Sister in law Kim was sending me to Changi airport from JB Malaysia. Jude came along to accompany his mom. Cousin brother Dan and his wife Jas surprised me when they came to send me off as well and came together with their kids. I am very happy they came along to send me off. Jewel Changi was just opened a month ago (I think) and we were amazed with all the decorations and the huge man made vortex performance. We had "Malat" KFC, I was trying first time as it was a new promotion from KFC Singapore. The performance was spectacular and full of colours. Later on they all had to leave as the kids have to sleep and I check myself in one of the lounges while waiting for my flight back to Melbourne.
As part of her visit to Singapore in 1972, Queen Elizabeth II was invited to pay a visit to Toa Payoh, the first satellite town built after Independence. Its town centre was a focal point where residents could meet and shop. Today, Toa Payoh is not only a well established estate, but also where Housing And Development Board (HDB) has re-located its headquarters, now known as HDB Hub.
Here is a recount from a fellow Singaporean (Jerome Lim) of that fateful day on 18 February 1972:
The highlight of what was a most memorable childhood, was the visit of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II of England, to the 3-Room flat that I lived in in Toa Payoh in 1972. Living on the top floor in the then VIP block with a roof-top viewing gallery in Toa Payoh, in a unit just by where the only lift that went right up opened, brought a stream of dignitaries to the flat. This included John Gorton, the Prime Minister of Australia in 1968, and President Benjamin Sheares of Singapore in 1971. It was the Queen's visit however, that I would remember most. My family had been contacted by the HDB in the lead-up to the visit, first to seek permission, and then to be prepared for the visit. There was a lot of protocol that we were made aware of, as well as a makeover my parents decided to do to the flat in preparation for the visit. Being in the afternoon session, the afternoon's visit which took place on a weekday, meant that I had to skip classes (not that I minded). When the Queen did appear at the doorway, I had been caught unawares sitting on a sofa - one of the things I well remember was watching myself scrambling to my feet on the evening's news. Besides the Queen, her consort - the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Phillip and her daughter, Princess Anne, also visited. The Royal family were shown round the flat by my parents and senior HDB officials and perhaps because of the view the kitchen windows offered, spent more time in kitchen than in any other part of the flat (see picture). The visit was brief, and in a flash it was all over. Following the visit, what I remember most was my reluctance to wash my hands - it was because a neighbour had told me that I should not wash my hands after skaing the Queen's hand as it would wash the luck away!
Guess what, she returned to the estate 34 years later in 2006 during her Diamond Jubilee tour of the world.
Photos courtesy of Straits Times, National Archives Singapore, Jerome Lim personal photos
Visiting Uncle in Singapore right before Chinese New Year. Uncle bring me around to view the amazing Garden by the Bay Zodiac decorations. It's a Huge Glass Dome Garden.
Catch up with Uncle in Singapore. Uncle bought me to Whampoa Keng Fish head Steamboat restaurant at Balestier Rd . We had Red Grouper base soup with abalone! Very good steamboat or called Hotpot in China.
As I was doing my first trip to Singapore for promoting the opening of Metablox here, I decided to meet up with some Singaporean friends that I have as I haven't been able to come here for many years and friendship is always still the best in-person. Of course, I wanted to be able to create more memories in order to make various Blox more valuable too!
As I was reaching out to Eric Tan, an ex-Googler and currently working at Tiktok (he's doing amazing work focused on self-harm prevention), I asked him what's a good place to meet. He gave me a Google Maps file of 455 of his favorites places in Singapore. WHAT? This guy cares about his Singapore places to hang! Exactly what I needed.
I was also able to connect with Anna Gong (re-Founder and CEO of Perx, a "Singapore Top 100 Women in Tech", as well as Board Member of a dozen organizations), Arcadia JP Ang Mirai (fashion entrepreneur and Founder of Pyzis), as well as Joshua Wong (Business Management at DWS Group who I've met many times at gamification conferences in the past 7 years).
Based on Eric's suggestion, we ended up meeting at a Chye Seng Huat Hardware, which was an old hardware store-turned hip cafe. Ordering was purely done by using the QR Code on the table and I tried some new drinks.
Aftewards, also based on Eric's suggestion, we went hopping to a nearby place called Druggists (which I forgot to take a picture!). Since I was having a big dinner coming anyway, I wasn't going to eat much, but Eric used a beautiful way to persuade me to try some Chicken Wings that apparently has shrimp baked under the skin (or something).
I'm usually a decisive and momentous kind of guy, and I RARELY change my mind on anything. But I noticed that he changed my mind successfully on 2-3 things just based on his passion, dedication, and persuasiveness, so I deemed him a Connoisseur. He denies he is one, but I totally see greatness in him like a rockstar working at a bakery.
