Saturday Ritual

According to the National Parks Board, there are 424 parks in Singapore.

Suppose you would visit one park per weekend. There are 52 weeks in a year. So it would take approximately 8 YEARS just to see the local parks.

Together with all the heritage trees and roads, skyrise greeneries and community gardens, the number is over 1600, making it 31 YEARS.

As wise men said, a journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step. So a good friend of mine and myself have been doing Saturday morning walks to and through Singapore’s parks.

West Coast Park, a coastal park stretched along stretched along West Coast Highway, is one of our favourites.


Good morning, West Coast: saying hello to the greenery, birds, and fresh air.


The park is connected to the sea. The views at night with ships sparkling in the background are especially good. 


Early morning over the sea.


Run, Forrest, run!


It’s not even 8 am yet, and kids are playing already.


Nothing can be better than a kaya and butter toast at Ya Kun family cafe. Well-deserved after a 1.5-hour walk. 


The coffee with condensed milk combined with hearty and intelligent conversations is pretty amazing too. 

In sum: a perfect beginning of a weekend.

Sydney: day 5

This Friday morning I planned to take a ferry to Manly before the flight, but took a long sleep instead🙂. Time to pack up and leave.


Last breakfast in Sydney. Water in glass bottles is very common, and is always served.


Verdict: relax. All you need to do in Australia is chill out🙂.


Scoop airlines: the plane is about to depart.


Up in the air.


Sky, land, and ocean.

A million thanks to Sydney and all those who made my stay a comfortable and a memorable one.

As Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “I’ll be back!”

Sydney: Day 4

My fourth day in Sydney was probably the busiest one. Since this was the last full day in town, I had a lot on my agenda. And I started with the already established ritual: a morning walk.


Passing trough my favourite Rushcutters Bay Park. It was just after 7 am, but people were already jogging, exercising, and just walking (like me).


My 2-hour morning walk was all along the coast. Following the New Beach Road, I ended up at the Darling Point. The line between the road and the water was marked by a splendid tree.


“Early birds” in the McKell Park.


As I continued my way on the Marathon Road (in the picture above), I met a friendly middle-aged local man who gave me a few tips what else to see in the neighborhood.


Next point: the beach at the Double Bay Wharf …


… and the Steyne Park with the World War One memorial.


Further along the coast was the Redleaf Beach …


… and the Murray Rose Pool. “Pool” in Australia refers to a section of the open water separated by fence and designated for swimming. The fence is necessary to keep the sharks out.


Dos are totally prohibited🙂.


Cool nostalgic wall painting at the Redleaf Beach. The local man I met before said the place is crowded with girls in bikini from December (local summer). That’s a strong reason to come back.


The last part of the morning walk was the Nielsen Park. In the picture: Shark Point with a view of the Central Business District, the Opera House, and the Harbour Bridge. The plane in the sky added a special flavour to the moment.


Pathway to the Vaucluse Bay at the north of the Nielsen Park …


… and the Shark Beach.


Waiting for the bus back next to the wall of green.


In the afternoon I had another visit to the University of Sydney. I dropped in Dymocks before that, an Australian-owned bookstore chain.


After the uni the next on my agenda was the 5 o’clock tour in the Sydney Opera House. In the picture: Macquarie street connecting the Hyde Park and the Opera House.


Trees and birds in the Rose Garden & Pavilion along the Macquarie street.


Arrived at the destination: view to the CBD and Circular Quay from the Opera House.


Another photo of the Harbour Bridge taken just before the tour.


Looks like the tour is open for birds too. This is what I call cosmopolitanism🙂.


Marvellous purple carpet inside the Opera House.


The one-hour guided “Essentials” tour is in full swing. In the picture: standing on the balcony around the Opera House.


The roofs of the Opera House has tiles of two shades.


Moving on to the Concert Hall.


Sydney Opera House Concert Hall: what a splendid piece of human design and creativity. 


The Opera House at sunset.


I couldn’t miss my portion of fresh fish from Harris Farm this last night. There were many people waiting for theirs that time (around 7 pm). While waiting, I had a chat with a cool local man with a white “Ned Kelly” beard. Australian men like beards (not sure about women’s reaction to that).


I finished off my day in The World Bar club close at Kings Cross, followed by a night walk in the central business district.

The last full  day in Sydney was over. Bound back for Singapore the following morning.

Sydney: day 3

Today I finally ventured to swim in the cold Pacific ocean. It was unforgettable.


Starting the day in the Rushcutters Bay Park. Australians (at least those in Sydney) seem to be pretty sporty and active.


Taking the double-decker train to the University of Sydney for a lecture.


After the lecture I decided to go to the Bronte Beach and have a swim despite the rain. In the photo: Bronte Park.


I spotted only one crazy man  in the water like me. It was really cold, windy, and drizzling. But I could not miss a chance. So I took a shot of Jack Daniel’s (prepared beforehand) to warm up, ran into the water my neck high, and immediately out. It was super cold, super wavy, and super refreshing. A truly amazing feeling.


Taking a bus to another beach- the fourth one so far, and the last one. In the picture: cute bus stop near St. Catherine’s school.


And here is the Coogee Beach located in another suburb of Sydney. On the left side there is a coastal walk. As I mentioned earlier, you can take a walk along all the beaches in Sydney.


Very few people in this early spring season and rainy weather. I sat on the bench, having my tasty fish and chips, and enjoying the views. By the way, the place where I got fish and chips from is called “Chish N Fips”🙂.


The sun is back over the Coogee Bay Road.

I was back to “the base” after sunset, happy and trilled with another portion of precious experience.

Sydney: day 2

The highlights of this day are walks, parks, bays, beaches, fresh fruit, and of course friendly and open Australians.


