Fly12 – Watching your front

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My Kickstarter-backed Cycliq Fly12 arrived on Saturday morning, in time for See and Be Seen. Here’s my review.

The Fly12 is a combination front bike light (up to 400 lumens) and safety camera (1080p).

I had previously backed Cycliq’s Fly6 – the rear light and camera combo – and purchased the Fly6 version 2, so I am familiar with Cycliq’s products and will make reference to them.

During the See and Be Seen ride, I ran the Fly12 on various light settings (medium/low, constant/pulsing + cam) and it lasted four hours. Cycliq claims it will last 10 hours of it is camera-only. That’s probably an accurate assessment.

Let me start with the conclusion first: the Fly12 is a big step up from the Fly6.

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Workers’ Party Rock Concert

Workers' Party Rally at Serangoon Stadium, Fri 29 April 2011

Ok, it wasn’t a rock concert. But the speakers were certainly rocking!

If elections were based on rally attendance, speaker charisma and audience participation, the Workers’ Party would win by a landslide.

Their candidates seem aware of this. A few mentioned that they are glad that Singaporeans have come out in force to listen to them speak. Most importantly, they urged the crowd to go the full distance by voting for WP.

So, to my observations:

  1. The pull of WP
    The Workers’ Party seems to have the attention of Singaporeans far and wide, young and old. A couple of uncles were chatting in the bus in Hokkien. The Geekess translated. (Hokkien is similar to Teochew, she says.) Apparently, they didn’t know each other before today because they asked each other where they were from. One of them said Bukit Batok.

    Bukit Batok.

    WP is not contesting any seat west of Bukit Timah Expressway. And yet this man has seen fit to travel from Bukit Batok for the WP rally. The cynics will say, it’s because the WP puts up a good show. Indeed, they do. Others might point out that the concentration of all WP’s big guns is the reason the entire nation is focused on Aljunied GRC.

    I’m not sure. See point 3.
  2. Young voters are interested
    Say what you want about young Singaporeans being apathetic. They are attending, listening, responding, tweeting and facebooking this election.

    At very least, it’s a start.
  3. Singaporeans seem really disgruntled with the PAP
    I am not privy to what goes on in the PAP. Perhaps they are aware that Singaporeans are unhappy. Maybe they think it’s just Singaporeans doing what Singaporeans do best – complain. (The story of a deaf frog comes to mind.)

    But on the streets, in the buses, on the trains, at the hawker centres and of course, online – I’ve heard nothing but praise for the Opposition and criticism of the PAP. And this all came to a head at the WP rally. Compared to a 2006 WP rally I attended, there seemed to be a lot more bile directed at the PAP.

    A lot more.
  4. The absurdity of GRCs
    One of the main WP themes was that GRCs and re-drawing of electoral boundaries are designed to keep the PAP firmed entrenched while purportedly being a means to ensure minority representation in Parliament.

    As if to prove the point, we chanced upon Nicole Seah NSP posters on the way to Serangoon MRT Station from Serangoon Stadium.

    NSP? Nicole Seah? When did we walk into Marine Parade GRC?

    Apparently, when we crossed Boundary Road from the stadium! Refer to the screenshot below, taken from SG Electoral Map 2011 by torty3.

    I don’t know about you, but I associate Marine Parade with the sea. And I don’t live near the sea.

Bishan-Toa Payoh is next to Aljunied is next to Marine Parade

Reform Party’s Inaugural Election Rally at Clementi Stadium

Kenneth Jeyaratnam addressing the crowd at Clementi Stadium.

I attended the Reform Party’s rally at Clementi Stadium for West Coast GRC earlier.

It had not dawned on me that this was the party’s first ever election rally. The party was founded in 2008, after the last General Election in 2006.

I’ll just give some brief personal impressions. I’m assuming the mainstream and social will take care of reporting the content.

  1. The Quiet Rally
    I was quite underwhelmed. At most rallies, there is a dedicated core of party supporters in front of the stage making a huge racket. None here. Initially, there were just a few people at the front. I suspect some were members of the press. It didn’t help that this rally was held at a stadium. The stage was on the field, then a huge gap to the stands, where the early birds were seated. It was only when latecomers came in, after the stands were full, that a crowd started forming in directly in front of the speaker. The RP’s lack of manpower meant there wasn’t a group of people to get the crowd going. There was polite applause and the occasional shout of support, but most of the noise came from the speakers and the very boisterous emcee.
  2. Mr Speaker, Sir
    Kenneth Jeyaretnam needs to¬† speak more like a Singaporean. It needn’t be broken English or Singlish. His British accent is a bit too atas. I heard murmurs of “he’s like B B See” (if you don’t know who I’m talking about, please start watching The Noose), and I heard some people saying that they couldn’t understand him. As for the others, most of them were too monotonous or spoke with too much fire and brimstone. For me, the best speaker was Osman Bin Sulaiman, who is an RP candidate at… Ang Mo Kio GRC. He spoke clearly, with good variation in tone and pace. He made a few good points and didn’t get carried away when he did hammer a point home. (Apologies for the Workers’ Party reference.)
  3. Similarity of ideas
    Just like Singapore Democratic Party, RP also wants to cut NS to one year. Just like many Opposition parties, they want to introduce minimum wage. Similarly, they want to cut GST and remove it for essential goods. Sometimes, you have to wonder why the Opposition parties won’t just join each other.

