World Class Attractions and Cuisines Not to Miss in Singapore

Singapore lies South-East of Asia, at the tip of the Malay Peninsula. It is a beautiful city that is also known as the Garden City, the Lion City, and the Red Dot. With its Marina Bay Sands, the Esplanade, and the Merlion, Singapore is known for its world-famous attractions. The towering skyscrapers make the city one of the most popular destinations for tourists. Here are some Singapore travel tips that will make it easy for you to tour around the city.

1. Universal Studios Singapore

Don’t miss visiting Universal Studios, which is a theme park within the Sentosa Island. Some of the activities to enjoy here are 24 rides, attractions, and shows in seven zones. As you Ride the Movies on roller coasters, you will get a feeling of a thrilling world.

The world of entertainment brings the silver screen to life, helping you immerse yourself in seven zones including Hollywood, New York, Madagascar, Ancient Egypt, Lost World, Far Far Away and Sci-Fi City. Universal Studios is popular for the 4D Shrek fairy-tale of the Duloc and its quipster dwellers. In the movie and film studios, you will enjoy blockbuster films like DreamWorks, Giant Journey, Battlestar Galactica, and Tweaker Bell.

Beyond the movies, you will have an opportunity to enjoy the spectacular fireworks displays during the holidays and on weekends, street entertainment as well as shows from award-winning performers.

2. Sentosa Island

Sentosa Island is very popular as a tourist destination. It receives over twenty million visitors every year. You will enjoy taking a walk along the 1.5 mile-long sheltered beach, playing some golf at the golf course, visiting the Merlion, the Resorts, and the theme park.

Sentosa is a word that translates as peace and tranquility, just what you are bound to get while visiting here. If you are looking for a thrilling adventure or a relaxed atmosphere, Sentosa is the place to go. While in Sentosa you can visit the following attractions for even more adventure:

  • Skyline Luge Sentosa

It is a fun-filled adventure activity suitable for riders of all ages and experience levels making it ideal for the entire family. (A luge is a light toboggan for one or two people, ridden in a sitting or supine position and it is a unique wheeled-gravity ride that gives riders full control over their descent on purpose-built tracks.) The Skyline Luge provides an outdoor experience on the Dragon and Jungle trails during the day and at night. From various points you will also enjoy the spectacular view of the Singapore coastline and Sentosa Island.

  • Singapore Merlion

Singapore Merlion is the iconic Merlion which is often used as a symbol of Singapore. It is a mythical creature that is half fish, and half lion. It is symbolic in nature to Singaporeans and is used to represent the city and her people in sports teams, branding tourism, and advertising.

  • Sentosa Express

Enjoy a ride on the monorail line that connects Sentosa Island to the Sentosa Mainland. It makes stops at the Sentosa Station, Waterfront Station, Imbia Station, Beach Station, and Imbiah station. The Waterfront station is where Universal Studios and Resorts World Sentosa are located. At the Beach station, you can enjoy the New Year countdown beach party. The Beach Station is home to the Siloso, Palawan, and Tanjong beaches, ideal for family leisure activities.

3. Singapore Flyer

Towering at 165 meters, the flyer is the largest Giant Observation Wheel in the world. It will leave you with memories that you never want to forget. The Singapore Flyer was designed by Singapore DP Architects and Dr Kisho Kurokawa. It was launched in 2008, and it offers a sensational view that captures the Marina Bay skyline. From the flyer, you can catch a glimpse of the neighboring countries of Indonesia and Malaysia.

4. Marina Bay Sands Skypark

You have not had an adventure in Singapore until you have dined, taken photos, and shopped at the Marina Bay Sands SkyPark. It is a world-class cityscape, with some architectural wonders. The vibrant, colorful gardens by the bay are sceneries you cannot afford to miss. Look out for the following:

  • Observation deck

From the observation deck, you will enjoy a bird’s eye view of the bustling shipping lanes that tell of the rich multicultural history of Singapore.

  • Swimming Pool

The infinity swimming pool makes you feel as though you are floating on top of the world’s largest rooftop. The pool gazes down on the glittering skyline, and if you miss taking a photo here, you will have missed the most spectacular photo-taking session in the whole of Singapore.

