Showing posts with label SSEAYP. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SSEAYP. Show all posts

Sunday, July 14, 2013

LOL in Ho Chi Minh City

4-6 July 2013

Went for the annual IRO teambuilding which took place in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The theme this year was LOL - "Live the Moment, Optimize the Strengths and Liberate Our Hearts and Minds".

Notre Dame Cathedral

As a former Participating Youth (PY) of SSEAYP, travelling to ASEAN countries meant an opportunity to catch up with PYs. Glad to be able to meet up with some of the Vietnam PYs even though I notified just 2 days back.

Ane welcomed us to her To Coffee Cafe at District 3.


While traditional cafes operate on the business model of having clients sit and chat with their friends, To Coffee is experimenting a take-away coffee concept. It also sells coffee powder grinders and filters for customers to DIY.


Ane holding her newborn baby

Dinner was at a street-side eatery.



Appreciated Hien taking his time out travelling 1 hour just to have dinner with me. And happy to know Ivy is now a Teen Magazine journalist. 


The following day, the Amazing Race began.


Photo with Pho2000 in our background

The subsequent rain in the evening didn't douse our fighting spirit. Running around Ho Chi Minh City and trying out local activities were pretty cool.

On the last day, met up with Thu and Quang of SKY programme, which Eunos CC Youth Club hosted in 2011 and 2012. Quang brought us to a new city in District 7. The man-made lake, the infrastructure and environment were impressive. One wouldn't even see the difference between Singapore and this part of the city.


Vietnamese Lunch at Thu's place was splendid.


Hope to visit Vietnam again!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Happy Hanoi Trip - Exploring Hà Nội with the VPYs

9 - 14 February 2011


Day 1 - 9 February 2011

Vietnam became the first SEA country that I visited after the 37th SSEAYP.

Aunt sending me off at Changi Airport

Vietnam Airlines - 2 flights to Hanoi daily

Air stewardess in the "Ao Dai" traditional costume


Singapore Fried Rice made it into the menu

Having a dinner with Vietnam Youth Leader (VYL) Thao for 37th SSEAYP 2010


Day 2 - 10 February 2011


Thao giving me a ride on her scooter

Xin Chao to VPYs Shane & Lily!

The first visit of the day was to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.


The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is situated in the centre of Ba Dinh Square, where the Declaration of Independence was read by Uncle Ho.

The embalmed body of Uncle Ho is situated within this building.

Along the way to the mausoleum, military guards asked visitors to walk in twos. 

As we entered the central hall of the mausoleum, we could see military guards standing steps away from one another. They were very strict in observing that silence was maintained and no one whipped out a handphone to take photographs. Our cameras were all surrendered before we entered into the mausoleum.

Being my first time visiting a mausoleum, I felt quite overwhelmed by the chilling dim lights and could not help but admire the well respected leader of Vietnam.

Office previously used by Uncle Ho


It was quite amazing that as a teacher, Uncle Ho could lead troops, motivate the Vietnamese people and defeat the French to gain independence as well as Americans during the Vietnam War.


Fishes in the pond are known to respond to applauses

After the Vietnam War, Uncle Ho reared some fishes in the pond as food for him and his officers. He would clap to summon the fishes everyday. Till today, the fishes still respond to applauses from visitors.


Interesting tree with crutches


Next, we headed to the Ho Chi Minh Museum. 



The young Ho Chi Minh



Cuba's support for Vietnam during the War




"Ho Chi Minh and Young People

The symbols of nature in its beauty contrasted with the image of industrial plants in this hall represent Uncle Ho's expectation that Young People shoulder the responsibility for the protection and preservation of peace and the environment, and prevention of aggressive and destructive wars."

Uncle Ho's focus on the youth could have been a reason why the Communist Youth Union is named after him.



Shane giving me a ride on his bike



Soon, we arrived at the Temple of Literature (Temple of Confucius), which was also Vietnam's first University. 





"Respect the Teacher" 

In Vietnam, teachers are very much well respected by students. On occasions such as during the Lunar New Year (Tet) period, it is common for students to visit their teachers. Vietnam celebrates Teachers' Day on 20 November.


Fishes swimming towards the gourd because they want to be dragons - symbolising students working hard to graduate and be successful

Virtue

Ren - Benevolence

Yi - Righteousness

Cai - Talent

Xin - Honesty

Zhi - Wisdom

Jenny joined us at the Temple of Literature

Names of Graduates were carved on the wall tablets. 

It stated that there are only 82 such wall tablets left







Crane represents Sky. Turtle representing Land. Symbolises friendship and harmony

Writing of wishes on the wall with finger


Human Chess


Vietnam Emperor Lý Nhân Tông who built the temple to worship Confucius






Mạc Đĩnh Chi - the Vietnamese that trumped all Chinese in getting the best results that year


Containers storing the exam papers



Drumming indicates start of examination

Morning Call for students




Lily hosted everyone to lunch at her place.