Anna also discussed some gamification with me and I learned a lot about her story of re-founding Perx from a well known consumer experience in Singpaore into a hugely successful B2B company. We discussed potentially working together so who knows what the future holds. Perhaps this memory becomes the first step of some greatness people look back and feel inspired about.
I'm excited to see this memory eventually preserved on the blockchain forever via Metablox. Things come and go in life, but it's the relationships and memories we have together that last forever. I feel honored to be a Memory Creator for this Blox and hope the future Memory Curator (the Blox owner) will take good care of this memory.
My first trip to Singapore for a telecom conference in 2018.
My 3 co-workers went first on an earlier flight and I flied alone, checked in at the hotel, then came to meet them near the Merlion.
We took some photo plays with the Merlion.
We walked a lot around the area and took many photos. Such a happy time 😊
One day I will surely visit Singapore again.
I share a few more photos in Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/korakot.chaovavanich/posts/pfbid02iiBSmL6bBSUmsSHdJSnQZ773JxYMQkrGghrGACe26PaLNUqo2vNZN3wbQwvQQwzhl
This blox is currently under construction but is a part of a large park network. Scheduled to be reopened in late 2022.
Some notable features on the island:
--moon lantern terrace at night
--restaurant called the Plant Factory Cafe with edibles from the local grow garden on the island
--a cooling bamboo tunnel and waterfall
--a venture trail for kids to explore biodiversity
--pagodas and terraces
Chinese Lantern Festival video https://youtu.be/xrhHvbHLbMc
Chinese Lantern Plant Video https://youtu.be/xob2heMAFGk (my brother loved planting and gardening and tried many exotic species like these)
This garden will likely be a popular first date, proposal, wedding celebration location.
Thnkas Dara for sharing your insights.
I was visiting Singapore to do a keynote speech at the Blockchain Fest 2022 in Marina Bay Sand (I added my memories there - go check it out), and took the opportunity to meet a long-time dear friend in the startup world So-Young Kang.
So-Young has an impressed background of being the Founder/CEO of Gnowbe, an EdTech training company that has impressive scale. She is also ex-Harvard Business School and ex-Mckinsey. In recent years we have been talking more about Web3 and NFTs as she explores this new exciting space.
She then invited me to visit her home, which also acts as a coworking space for her company. She mentioned the whole block of Emerald Hills is a historical area that is highly recognized in Singapore. And her place is well-renovated to be a great co-working space with lots of great art there.
After I explained to her the concept of Metablox, she immediately minted this very Blox. Beyond recognizing this place would have significant future growth value and that she has great memories she could add here, she was also learning to use NFTs and is being a very supportive friend to my project.
I also learned more about knowbe and became quite impressed with what they accomplished. I plan to use this product heavily one day as it is perfect for author/speakers like me to create fast, easy, and interactive learning content.
She also invited her coworker Jiaf, who really resonated with many of my gamification concepts and played many of the games I played when I was younger.
We all enjoyed some Pineapple Cake together and 3 hours just went by so quickly. I really look forward to visiting this place again with great new conversations and adventures with So-Young and Jiaf.
Finally, for those who don't know Emerald Hill like how I was, I searched about Emerald Hill on Google Maps and as of June 7 2022 this is the description:
"Petite and picturesque, the Emerald Hill area highlights historic architectural styles. Emerald Hill Road has a row of colourful shophouses, some of which are occupied by atmospheric bars. The rest of the neighbourhood's restored homes, showcasing Chinese Baroque architecture and European influences from Singapore’s colonial past, are private residences. Emerald Hill lies just off the Orchard Road shopping district."
After doing my Singapore Opening speech at the Blockchain Fest 2022, the Discord Neighbors of Metablox treated me out to - wait for it - Those Amazing Times Chinese BBQ.
Now, these are not just regular neighbors of Metablox. These are Map Legends. They are the pioneers who actually hand-crafted each of the Blox in Singapore so that everyone else has a beacon to submit and curate memories. Without them, Singapore would not have existed on Metablox. They are truly Legends.
The food was very cool - as you can see in the photo, we ordered plates and plates (that was just one of the plates) of Satay and meat on skewers. I also drank a bit of beer even though I usually don't drink beer. Oddly, I noticed an opened can of sweet Chrysanthemum Tea next to me. The tea had similar colors to the beer, so I just poured it into my beer cup and mixed beer with tea because....I guess I'm weird like that. I like to experiment.
We talked about Metablox, investments, how the economy works. And I was glad to know that they also brought in 1-2 friends into the Neighborhood. Singapore like everything starts with small beginnings but when people are reading these memories, Singapore will be one of the most inspiring cities in Asia within Metablox!
Look forward to hanging out with these Map Legends more both on the Metablox Discord and also in the real world where it matters so we can create even more memories together.