  • Spectra – Light and Water Show

A free-to-public show that displays the effects of water and light crisscrossing each other’s paths. It is presented at the Event Plaza along the promenade, and as this spectacular show begins, some beautiful symphonic music will give you a warm embrace. The 15-minute combination of water, light, fountain jets, visual projectors and music is something you do not want to miss.

  • Casino

If you are a casino lover, while still at the Marina Bay Sands, make sure you visit the most remarkable entertainment joint located at the heart of the CBD of Singapore. As a tourist you can enter for free by showing your passport (Singapore residents need to pay $100 Singapore to enter!). You will be awed by the over 600 gambling tables and treated to free drinks.

5. Merlion Park

The national icon for Singapore is the Merlion, (mythical half-fish, half-lion) situated at the waterfront in Merlion Park. It is a symbol of the humble beginnings when the city was just a fishing village known as Temasek, or sea town. The head represents the city’s original name, Singapura or Lion City. The statue stands at approximately 9 meters and weighs over 70 tons. It is a must-see for visitors, and its current location is in front of the Fullerton Hotel (5 Star Hotel converted from the Singapore General Post Office building) after its relocation during the construction of the Esplanade Bridge that blocked its view in 1997.

6. Esplanade

The Esplanade is a waterfront location north of the source of the Singapore River. The scenic Esplanade has a plethora of activities that will keep you occupied, especially if you are not in a hurry to leave for home. It is infected by palpable creative art displays near the entrance. World-class performances are staged here every day.

The shows bring different cultures together, cutting across various genres. Catch a concert by great westerners like the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra or Kuo Pao Kun of the Singapore Chinese theatre. Once in a while, you will enjoy free programs from dance to theatre, all taking place at the Esplanade.

Visitors to the site are also attracted by the scenic outdoor view. It overlooks the Singapore River and stands between the Merlion Park and the Singapore Flyer. Here stands the Esplanade theatre that is 60,000 square meters big, where performing arts are held. The concert hall seats 1,600 and the theatre has a capacity of 2,000.

The design of the building is made up of two rounded space frames that have triangulated glass elements fitted to balance outwards views. The outward appearance of the building looks like a durian head. Other facilities available are recital studio and the theatre studio.

7. Chinatown

Squeeze some time in to visit Chinatown in Singapore and relish the colorful Peranakan shop-houses and myriad of historical attractions that make for an excellent stroll. Chinatown is divided into four main sections known as districts which are; Tanjong Pagar, Telk Ayer, Kreta, and Bukit Pasoh. The primary centers of activities are Pagoda Street and Smith Street. Paroda Street can be accessed through the China MRT Station.

If you are interested in learning about Buddhism, visit the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. It is the biggest Buddhist temple in Singapore, located in the Chinatown district. It was built in 2007, and the interiors richly exhibit the history of Buddhism and its culture over the past 100 years. The temple got its name from the canine tooth of the Maitreya Buddha, which was recovered during his funeral in Kushinagar in India.

8. Little India

Little India is in the heart of Singapore, near Chinatown. It is immersed in a buzzing neighborhood that is bent on awakening all your senses. The multicolored shop-houses, the pungent food aromas that rent the air when demand for food is at its peak, the spiritual chants from the mosques and temples, and the smiles are what make the town lively and warm. It is a must-visit kind of city.

Serangoon road is where the summary of all adventure is, just on the northeast side of the Financial District. Little India has the best hotels at the lowest rates, the best places to eat, and the cheapest shops from which to buy souvenirs. Other must-visit locations are:

  • Tekka Centre

A landmark in Chinatown known for serving large portions of fresh Indian food. It is located on Serangoon road, a major road stretching from Little India to Kallang.

  • Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple

It is one of the oldest temples, and is the focus of early Indian Social Cultural activities. It is also located along Serangoon Road. It is dedicated to Kali, the Hindu goddess.

  • Campbell Lane

It is at the end of Serangoon Road and is mostly used by pedestrians. The spillover of sounds and sights make it a challenge to remain focused on the road. Enjoy the souvenir shops, worship buildings like the Sri Krishna temples, and interesting eateries at this lane that knows no vehicle disturbance.

