Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Singapore Revisited

Last weekend's trip to Singapore was the first in almost 3-4 years or more that it wasn't a business trip or related to the rat race. I was actually on holiday.
On Sunday morning after the booze got sent back down the drain I took a walk around the city in between catching up with old friends. I realized I was actually looking at the city state through different eyes.

The first thought in my mind as I walked down Middle Road caught me off guard. I kept thinking to myself - " There's no smell....This town HAS NO SMELL!" No fumes, dog crap, pollution or even the smoke/puke/beer combos from nearby bars. Maybe it was all the 911 chicken wings from Hooter's or the late night or the restless sleep bestowed upon my luckless self by Gundam Junior's orchestral snoring, but I COULDN'T SMELL ANYTHING. The whole town smells as sterile and clean as it looks unless of course you're walking past a food court and then it's just the smell of sweetened Asian dishes. We walked down a pedestrian tunnel in Clark Quay and as Malaysians automatically took one last breath of fresh air as we stepped in and as as we tentatively sniffed the next breath, the tunnel smelt.....just like the rest of the country - odourless! No evidence than it had been molested by the mysterious Urinators!
Of course the ridiculous cleanliness made me think that I was in a living advertisement for a Utopian magazine.

Do you realize that all the Singaporeans also seem to have stepped out from the same magazine/ No matter what they wear, they're clothes look new and very up to date. Is it just me?

Let's put aside that our neighbours think Malaysia is the Wild West. Let's forget that some of them are not as happy as they seem. Let's ignore the somewhat Big Brother culture that seems to prevail underneath the polished sheen of this perfect, perfect model country.


Some stuff stand out -The chance for the older folks to earn a living and more importantly for the aunties and uncles who embrace working life in their twilight years. Sure it could be that they need the money but still everything is part of the machinery of constant evolution for these folks. The promotions of art all over the place, the tasteful conservation of old buildings, the anal instructions all over the place from minding your step to how to hold your hand under the auto tap in the toilets. Their Shopping Sales are really blowouts and not the piecemeal nonsense that we are served here. The constant Upgrading Works. The nervous energy in the air within the corporate corridors. The list goes on. We actually were similar once. Now we can be worlds apart until we sit down together over booze and then we realize underneath all the inter-government bluster we're actually all cool with each other.



No street on any planet should be this clean. Where's the dirt? It's like the Singaporean City Hall has invisible house elves running around collecting stray trash, eating them and then just farting out fresh air into the Singaporean sky.
Singaporean Art. Feels like a lot of angst and frustration here.






Where Singaporeans lock up their alcoholics.


Star Cruise drops by.

Every foreign worker who wishes to work in Singapore must be able to turn that wheel 3 full rotations with their little pinkie, while standing on one foot, wearing a one wheeled roller skate.


There's a shortatge of rooms and it was tough getting a place to crash in Singapore as Singapore Tourism is doing such a fantastic job. At least we got a room with an ocean view...

Not your normal pain in the ass punk/alt street band. This guys were actually belting out guttural death metal 'songs' in the middle of Orchard Road. We're not going to find that here...

Monday, July 30, 2007

Summerslam Singapore Weekend

Went down South to catch WWE's SummerSlam Singapore with Bart August and Gundam Junior. Was it any good? No. The guys from WWE didn't seem to have their heart in it. There was not much interaction with the crowd and most of them just left the ring after their matches Only Rey Mysterio, Chavo and Batista made some effort to engage the appreciative crowd.

The atmosphere was no where close to the previous shows in Singapore, Malaysia, Korea or Japan that I have been to. But the fans that were around were hard core true blue rasslin' fanatics.

BUT it's a special moment when a couple of teenagers yell out 'You Suck!' to a burly wrestler only to have him turn back and shout back at them "You suck!" to an appreciative audience that laughs along the with teens and their parents. Young kids as old as 6 are shouting abuse at the heels (bad guys) along with their parents and cheering the faces(forces of good). WWE is family entertainment. Kids were there with parents and there even was a 70 year old Chinese aunty in the crowd near my seat. Sometimes you'd see the whole family chanting the 'Asshole! Asshole! Asshole" chant whenever the heels turned up. Ahh, good old family values...

Crowd waiting for the show to start.


Girlfight. Yeah, most of my pictures were crap as the action was too fast for me to catch.


Rick Flair. 250 years old and still struttin' and profilin' Woooooooooooooo!!!


Family moment at the 'Slam.


Monster Mash. Kane and Batista face off against the Great Khali. Ironic that a Sikh man monster from the north of India is named after the Hindu goddess of vengeance. Them Americans...


Batista's 'tats.



Support your local beer drinkers.



The Great Khali vs Batista.


WWE are equal opportunity employers. Even midgets get to get their ass kicked.
BEFORE THE SHOW - HOOTER'S SINGAPORE

We decided to get hammered at Hooters at Clark Quay. Some of the best Chicken Wings in town and the best drinking music a Seremban feller loves - CCR, Skynrd, Cake, etc.

A seemingly regular sight in Singapore nowadays - the boys from the US Navy.

Bart and Siew Fun with the Hooter girls. They may not be that friendly to non-'ang mohs' but are efficiently professional.


Siew Fun and Jolene - starting new lives in Singapore.



Bart and the girls.

BREWERKZ MICROBREWERY

Had our fill at Hooter's and decided to hit this microbrewery. They brew their own beers and they have 11 'flavours' to choose from. Highly recommended - the Oatmeal Stout (tastes like Guinness and coffee!) and the Darkside Lager.


