Archive for the ‘singapore’ Category

Götheborg Commemorative Chinese Tea

June 23, 2007

The Sunday after the Götheborg returned to her home port (10 Jun 2007), Ivan Chew and his wife were at a Chinatown tea shop that they frequent. Ivan spotted a picture of the Götheborg on a box of tea and asked the shop assistant if he could take a picture. He says,

“I quickly added that “a friend was onboard this ship,” and she said “ok, take take”. The picture but alas not the tea!”

The label apparently states that it is a limited edition and each box has a serial number and a little certificate. He was a little vague but did add that the tea hop, D’Art Station, had two premises in Chinatown at 63 Temple Street, Singapore 058608 and 65 Pagoda Street, S(059224).

I know many of my Swedish crewmates who were in China had returned home with bags of tea from the Chinese, which had been offered in friendship. The sailors from three centuries ago had done pretty much the same thing in an effort to rake in a some profit from the demanding and long voyage from Göteborg to China and back.


Gold plated model of Götheborg at Suntec City, Singapore

June 23, 2007

Ng Hua Qin was at Suntec City (Singapore) on Wed 13 Jun 2007 when he spotted a model of the ship Götheborg. He had visited the Götheborg when she was in Vivocity (Harbour Front, Singapore) and I had taken him on a guided tour so he is one Singaporean who is quite familiar with the ship. He sent me the photo of the model he saw and I responded enthusiastically, “where did you see this?!”

Since the photos was rife with reflections, he promised to take a better photos for the blog. He returned to the shop two days ago and found himself to be the only local there (Koh Inc: 3, Temasek Blvd #02-036, Suntec City Mall Singapore 038983). The shop appears to be a haunt for tourists and possibly for ship model enthusiasts for half the shop was dedicated to models of old sailing ships and several were gold-plated.

On display outside the shop was Götheborg model, all bright and shiny. You can’t miss it for its a 24K-plated model constructed in Taiwan, how about that? Apparently this has been with the shop for 6 months and the retail price is $599. Right now, however, the salesman said it’s on 20% discount now, making it $479.

I rarely venture out to town but it’d be nice to this ship model up close!

Thanks Hua Qin!

A Singaporean welcome for the Götheborg

June 20, 2007

I was unable to visit Sweden to welcome back the Götheborg to her home port of Göteborg but a search of the blogosphere revealed a Singaporean presence! Carineswan has been there since mid-May for work, what are the odds? Of course she saw our grand ship, how could she miss it?

Not only was Carine there to see her, she saw our flag hoisted on the ship along with the other ports of call from her Sweden – China return voyage. I’m glad she was there and blogged about it!

carineswan said, in “The Gotheborg Ship Returns” (After Thoughts, 10 Jun 2007):

“It was a big event in Götheborg. It was largely publicized on posters along the streets. I didn’t know it’s such an important event until I heard that China President Hu Jintao and Swedish King and Queen are attending the event.

A whole lot of people just stand around the canal and waited for the ship to return and dock. At the place where it docked, there’s celebrations going on with musical and dance performance.

See the Singapore flag? Apparently, it has stopped over at Singapore a few months ago, and hold some exhibition at Vivo city.”

*Seaotter waves madly at Carine in Göteborg!*

We swapped comments, and she obligingly sent me these photos; thanks Carine!

Linnaeus tercentenary celebrated in Singapore!

May 22, 2007

In December 2006, before I left for Hong Kong to join the Götheborg for the Hong Kong – Singapore leg, the Swedish embassy staff treated Teo and myself to a lunch (the navy pair, Zhong Bo and Poh Huat were already in Hong Kong) .

During that conversation, the Swedish ambassador to Singapore, Pår Ahlberger, mentioned that celebrations were being held in Sweden over the course of the year, in honour of Carous Linnaeus 300th birthday. He is regarded as the father of modern taxonomy, and as a biologist and museum worker (Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore), I could well appreciate that bit of news!

Well after the memories of the voyage were being submerged by the frantic pace of life in busy Singapore, I recalled that conversation and two weeks before the 23rd of May, Linnaeus’ actual birthday, I decided the Raffles Museum should mark that special day in some way.

So I put together a symposium on the eve of Linnaeus’ 300th birthday (22 May 2007)which included another event (see my blog for that long story), and urged Pår to join us as well, despite the very short notice. After all, he was the person who put the idea into my head! And both he and Anna Maj Hultgård came to my great delight!

Pår wasn’t ceremonial decoration, he added a distinctive Swedish flavour to the event with an impromptu and heartfelt message speech about Linnaeus and the influence of Swedish’ geography and outlook on that gentleman, and the environment that nurtured his interest that persists today. His enthusiasm was a great way to start the proceedings and lay the ground for Raffles Museum director, Prof Peter Ng who later delivered a fiery keynote about the legacy of Linnaeus and the environmental challenges we face today.

