It All Happened So Fast, Fireworks Over My Head (Working Title: Happy Birthday Singapore)

“You shouldn’t push yourself too hard.  You are still recovering,” said TK over MSN.  That particular week, I was resting and working from home most of the time.  That particular Saturday, my friend Mark has invited me to accompany him for a photo shooting session.  By the seaside overlooking the floating platform, where the rehearsal of the National Day Parade took place.  I’ve made a promise that as soon as he gets hold of the right gears, we would go for a night shooting.  Mark chose fireworks; and fireworks it was then.

I seldom shot fireworks and I certainly cannot measure myself up to Mark’s enthusiasm.  That day, he reserved a spot for us along the Nicoll Highway 2 to 3 hours before the fireworks took place.  I, on the other hand, turned up half an hour before the fireworks began.  Nearly missed the shot had the traffic jam was any worse.

According to Scott Kelby, I should bring my zoom lens for some tight shots.  If I was shooting fireworks at the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, it probably would have worked better.  In Singapore, we are pretty close to the action.  So, a zoom lens seems to be a bit too long.  Mark has done a much better job.  Check out his.  I really suck at shooting fireworks.  Like I said to Mark (and he disagrees), each photographer works within a certain set of genres.  I have a lot more patience shooting animals in the dark.  Or even the moon.  And I have better connection with nature’s creations or monuments that stand or will likely to stand the test of time.  My analogy is that I can comfortably write a piece of music in the Alternative Rock genre.  But I don’t think I can ever write a Jazz or Country song.

Below are some of the shots taken on July 25th (Facebook readers please view original post at my website).  It all happened so fast!  3 or 4 minutes was all it took for the 2 settings.  Each setting I reckon was a 1 minute of fireworks display.  When it was all over, Mark asked if I wanted to do it again for the next rehearsal.

Hmmm.  Maybe not.  And for the fireworks lovers, do drop by Hong Kong during the New Year period (Jan 2nd I think), July 1 National Day, or Chinese New Year.  Hong Kong has the mother of all fireworks I have seen so far.

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Ahead of my country mates’ entries, which I am sure you will see hundreds and thousands starting in the next 1 or 2 hours’ time, happy birthday Singapore!  I know my accent often confuses people.  And believe it or not, some friends of mine despite this “open secret” of I being a Singaporean still think that I hold a blue IC.  No.  I am pink.  I am very pink.  As pink as my IC can be.

For this National Day, I am thinking of doing something slightly different.  Having lived in Singapore for 14 years and have become a Citizen since 1998, below are the frequently asked questions when I told people that I hold a pink IC.

What happen to your Hong Kong Citizenship?  Do you need to give it away?

First, Hong Kong is not a country.  For those who are born in Hong Kong after WWII and before 1997, we are born as a British Subject.  What it means is that we had the right to reside in the then-British colony called Hong Kong.  That’s about it.  In short, we – or at least how I see it – are born with no country, and no religion.  Was I happy to toss the British Subject status away?  I was indifferent.

Were you running away from 1997?  The return of Hong Kong to China?

Not really.  I didn’t think that with such a strong economic establishment, China would want to tear it apart.  The Basic Law was enacted way before 1997.  While I wasn’t entirely bought into China’s promise on “50 years of life remains as it is (in Hong Kong)”, I saw this return to motherland part of a bigger plan to unify Macau and maybe eventually Taiwan.  So, was I running away from anything?  No.  In retrospect, I think China has done a pretty good job to Hong Kong and Macau so far.  It helps when China is rising, a trend as predicted a decade or two ago.

Ain’t you glad that you don’t need to do National Service?

It’s hard to say.  If I was born and grew up in Singapore, I would just do it like the rest.  But as a first generation immigrant who has passed the age of enlistment, I am not sure if I would be thrilled to do NS (however if I could bring my camera and blog about what I experience …).

But I guess we all do nation building one way or another.  And I always joke to my friends that those 2 years and more of working with the MINDEF as an external consultant shuttling between the military camps is my very own way of doing NS.  Sir, yes sir!

Why Singapore?

I chose this region because I love its diverse cultures.  I chose Singapore as my home because there is no other place I’d rather be living in for long term.  I haven’t lived in Africa or South America yet.  So my view may change.  But for now, I am still happy with that decision I made 11 years ago.

Would you return to Hong Kong or migrate to another country?

Probably not Hong Kong because Cynthia can’t speak Chinese.  And my sister has married my buddy in Singapore, most of my friends are from Singapore, I am pretty much rooted here.

I guess my question is: How long can I afford to live in Singapore?  The other day, I was asking my Singaporean friend how much I need to survive in Singapore.  She tossed me some six-figure numbers judging at my current lifestyle (because I said I want to retire now … ha ha ha) and it was kind of depressing.  Jokes aside, the government’s message is clear: We shall remain as productive for as long as we can.  I read those news of sixty odd seventy odd years old people still happily working.  For me, I don’t think I want to work for money till that age.  I reckon I will have many ways to keep myself productive.  Will I have enough money to live in Singapore looking at the rising cost of living or will I have a much better quality of life elsewhere with the finite amount of savings I have?  I have no clue.  I need to do some serious calculation first.

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It all happens so fast.  Time to celebrate Singapore National Day again.

PS. Because of this National Day entry, my usual Spanish holiday photo entry will possibly be postponed by 1 day (Aug 10).  Thank you for your understanding.


  1. Bring your camera and blog about the army? You must be joking! They don’t even allow camera phones in camps lol.

    Ok what, your in-your-face fireworks looks fine 🙂

    1. Darkspore – I know … lol. I was more thinking of a special coverage.

      Better not. Joking only, ha ha ha.

      OK lah, the fireworks. I wish I have more time to do a better job.

  2. nice photos!

    I liked your question and answer section, I am sure I asked at least one of the questions before!

    Can become a photographer to keep yourself productive 😛

    1. G – Ha ha ha I am sure you did.

      Ya, I would love to continue taking picture (your cat, your cat!). Amongst many other fun things to do in life.

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