Melaka Straits City – the first smart city where only cryptocurrencies will be used

Melaka Straits City – the first smart city where only cryptocurrencies will be used

Melaka has two artificial islands. One is already built and a bridge joins the continent. The second one is under construction. 

On the already built island is the Melaka Floating Mosque and so far little else. I say so far because Chinese builders have taken over the unpopulated surface to build a huge leisure and luxury resort.  

When you talk to the locals of Malaysia and Singapore the phrase “the Chinese people are everywhere” always come out. And they are responsible for building all the new infrastructure. They also say they don’t like it. They are loudest, messy and rude.

In fact, I was impressed by the large touristic complex they are building. It is not the first time that China creates artificial islands in the Asian Sea. In fact, in 2015 I read an article where Southeast Asian nations were worried about the decision taken by China to occupy the South Sea. In that case, it was said that China converted coral reefs into islands where establish base ports and control fishing and oil, challenging the other Asian countries.  

In Melaka they have gone further and are building the first smart city where only the cryptocurrency will be used (currency or digital currency that is exchanged for contracts, intellectual property, stocks or services) and will be operated through the blockchain. The cryptocurrency will be called DMI coins and it will be used to pay public services within the city through the mobile phone and computer. It will be have an exchange system that will allow tourist to exchange their coins for DMI coins. The engineering company that is built the first crypto city is China Wuyi with the SWT International Sdn Bhd investment network. They intend to make Melaka the largest tourist destination in Malaysia and expect it to attract three millions visitors a year.  

In the image you can see the entrance of a part of this large complex called “Malaka Gateway” where luxury cruisers will disembark and connections will be made for Melaka Straits City.  

The same night I discovered the island of Melaka I met a girl of Lithuania who explained to me that she had been in Laos, in the lost mountain villages. Children who live in that area have it clear. China is the great world power and that is why they want to study Chinese language. “Europe is poor”, they say, their desire is to learn the Chinese language to travel (emigrate) to China where will find a work. History repeats itself, people from North Africa who emigrate looking for better conditions in Europe. Laos people looking for a better future in China. Both groups without knowing that paradise does not exist.   

Said’s kitchen

Said’s kitchen

That afternoon we wanted to see the sunset at the Mosque of Melaka, but suddenly it started to rain so we stayed in La Vie En Rose Guesthouse with Saïd, the owner from Lebanon and other backpackers among those who was Himanshu Goel (@sometraveldreams) a guy from India who is travelling around the world with his bike. 

Saïd saw that I had a blog and he asked me if I could write about one of his recipes. Cooking is his passion. I told him, half-joking, that his profession should be that of a cook and he laughed. He told to me that the only people who appreciate his dishes are foreigners like us. People from Melaka doesn’t like his meal or never dare to give it a try. So if he put a restaurant he wouldn’t be successful. 

Saïd wanted to cook Tahini for Hummus and Falafel. He told me that I will be surprised because his recipe is not the typical one that we can search in the Internet. So here we go, I started to record how he cooked and gave an explanation about the recipe and some various ingredients. 

Here you can read the recipe. The measurements are approximated.

Tahini recipe

  • 1 tablespoon of bean oil

  • 2 cups of white bean (we were so excited about the recipe that we forgot to ask Saïd what kind of bean it was)

  • 2 cups white sesame

  • 3-10 cloves of garlic (to your liking according to whether you like it with more or less garlic flavour)

  • 3 cups of oil to grind the mixture

  • 2 cups cauliflower powder

  • 1 tablespoon of salt

  • 1 cup white vinegar

  • ½ liters of water

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Steps

  1. Toast the beans. Only until they take a little colour and the oil disappears.
  2. Crush the beans until they are powdered. Dump in a bowl.
  3. Toast the white sesame in the same pan (without water or oil) as the beans until it gets a slightly brown colour
  4. Crush and add to the bean container.
  5. Add the garlic
  6. Add the 3 cups of oil
  7. Add the cups of cauliflower powder
  8. Add salt
  9. Add vinegar
  10. Grind and half add water

And here we are!

Here you can see the process:

Surveillance vs security

Surveillance vs security

This poster caught my attention in the Singapore metro.

In it they are encouraging the citizens of Singapore to denounce their neighbours or as they say “help the police.” In a city full of cameras, and when I say full it means that in every corner you find yourself four that are controlling your behavior through Artificial Intelligence, they also ask that you be the one who watches over your neighbour and then denounces it.

The truth is that you feel very safe, it is difficult to get robbed, but at the same time I have to say that I felt intimidated and observed. Any behavior outside the law can be punished. At all times you are waiting to not pass any rules such as eating gum in the street or eating, drinking, having obscene behavior with your partner (kissing) or getting on with Dorians (fruit with a very strong aroma) in the metro.

