Category Archives: Gross stuff

Don’t take the toilet water

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Seriously, a sign is needed for this? I saw this posted in a public restroom this morning, at a park where I was joining a Dragon Boat crew for the morning . Here is a pic of what the water looked like

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Seeing how dirty the water is, perhaps the toilet water is cleaner?

Oh, and the fine for smoking here is doubled to $2000 !!

Reference:
History of Dragon Boats: http://www.idbf.org/about_history.php
Kallang Riverside Park: http://www.nparks.gov.sg/cms/index.php?option=com_visitorsguide&task=parks&id=19&Itemid=73
American Dragon Boating: http://www.americandragons.sg/wp/

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Things you didn’t know about pythons in Singapore

Okay, ever since the python in the pool incident, I am freakishly hyper-focused on pythons in Singapore.  So I did some digging, and here’s some information about them, this is my list of things you probably didn’t know about pythons in Singapore.

**   Back when there was more ‘wild’ space in Singapore, snakes were more common.  Enterprising snake-catchers would sell their goods for $50 a piece.  The reticulated python is the world’s longest snake, even longer than the giant anaconda.

**  There is a reported incident back in 1965 of a python that attacked and tried to swallow a 10 year old girl.  That was a 20 foot snake in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.  Yes, I have been here and hiked, but only saw monkeys.  Will I go back?  Probably not.

https://blinkmanbuzz.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/monkeys-galore/

 ** Back in the early 80′s there was a man from Chinatown who would catch pythons, and then serve freshly killed python meat his restaurant customers.  They say it has a lot of bones and does NOT taste like chicken.

**   People in Chinatown used to worship a female python named Soon Teck, who reportedly laid over 60 eggs on the 9th day of the Lunar New in 1985

**   A nearly 20 foot monster, twice the length of the Toa Payoh swimmer, was caught in Lorong Marzuki in 1986, an area fondly known as “Pythons Place”.  Currently there are quite a few people living in Toa Payah who think the snakes are breeding in their area of Singapore.

**  In 1990, a customer went to get cash out of an ATM Machine, and instead had a small python that came slithering out.  This was also in Toa Payoh … same place where the snake was in the pool two weeks ago.  Seeing a warning here?  Beware of snakes when in the Toa Payoh area of Singapore.

**  Snakes have been found in the oddest places.   It’s true, here in Singapore some come up through the toilet bowls. So don’t ever flush dead fish or hamsters,  down into the sewers.  Your dead pet becomes their food.  This article was posted on May 8th, lady bit by python that came up through her toilet!

http://singaporeseen.stomp.com.sg/singaporeseen/this-urban-jungle/bathroom-horror-python-slithers-out-of-toilet-to-bite-woman-at-sims-ave

** Some have been found in the hood of cars, curled up and keeping warm by the engines.   Some come right into the house when you open a window!

http://singaporeseen.stomp.com.sg/singaporeseen/this-urban-jungle/huge-python-slithering-up-kitchen-cabinet-gives-household-early-morning-shock

 

** In the last 9 months, since living in Singapore, I have met 3 people who have had close encounters with snakes.  One slithered out of her air conditioning unit that was on the ceiling in her kitchen, another had one fall out a tree into her baby stroller,  and the third had one come out her water drain on the floor and grab at her broom when she was sweeping.

**  If you find a snake and you hire a pest-control team to remove it, it will cost you up to $600.

**  Snakes weren’t so tenderly microchipped and escorted back into the wild in the past. They were bashed to death by hockey sticks, decapitated by axis, or shot by the police.   Today you can call ACRES to have the professionals catch your animal visitors.

http://www.acres.org.sg

ACRES Office (general enquiries): Tel: +65 6892 9821
ACRES Wildlife Crime Hotline (24-hour): Tel: +65 9783 7782
ACRES Wildlife Rescue Hotline (24-hour): Tel: +65 9783 7782
Fax us: + 65 6892 9721

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And this my friends, is the last time I shall post about snakes.  Unless I have my own snake encounter ….

 

Python in the pool

Yup, you read it right!  A very long reticulated python slithered into the competition pool!   This is NOT the pool where my kids regularly practice, but they HAVE competed in this pool, on two different occasions.

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No, I did NOT take these pictures!  I did NOT see this snake in person.  But, seeing these pictures have been cause enough to have nightmares several nights in a row.  No kidding.  This terrifies me.  But you can see from the photos, two of which I got from Instagram, a social networking site, that the kids here don’t seem to be too nervous around these creatures!

Here is the article I found on about this exciting event:

http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/more-singapore-stories/story/pythons-singapore-what-you-should-know-about-these-snake

 

Thaipusam Festival 2014

Thaipusam … ever hear of it?  I vaguely remember seeing something about this on Nat Geo TV a long time ago, but never in my life did I think I would get to attend this festival in person.   When I heard that this would be happening soon in Singapore,  there was no way I was going to miss it.