I chipped in too later that morning, as I had scheduled myself to round things off with a bang! Busy with preparations, I finally agonised over my 15 minute presentation only the previous night, finally choosing to speak about my adventures with otters which allowed me to weave in a few funny stories amidst the background of a detective story that systeematics unravlled – it was from my work in the 90’s and turned out well. I left the audience laughing and hopefully better aware of the significance of systematics to conservation work even today.

I was pretty pleased that the symposium to mark Linnaeus’ tercentenary, conjured up in just two weeks, was a happy occasion that saw smiles all around! My lovely friends had rallied to help, and we had pulled it off!

Links to more pictures and reports were posted at the Raffles Museum News blog. Photos in this blog were taken by Lin Yangchen and Hwang Wei Siong.

Raffles Museum marks Linnaeus tercentenary

April 24, 2007

Raffles Museum News has begun a commemorating the 300th birthday of Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist, Carolus Linnaeus (1707 – 1778).

In a series called Linnaeus300, Raffles Museum News will feature 30 images of species described by Linnaeus himself, in the month around his birthday on 23rd May 2007 – one to mark each decade since his birth!

Each post also features information about Linnaeus or a link to news of celebrations in Sweden and around the world.

A symposium is also planned and news about that will be posted soon!

See Raffles Museum News.

Ikea Singapore takes a bold step

April 23, 2007

Earth Day 2007 – “Ikea Singapore has taken a bold step – they are the first retailer in Singapore to stop issuing free plastic bags. From today, shopppers will have to pay the cost price of five cents for standard-size plastic bags and ten cents for the larger ones at both Ikea outlets in Alexandra Road and Tampines.”

Habitatnews has the story.

A story from last year heralded the culture. In “No plastic bags for her,” by Leong Su-Lin (The Sunday Times, 21 Dec 2006), she reported that:

“Candida Ho says that cutting down on using plastic bags can easily become a way of life, going by her experience in Sweden three years ago on an exchange programme.

The Swedes, she says, always take reusable bags to the supermarket or pay for the few plastic bags they use.

The habit stuck, and Ms Ho uses NTUC FairPrice and Sheng Siong reusable bags or her own knapsack to carry her groceries. “They’re light and convenient to carry around and less painful on the hands than carrying plastic bags,” she says.”

Ikea Singapore says no to free platic bags

A taste of Singapore

April 20, 2007

Former Götheborg port watch crew-mate Tobias dropped anchor for a few hours on his way back to Sweden from Australia today. His flight to Singapore yesterday was delayed but he finally got though – but now with only a few hours to spare.

So there was no time cycle in Pulau Ubin but enough time for me to stuff him with ice-cream, chilli crab, seafood and the like in Holland Village, Singapore. The Singapore Navy guys missed dinner with us as they were out at sea or working late in the office. Poh Huat assured me our tax-payers money was being well spent with them working so hard!

Tobias at Block 40, Holland Village, Singapore (20 Apr 2007)

Tobias also drooled over “Around Cape Horn,” and wished the Beijing television documentary about the Götheborg that my friend Alvin brought back for me would be released with English titles – him and me both! Still I had watched that footage about the birth of the project in fascination.

We chatted about the ship and our former crew mates and he showed me this YouTube video of when our ship left Harbour City, Hong Kong. That was a lovely night and a great singing send-off by Henrik and the port watch crew. I realy enjoyed that performance and am glad linautb put it up here.

Tobias also says he hopes to be in another ship escorting the Götheborg back to the city in June when she completes her journey.

We talked a little too long (actually we were just getting warmed up) and panicked a little! But we were spot on time and I saw him off in a taxi and waved goodbye. But a short while later he texted to say that his flight to Sweden was cancelled!

However Tobias has great luck and an alternative flight through Frankfurt was found for him. His parents will be glad to see him after 7.5 months! He’ll be back in Göteborg tomorrow morning, Swedish time! Bon Voyage!

Vodcast of Götheborg, Singapore

April 11, 2007

In the 88th episode of the podcast Voyeurism, Kenneth Lim features the Götheborg in “Days of yore.” I missed Kenneth’s contribution when I listed Singaporean responses in the blogosphere to the visit of the ship in January 2007 and its a lovely addition to the list!

The episode ends with scenes of the ship leaving Singapore. As she draws away and fires her canons in a farewell salute, you can hear the crowd go “Waaah,” in true Singaporean fashion!

Here is the direct link to the video.

Singaporeans remember the Götheborg

January 29, 2007

My friends sent me off at Changi Airport in the wee hours of the morning of 6th December 2006 when I left to join the ship in Hong Kong, and then hailed me at Vivocity on 31 Jan.

They expressed a heart-warming interest in the Götheborg and her inner workings during the guiding sessions I conducted in the first week of January 2007. And certainly stole the heart of the crew when they said “you have a lovely ship”.

