Sunday, 30 November 2008

Great Place To 'Chill Out' On A Hot Singapore Weekend?

Why not take the kids for some 'fun in the sun' and cool off at Marina Barrage?

This is exactly what we did on Saturday afternoon. As well as offering a place for us to play with Jaime in the 'water playground', we also took the opportunity to learn something about the 'environmental history' of Singapore in the (state-of-the-art) 'Sustainable Singapore' gallery.

If you've not been there before, I highly recommend a visit. For those driving, there is ample car-parking. For those who choose to take public transport, just catch the MRT to Marina Bay station, and follow the signs to the free shuttle bus service that runs every 10 or 15 minutes between the Station and Marina Barrage.

A really big thanks to my mate "Grassroots Mate", Anthony Loh and his family for the initial 'heads-up'!!




Built across the mouth of the Marina Channel, the Marina Barrage creates Singapore’s 15th reservoir, and the first in the heart of the city. With a catchment area of 10,000 hectares, or one-sixth the size of Singapore, the Marina catchment is the island’s largest and most urbanised catchment. Together with two other new reservoirs, the Marina Reservoir will boost Singapore’s water catchment from half to two-third’s of the country’s land area.

The Marina Barrage is the result of Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew’s vision nearly two decades ago when he envisaged damming the mouth of the Marina Channel to create a freshwater reservoir.

3-in-1 Benefits

1. Water Supply
2. Flood Control
3. Lifestyle Attraction

Water Supply

The Marina Barrage is a 350-meter wide dam built across the Marina Channel to keep out seawater, forming Singapore’s first reservoir in the city and 15th reservoir. Marina Reservoir combines with the future Punggol and Serangoon reservoirs will increase Singapore’s water catchment areas from half to two-thirds of Singapore’s land areas.

With the barrage in place, the Marina Basin will turn into a body of freshwater through natural flushing in one two to years. The freshwater will then be treated using advanced membrane technology before consumption.

Local catchment water is one of the Four National Taps, with the other three being imported water, NEWater and desalinated water.

As one of the pillars of local water supply, Marina Reservoir will meet more than 10% of Singapore’s current water demand.

Flood Control

The Marina Barrage is part of a comprehensive flood control scheme to alleviate flooding in the low-lying areas in the city such as Chinatown, Boat Quay, Jalan Besar and Geylang.

During heavy rain, the series of nine crest gates at the dam will be activated to release excess storm water into the sea when the tide is low.

In the case of high tide, giant pumps which are capable of pumping an Olympics-size swimming pool per minute will drain excess storm water into the sea.

Lifestyle Attraction

As the water in the Marina Basin is unaffected by the tides, its water level will be kept constant all year round. This is ideal for all kinds of recreational activities such as boating, windsurfing, kayaking and dragonboating etc.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

World's Most Expensive Homes (Sigh - I Wish)

Forbes has released this year's list of the Top-10 most expensive homes in the world (based on their criteria).

Property investment experts around the globe are saying that it's going to be very ugly in 2009, and sellers of the world's highest-priced properties will not be immune.

According to Forbes - "Last month, investor Marty Zweig pulled the plug on his $US70 million Pierre Hotel penthouse listing after four years on the market. Financier Leonard Ross, who had asked $165 million for the Hearst Mansion in Beverly Hills, California, de-listed it in September. That means a $125 million Holmby Hills estate, sandwiched between Beverly Hills and Bel Air, rises from No. 2 to first on our list. The property known as Fleur de Lys doesn't disappoint with its 12 bedrooms, 15 bathrooms and Versailles-style accoutrements. It's also a sign of the times; the last time a $125 million home nabbed the top honor was in 2005."

In May this year, Donald Trump's sold his "Maison de L'Amitie" in Palm Beach Florida, to Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev for a cool $100 million. Not a bad profit for Mr Trump, given that he bought the home just four years ago for $41.4 million.

Making The Top 10 (by Matt Woolsey of Forbes):

"Our list comes from property listings, high-end brokerages and conversations with real estate agents. The list is made up of homes on the market and not pricey properties that sold this year. We include only publicly listed properties; in Europe, especially, estates and luxury residences that might qualify are shopped privately for undisclosed prices.

"In general, the most expensive estates in France are private mansions inside Paris called 'hotels particulieurs' with prices which can be above 100 million euros ($125 million)," says Thierry Journiac of Terra Cognita, a French brokerage.

This practice makes it difficult to gauge the top of the market. In August, an unlisted Belle Epoque mansion on 20 acres of the French Riviera that once belonged to King Leopold II of Belgium sold to an unnamed Russian for $750 million. Not putting a public price tag on properties can give sellers more leeway to demand a high price. It also saves them the Trump-like embarrassment of having to publicly mark down a house $25 million if the market softens.

The Riviera sale shows that those flush with cash are still looking for prime properties. After all, to a billionaire looking for a fourth or fifth trophy property, the emotional connection can often drive the decision, either because the homes are impossible-to-duplicate works of art or because billionaires keep score with one another when it comes to fine possessions."


Lake Tahoe, Nevada. $100 million: This 210-acre property main house has 20,000 square feet of living space and a 3,500-bottle wine cellar. An indoor swimming pool and atrium, as well as a 19-seat movie theatre.

Windlesham, Surrey $110 million: Larger than either Buckingham or Hampton Court palace, this 103-room home has 58 acres of gardens, making it the idyllic English country home for those flush with cash.

Moscow, Russia $100m: This property consists of a 11,700-square-foot manor house, two 4,000-square-foot guest houses and a recreation centre, pool, Turkish and Russian baths, a gym, sauna and lounges

Southampton, N.Y. $80 million: This features nine bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, four powder rooms and a movie theatre and is situated on waterfront

Pagosa Springs, Colorado. $88m BootJack Ranch includes 3,100 acres of land with the main house 13,800 square feet with four bedrooms and four bathrooms

Fleur de Lys in Beverly Hills is modelled after Louis XIV's palace at Versailles

Côte d'Azur $88 million: On the French Riviera, this 11-bedroom, 14-bathroom mansion has 29,000 square feet of interior space, manicured lawns and swimming pool.

Greenwich, Conn. $125 m: On 40 acres of rolling hills, this Jacobean manor has 21,897 square feet, 14 bedrooms and 13 bathrooms and 52-foot-long indoor swimming pool.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

James Bond's Latest Girl, Olga - Up Close And Personal...

Olga Kurylenko, the Bond girl from "Quantum of Solace", knows how to dress well. From prairie-style summery frocks to amazing heels and jeans to "not very much at all".

Originally born in the Ukraine, Kurylenko aged 29, is regarded widely as one of the most beautiful and well-proportioned women in the world. By the age of 16 she was working as a model in Paris. She previously appeared along-side Elijah Wood in the 2006 vampire movie, "Paris Je T'aime".

When asked about her dress sense, she said that she would have no problems appearing nude in the latest James Bond movie if that was what the directors asked for - she is certainly not ashamed of her body as the attached gallery shows.