to the OCBC bank down on the main road afterwards to convert it to sterling. Posted more cards on campus. Put in today's photos. Evening with Parv. He brought along Joyce (Chinese) who had done a lot of translation and typing for him on one of his commercial projects. We bussed 171 to Orchard Road opposite Singapore Airlines to Marche Movenpick. A huge place, perhaps 500 people, lots of serving places all done while you wait. I had salad, pork, crepes, tea. Parv paid. Home about 11h00.

Friday 11th December 1998 *** Wendy 08h00, perhaps with Charlie Wu for final chat on Chinese Ceilidh. I told Charlie about the possible problems in searching for regular expressions in Chinese, he understood the question. He's bright, I've told Wendy to go to him with her problems, not me. Morning with Dr Alexi Kho (Ted Marston student who went on o UMIST) and ??? (NDMC personnel officer) for a tourist morning in their equivalent of Stoke-on-Trent, the pottery town, Ying Ko, . First to a artist potter Mr Wang, of-so-beautiful pots and ceramic paintings (slabs of clay 2 feet by 4 feet in nice glazes), he showed us a TV video of him. Then of to the Taiwanese Stoke-on-Trent, all pottery factories and shops. One shop had 20 wheels for school children and adults to practise on, great. I didn't buy an7ything. Then to a tea-house restaurant in the hills, really really lovely. Second hand crafty shop downstairs, and one indoors room (15 people?) and one outdoors on a terrace with roof (it was raining). The view up the forested valley was lovely, so was the lunch. Home for 13h30 to pack. Bill came and chatted, and insisted I have a video of Titanic. Depart with Bill and Wendy 15h15. Taipei SQ871 checkin 16h00 (it was a friend of Wendy's, she got me a good seat), depart 18h00, arrive Singapore 22h40 a bit late. Quick transit, I left the camera on the plane and had to go back for it, and left by book in the lounge. Depart Singapore SQ322 supposedly 23h15; actually 23h45 because there is a strong back wind, and we must arrive on time. Parv is on the same flight! No he's not, he's got to stay to sort out his tax. Yes, perhaps he is...., no he wasn't. 13 hours.

1999 trip

Monday 15th March 1999 *** Arrive Singapore 20 minutes early 07h20. No wait at immigration ("Would you like a candy?"), changed money s100 at S$278 while I waited for luggage. Nelly met me and dropped me at the same flat as ever. Shower, unpack, change, into work for 09h30. Met Colin. My subsistence cheque for S$735 was waiting. With Colin to the bank to change the cheque and buy biscuits and cheese for S$32. He is almost there, and gives a talk and demo tomorrow. Left work very tired at 16h30 having set up my WWW pages but not the CGI scripts. Evening walk to Bukit Timah Plaza, the usual extended blissful massage by Mabel, beef + noodles downstairs. More postcards and stamps S$3. Mangoes S$3. 1

Friday 26th March 1999 *** Phoned home 06h30 = 22h30 there no answer; then at 07h45 here = 23h45 there, Joy Jean and Rory there after a meal at Russ + Lyndi's. See Dr Tan in the morning; she always says that her students would be confused by anything I suggest, and that standards don't matter as long as the students pass, and she really wants to retire! Final additions to my system, you can now look for any one of a student's repeated submissions. My final talk 14h00 - 16h00. I described my WWW system, but it won't be much used until they get C courses as well as Java under CourseMaster. Home 17h00 very tired, but that's it for now! They were all very cheerful. [Colin + Su checked us all in at the Singapore Airlines office on Orchard Road.] Picked up by car 19h30 by Graham + Vicky, picked up Colin + Su, and to a Thai restaurant "Patara" in the Tanglin Centre. Very nice, pineapple rice, olive + cashew rice, curry meat, chicken, green mango salad. Good. I paid by VISA, S$106. They had a beautiful carved watermelon on show. Hone 22h30 after walking through campus. 1