To promote the newly minted Metablox, I decided to apply to speak at a few NFT/Blockchain conferences. One of the conferences was the Blockchain Fest 2022.
They were very happy that I was willing to be a speaker there without cost and covering my own travels (normally I get paid a 5-digit USD Speaker Fee and travel expenses covered). I asked if I could at least get a table to sign books as that tends to improve the experience of the attendees, and they agreed. They also promoted my name on their website and social media as a keynote speaker.
My talk was about "How to Imbue Meaning & Purpose into your Blockchain Project," which was related to Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning & Calling design in the Octalysis Framework. The goal was to tell people they need timeless meaning within their projects because if not then everyone is there just because they believe they can get rich in 4 months, which is obviously not sustainable.
Also, people might not want to play the same NFT games or like the same animal PFPs 10 years later, but the meaning/purpose of what they represent can last forever.
Since my talk was on Day 2 (June 2), I was thinking about announcing that we just opened up Singapore for minting, while sharing that my book is for sale and I can sell/sign books - all at the end of my speech. However, on Day 1, we just put my pile of books on the table, and within a couple hours they were all sold out. My friend Joey Lin (ex-Zynga/Google/Uber) was very impressed about it and claimed he has never seen anything sell itself like that.
One notable purchaser of my book was Carol Zurita (Speaker on Women Empowerment and Author of books including Get Powerful Now), but unfortunately she didn't have cash and paying crypto from her Gemini account was too difficult due to me needing to be verified. So I just gave her a book and trusted her to pay me later. She did fulfill her promise afterwards so that's a plus one in my book (no pun intended).
I also took the opportunity to meet my friend Rahul Daswani (Head of Partnerships at GovTech for the Singapore Government) and his friend Randeep Melhi (ex-COO and ex-Chief Commercial Officer of the prominent crypto project Cardano) at Toastbox in the Marina Bay Sand mall area. We discussed about how blockchain technology could help governments.
On the day of my speech, the audience was not huge but people were really interested in the topic, and they also scanned the QR code to get a free Tier-1 and Tier-2 Blox in Singapore. However, due to a bug that was introduced last moment for the QR code, people couldn't normally mint Singapore if they were not logged in and it didn't have proper feedback messages to explain that either.
It made Jun and I pretty sad thinking that no one wanted to mint but quickly recomposed to focus on our mission. Then we realized people who wanted to mint couldn't mint, so we "felt better" even though the issue was obviously a bit frustrating. We probably lost quite a few people minting on the spot, but since we are focused on where Metablox will be 3-5 years from now, these bumps won't cripple us.
Then another very odd thing happened. As the paid attendees went into the lunch hall, I was blocked by the doorman, saying that I must have a lunch voucher to enter. I thought, this must be a mistake, as I have a speaker badge. Generally the speaker badge is the most powerful of badges, allowing me to go to the backstage, VIP sections (which is true in this conference too), so I must have the right to eat lunch with the attendees, right?
So I found the organizers and explained the situation. To my surprise, all they could do was apologize, but no food for me. It's the first time after 100-200 speeches and 40+ countries that I go hungry as a speaker. While I was planning to stay at the conference and mingle more with my the attendees (and my new friend Daniel Chou), I was hungry, so I left the conference to find food at the Marina Bay Sand mall area.
I took the suggestion of our Metablox Discord Neighbors, and went to a fancy Japanese restaurant called Koma. I might have done a little bit of "revenge eating" but just ordering 4 appetizers cost $107.42 USD. It was good food though!
Afterward, I met up with my dear friends Nir Eyal (Bestselling Author of Hooked and Undistractable) as well as So-Young Kang (Founder/CEO of Knowbe, ex-Harvard Business School, and ex-Mckinsey) at Toastbox again.
It was unfortunate for the conference because previously I invited them to meet me at the conference and so we can walk around and mingle with attendees together (I gave them free VIP tickets days beforehand). It would have been a really cool experience if someone met two authors of books they read at the same time and probably would have made it a highlight for the event (which becomes good marketing material for their next year's marketing).
Unfortunately, due to not having food for the speakers, I just left and didn't go back. We had a great time catching up as I learned how Nir Eyal moved to Singapore with his family from NY two years prior due to COVID-19 (when Americans were fleeing Singapore to return back to the States due to ultimatum warnings of citizens returning or else they might be disallowed indefinitely). Nir loves it in Singapore so we'll see how long he ultimately stays there.
So this was my memory at Marina Bay Sand and the Blockchain Fest 2022. It might not have been the smoothest trip, but that makes this a great and unique memory to add on Metablox. I sure would want this memory to be preserved for myself decades later, and for anyone in the future to see how I am as a human being, and how things were like when we were launching Metablox in different cities.
May all the important memories live on through the Blockchain!
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