Some of them blogged about their experience:

Friends who blogged:

  • “Bon voyage Siva!” By Lekowala. lekowala! 05 Dec 2006
  • “Welcoming the Gotheborg.” By Alvin’s Wong, Alvin’s spiel, 09 Jan 2007.
  • “The Swedish Ship Gotheborg in Singapore!” By Veron., 08 Jan 2007
  • “Gotheborg, the East Indiaman from Sweden.” By LingtheMerciless. theadventuresoflingthemerciless, 08 Jan 2007 (see also her artistic, annotated gallery; requires Kodak Easy Share sign-in).
  • “Boarding the Gotheborg.” Alvin’s spiel, 09 Jan 2007.
  • “Gotheborg = Yo Ta Bo Ri.” By Jen. The Blog Site of Adrian and Jennifer, 12 Jan 2007
  • “Big boat.” By Mr Budak. The annotated budak, 01 Jan 2007.

In the first week of January, I was surprised that there was only the odd photo and casual remark in the blogsphere. It was simply a time lag for the search enginbes to catch up – numerous dedicated photo albums and blog posts have since emerged – it’s heart-warming to see Singaporeans remember the Götheborg!

Some of the links here:

Singaporeans who blogged:

  • “Gotheborg To Visit Singapore.” By the Beautiful Singapore Team. Beautiful Singapore, ?26 Dec 2006
  • “On board Götheborg.” By parka. Parka Blogs, 31 Dec 2006.
  • “VivoCity Virgins: Part II – The Götheborg.” By Shafiee., 01 Jan 2007; “Singapore + Sweden = Friendship.” Juriah. By 01 Jan 2007
  • “Gotheborg In Singapore!” By Suaidah. Suaidah’s Site, 01 Jan 2007.
  • “The Gotheborg.” By sunnyray. SunnySideOfLife, 01 Jan 2007
  • “The 3rd. Cinco Meses.” By Java Kueen. Java Kueen, 03 Jan 2007.
  • “Give me again,… the lad that’s gone.” By berylma. pebbles and stones…., 04 Jan 2007.
  • “East Indiaman Götheborg is here in Singapore!!” By Chee Tiong. YoungJedi, 11 Jan 2007.
  • “Ship Ahoy! Blimey, is that the Gotheborg I see?” By Olivia Choong. I just don’t know what to do with myself!, 06 Jan 2007.
  • “Weekends getaway.” By Diyanah. Its all about the four letter word, 08 Jan 2007
  • “The Swedish Ship-Gotheborg at Vivo City.” By Laine Tan. its my world, my life, 19 Jan 2007Photo album.
  • “Gotheborg.” By Prince of Darkness. Petsha West, 20 Jan 2007.
  • “On board the East Indiaman Gotheborg.” By klearcolours. Dying since the day I was born, 23 Jan 2007.
  • “20070114” By shirleensmx [was involved in catering]. empty apartment here, 14 Jan 2007.
  • “Farewell To Gotherborg @ Vivo City Singapore.” By the Beautiful Singapore team. Beautiful Singapore, 15 Jan 2007.

Singaporeans posted lovely photo albums:

  • “Gotheborg.” By Lisa Hee. chromodynamics at large. 07 Jan 2007Album
  • “Gotheborg” By urbangear. A Dose of Mike’s Life, 02 Jan 2007
  • “The Swedish Ship Gotheborg.” By Daniel Hii. Fotopic, 06 Jan 2007blog post.
  • “GotheBorg.” By Calvin. De’Switch aka Calvin’s Photos, 09 Jan 2007.
  • “Gotheborg.” By weelyboleh. weely’s Site, 15 Jan 2007 [black & white photos].
  • “Photography: Swedish Ship, Gotheborg.” By William. A day in the life of a Be@rbrick, 15 Jan 2007
  • “Breath taking sunset.” By Siew Chin. Chinova, 20 Jan 2007
  • “Gotheborg – From the harbour.” By lastboltnut. ClupSnap Photography Forums, 25 Jan 2007.

Bon Voyage Götheborg!

January 14, 2007

She left us today.

Crew of her Starboard watch packed up and kept the gangway, Port Watch sang a heartfelt farewell song, and Pieter and Stina, now in Midship watch, unfurled the large “Thank You” banner.

Pär Ahlberger
Pär Ahlberger, the Swedish Ambassador to Singapore
descends the Götheberg’s gangaway for the last time.

As the last notes faded, her cannons fired an 8-shot salute and the echoes rebounded off the walls of Vivocity.

The crew were in buoyant spirits, as they can finally look forward to some sailing,! It might be a couple of days before the crew’s new sailing skills are finally exercised though, since she will probably have to rely on engines until she clears the Melaka Straits.


She had left Singapore as she came, in the rains of the north-east monsoon.

Left behind on land, the rest of us (including three of the four Singaporeans who sailed her from Hong Kong; the fourth was on duty in the navy) looked on with mixed feelings – it’s lovely to see the Götheborg finally head out to sea, but we’ll miss her very much. After she disappeared from view, we chatted and said our final farewells in the ever-present drizzle.

See the photo essay, “Farewell, Gotheborg,” by Beserk. ClubSnap, 15 Jan 2007.

Her next port of call – Chennai, on 31st January 2007. They will remain in port there until 10th February.Bon Voyage Götheborg!

Götheborg salutes Singapore!