2000 Software trip

Sunday 26th March 2000 Joy had a hard time getting them up. then the midnight bus to Singapore. 1

Tuesday 28th March 2000 *** Arrive Singapore 07h45 on time. Took S$500 from a bank, still about 3 S$ Singapore dollars to the pound. Mr Chew was waiting for me. I'm in a different flat in the same block, floor 8 number 01-B, this time it looks away from the motorway. Walked in to work, lots of folks I know, it's like coming home. Warm welcomes to and from all. Lunch with Chew (who's now got a senior post) and Lee Heng Tak near MSC. We've worked out some priorities for things to do. Pouring rain and thunder in the afternoon, Chew lent me an umbrella. Home 17h00, walked to Bukit Timah Plaza, the usual Singapore extended blissful massage by "May", very relaxing after the long journey. Shopping at "NUTC FairPrice" for Tiger muscle rub (for Joy) and White wotnot oil (I've forgotten who asked me to get it) SL18, fruit, cheese, 20 postcards & stamps S$20, assorted bit of food and drink in the basement. 1

Thursday 30th March 2000 *** At work sorted out the "print letter to failing students" in old Ceilidh. Lunch with Pok and Chew at NUS = National University of Singapore, you have to be a member. Chinese food, very posh place. In between thunderstorms 17h00 to Bukit Timah hill (enveloped in mist) with the disc recorder, recorded lots of crickets and a few birds. Total time in zone 01h03, 676 kcal. All the monkeys at the bottom again. Bought washing up liquid and beer in the Beauty World Plaza "Shop'n'Save" S$18, and chocolate croissant at the local Esso DeliFrance S$2. 1

Saturday 1st April 2000 *** To work to give a talk at 09h15, waffle answering questions & discussing CourseMaster servers and conversion from Ceilidh to CourseMaster. I plugged in the laptop for the demo. After the talk I re-installed from the new CD (a bug, you have to copy the CD to disc first, then install from there). It all more-or-less worked, it should now be feasible to get it up and working. Downpour again! Then I caught the 66 bus from BT village to Little India (used my old card, S$14 left on it), and walked to Sim Lim tower. Bought lots (19!)of very cheap illegally copied CDs. Then walked along to the museum shop, and bought various S$352 VISA. Then to Chijmes (convent converted to arty farty crafty shops), had a beer S$5.40 with a Latin festival in full swing, good Andean flute music live. Then on to Blue Ginger (shop in Raffles Hotel selling batik dresses etc, Joy loves them), bought various S$300. Met by Chew & Mrs outside Raffles. We went to a Chinese herbal restaurant, and had lots of healthy things. Then walked around (Singapore Food Festival going on), and drove to Boat Quay and walked round there, fruit drink. Home 21h30. Watched UK football Chelsea v. Leeds live 22h00 - midnight! Cash In Hand S$490. 1

Thursday 6th April 2000 *** [Peeping Tom at Massey's.] Email from Colin. To HR to see Sor Kim to collect my passport. Lunch over towards HR, met an Open University Birmingham guy, good chat. Wonderful thunderstorm and downpour suddenly started at lunchtime. [The radio said later 180mm = 7 inches in 4 hours, a lot even by Singapore standards.] Home 15h00, my computer at work not longer works, they keep pratting around with it not knowing what they are doing. Just as well I keep my home laptop up-to-date with all changes, it works a treat (although slowly, poor thing, it's very over-loaded with all the work I put on it). 17h00 to Holland village by 85 bus S$0.80. Found a nice Burmese shop, bought some things, the lady & I went to a cash machine afterwards to pay for it. Stopped at DeliFrance for a hot cheese-chicken-croissant and coffee (delicious coffee, I don't know why, I'm not usually into coffee much back home, but this was just nectar of the gods!), home 20h00. Edited LOTS and lots of HTML files, and finished the developer's command. 1