9. Clarke Quay

The handful of excellent restaurants in Clarke Quay and the surrounding Riverside area are an excellent choice for dining by the edge of the waters any time of the day. Once done with your delicious meal, you can cruise the Singapore River, especially at night, for more splendor.

Old colonial shop-houses and moored junks of Clarke Quay have been beautifully converted into restaurants, chic pubs, and nightclubs. Slightly west of Clarke Quay is Robertson Quay, which has more of the same features as Clarke Quay, but is more tranquil and relaxed. If you can find your way to the mouth of the river, you will find delight in the monuments and architecture of colonial Singapore. Be sure to visit the Singapore River, Trace Club, Zouk, and the beautiful luxury Singapore hotels.

The street performance up the Singapore River has made Clarke Quay a dining and party destination that is home to many of the nightlife institutions that are very much loved by the locals. The G-Max Reverse Bungee is a jump in the reverse direction soaring into the city’s skyline that will leave you with a thrilling urge for more adventure.

10. LEGOLAND

LEGOLAND is located in Malaysia, which is not very far away from Singapore. It is about 50 minutes’ drive from Singapore, through the Second Lin Expressway. However, on a normal working day it will take about one and a half hours by road. Your adventure starts right at the entrance where there is a big shop that offers a great selection of Logo toy products. It is known as the land of adventure and miniland.

You will be surprised to know that LEGOLAND was constructed using only 30 million Lego bricks, as big as it is. The park has five theme parks that will be of interest to you namely Puteri Harbor, The Beginning, Lego technic, Land of Adventure, and Lego Nonjago World. Be sure to visit the Lego Water Park where you can ride the surf, climb and slide down the body slides, and have some flapping wet fun with your family.

If you would like to extend your stay, remember that you can get accommodation at the LEGOLAND Malaysian hotel, located near the park. Remember to carry your passport and Immigration officials will place an entry stamp, known as a social visit pass (visa), in your passport authorizing a stay of up to 90 days. (No visa is required for most nationalities including American citizens visiting Malaysia for social, business or academic purposes.) Lego land is the equivalent of Disneyland in the United States. It is the first LEGOLAND in Asia and the 6th in the world.

11. Night Safari – Wildlife Reserves Singapore

For lovers of wildlife, Nigh Safari Wildlife Reserves is a must-visit while on a trip to Singapore. The site strives to inspire people to conserve biodiversity and wildlife. A journey through the Night Safari will take about 40 minutes, with visitors being taken through seven geographical regions that spread through the Himalayan foothills to the South East jungles of Asia. It is home to nocturnal animals, enabling you to get a deeper understanding of the habitats of these nocturnal animals, as well as an appreciation for wildlife conservation.

Another special attraction is the tribal fire show that is all about an amazing dance by acrobatics. What makes it more interesting is how they play around with fire in their performances.

12. Singapore Cuisine

Food in Singapore is marked with a lot of controversies and contradictions. Food comes from everywhere, but also in another sense, from nowhere. The local cuisine is defined by how it is assembled into something unique.

  • Bak Kuh Teh

Its origin comes from Southern China, and the fish head curry from India, but it is an ordinary food in Singapore. It is a simple dish that contains a variety of mild herbs.

  • Wanton Mee

A noodle dish influenced by Hong Kong cuisine, but which has become entrenched in the Singaporean culture over time. It is eaten dry in Singapore, with slices of pork char siew and wanton dumplings and some soup as an accompaniment. You can have it spicy or otherwise. The spicy type has chili mixed in, while the non-spicy version is mixed with tomato sauce.

  • Fried Carrot Cake

Does not imply a western dessert, but far from it. The Singaporean version is made with eggs, white radish flour cake, and preserved radish (Chai poh) that gives it its dish name. The dish is a favorite in Malaysia as well, but variations include the black version which has sweet sauce (molasses) added. The chopped up version has individual radish cake cubes. The crispy version has a cake fried on top of a beaten egg to create chunks of pie and a crust.

  • Laksa is a Dish

Made from the merging of Malay and Chinese cuisine, also known as Peranakan culture. It comes in two forms – Curry and Asam Laksa. The curry type is more dominant in Singapore, while Asam (sour) is popular in Malaysia. The curry laksa is made from coconut milk, vermicelli, tau pok, shrimp, fish slices, and cockles.

