The Flying Saucer At Sunset

Lenticular clouds (Altocumulus lenticularis) are stationary lens-shaped clouds with a smooth layered appearance that form in the troposphere, usually above mountain ranges. One was spotted in Singapore recently...

Eyes Of 30,000 Honeycombs

With 30,000 individual facets, dragonflies have the most number of facets among insects. Each facet, or ommatidia, creates its own image, and the dragonfly brain has eight pairs of descending visual neurons to compile those thousands of images into one picture...

A Kaleidoscope Of Colours, Shapes And Patterns

Spectacular and innovative in design, the Flower Dome replicates the cool-dry climate of Mediterranean regions like South Africa, California and parts of Spain and Italy. Home to a collection of plants from deserts all over the world, it showcases the adaptations of plants to arid environments...

Lightning Strikes, Not Once, But Many Times

Unlike light, lightning does not travel in a straight line. Instead, it has many branches. These other branches flashed at the same time as the main strike. The branches are actually the step leaders that were connected to the leader that made it to its target...

Are You My Dinner Tonight?

A T-Rex has 24-26 teeth on its upper jaw and 24 more on its lower jaw. Juveniles have small, sharp blade-shaped teeth to cut flesh, whereas adults have huge, blunt, rounded teeth for crushing bones. Is the T-Rex a bone-crushing scavenger?

Merry Medley at Gardens By The Bay

Tis the season to be jolly at the Gardens By The Bay with a whole host of festivities both indoors and out with “Merry Medley” in the Flower Dome and “Christmas Wonderland” in the Meadow. In the crisp climate of the Flower Dome, Christmas cheer takes centrestage in the Flower Field with poinsettias, amaryllis and Christmas roses gracing charming yuletide seasons.


Stroll amidst the woody evergreen fragrance of majestic conifer trees…

Cocooned in giant snow globes, a lovely ballerina delicately turns as her accompanying soldiers watch on...

At the centre of the Flower Field, a troupe of smartly-dressed toy soldiers and an angelic orchestra join in the merry medley…

Nutcracker dolls here are depicted in the form of a solider, knight or king, each with a huge mouth and big teeth. Originally, nuts can be shelled by putting in the mouth of these dolls…

At night, the Flower Dome takes on a magical glow
as t
he enchanting winter wonderland filled with the fresh aroma of flowers…

With a beautiful blue-green cone-shaped crown and exuding a sense of magnificence, the Noble Fir is ideal for a Christmas tree as it looms up over nine metres to create an ideal centrepiece for the Flower Field…

The snow globes are transformed into laminated crystal spheres
with the spell of the twirling ballerina enchantingly beckoning you forward…


Looking like their true lily cousins, the Amaryllis are bulbs with trumpet-shaped flowers. They come in a dazzling array of colours, sometimes combining shades of pink or red, with white. Some of these flowers have a single row of petals (single flower form), while others have a few layers (double flower form)…

According to German folklore, the Nutcracker at night comes alive to defeat the evil Mouse King in battle, brings good luck to each household…

Modelled after the Kobe Luminarie, a light festival held in Kobe Japan to commemorate the Great Hanshin Earthquake, these  elegant Italian-designed light structures illuminate their way forward, symbolizing an everlasting message of peace and hope...

Merry Medley Garden Trail

Join daily “Ask Me” tours as they share fascinating botanical facts and anecdotes about the floral display from 11 November 2016 to 05 January 2017 at 11am and 3pm daily (1-6pm on 03-04 December).

Tours last approximately 15 minutes and available free on a first-come, first-served basis. To participate, gather at the “Ask Me” poster near the Flower Field. Tours will begin when a group of at least five is assembled.


Floral Display Promotion

Local residents with Christmas Wonderland ticket will enjoy $4 off local admission rates for the Double Conservatories. Present your Christmas Wonderland ticket at the Gardens By The Bay ticketing counters to enjoy the offer from 11 November 2016 to 05 January 2017.

For more details, visit www.gardensbythebay.com.sg for the latest information.



Japanese Business Expo - Takasaki Day

Located in the northwestern part of the Kanto region about 100 kilometres or a one-hour Shinkansen ride from Tokyo, Takasaki is the largest city in the Gunma Prefecture with a population of around 370,000. Takasaki is situated within a dense network of expressways and high-speed train lines. Its strategic location helps the city shine as an industrial hub with over 30,000 companies based in Takasaki City itself.


As a manufacturing hub, the Gunma province has over 140,000 employees in more than 6,000 manufacturing firms - many of which are based in Takasaki. The city is also the seat of world-class research institutes, bio industry and advanced pharmaceutical industry, contributing significantly to Japan’s economic and industrial growth.