Saturday 8th April 2000 *** Up very early, found a way to recompile the missing executables, it still doesn't work properly! In to work early to check out various things. Finish in Singapore with lecture to all at 09h15 to 11h15. Demonstrated (on their system) the WWW system and the CM client, all went well, and good that it was on their system, proves that it works. Then a chat to Anson (?An Sun?, a systems programmer) about transferring CourseMaster data with OBDC to SQL, I think it's easy, he thinks it's hard. Interrupted by hand delivery of my expenses cheque, what a nice interruption, I shall look after it. Brief farewell to Pok afterwards. Lunch with Foo at the ex-Sunshine, he's a real gentleman, met his "finance manager" = wife briefly afterwards. Started work at home on the student submission problem. Chew picks me up 19h00 at the apartment. We went to Orchard Road, to a Peranakan restaurant. Spicy, chicken lumps in a bean sauce, runner beans "long beans". Then drove on to Lau Pa Sat, walked round and had a pudding. They has (Chew's favourite!) durian ice cream kacang, I had some other peanutty kacang. Home 22h30. 1

2001 The last software trip

Monday 5th November 2001 This morning was the first white frost of the season. This time I flew. East Midlands to Frankfurt LH6735 [it's actually a BMI flight BM325, BMI are part of the Singapore Airlines conglomerate] Change at Frankfurt, I checked-in at the departure gate, then nipped off for some duty free booze (Asbach DM29, Glenfiddich DM 84) for presents out there. Continued Frankfurt - Singapore LH9764 depart 20h45 but we were 30 minutes late. It was a bumpy flight, the captain warned us at the start.

Tuesday 6th November 2001 On the plane I read the PD James novel from our Anne,I got more than a quarter done! The excellent Mr Chew was there to meet me, my rucksack was one of the first off. Chew & I had a good chat on the way to my flat, Singapore folks always ask about the stock market and my shares. In at work for 9am for a chat with Pok Yang Ming HoD to plan the visit. After work I walked 3/4 of the way up Bukit Timah hill (half way from the second hut to the top) kcal 700, about an hour from the flat to the massage place, S$36, still extended blissful Singapore style. Shopped at Cold Storage, that's thge local equivalent of Waitrose, all good quality stuff) total S$75 for fruit, booze (6 Coke S$3, Tiger beer s$15, grapefruit juice S$4, mango juice S$4, milk S$2), biscuits S$7, butter S$3, cheese S$40 wow, olives S$3, washing m/c liquid S$5.

Tuesday 13th November 2001 Into work for 08h00, spent time on emails, receiving, copying incoming ones to floppy to take home, and putting images & files from home onto the PC to send. Worked on the document of "Advanced Marking in Ceilidh". Lunch with Chew at the Singapore Institute of Management (next campus), the walk was incredibly hot sun, the refectory was aircon, pan-fried salmon, I paid S$14. Stayed at work till 17h00, by then I had installed the exercises suggested by Chew under a new course, and cracked the marking of all 4. They now need checking, tidying and documenting.

Wednesday 14th November 2001 Divali holida herey, so work is closed! Slept better, went to sleep earlier, still up 06h30. Depart 11h00 by 66 bus to "Little India" on the Serangoon Road. All very busy there, I just wandered, looked in the shops and food places, but bought nothing. I kept spotting an Indian youth nearby, my suspicions were aroused, so I held tightly to my bag & camera. I wandered off (all by instinct, I'd forgotten my map) to the Simlim Centre (wandered round 4 floors, all shops of computer & electronic & camera bits, but no more cheapo CDs, all that has been stopped, bought nothing but tried to bargain them down on Compact Flash cards for the camera) and through the Bencoolin open air market. The Indian (actually Bangladeshi) boy was still within sight. I caught his eye at one point (by this time it was an hour after I'd first spotted him) and he came over and asked me if I liked going with boys. Do I look gay? I said no, but everyone to their own choices. He blew a kiss as he went off, said he was off to get a work permit. Lunch = duck rice & wonton soup in Kopitiam on Bras Bash Road, an upmarket trader centre with lots of branches, air-conditioned. Then headed for the History Museum. They had a free open day, but nothing new or interesting, just useful to be reminded of Singapore's history. The first day I HAVEN'T been up Bukit Timah hill! 1

