Shopping in Singapore

A visitor asked me where to shop in Singapore.

When I asked where she has been to?
She mentioned the shops in Orchard and Marina are out of her budget.
Frankly, we tend to shop online these days. Most malls tend to replicate each other. For budget tourist shoppers, who tend to prefer a variety of options, all age group, various interests, there are two we normally bring our guests to.

1) Mustafa

Suitable for families, as there’s something for everyone. It never closes. It sells electronics, bedsheets, medicines, toiletries, basmati rice…just name it. Check out the perfume and fragrance section for last minute gifts.

It also has a wide range of tourist souvenirs. Good if your return flight is early morning and you realised you need more of those Merlions or “Singa Muntah”.

Nearest MRT: Farrer Park

Where to stay: Nearest will be PARKROYAL on Kitchener Road; which is also across the street from the Farrer Park MRT Station Exit. Other options available are Park Hotel Farrer Park, which is probably USD5 more expensive or my favorite Penta Hotel which is less than half than the Parkroyal and Park Hotel.

Bonus: While you are at Mustafa, check out:
City Square Mall, where there is Decathlon SG a sports retailer from Paris. They have everything for cyclists, runners and even archers and equestrians. Everything sports.
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2) IMM

Arguably, the biggest outlet mall in Singapore. Selling mostly past season goods. Some of the tenants are brands like Club21 which carry Paul Smith and the likes. There is also Coach, Adidas, Nike, Puma, Rockport, Clarks, Urban Armour and many more. Check the store list here.

Don’t forget to use your passport to get the IMM Tourist Privilege Booklet for special discounts.

Nearest MRT: Jurong East MRT Station

Where to stay: Genting Hotel Jurong is probably the only hotel within a 5km distance from IMM. It is located beside the Singapore Science Centre. Good if you have a young scientist in your team. Genting Hotel Jurong provides 24/7 shuttle service to Sentosa. Just show them your foreign passport. If you need to attend business meetings at International Business Park, they provide shuttle service on weekday mornings.

Bonus: If you are on a tight budget, and want to get gifts, plenty of gifts without tearing a big hOle in the wallet, check out Daiso. The Daiso IMM was the first outlet to open in Singapore. Eveything is $2. Caps, t-shirts, brooms, japanese cups and saucers…the list goes on.
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Hebron and Bethlehem

We visited al-Haram al-Ibrahimi, also known as The Cave of the Patriarchs (Christians), and the Cave of Machpelah (Jews). Located in al-Khalil, aka Hebron.

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Al-Ibrahimi Mosque
aka al-Haram al-Ibrahimi
aka Sanctuary of Abraham
aka Cave of the Patriarchs
aka Cave of Machpelah (double tombs).

More information on Wikipedia.

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Al-Quds

We went out early for Fajr prayers at the Al-Aqsa mosque. A comical sight as we saw Ustaz in a black polo shirt and wearing bright red gloves. He had to borrow his wife’s gloves.

That walk along the Lions’ Gate took us pass the Golden Dome first.

First sight What a sight. The shining golden dome. Walk past it. It was truly humbling. I imagined our beloved Prophet (sa , walked down the stairs and we see the Masjid Aqsa. Masjid Al-Aqsa
We toured the Golden Dome.
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We also visited the Western wall aka the Wailing Wall.

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Along the way we actually encountered some European men trying to enter the Aqsa compound but was stopped by the IDF soldiers. One was pretty persistent.

IDF Soldier: You can’t go in.
European guy: Why? I want to go in. I am a tourist.
Soldier: Are you Muslim?
European guy: Yah.
IDF Soldier: Read.
European guy: Read what?!
IDF Soldier: You are not a Muslim.
European guy: I can be a Muslim. Why not?

At that point, I actually said Ameen. May you be a Muslim one day.
Interesting to note here is that the IDF soldiers are actually protecting the Aqsa compound.

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That bridge though...

After the Western Wall, we headed for the Dead Sea. The Neve Mid-Bar Beach. The creepiest beach

And Makam Nabi Musa (alaihi salam).

Tel-Aviv

We landed in Tel-Aviv after a stopover in Istanbul.

The immigration officer, flipped through our passports. Raised the eyebrow and asked, “You visited Saudia Arabia. When? How long were you there? Please go over there. We waited for like close to 2 hours.

We proceeded quickly to the Old Town of Jaffa for a very very late lunch.

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Our first hummus. And many more delicious ones to come on this trip.
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By the time we finished, it was just enough time to do our Jama Takhir of Dzuhr and Asr. We stayed for Maghrib. It was a nice beautiful quaint masjid called the Masjid Al-Bahr (the Sea Mosque), named because it was overlooking the harbour. It was built in the 16th Century during the Ottoman.

We then took a stroll at the seaside area. Noticed the people here in Tel Aviv are on the edgy side towards us.

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What was sad, when I reviewed the pictures, the dark  horizon in background could have possibly been Gaza.

Cameron Highlands Dec 2013

We did a trip to Cameron Highlands with friends and families.

We drove up the “famous” Tapah winding roads. Two out of 11 of us actually “merlioned”.
“Merlioned” is a Singapore slang for vomit, just like how you see the Merlion statue spouting water out. Actually only one of us. The other one actually “merlioned” 1km after we left the toll junction. She actually had too much of the crackers. Must have been a pretty slow trip for her…munching non-stop.

Tapah Exit

Cameron Lavender

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Masjid Kampong Brinchang

The Butterfly garden which was a beauty. Though, many butterflies seems to have been trampled upon on the floors. The reptiles and insect section seems to be a hit with the kids.

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A late relaxing afternoon high tea at Cameron Highlands Resort.High Tea at Cameron

Sliced bee hive

Slept for the night at Strawberry Park Resort and off we go to the Tea Centre the next day.Good morning Camerons

'BOH' Tea CentreSungei Palas

Twins of Faith 2012 – For the Love of God

We spend the last 3 days of 2012 in Putrajaya, Malaysia. Specifically at the 2012 Twins of Faith Family Festival organised by Mercy Mission. It was a weekend well spent, and it did provide us with a real dose of Iman booster.

Alhamdulillah, thank Allah swt for making our journey to Putrajaya smooth and safe, although it was executed the last of minutes.

Various people we learned from, the sheikhs, lecturers on stage and the volunteers and even the audience we around we made friends with. Got to love the atmosphere.

Got to admit, we both have never heard from any of the listed speakers before this. Maybe a bit of Tawfique, but that’s it. So, we were both lapping it up, dividing the main venue talks and the plenary sessions with each other, vigorous note taking (mine shorthand…or sort of). Various topic about God, love, family….everything. There was even a speaker from Singapore, the Suchi group bosses about teenage parenting. Even consumerism was touched on via the Art segment.
Probably, if I was 10yrs younger, could have joined the skate too. And, definitely the kids corner was amazing. The whole organization of the event and dedicated volunteers truly amaze me. I doubt Singapore will be able to pull something of this scale or even 50%, if anyone wants to do it, count me in.

Oh! I even had the chance to chat with Abdurrahman Chao while we were waiting for our transport back to the hotel. His tummy wasn’t feeling too well, and stupid me…talk about Taiwanese Beef noodle. Dang!

Some shots taken…

tof2012Putrajaya, the venue.

Not forgetting the beautiful opening montage.

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We had to leave Putrajaya, Malaysia on the eve of  2013, had to give the Countdown party a miss and hope to be back in Dec 2013…..In sya allah.
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