Prosperity Daruma Dolls at the entrance of the Expo...
(What are Daruma Dolls, find out more in Merlion Wayfarer Goes World here)


At the recent Japanese Business Expo held in Singapore recently, several global brands and leading companies showcased their cutting edge technologies, solutions and products in fields such as machinery, metals, chemicals and waste disposal.

The perfect chance for Singapore and regional companies to discover the opportunities in the industrial hub of Takasaki, the Japan Business Expo - Takasaki Day showcases many sectors across different industries, be it travel, tourism, shared services, research and development, infocomm technology, food processing, energy, waste management, or consumer goods.

“This exhibition is a powerful step towards nurturing excellent business relationships between Takasaki and Singapore, to the benefit of both Singapore and Japan.”
-- Hidehiro Yoshii, Department of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism, Japan --


Kinsei Sangyo Co., Ltd. (キンセイ産業)

Established in 1967, Kinsei Sangyo provides waste incineration plants with their special gasification technology, providing environmentally-friendly solutions to the waste management industry, engineering firms, hospitals and furnace manufacturers. With a track record of more than 200 plants and 70 international patents, Kinsei Sangyo’s solution is highly-automated, perfect for companies seeking more technologically-savvy solutions.


In addition to its high-performance and economical energy solution, Merlion Wayfarer was impressed that this solution requires almost no auxiliary fossil fuels and creates minimal pollution. Waste is disposed of without any pre-treatment required, reducing operating costs even further. The burners here made are also highly-adaptable to incinerate any waste materials, from animal/plant waste, medical waste, to industrial waste and even rare metals.

Incinerators in Kanto, Japan - Gunma (plastic, paper) and Saitama (food waste)...

Incinerators in Chugoku, Japan - Hiroshima (wood, textiles) and Okayama (medical waste)...

Incinerators in other Asian countries - Korea (hospital waste) and Thailand (plastic, wood, fibre)... 

For more information on Kinsei Sangyo, visit www.kinsei-s.co.jp/english/ or email global@kinsei-s.co.jp.

Makino Brewery Inc. (牧野酒造株式会社)

Sake has played a central role in Japanese life and culture for the past 2,000 years. Made primarily from rice, sake is a fermented beverage using koji, a micro-organism and yeast. It has an alcoholic content of between 13-16%. Brewers tend to take advantage of the pure and fresh natural water available in many parts of japan to make excellent sake, which can then be served either warm or chilled, depending on the season.



Makino Brewery takes pride in their history of more than 320 years, consistently winning gold medals in national sake and National Tax Authority contests in Japan. Its trademark Osakazuki (大盃) is one of the most delicious sake brands in Japan. This tasteful and elegant sake is made from carefully-selected sake rice grain and cold spring water from Mount Haruna in Kurabuchi in Central Japan.



Ginjoshu (吟醸酒) is sake made using white rice which has been milled so that only 60% (or less) of the grain remains. It is characterized by a fruity, and somewhat floral bouquet with a clear, crisp flavour. If the rice is polished down to 50% or less, the sake is called Daiginjoshu (大吟醸酒).

Merlion Wayfarer had the chance to try Makino Brewery’s Daiginjo (大吟醸). Premium Limited, where distilled alcohol was used in the process. The taste is rich, with a smooth finish…
  
This is Junmai Ginjo (純米吟醸) counting with 60% milled rice as its main constituent. It provides a full-bodied yet lighter taste…


The Nama Chozo (生貯蔵酒) is sake that is not heated for pasteurization after the final mash is pressed. It is characterized by a light and fresh flavour...


The Ume Liquor (梅酒) is made from Japanese apricot with the Osakazuki sake base. A perfect balance between ume extract and alcohol is achieved by aging the whole fruit, with the stone still inside. The delicious tang of Umeshu comes from citric acid in the fruit, and the refreshing flavour stimulates the appetite. The addition of alcohol to the fruit during production means that the ume flavour can be extracted not only from the flesh and skin but also from the stone.



For more information on Makino Brewery, visit www.makino-sake.co.jp/about-makino-brewery or email info@makino-sake.co.jp.


Toast Box Sprouting Kits - A Little Coffee Goes A Long Way

To mark its sixth year milestone, Toast Box joins forces with non-profit charity organization, ABLE (Abilities Beyond Limitations and Expectations), to join hands with their beneficiaries to raise awareness and funds for ABLE’s rehabilitation, respite and training programs.

This year, the funds will be raised through the sales of Sprouting Kits - a portable-sized cup that comes with soil compost processed from Toast Box’s recycled coffee grounds, together with seeds for growing the sprouts. As part of its initiative to give back to the community, Toast Box has been supporting ABLE through fund-raising programs in the last six years.
 


