Saturday, April 16, 2011

Book Exchange at the National Library, Singapore

Today I chanced upon the Book Exchange event at the foyer of the National Library and found out that the Book Exchange takes place once a year. Two weeks before the event, you could bring along as many books as you want to the National Library and in exchange you will be given a coupon stating the number of books given. On the day of the Book Exchange, you will be able to pick the books you like up to the number you have been issued on the coupon. I think this is really a very good idea as I noticed that most books were pretty new and when you give up your books you are assured that they will go to people who love to read. 

I was curious about this huge crowd and the long queue.
I got distracted by this sculpture of coolies having a meal with a girl reading a book.
I had intended to go to the reference section of the library but then how often do I get to go to one side and watch the world go by?
So I got myself a coffee at a cafe and sat there for an hour and a half to just watch the people in the crowd. Initially there was a tall, macho security personnel towering above the crowd. A DJ was playing music and a man was reading a newspaper behind him. A young man and woman who were National Library staff were there to make announcements and slowly more and more people were sitting around with the books they had scooped and going through them to see if they really wanted them.

Despite the large number of people, the atmosphere was pleasant and I guess it was because this was a gathering of book lovers, not shoppers.
The young, the old, the children and their parents...
...the couples...
...the stylish...
...the fashionable...
...the individualists...
...they all came and they picked and chose...
...sat around to read and talk.
Everyone went away with loads of books they liked.

Some helpers were really school children with that eager beaver look on their faces.

Books chosen by a teenage girl.

Wait here and I will drive the car round.

I had no book to exchange this time. Next year, I will look out for this Book Exchange event and not miss it!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Jurong Bird Park, Singapore

I have not been to the Jurong Bird Park since my kids became teenagers - that long ago. Since then, the Bird Park has upgraded and now it is a great day to spend with friends and especially friends from overseas. 
There were very entertaining bird shows at different locations throughout the day and a monorail for those who do not want to walk much but the price is not included in the ticket. The trees have grown really tall and the 30 meter man-made waterfall is now surrounded by towering trees providing ample shade from the sun. Even if it is a got day, you can minimise discomfort by hopping into enclosures housing the penquins and owls and other buildings that provide educational content on all aspects of bird life when the heat gets unbearable. For me, the bountiful shrubs and trees were good enough and I was lucky that there was a light breeze during my visit. The Jurong Bird Park rocks!