Here an interesting debate opens, surveillance vs. security.

George Orwell’s book, 1984, falls short.

Dinah & the education system in Singapore

Dinah & the education system in Singapore

In Singapore, I have had the opportunity to meet Dinah. A conservatory teacher, passionate about music. Thanks to the Couchsurfing APP where I published an ad to let the community of Singapore know that I was going to be a few days and I wanted to meet educators and exchange experiences in the field of education and creativity.

In this case, technology facilitated my contact with Dinah. As soon as he read my message he wrote to me and offered to guide me during a day of my stay in the city. She showed me his school and explained to me what the education system was like in Singapore. She is actually from Malaysia and 10 years ago she decided to change country to work at a music school in Singapore. It is much easier for Malaysians to get a job in Singapore than for another person from another part of the world. Although, yes, getting nationality is something else!

I wanted to know why the education system in Singapore and the best grades in science and mathematics are so successful. To begin with, she explained that the education system is divided into three basic levels: Preschool, Primary Education and Secondary Education. At the end of Primary, children take a test called Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), that marks what they will study next.

The High School is determined by the grade obtained in the PSLE ​​exam and its aspirations. They have varied programs such as those that prepare them for university or those specialized for those who want to acquire specific knowledge, such as art, music or sports.

In total they are between 5 and 6 hours in school that corresponds to the whole morning and in the afternoon they carry out extracurriculars and different volunteering proposed from the school. The teachers have many more hours of class preparation and extras than those of our schools.

Teaching in Singapore stands out, above all, for respect for diversity, dialogue and reflection. They avoid memorization and strengthen discussion groups.

About the language, I found that they have an excellent level of English compared to other countries I have been through. Boost bilingualism. They are aware of the importance of English to open up to an increasingly global world, so from the Department of Education they promote this language. On one of the facades of the department building, there is a banner where they invite to speak the English language to reach an excellent level of English in 2020. 

Thank you very much Dinah!!!

When LEGO and IKEA join, COOP appears

When LEGO and IKEA join, COOP appears

COOP is an architecture system built from pieces of wood that I have known in Singapore. We could say that it is a mixture between a LEGO and an IKEA. The objective of this system is to empower citizens and invite them to design their community spaces. Through the concept the DIT (Do It Together) the DO Agencya collective of students, alumni and staff from the Diploma in Architecture course at Nanyang Polytechnic, creates an interactive installation consisting of different modular units, which can be manipulated in a myriad of ways. Whatever the knowledge and the ages, the public are invited to realise their ideas in a tactile way by playing and exploring the endless possibilities that COOP offers. 

The best of all it is not only a hobby but the constructions are real, as well as reconfigurable (in case you get tired) and reusable. They are designed with advanced digital technology and designed with de ability to adapt to different social, cultural and environmental context.  

For more information: https://www.practice.org.sg/en/m1patch/coop/ 

The Singapore National library@harbourfront

The Singapore National library@harbourfront

I went to the National library@harbourfront de Singapore  (opened in 2019) looking for technology and left excited about the humane treatment.

It is a public library located on the top floor of a mall. It may seem strange but I can assure you that it cannot have a better location than this. It has spectacular views. Imagine reading a book contemplating the sea and Sentosa Island.

 

What most captivated my attention were the people who ordered the books. They are all volunteers. All of them proud to collaborate in a space as pleasant as that. The message on his shirt makes it clear. Also, they know the library from top to bottom and are willing to help you in any way they can.

Also the distribution of spaces. The bookshelves are headed by an interactive plasma screen where you can check the latest news. Also, you can see how the process of returning books is through the windows. There, the returned books arrive at the volunteers through a conveyor belt like in the airports and they are placed where the books correspond. 

There is a central space where they expose the results of the workshops and also where there are some tips on internet security and fake news. Specifically, actually the results presented technological solutions to improve the lives of older people. Workshops have been designed by volunteer engineers. Behind there are rooms where activities and conferences are developed.  

Finally another space with great amplitude for the little ones and a kind of truck that they take out when the weather is good.

I liked this space, especially for its distribution. In the centre, there are two circles made with mats so that children can go with their family to read books sitting on the floor. I also observed a whole row of 3 shelves full of books about why things work and how they work.

This makes me relate it to the conversation that a boy in his 8s had today with his mother about a fan. He asked her where the air came from and how it was produced. So after seeing the bookshelf in the library and the interest of children in the way things work, my reflection is as follows: will it be because of the education they receive, that children in Singapore have such curiosity developed? It is clear that developing skills and abilities related to critical thinking, creativity, curiosity … requires a provocation by those around us and those who educate us.