Together with ABLE’s staff and beneficiaries, Toast Box’s staff volunteers pack and assemble each individual Sprouting Kit by hand - from sticking of labels onto the cups, to packing the soil compost, seeds and instructional guides.

These packing sessions keep the beneficiaries physically and socially active as they interact with Toast Box staff volunteers, working hand-in-hand to accomplish these tasks. It also allows Toast Box staff-volunteers to better understand the challenges faced by the beneficiaries and how the funds raised can serve ABLE’s programs which are aimed to help the physically-challenged live with dignity and lead a productive, meaningful and independent life.


To take this social community effort further, this year’s fund raising also stems from Toast Box’s creative way of giving back to the environment by recycling their coffee grounds and reusing them as soil compost. 
  
"This year, our beneficiaries are especially delighted to play a part in this fund-raising initiative and through Toast Box, we hope to reach out to more members of the public to increase awareness of our services and to help more beneficiaries."
-- Gene Lee, Executive Director of ABLE --
 


From 22 September 2016, portable-sized Toast Box Sprouting Kits were available across 35 Toast Box stores*, sold at $5 each. 100% of all proceeds from sale of these kits will go directly to ABLE to support their rehabilitation, respite and training programs.
  
*Sprouting Kits are sold at Toast Box outlets at 100AM, Bedok Mall, BreadTalk IHQ, Bugis Junction, Causeway Point L1, City Square Mall, Clementi Mall, Compass One, Eastpoint Mall, Esplanade, Greenwich V, JEM, Kitchener Complex, Marina Bay Sands, myVillage, NAFA, nex @ Serangoon, Paragon, Parkway Parade B1, Pasir Ris Sports Centre, Plaza Singapura, Rail Mall, Resorts World Sentosa, SAFRA Toa Payoh, Shaw House, Singapore Cruise Centre, Sun Plaza, Suntec City Mall, United Square, VivoCity B2, Waterway Point, West Coast Plaza, Westgate, Yew Tee Point, Zhongshan Mall.
 


Mosquitoes, Beware - Dragonflies Are In The Air!

If you've been to a pond, you will likely see dragonflies, with their colourful iridescent bodies reflecting the sunlight as they rest on the leaves of water plants or zap about on their four strong wings.

But have you ever seen a swarm of dragonflies? If you do, don’t be alarmed. Instead, be grateful because these insects are probably feeding on mosquitoes – so there are fewer mosquitoes to feed on you!

Why Do Dragonflies Swarm?

We are probably seeing more of them because they may be going farther from water to find their prey, and the reason for that probably has something to do with mosquito control.


They swarm because their food sources swarm. If it has been a rainy season, or if you live near a lot of standing water, then the mosquito population is bound to be booming. If a large mosquito population is present at the time and place of the emergence of fully-grown dragonflies then you may witness a dragonfly swarm.


Dragonflies do not only eat mosquitoes, so you may even catch a small swarm of dragonflies in your yard if there happen to be any acceptable prey abundant there.


They are good for any garden, so be glad they're there for you...


Let’s Lepak : A Car-Free Day At Mount Faber

"Let’s Lepak at Mount Faber" - the first car-free event held in a park in Singapore - saw 450 people taking part in the inaugural event, with the oldest participant aged 84. Ms. Low Yen Ling, Mayor of South West District was the Guest-of-Honour and kicked-off the event by participating in the new GetActive! Singapore workout.



Organised by Mount Faber Leisure Group through the "Streets for People" initiative and supported by NParks, this event moves Singapore closer to becoming a "car-lite city". Curated by partners ActiveSG and LopeLab, the inaugural event on 6 August was also part of the GetActive! Singapore campaign, and showcased activities relating to the theme of Sports and Wellness, coupled with music and art elements.




"I used to come to walk to Mount Faber via Henderson Waves to exercise.
I love the view, fresh air, and the beautiful natural surroundings."
- Mr Chew Kim Lee, Retiree, 84 -

"My friends and I had fun participating in the Zumba Fitness session.
The Bukit Batok East Zone 3 community, especially the senior citizens,
find these activities engaging and look forward to more such events."
- Ms Sharon Lim, Bukit Batok East resident, 56 -




"We are so pleased with the great turnout today and that Singaporeans got to relive their happy memories at Mount Faber. We will continue to work with community groups to create unique events amidst the natural setting of Mount Faber."
- Ms Suzanne Ho, General Manager of Mount Faber Leisure Group -




"Let's Lepak at Mount Faber" is on trial for three months and the next instalment will be on 03 September wiht the final event on 1 October. Visit Faber Peak Singapore for more information.