Thaipusam is a celebration of faith and penance,  during the full moon of the Tamil month called Thai, which falls in January or February on the western calendar.  “Pusam” refers to the brightest star during this time.  This colorful holiday is rich in legends and honors Murugan, a Hindu god and son of Shiva, destroyer of all things evil, and his goddess consort, Parvati.

Murugan is often depicted next to a peacock, his preferred mode of transport, holding his vel.  He is venerated throughout the year as the Hindu war god and protector of deities.  Thaipusam provides an opportunity for worshipers to thank him for granting their wishes and defeating the demons that inhabit their everyday lives.    Many also choose to show their devotion and do penance for transgressions by carrying Kavadi burdens.

Some bear simple Kavadi such as milk jugs, while others pierce their mouth, cheeks, and skin with vel-like skewers and rods as a demonstration of their faith.  Others balance large, complex alters with colorful displays of flowers, gods, and peacock feathers.  These structures can weigh more than 100 pounds and are supported by metal hooks and skewers, which pierce the upper bodies.

The men participating in this celebration commit to doing this three years in a row, (however many do it every single year) and they begin with a 40 day fast … no meat, no sex, no cutting their hair or nails.  They mentally prepare themselves for this day,  and it is believed that if they have properly prepared, then there will be no blood when they are pierced.

Trent and I started our day by arriving at the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple and watched as the devotees prepared for their procession.  We were able to enter the temple, and literally watch as the men had their bodies pierced.   I thought that I would be completely grossed out by this,  but instead found it so fascinating that I just couldn’t get enough. 

***Got your attention now, don’t I?  If you are grossed out easily, then stop reading!  Graphic pictures coming up!! ***

They began by piercing the forehead, this is meant to stop the evil thoughts.Next they take a skewer and pierce their cheeks,  from one side, through the mouth and out the other cheek.  Some would then have a lime one the end of each skewer.Next they would pierce the tongue, leaving the rod in, forcing them to not be able to shut their mouths.  This was to keep them from having evil words.

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Next they would proceed to pierce their bodies, each choosing a their own level of penance.  There were so many extremes of this, some had small hooks all over their backs with limes hanging from each hook, and others had small containers filled with coconut milk.

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Some had a corset type of binding that would support the Kavadi, while others did not have the binding and instead had the four giant rods pierce their skin directly, and that was the only source of support for their giant alters.  The participants friends and family were volunteers that were helping with the binding and piercings.  No they are not medical professionals, they were just volunteers with no back ground or training on how to do this.

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We saw a few who had large hooks in their backs, with ropes pulling a big wooden cart that had a diety on it.  Sounds pretty incredible, right?

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The thing is, that after they were all pierced and prepared, they then walked a 4.5 kilometer route to the destination temple.  So the men who had hooks with ropes pulling the carts … pulled them four 4.5 kilometers.  I spoke to one man who said the journey took him 5 hours to walk.   It is a slow walk, not meant to be rushed, and there is no passing.  If they catch up to the person in front of them, they wait.

The women are not allowed to pierce themselves,  so some choose to do penance by carrying a jug of coconut milk on their heads.  They use both hands to hold the container the entire time, careful not to spill the milk, which they present at the temple.

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Many wives and daughters choose to walk alongside their fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons,  supporting them, singing to them, holding their hands, trying to give them strength to continue.

One of the most exciting moments is when the devotees finally reach the end of their journey at the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple.  The ones carrying alters will stop before entering for one last jiggle of the skewers piercing their body to increase the pain in a movement called “The Dance of the Peacock”.

The line to enter the temple was long, and even though they were exhausted, they waited patiently.   As the worshipers entered the temple, many are so overcome with joy that they broke down in tears.  Some appeared to be in a trance as they raised their hands to the sky and gave thanks.  At the alter the women hand over the coconut milk,  their arms are stiff, they cannot move or let go of the container, they cry with pain as their arms are forced to move, and they continue on to the tent where the skewers are removed.

This part was just as fascinating as watching them get pierced.  We saw some men who appeared ready to pass out, in so much pain and exhausted.  Their wives would be holding their hands as the participants friends would quickly and methodically remove all the body piercings, while a young female was standing by burning some blessed papers in an urn.  As a rod was removed, a finger was dipped in lime juice, and then in the ashes, and placed on the hole in the skin.  This is an antiseptic, would promote healing and lessen the pain.  If there was blood, then the participant wasn’t properly prepared and would be ashamed.   I only saw a few drops of blood.  All day.  No kidding.

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The rods in the face were the last removed, and seemed to be the most painful.   There would be loud chanting and singing, some drums, and squeezing hands.  It was unbelievable.  Most participants would immediately sit down to rest, but I did see one young man, who after his two buddies took out his tongue piercings, they slapped him on the back, and said, “let’s go”, he gathered up his bags, and off he went, like nothing happened.