Since I love parks, I was advised to check out the Rushcutters Bay Park not far from Kings Cross. Besides, I was to live in the area for the remaining days. So I headed from the hostel to the park first day in the morning. In the picture:cool local graffiti on the way in the Woolloomoolo district.


Quiet Victoria street in the morning.


I reached the destination in about 20 minutes. In the picture: the crossing of the Greenknowe Ave and Roslyn Gardens close to the park.


And  here we go: Rushcutters Bay Park.


The park is just next to the charming Rushcutters Bay.


What a great place to be in the morning: people, animals, and nature.


In the morning I moved to a studio flat kindly offered by a kind person and professor whom I am fortunate to know. Exploring the neighborhood: Macleay St.


Birds communicating next to the El-Alamein Memorial Fountain on the corner of Darlinghurst Rd and Macleay St.


Apartment blocks in my new place.


Time for breakfast after a cold-morning walk and exercise: Harris Farm Markets offers a wide range of super fresh and tasty fruit …


… as well as dozens sots of fish …


… and delicious Australian fish that can be fried or grilled right there. Not to try all that would have been a grave sin.


After the breakfast I headed for the popular with tourists and families Darling Harbour. In the photo: Chinatown and schoolkids next to the Harbour.


Another group of kids next to the Chinese Garden of Friendship.


Park at the Darling Harbour with lots of open space.


People are chatting, playing, and enjoying the sun.


Cool playground.


The Darling Harbour.


Bird fountain at the Cockle Bay Wharf.


For lunch I headed to the University of Sydney again to meet a friend who is doing a postdoc. In the photo: a bridge in the Victoria Park next to the uni.


Students chilling out on the grass.


In the afternoon I started discovering the famous Sydney beaches. The first was the Bondi Beach easily accessible by bus form the Bondi Junction.


Beach art.


The sand, the ocean, and the fresh spring greenery. The water is still cold in this season, but surfers don’t care of course.


From the Bondi Beach one can take a coastal walk all the way south past by many Sydney’s beaches. Probably all the way till the end of Australia?


The coastal trail.


A great spot to stand at (or jump from).


Just the before the Tamarama Beach on the way: I can’t think of a best place to exercise. Which I did with a local names Jules.


That white dog is super cool!


Tamarama Beach: easy to reach in half an hour via the coastal trail from the Bondi Beach.

At night I went out to “The Midnight Special”, a cozy bar located in Newtown, a funky suburb of Sydney and a centre for entertainment activities. There I hanged out with a lecturer from another town in Australia. We drank and talked about the topics we share – political science and martial arts – as well as tried to establish connections between the two.

Summing up the day: another day in in paradise!

Sydney: day 1

I have dreamt about going to Australia for a few years. My dream started to realize eventually with a short visit to Sydney. It’s hard to be objective as a tourist, but overall my impressions are positive. This is definitely a city I’d love to live and work in.

Below are some snapshots of the trip. As usual, I am sharing them mainly for my family. Still, everyone else is more than welcome to comment and share their impressions if they happened to be in Sydney.


First taste of pubic transport: inside a double-storey train. Getting from the airport to the city centre is quick and fast. The ride from the airport to the downtown costs around 18 AUD; short ride within a city is around 1.50 AUD, the price increasing with distance. Sydney’s local and inter-city trains form one common network.


First look at the city: Hyde Park at St. James station. Clean, warm, and green.


Archibald Fountain. The fountain is named after J. F. Archibald, a journalist and publisher who donated the money for the memorial in order to share his love for French culture and commemorate the alliance between Australia and France during World War One.


Entrance to the park from Macquarie Street. Lachlan Macquarie was an influential colonial governor.


Local residents of the park.


Archibald Fountain with  St. Mary’s Cathedral in the background.


Hello, Sydney!


September is early spring in Sydney. People in the park are enjoying the first warm weather after the winter.


And some people are sunbathing already.


Walking towards the hostel: the Domain Pitches park on the way.


The Elephant Backpacker hostel: my stay for the first night. The price is relatively cheap: 25 AUD per night in an 8-bed room.


The harbour at Circular Quay station. Most ferries depart from here.


Sydney Harbour Bridge, or “the Bridge” in the background. The Bridge connects Sydney central business district (CBD) and the North Shore.


The Bridge is best seen from the Sydney Opera House.


Sydney Opera House: the city’s landmark and one of the most famous buildings in the world.


Front view to the podium and roofs of the Opera House.


View from the coastal trail along net to the Royal Botanic Garden.


The Royal Botanic Garden was opened in 1816 and celebrates 200 years this year.


An absolutely great place to chill out.


The Garden. the flowers, and the Bridge.


People enjoying warm spring sunrays next to the Lotus Pond.


The birds are enjoying too🙂.


These benches are irresistible.


Trio: the Garden, the Opera, and the Bridge.


I finished my day by visiting the University of Sydney where I had a meeting with a professor. The Quadrangle building with the clock tower was designed after Oxford and Cambridge.


This student must be studying ornithology here.

So far for the first day. It was rounded by the pizza dinner with the professor and a night walk in the Kings Cross district. I slept like a log and woke up fresh to embrace the new day.

Karate Kata


Most, if not all, traditional martial arts have formalized patterns, be it kata in karate, tul in taekwondo, or you name it.

Patterns are in essence crystallized containers of both attacking and defensive techniques. While some martial arts practitioners may find patterns boring, they are actually very exciting.

The only thing is that patterns need to be “unpacked” to understand their real meaning and applicability.

A good example is given by Michael Jai White in the video below. While this is just a movie, the illustation is quite vivid.