A Total TaiTai Tale

Tale of a Total TaiTai who was in Beijing & Beyond and is now in Singapore & Surroundings!

Category: Life in Singapore



Thursday Throwback… One of the last Pèse Personne.

Public weighing scale. These used to be placed in prominent position in front of pharmacies, in parks and metro platforms long before people would have personal weighing scales at home. The weighing had become a Sunday ritual.

It would be hard to imagine people doing it nowadays. Not that I have ever shy from being weighed in public 😉

I found this one in Jardin du Luxembourg where apparently there are 2 more.

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Wednesday Wanderings and Wonderings The Passage Edition

Passage Verdeau (6, rue de la Grange Batelière – 31, bis rue du Faubourg Montmartre, 75009 Paris)

Opened in 1846 by the Société du Passage Jouffroy, it was named after one of the members of this society, Mr. Verdeau, who “invented” the renting of linen for hotels, restaurants or other receptions.
In the continuation of the Jouffroy and Panoramas passages, it is one of the clearest and most airy passages, with its high fishbone glass roof and a very pure design of neo-classical line

Since the opening of the Hôtel Drouot, the Passage has attracted many collectors. In addition to old books, one finds in this passage, second-hand cameras, old furniture, embroideries. There are also several restaurants and tea rooms. (Source)

*** But what is a passage?  It is a private road open to the public, a shortcut between several roads, whether covered or not. As a pedestrian space, the passage can house both commerce and housing. Only the abundant decoration and the luxury of the stores differentiate a gallery from a passage. It’s the ancestor of today’s shopping malls, the unique charm of Parisian covered passages will immediately transport you to the 19th century (Previous Posts)***

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Tuesday Trivia…Pedestrian Crossing Button.

This is the only pedestrian crossing button I have encountered in Paris.

The first device for pedestrians in Paris was introduced in 1930 at the Pont des Arts in the form of a push button.

While we often wonder if pressing the pedestrian crossing button does actually do anything (often referred as “placebo buttons”), we don’t have this problem in Paris as I have only found one pedestrian crossing with them. We don’t push a button to cross the road we just wait (or often not wait) until the little man turn green.

Most busy junctions in major cities are automated by a central computer and programmed to optimize traffic, so the red and green man comes when the traffic lights turn. I guess Paris decided that “placebo buttons” weren’t needed.

This is what I found when doing some research if we had any “power” over the Crossing button 😉

Crosswalk buttons aren’t designed to have an immediate effect; they’re just supposed to tell the system that a person is waiting to cross. Some systems won’t ever give pedestrians the crossing signal unless someone has pressed the button, while others are programmed to shorten the wait time for walkers when the button has been pressed. No matter what, the system still has to cycle through its other phases to give cars enough time to pass through the intersection, so you’ll probably still have to stand there for a moment.

During busy traffic times or under other extenuating circumstances, however, cities can switch the system to what’s known as “recall mode,” when pedestrian crossings are part of the cycle already and pressing the button quite literally changes nothing.

As congestion has increased and the systems to manage it have become more advanced over the years, cities have moved away from using crosswalk buttons at all. In 2018, for example, CNN reported that only around 100 of New York City’s 1000 buttons were still functioning. Since actually removing the buttons from crosswalks would be a costly endeavor, cities have opted to leave them intact, just waiting to be pummeled by impatient pedestrians who don’t know any better.

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Monday Metro… Place Monge (District 5 – Line 7 – Exit rue de Navarre )

Place Monge station is near the Arènes de Lutèce, an amphitheater dating from the 1st century BC, the oldest Gallo-Roman remains in the city of Paris.

Without a doubt, the proximity of the Arènes and the adjoining square impressed the engineers during the construction of the Place Monge station, with a strong homage to the Gallo-Roman origins of the city, and reproduce a facade of Roman inspiration.
The passer-by therefore has the feeling that the entrance to the metro is almost an integral part of the amphitheater, except for the presence of decorative wrought iron friezes and the inscription “METRO” in sleek red characters, typical of the years 30, to remind you that this is indeed an entrance to the metro
. (source)

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Does this photo make me look cool?