Sunday 18th November 2001 Up early, phoned home, just caught Joy & Hamish as they got home from the gig to unpack. I gather it went fine, band = Hamish Helen Steve Chris, Beth & Barrie. Popped over to Cold Storage for bananas S$1.44, milk S$2.05, ryvitas S$4.25, beer S$2.55. Chew and his wife Ellen came here at 12h00. They picked me up and took me to to a Japanese restaurant ("Nagai", 246F Upper Thompson Road) in central Singapore (the main downtown city is at the south point of the island). The usual raw fish et al! Then off to one of the nature walks, this time by a lake "Lower Pierce Reservoir". It starts as a boardwalk through the jungle until you reach the lake, then along the lake (lots of fishermen in spite of notices saying no fishing) to a more civilised area where most people go. The rubber tree nut cases were busy exploding and scattering the nuts. Very relaxing. Ellen is very frightened of monkeys, apparently they attack women sexually at times. Then we drove to a big Chinese Buddhist Temple Monastery complex, enormous, all very exotic. When Ellen was explaining the significance of various statues (she speaks good English & German) she said "This is the goddess you go to if you're in real deep", and "The lotus is renowned because it grows beautiful even in a shitty place". Then peach tea with mango cake (always try something new) & home.

Tuesday 20th November 2001 Phoned Joy, just in (23h30 there) from eating out with Bisakha and other Manushi's. Into work for 08h00. Chew took me to lunch at Clementi, I should have taken the camera! Sunny, lots of durians (of variety D24). We eat laska? (hot noodle, cockles, sauce) and rajek (Indian dish).

Saturday 24th November 2001 Downtown on a 77 bus to SAM = Singapore Art Museum, & walked straight to the independent Museum Shop (scene of earlier successful shopping expeditions) S$573. Spent lots! Walked on to the Funan Mall (said thank you to my camera vendor), then next door (bought trainers). DeliFrance for a snack S$9.80. Then walked to Boat Quay, it is the regatta with Dragon Boat racing. I watched for a while, I think Ngee Ann Poly were doing well! Then to Clarke Quay, loo, bought 5 tee-shirts S$80, bought 3 handbags S$15. Wandered home on a 174, Cold Storage for a mango and cheese S$89. Noticed Tsingn Tao beer, I should have bought some earlier! Home, then to the swimming pool, 6 lengths and some reading and a soapy shower. The home and rest! 1

Tuesday 27th November 2001 Didn't sleep well, but it doesn't matter, my time clock will be disturbed today anyway! Had some more ideas about why CourseMaster doesn't work with the new course, wrote them down to give to Mr Chew. Lift from Mr Chew about 09h15 to Changi Airport, arrive 09h45, check-in by 10h30. Singapore LH9765 (actually SQ326) 12h30 - Frankfurt 18h40. I wandered round the plane a least 4 times, spent time at the back taking photos. Filled in a customer service questionnaire, I was very complimentary and mentioned the names of the stewardesses, she soon came back with a bagful of goodies! Arrived on-time, the customs man asked what souvenirs and what value, I said tee-shirts and an animal - "Real?", no stone". I said value S$300, it was nearer S$5000. Joy, Karen and the girlies were there to meet me. Stayed awake until nearly midnight.

Monday 25th June 2007 Email from Singapore that the head of department there Pok Yang Ming retired on ill health 3 months ago and has just died. No mention of the cause, I don't like to ask. He was very perceptive and had a good instinct for computing even though he wasn't a computer freak. And he was a real gentleman looking after / being concerned for Joy when she was there. 

Other travel documentss








UK travel

Eric's life history summary is here
Corrections and additions welcome, email Eric
This copy edited Thursday 29-Sep-2022