Singapore hosts one of the largest Thaipusam celebrations in Asia, the other being in Maylasia.   This was probably the most fascinating thing I will ever see in my life,  with the images of the day forever burned in my memory.

For those of you who can handle really gross stuff, I took an awesome video of a young man having his cheeks and tongue pierced.  I was up close, and was stunned when he didn’t even flinch.  Watch closely, you’ll see him getting ready & wetting tongue just before being pierced.

Chicken head in my sink

MARIA BLINKMAN, IF YOU ARE READING THIS, STOP RIGHT NOW. YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE THESE PICTURES.

My live-in housekeeper Leny (“helper” in Singaporean) wanted to roast a chicken, but I had no idea that mean she would be doing this!!!

I told her if Maria walks in, you cover it, because if it is seen by my baby girl, she will never eat chicken again.

Leny did a darn good job hiding this from
this from the kids, thank goodness. And hopefully this blog didn’t spoil that.

MARIA BLINKMAN, FINAL WARNING, IF YOU ARE READING THIS … STOP NOW.

Leny’s cooking is out of this world. She is Filipino, and has been working for a Chinese/Singaporean family for the last 13 years. Her variations on chicken dishes are unbelievably delicious, she say “it’s nice mam”. Sweet & sour, Mexican, fried, wings, spicy, every night it’s something new and different. Add to that all her rice creations!! Lord have mercy, it’s yummy!!!

Will try to start a tab on this blog to post recipes.

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The Fuzzy Egg Shell

This is what I found today when I opened my pack of eggs.

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Up until now I hadn’t really thought about eggs, although last week one of my eggs had a blob of dirt on it, and while I washed it off, I wondered if it was really dirt or something else.    So after I find the fuzzy egg today, I did a quick google, and I find that only recently pasteurized eggs have become available here in Singapore, and even then, only in a couple market shops.   May 2013.  That’s when you could first buy a safe egg in Singapore.

So it’s true, the eggs I have been bringing into my home are right from the farm!  They are sold in the markets, at room temperature.   What farm???  There are no farms in Singapore!  I think they must come from Malaysia, but I don’t know this for certain.  I like farm fresh eggs, in fact, I prefer them.  BUT, when living in a region of the world where the bird flu is very real and very scary, I prefer my eggs to be pasteurized.

Here is a copy of the news article, it’s interesting!

SINGAPORE – Good news if you are particular about how long your eggs can stay fresh: In a first here, eggs pasteurised with their shells are now sold in several major supermarkets.

Home-grown egg producer N&N Agriculture has been selling such eggs in the chiller sections of Sheng Siong, Ang Mo and selected outlets of Cold Storage and Giant since the end of last month.

The company said that such eggs, marked with a “P”, are completely free of salmonella bacteria, which are major causes of food-borne illness.

The pasteurisation process – which involves putting the eggs through a warm-water bath for a period of time without cooking the eggs – kills off bacteria in the eggs and on the shells.

Salmonella, often found in meat, eggs and dairy products, can cause fever, stomach cramps and diarrhoea. The bacteria are destroyed if the eggs are thoroughly cooked.

N&N also said the eggs can stay fresh for 60 to 120 days when chilled.

Unpasteurised eggs refrigerated in their raw shells can last 28 to 35 days, according to the American Egg Board’s website.

N&N said the eggs’ freshness can be prolonged as they are sealed with protective wax after pasteurisation to prevent air and bacteria from contaminating them.

A carton of 10 pasteurised eggs starts from $3.10, depending on the size of the eggs. The eggs contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as vitamin E, because of the diet the hens are fed.

Previously, the only pasteurised eggs in the markets came as liquid products.

When contacted, the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore said N&N is the first local poultry farm to carry out pasteurisation of in-shell eggs, and such eggs are the first sold here. The company’s work is supported by the authority’s Food Fund, which aims to build resilience in Singapore’s food supply.

Mr Ma Chin Chew, chief executive officer of N&N said the company wants to show that by prolonging the shelf life of eggs, supply will not be disrupted, “even during outbreaks (of diseases) like the bird flu”.

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I’ll be looking for these chilled eggs, the last thing we need in my family is a case of the bird flu.   This will (hopefully) be the last fuzzy egg I find!!

 

Green whip snake

Photo credit to Scott Gifford. He snapped this photo of a lovely green whip snake at Dragon Kiln Pottery. He was especially keen to show me this pic because he knew I was planning to visit this historic kiln the next day.

I was on the look out for this neon fellow, being especially careful when picking up or looking into pottery.

Thankfully I never laid eyes on it, because Scott says he’s mildly venomous. Mercy mercy!!

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