Last night is going to be hard to top.

You always get cool photos when you hang out with Ben Von Wong

Meeting Ben’s friends Julia and Hugo + Andrey (the fire breather master) was the Cherry on top.

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Life cycle.

When #strawpocalypse and #plastikophobia meet up in Paris for #PerpetualPlastic, Von Wong latest project.

In 2019 I volunteered for Ben’s Plastikophobia installation in Singapore. The year before he worked with Julia on Strawpocalyspe in Vietnam. Today we are reunited in Paris for his latest project: Stop with the Plastic Perpetual Machine

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Friday False Advertising… When the store doesn’t sell what the storefront advertises.

You won’t see the Pharmacien (pharmacist) if you go in but you might find your future home.

*** During my “flânerie”, I often notice the beautiful old storefronts, some are even listed as historical monuments but the ones I prefer are the ones where the storefront and the actual store don’t have anything in common… aka my “False Advertising” series***

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Thursday Throwback… One of the last Manège à Bras

Installed in 1913, a stone’s throw from the Eiffel Tower, this merry-go-round turns with a crank activated by human energy with its original wooden horses (authentic horses sculpted by the famous Limonaire brothers), as well as the game of rings of yesteryear.

Inspired by medieval jousts, where horsemen competed for the favors of these ladies, this attraction is a vestige of a bygone era. The Manège1913 has survived the years and generations of toddlers, retaining its original manual mechanism, despite the electrical advances. Indeed, its operation is similar to the drawing of water by a system of simple crank and cogs.

All the charm of this carousel lies in its manual mechanism, operated by the person in charge in the center of the carousel, with the strength of the arms. In addition, this system also makes it possible to generate electricity, making it a pure ecological work of art, fully in line with our times, and sustainable development. (Source)

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Wednesday Wanderings and Wonderings The Passage Edition

Passage Jouffroy (9-12, boulevard Montmartre – 9, rue de la Grange Batelière, 75009 Paris)

-> First passage to be heated by the floor

Created in 1847 in the axis of the Passage des Panoramas, it is one of the most frequented passages. In 1882, Mr. Meyer, director of the newspaper “Le Gaulois”, had the idea to join forces with Mr. Grévin, a famous caricaturist at the time, to create a gallery of wax figures.
The Jouffroy passage is the first passage built entirely of iron and glass. Its metal structures bear witness to the evolution of techniques, cast iron columns support the floors and rise up to the glass roof. The passage was the first to be heated by the floor. Note the ogival skylight. The configuration of the site forced the architects to create an “L” shaped drop from a staircase that makes up for a slight incline. The stores of the passage were always of quality, cafés, milliners, tailors, hairdressers, lingerie, glove store… The oldest hotel in Paris, the Hotel Chopin, is located in the passage.

It was entirely renovated in 1987 and, on this occasion, recovered its original paving. The Jouffroy passage has kept all its original charm and is always very visited.

*** But what is a passage?  It is a private road open to the public, a shortcut between several roads, whether covered or not. As a pedestrian space, the passage can house both commerce and housing. Only the abundant decoration and the luxury of the stores differentiate a gallery from a passage. It’s the ancestor of today’s shopping malls, the unique charm of Parisian covered passages will immediately transport you to the 19th century (Previous Posts)***

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Tuesday TriviaRed Light

The first red light in France appeared in 1923 at this intersection (Boulevards Saint-Denis and Sebastopol in Paris).

A red light which did not identify the three colors (red, orange, green) that we know today, but only one, coupled with a ring. The driver had to stop when it was on, and could move when it was off. Red lights to the three colors have appeared a decade later.

Another fun facts: there is NO Stop signs in Paris.

In 2012, the Paris police prefecture indicated in a newsletter that only one sign remained in Paris (It stood at the exit of a construction facility so basically at the exit of a glorified driveway) and would last four more years, until 2016. Located in the 16th arrondissement, quai Saint-Exupéry, the sign has seen many thefts, because of its reputation.

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