  • Hainenese Chicken Rice

It is known as the national dish in Singapore, but has its origin in Hainan, China. The meal is best made from kampong (village) chicken, which basically refers to chicken reared the traditional way without hormones, etc. as opposed to larger western chicken.

  • Kaya Toast

It is a snack prepared from coconut jam (Kaya), coconut milk, sugar topping, eggs, butter, and pandan. Kaya is served on toast for breakfast but is also very popular as a tea or coffee accompaniment in many homes and coffee houses.

  • Red Bean Ice

Refers to a drink taken as dessert during summer. The ingredients include light rock sugar syrup, adzuki beans, evaporated milk, which is then topped with ice cream to make the red bean ice cream dessert.

  • Fried Durian

Durian is a strongly flavored fruit that is best fried to remove the strong odor. It is rolled in rice paper then dipped into batter and deep fried at very high temperatures to give it a very sweet taste.

Try these cuisines out and see how the people of Singapore can convert simple ingredients into delicious meals. With this Singapore travel guide, there is no reason why you should not visit this remarkable city/country and enjoy many of its highlighted features.

Isaac Merritt Singer

Who would have thought that the first international business to operate outside of the US was that of Isaac Merritt Singer’s sewing machine Company – and to cap it all the man himself, along with his family, would settle in little old Paignton, described as a ‘watering place’ in his time.

But without the genius of the man who had started from scratch, earning very little as an apprentice machine shop lad in his early teens, the huge popularity of the sewing machine may never have taken off in a way which made it all the rage, easy to operate and affordable.

He patiently worked on a method to render the sewing machine more practical.

I wonder why a Hollywood blockbuster has never been made of him. Perhaps the subject matter was considered not to be popular among the film going fraternity – but the flamboyant and very amorous life of the man would make for large audiences I feel certain, judging by present day standards. He is described to be one of the most forceful, flamboyant and unscrupulous tycoons in American history.

I remember as a boy thinking how clever a man it was who found a way to machine sew. What a revolution that must have been – after years of hand stitching – all the material needed for example, to make up those beautiful full and flowing dresses and designs of the Tudors through to the early nineteenth century. How ever did they manage!

But Isaac Merritt was the first to admit he never invented the sewing machine, indeed that was accredited to a British inventor, Thomas Saint who patented it in 1790, before Singer was born.

Isaac Merritt Singer, of Jewish ancestry, was born in the hamlet of Johnsonville, in the town of Pittstown, Rensselaer County, NY, on 27 October 1811.

In 1830, he married for the first time. His bride was Catharine Maria Haley. He died in Paignton on 23 July 1875, age 63, after fathering at least 19 children by his five known “wives”: Catherine bore him a son, William – and a daughter, Lillian.

Mary Ann Sponseler bore him 10 including a son, Isaac. He had five more by Mary McGonigal, a daughter called Alice by Mary Eastwood and at least one, Paris Eugene Singer – by his French lover, Isobelle Boyce.

He was a devout womaniser and probably sired at least several more children as well.

He was a tall man for the time, 6ft 4 inches which seemed to match his charisma and genius.

Years after his passing living children, wives and countless lovers were engaged in expensive litigation. He certainly left his mark but none of his descendants lived up to his genius.

In the 1940’s – when it paid to repair clothes and linens and make them too as did my mother, I remember making simple handkerchiefs from partly worn sheets, just by sowing seams along each side of a square. Lot’s of women took to making clothes and repairs for money to supplement the low wage of the bread winner in those austere days, in Isaac Singer’s time too – before electricity and by investing in one of the latest Singer treadle sewing machines , it was the practical thing to do.

The original machine, built without the treadle was fine for the occasional repair, but to be more efficient and productive a treadle was a must, giving the operator the freedom to be able to work with both hands free. Although expensive for the low earners his company made it possible it was possible to purchase a new machine with their newly introduced easy payments hire purchase scheme and a down payment of five dollars (about 25 shillings ) – which proved to be a Godsend at a time when benefit hand out’s had not got off the ground.

I wonder what Isaac would have thought about current plans to convert his former mansion, bought by Paignton Urban District Council in 1946 and used as their offices – into a hotel and transform some of the grounds into a building estate.