The vats where they brew their beers. You can even tapau their beers. Thani darrr...
CLARK QUAY AT DUSK




MUCH LATER IN THE NIGHT AFTER THE SHOW AND AFTER A SECOND ROUND OF HOOTER WINGS...

The sleepy Clark Quay transformed to party central. Love these giant fibre glass and steel 'mushrooms' that act as cover from the elements.

Belly dancing class in the middle of the street. Only in Singapore.

The disturbing mortuary table and operating theater at The Clinic night club.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Orchestral Manoeuvres in A Hurricane

Something for the weekend. Was feeling a bit 'kutu rock' and decided to layan the download time for this ass kicker.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Simpsons Movie

Of course the whole theatre laughed. We laughed hard. It helped if your brain matter is intact as the humour came fast and the action was furious. The only movie to get away with showing genitalia and the Double One Fingered Salute while making it hilariously funny without being in bad taste. No fart or toilet jokes that the Yanks seem to adopt as comedy. It's so refreshing to see a movie that seemingly was made with passion and it seemed that they had fun going about it.

This is actually the most INTELLIGENT movie of the hear. If you're a fan of Michael Learns To Rock, Paris Hilton or Korean dramas then stay the hell away. You might find yourself burning in the sunlight.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Dancing Darth

At least we now know that stormtroopers have better rythm than Vader! Holler Bart August for the head's up!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Bagan Lalang

Dropped by Bagan Lalang on Monday after the storm. Was great, just the cool breeze and the remnants of some straggling storm clouds trying to chase back the last rays of the setting sun.

I miss this place and I don't think it will last for long in it's current form. Some developer is starting another 'mega' project called Sepang Gold Coast. This quaint family beach will loose its rustic charm after that. Anyway i need to go back to get some shots of the beach proper for sentimental reasons. Ironic that my father used to go to the same beach 30 years ago to buy fish from the fishermen, cook it on the spot and wash it down with toddy.

Actually spent more time on the clouds as I was testing out the new camera.



On the drive to the beach I was trying out the new Canon A570IS with Image Stabilizer. I don't know what standards to judge it by but I'm pretty happy. The shots below were taken while driving and holding the camera with one hand. Also I kept the settings on Automatic just to see the results. I wouldn't be able to get a clear shot with a regular camera especially since the kampung roads that i was on were far from smooth. And yes as a responsible driver I tried to ensure that the road ahead was clear when snapping the pix so I wouldn't be charged with involuntary manslaughter of kampung chickens or the neighbourhood biawak.

Approx 80km/h. Road OK. Hand steady.


Speed about 70km/h. Road a little rough. Hand sorta OK.


Speed 80km/h. Road OK. Hand 'kan cheong' as distracted by overtaking car. Also this pic was taken about an hour and half later on way back.

Astronomy Picture Of The Day

Decided to forget about the day to day nonsense that we're going through. Environmental degradation, global warming, the Haze, deforestation,melting polar ice caps, snatch thieves, avian flu and worst of all, the thought that I wont be able to catch a U2 concert in my lifetime. So I went hunting for some cosmic distractions and here's what I found and realised that we're just gnats in a much, much larger playground.

Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD link HERE) - This website by NASA and Michigan Technological University has cool pics from the scientific arena mainly from the field of astronomy and science. All pictures come with short explanations by scientists and astronomers. There are hundreds of photos. They're the surreal, awe inspiring, wistful, wonderful, beautiful, amazing and some are just downright spooky. And the best part is some of the pictures are interactive. You click on the pictures and you get to see the constellations in graphic form etc. Pictures are taken by the Hubble telescope, various observatories around the world and professional astronomers and scientists.

Takes me back to the days when I'd pull out a chair at nights and just stare up into the night sky for hours on end trying to see how many shooting stars I could see in a night. Enjoy the selection and go to the site for more lessons on how little we mean in the Universe and even after that we can't wait to knock ourselves out of existence as fast as we can.

Twice a year in Manhattan the sun can be seen setting down the middle of every street.


The Russian space station seen above New Zealand.



The Space Shuttle's transport platform is the largest caterpillar tracked vehicle in the world.


A spectacular Aurora Borealis seen in Alaska I think. Picture was taken in Minus 40 degrees.


Aurora Borealis seen from space.


Next! One space shuttle takes off while it's brethren waits quietly for it's turn.

Lunar eclipse - The Moon cuts in front of the Sun at Borders to get Harry Potter Pt. 7.


Close call for a space shuttle as a lightning bolt hits a little to close to home.

And now my favourites, the nebula - the glorious death throes of dying stars. The exploding stars release gases, solar winds and other cosmic debris contributes to the surreal shapes, colors and vistas.

The Horse Head Nebula


The Serpent Nebula.


Shape in the Eagle Nebula. Cosmic angel? The souls of gazillion alien butterflies? Whatever it is, it's out there.


Sumthin' strange in the neighbourhood. Look at top left hand side. Creeped out yet?

The Andromeda Galaxy. The only galaxy I've seen/recognized. It's just a tiny blur with averted vision but you can too with the naked eye. On a clear unpolluted day. In a lonely quiet place without street lights. With the rest of the JAIS officers.


The Blue Lagoon Nebula. Almost looks like the real thing in Port Dickson.


The spectacular Snow Flake cluster and the Cone Nebula



The Cat's Eye Nebula. Magic, just magic.

Science can heal and teach. Lets not loose our sense of wonder children!