Rubi cooking











What a wholesome meal!

Vietnamese has the practice of taking a nap after lunch. And so, the guys shared a bed while the girls adjourned to theirs. It seemed weird napping at our host's house, so us guys just chatted along.

After the rest, we continued our journey to the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology. The museum features the various ethnic groups of Vietnam.


I was told the bicycle was deliberately hung this way to prevent people from riding it



Funeral

Bamboo Lunar Calendar






A humorous character in Water Puppetry

My lovely guides









The White Thai people


Thai ritual tree



Mask for shaman's initiation ritual







Traditional tomb with figurines symbolising various stages of life




VPYs kept telling me that we would see the small little models on display at the museum in its actual size, and sure we did!







"Long House"


"Tall House"


Different stairs for the men and ladies?

Next, we visited Đại học Quốc gia - Vietnam National University, where Khoa and Rubi taught.

Fave hangout for couples



Dinner was at Quán Ngon - Vietnamese restaurant.




After dinner, Thao and Khoa brought me to the Sword Lake (Hồ Hoàn Kiếm).


With the Turtle Tower in the background


Celebrating 1000 years of Ha Noi (or Thang Long, traditional name of the city)

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum shines in the night

Day 3 - 11 February 2011

Met Khoa at his place of work - Vietnam National University - in the morning but forgot to bring along a helmet, so had to trouble him to buy one at a nearby shop.



Our first visit was to an Archaeology site.





18 Hoang Dieu Archaeological site


The various dynasties of Vietnam



SSEAYP-sick Khoa in his SG-K t-shirt

With Malaysia Homestay mate Hung and Khoa.



Visit to Kinh Thien Palace Relic - a palace from the Le So Dynasty

Chuc Mung Nam Moi = Happy New Year



The Drum and the Bell






A very interesting water sprinkler that wets the floor tiles


Lunch was Bun Thit Nuong!



Ngon quá!! (Delicious!!)

Khoa left after our lunch, so Hung brought me to chill out at a Vietnamese cafe.

The width of the entrance to the cafe is exactly the size of its shop banner, just wide enough to ride a motorcycle into it


View from the rooftop of the cafe


View of the Sword Lake

View of the Old Quarters

Vietnam coffee with a layer of egg

As Hung rode me on his motorcycle, he showed me the Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural, which held a Guinness World Record for being the longest dyke wall art. The mural spreads across 4km wide!


According to Thao, there was a story behind the idea of having such a mural. There was once a young lady who had to travel to and fro along the dyke. She felt that it was dull and made the whole street looked gloomy. When she grew older, she became an artist and mooted the idea of beautifying the dyke, hence the mural.




As we approached a road junction, we were stopped by a Traffic Police for riding a motorcycle that had no number plate. Fortunately, witty Hung got away with it.

The newly bought unregistered bike of Hung

West Lake




Hung dropped me off at the Old Quarters for my self-exploration.

And the first thing I did was to walk to the Pappa Roti store and relive the good old days of having it in Singapore. I wonder why Pappa Roti couldn't survive in Singapore and had to be extinct from it.



Đồng Xuân Market


I observed that if a shop sold a particular type of products in that street, most likely, the entire stretch of shops would be selling the same products. 







Phở Gà - Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup





Was very honoured to have dinner hosted by Vietnam National Leader (NL) for 37th SSEAYP, Blue Rose, who's also a senior government official.

Appetiser

With VYL, VAYL Truong and VNL





Day 4 - 12 February 2011

All-time favourite - Bún chả


So, the way to eat this dish is to pick up the Bún (noodles) and dip it into the soup and savour it.

The Budget Guesthouse that I stayed in

Our bike needs to eat too

Street Snacks!





Checking out a typical supermarket

First floor of the supermarket - motorcycle park


A humongous motorcycle park at Big C Hypermart


Our bags had to be sealed before we were allowed to enter


It didn't end up in our purchase

Water is automatically sprinkled onto the vegetables every minute




This is how you load it


Day 5 - 13 February 2011




Moo~


Celebrating Valentine's Day



Day 6 - 14 February 2011

At the Noi Bai Airport



Hen Gap Lai! (See You Again!)

The trip was made a happy one thanks to:
Shane - for riding me around and sharing many stories
Lily - for the warm hospitality, delicious food and sweet gifts
Jenny - for being the best tour guide ever and make me learn so much about Hanoi
Khoa - for helping to capture so many beautiful photographs
Rubi - for the fun and laughter with English words
Hung - for the adventurous journey
Blue Rose - for meeting up despite busy schedule
Captain - for the many jokes
Thao - for everything