But of course the world is so different now. Isaac certainly lived life to the full starting from humble beginnings and to say he was a womaniser is probably an understatement. He simply adored women and of course had the influence and the money to pamper them to their heart’s content.

There are all sorts of anomalies regarding his private life, like his chauffer saying he used to get him to drive around looking for prostitutes in New York. In order to be recognised the girls advertising for business carried school bags which apparently got him into a lot of trouble with the local police.

And when he lived in Paignton, he employed a man who looked very much like him, what was all that about? The mind boggles. Imagine how the Sunday papers would respond now – bad enough then but not many were as literate in those days.

Isaac left an estate of about 13 million dollars in two wills. When he had Oldway Mansion built in the French style it was because of his latest French wife’s persuasion. Isabella was a beautiful woman to behold and although France had become his adopted country he chose to flee when the Prussian war threatened their lives, and he moved with his new young family to safer London.

One of his early vocations was acting but he had an enquiring mind – keen on trying out new inventions, learning the hard way like many a famous author with a drawer full of rejections. His first real success came when he obtained a patent for a machine to drill rock, selling it for 2000 dollars – more money than he had ever had before. He then opted to return to acting for a five year tour of the US forming a group known as the ‘Merritt Players’ calling himself Isaac Merritt.

In 1884 he took a job in a print shop in Fredericksburg Ohio but soon moved to Pittsburgh two years later, he wanted to make something of himself, had several ideas and notions and aimed to put them into practice. He set up a workshop for producing wood type and signage where he developed and patented a machine for carving wood and metal.

When he was thirty eight years old he moved on to New York with his two wives and eight children and then to Boston. His fortune was soon about to materialise. He had various problems in funding new patents but an eminent lawyer, Edward Clark saw fit to secure his patents and advance a substantial cash advance He also befriended Orson Phelps, a fellow machine enthusiast. Orson was constructing Leron and Bludgett sewing machines. Feeling a little down when, after inventing a new wood cutting machine in New York, the steam boiler blew up destroyed the prototype, his new friend inadvertently came to his rescue when he asked Isaac to look at the sewing machines.

“They are difficult to use and produce,” Phelps complained, “have you any ideas?”

After close scrutiny and head scratching and miss stitching various thickness’ of material. Isaac saw the problem. The present system was clumsy with the shuttle operating in a circle. He figured a way for the shuttle to operate in a straight line. Isaac was able to obtain patent number 8294 on August 12th 1851 and I.M.Singer & Co. was in business and the rest is history. His first machine was ultimately known as the angle thread chain-stitch machine. Like Hoover was to the vacuum cleaner Singer was to the sewing machine.

His business was accumulating in wealth and success but his personal life and his reputation as a bigamist, least his other relationships – did not go down well in the US. The papers were full of the scandal associated with him and he fled to France in 1860 – and then in 1871, after a spell in London, moved to South Devon with his wife Isabella and their young family.

Isaac purchased the Farnham estate in Paignton in1872 which consisted of two villas, Little Oldway and Fernham, The Rising Sun , some cottages and a large area of parkland – all demolished to make way for Oldway Mansion. He appointed a local architect, George Bridgman to build a home, a building with French design By 1814 Bridgman, following implicitly Isaacs instructions, created the outstanding mansion containing kitchens, offices, servants hall, wine cellars, many fine rooms and a theatre resembling a French villa.

Sadly Isaac died before the mansion and the adjacent ‘wigwam’, the superb circular dance hall was completed.

But Paris Singer, his son by Isabella, was responsible for redesigning Oldway Mansion in the French/Italian Versailles-like splendour. Paris had an affair with Isadora Duncan, the US ‘modern’ dancer and had a son by her who was killed as a child in a car crash. He foolishly spent most of his money on gambling.

Little is known of the silent film studio there situated just beyond the archway near the main entrance.

At Winston Churchill’s prompting, Paris offered his residence at Oldway for use as a fully equipped 250-bed hospital for wounded servicemen. Another son, Washington Singer, was the main donor of the University College of the South West of England which later became the Universes of Exeter and one of the buildings is named in his honour.

