Go green in Singapore

By Pradeep Nishantha Herath
Living in a tropical country with all-year-round sunshine and monsoonal rains, abundance of greenery is not a strange sight for us Sri Lankans. Cascading waterfalls and free-flowing rivers add much charm to the natural environment that we are blessed with in this country.
Recently, I visited a country that can be described as a ‘concrete jungle.’ Yet, to my utmost surprise, it is a country that can also be described as a green valley, especially because of the respect they have for the natural environment.

My friend and I reached Singapore at around 8 O’clock in the morning. Upon leaving the airport, we met Mr. Lo of Singapore Soka Association, who escorted us to the Association where many Singaporeans were engaged in morning worship.

It was while we were on our way to breakfast that I first witnessed the beauty of greenery that seemed to adorn every street corner. Even the tiniest space available between harsh concrete pavements, lanes, streets and footpaths, were adorned with plants bearing multi-colored blossoms. Although the city was bustling with high-rising concrete buildings, the appearance of greenery gave us a sense of serenity and freshness.
The other thing that took me by surprise was Singapore’s public transport system – and it made me compare the system with the one existing in Sri Lanka. Near each bus stop, there were maps indicating routes and places. With such a system in place, it is impossible for a foreigner to get lost in the busy streets of Singapore.
When the automatic doors open, passengers get on to the bus only through the front entrance. Then they can deposit the required amount into the box near the bus driver. Or, a passenger can use a bus pass. Unlike here, passengers do not enter and exit the buses through both doors. They only exit when the back door opens automatically. The system is entirely automated, saves time and less hazardous for the public.

Most people in Singapore live in apartment complexes that run high up to the sky. They are systematically built and very well maintained. Also, the Singaporeans seem to give great prominence to add greenery to their surroundings. Their roads, pavements and virtually everywhere we looked was free of dirt and extremely neat.
Even when one walks down a busy street, with hundreds of cars and taxis regularly running down them, it gives the feeling you are walking down a garden path. There was not a spec of dirt to be seen. One cannot litter the public places at their whim. There were designated places where one has to dispose of their wastes; if one were to disobey, a heavy fine follows. Citizens of Singapore seem to obey these rules to the letter.
China Town is one of the biggest attractions for tourists in Singapore. There are many trinkets made according to Chinese traditions and culture for sale. The area too is decorated with many colours and symbols pertaining to Chinese culture.

Sim Lim Square and Musthapha Centre are two of the biggest shopping centres in Singapore that attract a lot of tourists, including many Sri Lankans. From electronics to computers, camera, clothes, cosmetics, watches, costume jewellery, handbags, DVD and anything and everything can be bought in these places. These shopping complexes comprise several sprawling floors, so if you visit these places, be prepared to spend close to a day there.
Visitors need to be a little cautious when consuming Singaporean cuisine, to make sure that you will not come across some dishes that are not familiar to your palettes, in particularly, frogs.


Avurudu at Citrus

The Citrus Hotel, Hikkaduwa celebrated the Sinhala-Tamil New Year in style with traditional new year games. Large numbers of foreign guests participated in a number of events like “kana mutti’, tug-of-war, ‘kiri kema’ and many other events which captured the essence and spirit of Avurudu


Lavinia Beach Resort: Ideal to relax and dine just by the sea side

By Srian obeyesekere
Restaurants right up the beach front adjacent to the sea come rare and the Lavinia Beach Resort is one of those rarities down Samudra Mawatha on Mt. Lavinia. Indeed Lavinia Beach Resort has foreign and local tourists raving over it as the sun, sea and sand go hand in hand in a day’s relaxation. By day or night Lavina Beach Resort serves up as an ideal location to relax sip a beer and enjoy a meal as the sea breeze rustles about giving one that ideal cosy feeling of relaxation. The hotel’s proprietor, Harendra De Mel says that daily there are tourists by the numbers calling over; not only for the cosy setting that makes them comfortable. But also for the seafood that Mount Beach Resort is famous for.

With a 120-seating capacity, the hotel, which is set uniquely with palm and coconut tree pillars wedged through the tiling, gives an air of a difference from other resorts for its setting. For one the tables have been made of old chariot wheels that Harendra had brought down all the way from Jaffna to start his dream restaurant. As the proud proprietor Harendra De Mel says, “These chariot wheels from which the tables have been churned out are more than 150 years old and these have been designed by master craftsmen.” Harendra also takes pride in saying that ‘We are the only restaurant serving breakfast in the morning by the sea side. The unique setting of the place has endeared it to wedding couples and breakfast meetings.’

The Chef Anil specialises in some unique preparations from Western dishes like ‘Spaghetti Botlaganoz,’ Battered prawns and fish buriyani, the latter which Harendra says is a sole specialty of Lavinia Beach Resort. “The desert called the ‘Pineapple pudding’ is also a special preparation by chef Anil. In fact it is the only pineapple prepared pudding in the world,” says Harendra who delighted in the fact that tourists found it very mouth watering. Besides, the bar is exceptionally done up. The counter top has been made of mara wood and the bottom given a titanium cement cut that adds splendour to the whole setting.


Easter at Ceylon Continental

On Easter Day Ceylon Continental offered a special Brunch like no other, packed with the freshest and tastiest of items to soothe late morning – and early afternoon appetites plus fun activities for the entire family.
But the most fun and enjoyment was undoubtedly reserved for the younger guests.