The American influence had certainly well and truly made its mark in South Devon and I guess we should be privileged that Isaac Singer chose to be buried in Torquay cemetery. He wanted Paignton but the soil was not deep enough for a white marble mausoleum. His funeral entourage consisted of several black horse drawn coaches and his hearse was pulled by 12 of his black stallions. The funeral possession was led by his three eldest sons, Paris, Washington and Mortimer.

I wonder how many women were there with whom he had been with. There are rumours that he ‘entertained’ several Paignton girls. But never confirmed. It was highly probable because of Isaac’s reputation. When he lived in New York he was often seen riding through Central Park in his yellow coach with his mistresses.

It is said he had been kind and had given many local folk employment ,and many were sad to witness his final journey to the cemetery.

His son Paris had a home built for him adjacent to Paignton Green now transformed into the Palace Hotel and for Mortimer, another son, the building now known as the Inn on the Green.

And the company is still producing the latest in sewing machines under the Singer label.

In 2007 Isaac Singer’s great granddaughter, Rhodanthe Selous attended a historic reunion at the Palace Hotel, Paignton attracting descendents from all over the world.

And in Paignton itself we have the Old Singer Tea Shop and the Witherspoon Isaac Merrit pub/restaurant.

Oscar Gustav Rejlander – The Father of Art Photography (1813- 1875)

Oscar Gustav Rejlander, a Swede painter, was born probably in 1883 to Carl Gustaf Rejlander, a Swedish Army Officer. Oscar studied art in Rome and initially settled in England. Abandoning his original line of work as an artist and portrait painter, he turned to photography. One of the assistants of Fox Talbot inspired him.

Oscar Rejlander started working as a portraitist at Wolverhampton, in approximately 1846. Rejlander learned the skills of photography in 1850, to facilitate his painting techniques and produced many works, including the most famous “The Two Ways of Life” (1857). This work was meticulously printed from 32 glass negatives. Portraiture and genre works were a couple of key dimensions of Rejlander’s works. His “Charlotte Baker” series corroborates ‘Eroticism.’ Artist used his nude works as a model for reference. In 1853, the artist probably invented ‘Combination Printing.’

Portraiture especially was very difficult in those days, as the exposure times could be as long as 10 or 12 seconds. Rejlander assumed that photography made him a better artist and a more cautious draughtsman. His experimentation with light reduced exposure time, accentuated outline, and the textures of his work. He experimented in the rare composition of photography, wherein each print contained numerous images from different negatives. This practice conquered the innate limitations of the Wet Collodian Process. Photographic compositions were tricky to print, as the exposure of light on each negative had to be accurate. Even a small error resulted in a damaged print and therefore, the printing procedure had to begin again from the start.

Rejlander was a pioneer in this genre of photographic composition and is considered the most successful art photographer of his era. His primary composition print was called ‘Groupe Printed from Three Negatives’ and was displayed in December 1855. The same year, Oscar participated in the Paris Exhibition. Being a creative person, he styled his studio in a unique and an unusual way, bent like a cone. The camera was placed at the narrow part in shadow and the sitters at the opposite end, so that they are unaware of the camera.

Oscar’s most famous works is an allegory called “The Two Ways of Life” (1857), capturing a frame guiding two youthful men towards manhood. One of the men looks interested in gambling, wine, prostitution, and idling, while the other attracted towards figures symbolizing religion, family, industry, and good works. In the centre, appears the veiled, partially clad figure, symbolizing contrition and turning towards the good. The same year the photograph was displayed at the Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition. The photograph though shrouded in controversy, eventually fetched fame for the artist. He was extended the membership of the Royal Photographic Society of London, which in turn earned him respect in the high society of London.

In 1862, after moving his studio to Malden Road in London, he kept polishing and excelling in his photographic techniques. The same year, he married his favorite model Mary Bull. Soon after, Oscar’s key subjects took the fancy of social issues, of which “Poor Joe” and “Homeless” are a couple of examples. The demonstration of the different human expressions of Charles Darwin’s book “The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals” (1872) is one of his most appreciated works. During his final years, Oscar Rejlander returned to painting, but to no gain and died in poverty. He fell ill in 1874 and died in 1875.

Magic Tricks – Using Stooges

A stooge, in magical terms, is someone pretending to be a audience member, but who is actually “in on the secret” and is secretly helping the magician perform various effects that range from mentalism to “normal” illusions.  The use of a stooge is often thought of when magicians perform impossible effects on television or theatre performances, however, stooges aren’t just limited to TV – they can be used in table-hopping environments, small parties and even informal gatherings.  Stooges are used for a variety of effects, and this article will explain a few of them.

Vanishes

While all eyes are on the magician, a stooge can subtly remove objects in order to make them disappear.  In one such effect, the magician places a genuine spectator’s ring under a napkin and holds it from outside the napkin.  He then lets various spectators feel under the napkin to confirm the ring is still there, and then very fairly wraps the ring with the napkin.  After suitable dramatics, the ring has vanished and reappeared in some bizarre object next to the spectator.

How is this done?  Simple – the last spectator to feel the ring is actually a stooge.  Instead of just checking the ring is still under the napkin, the stooge takes the ring and conceals it in his hand (known as palming) before confirming that the ring is still there.  The magician then keeps the audience’s attention while the stooge can place the ring in an impossible location.

Mentalism

There are literally thousands of mentalism (i.e. mind-reading) effects that can be made even more powerful with the use of a stooge.  Imagine a magician, in an informal situation, asks one spectator to select any object in the room while the magician is out of the room; when he returns, he is able to “sense” the object and finally picks the chosen object – all thanks to secret communication with the stooge.  Alternatively, a spectator may totally freely select a card from a deck of cards the magician never touches yet the magician is able to instantly (or after sufficient dramatic strain) reveal the chosen card.

This secret communication usually involves some kind of physical contact (usually under a table), visual cues (subtle nodding, pointing etc.), or in larger situations, audible prompts; all of which must be used with care to prevent detection.  A new addition to the magic market is “Mobile Stooge” which turns your mobile phone into a totally undetectable way for a stooge and magician to communicate with each other with no physical, audible or visual cues – the magician can even be in a different room to the stooge.  This has allowed for some more exciting, adventurous effects to be created.

Inspections

Perhaps the least used, false inspections allow the magician to use a gimmicked device (i.e. something that appears normal but any real inspection will reveal that the object has been altered), have it inspected (by the stooge) so that the audience will believe the object is totally normal.  This allows the magician to get away with murder!

Cheating

Stooges aren’t just used for magic – less honest people may use very similar techniques while playing games or even gambling in order to beat the house, and have even been used in television competitions such as Who Wants To Be A Millionaire (where an audience member coughed at certain points – if only they were using Mobile Stooge!)

Why Are Some Older Women Homeless?

It seems that many older women are now homeless making up a large percentage of street dwellers. One has to ask why? The answer, however, is rather obvious. In Australia women are discriminated against and are often prevented from the same opportunities of men. When a divorce occurs it is often the woman who ends up homeless. Men who manipulate the system are able to secure a better future for themselves than women can.

It came as a shock this week to learn that a cyber friends of some 12 years is living in a make shift tent on the streets in the USA. It brought tears to my eyes to know that she was the victim of a cruel act on the part of her ex husband prior to their divorce some three years ago. He saw the family home disposed of so as to prevent her having it after the event.

Men are capable of some foul acts when it comes to separating when things go wrong. They may be the last to know how bad their marriage has become and it is something they can’t handle when it finally breaks apart.

Many women can speak from experience when it comes to feeling the retribution of such a man. It appears that many will go to extraordinary lengths to pay-back their mate after a court battle. Disposing of the home to get even is only the tip of the iceberg in regards to how far they will go. Perhaps this is why many women quit without a settlement.

In recent times we have witnessed some horrendous deeds carried out on the children by their fathers. Throwing a little girl over a bridge to crash on the rocks below is one of them and bashing another over the head with a cricket bat in front of his mother and a large audience is unforgettable.

Is it any wonder that women leave and opt to sleep on the streets rather than face the consequences of a violent man? As they age and work becomes unavailable they are more vulnerable than ever. Not all women who end up on the streets have left voluntarily as many have been forced to do so for other reasons.

Gambling, alcoholism, and drugs also contribute to the problem. That doesn’t mean that all homeless women suffer from these things but the chances are they may take them up to escape their predicaments.