Circle Line Discovery – Impressive… Most Impressive

Circle Line Discovery (Stage 1 & 2)-7

This morning, I checked out the Circle Line Discovery event, ahead of the opening of the long-overdue Stage 1 & 2 of the CCL.

If I were Darth Vader, surveying the new stations, I would say (in my wannabe-James Earl Jones voice), “Impressive… Most impressive.”

And which station gives me the greatest sense of awe?

Stadium Station.

It is simply magnificent.

The skylight takes full advantage of natural light. Yet it does not end up roasting the station because it is placed very high up.

Very high up.

The station is big.

It is one of the few stations that allows you to look from one end to the other. There no obstructions. Just massive space.

The only similar station is Changi Airport. But that’s the thing, Changi Airport station is so large that you lose perspective. I’m not sure how to explain this.

Sometimes, something is so big that you don’t know the scale of it. A good example is the ground we stand on – Earth. We rarely get to see the horizon. And even when we do, there is no frame of reference. We know it is big, but we can’t put it in perspective.

Stadium Station is big enough let you feel that sense of size, yet small enough for you to put it in context.

Step outside and you’ll get a real feel for the scale. On either ends of the station are two cavernous entrances.

I can imagine a match day. People streaming out of that station. Thousands of supporters decked in red disgorging from this massive structure.

And thousands of people heading into the station once the game is over.

Which leads to my only criticism of the station.

Circle Line Discovery (Stage 1 & 2)-8

Two escalators at each entrance? (And there are only two entrances, not including the elevator access.)

Let’s do the math. About 50,000 people pack the stadium. Assuming only half are taking the train from Stadium Station, that’s 25,000 people who are going to cram onto four escalators – further assuming that all four will be down-riding after a big game – and the central staircase on either end.

Not a pretty sight.

In a strange way, this may be the intention. I am not sure how frequent the trains will be after a big game, but even at 2 minute intervals, it will take time to clear the platform of passengers. So, the bottleneck will be at the escalator instead – in order not to overcrowd the platform. (Remember that the CCL trains are only 3 cars long, not 6 like those on the NSL, EWL and NEL, so they have only half the carrying capacity.)

But all this is speculation. We will not know for sure until our next big game at the National Stadium our Sports Hub is finally ready.

In the interim, you can use Stadium Station to get to Singapore Indoor Stadium (and the Brewerkz located there) and… err… Kallang Leisure Park.

More photos of the Circle Line Discovery (mostly of Stadium Station).

OCBC Cycle Singapore 2010

Cycling: One of the few types of exercise I can do now without my joints and muscles screaming out for mercy. 40km is do-able, so I signed up again for OCBC Cycle Singapore.

Last year, I did the distance in 2 hours 13 minutes, which is slow. This was supposed to be the impetus to train harder and go sub-2 hours.

Naturally, things didn’t go as I planned. My training was limited – mostly by sheer laziness – to three short rides at Ubin – and an attempt at the Kallang Park Connector.

Nevertheless, I managed to achieve my timing goal. This morning, I clocked myself at an hour and 38 minutes. Almost half an hour better.

Not that I can put this down to training. I probably knew how to pace myself better this time round. Perhaps, the earlier start this year helped too. Despite the recent hot weather, it was a relatively cool morning. And with cycling, you always feel a breeze. Although when you’re tired, you feel like the same breeze is conspiring to slow you down.

During the ride, I was looking out for @gadgetygirl and @sivasothi (and friends). While I didn’t manage to spot them, I did bump into a friend from secondary school days. Audrey D’cotta was a prefect I knew from CHIJ (Toa Payoh). She now runs her own pilates studio.

Meeting fellow foldie-owners is always a treat too. I think I saw a Dahon guy that I saw last year, on his distinctive yellow-orche bike with matching tyres. As we whizzed past me, he hollered, “Go, bro!” And the support staff are always generous with their cheers for guys on small bikes (read: supposedly inferior equipment).

The ride itself – I preferred last year’s route. The organisers seemed to have switched the start and end sectors, which meant that this year, we headed towards the finish, then headed away from the finish… several times.

OCBC Cycle Singapore 2010

All in all, I enjoyed myself. The rest area after the ride was much better too. Last year, there wasn’t much. This time, there were a few booths, the most important of which was NPark’s Park Connector booth. They had maps showing the Park Connector Networks, which included park connectors being built and in planning. Picked up a couple of brochures and got myself a nice PCN cap.

OCBC Cycle Singapore 2010

Oh yes, the goodie bag includes items that I might actually use!

OCBC Cycle Singapore 2010

A Saturday at the Peranakan Museum and Singapore Philatelic Museum

Museums Saturday-14

I finally got around to using my free museum pass. Back then, I said that the Peranakan Museum would be the first on my list. And so, it was.

Now, I know that all things Peranakan are very hip-and-happening now, but that’s not why I wanted to check out the museum. A number of my closest friends are of Peranakan descent, so I figured this was a good way to get to know their culture.

As for the Singapore Philatelic Museum, I’ve visited it before. However, they have a range of constantly updated exhibitions on the upper level. My friend, Shaun, curated one of the current exhibitions there. It is about Comics and Superheros!

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Listen to our walls

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Having cable and HD means that I hardly ever watch Channel 5. However, this new series about old buildings, Listen to our walls, is reason for me to stomach the free-to-air English station for half an hour every week.

Today’s episode covered mixed use buildings, particularly housing/shopping mixes. The show began with shophouses, covering some of the periods of shophouses in Singapore – never knew there was such a thing as Chinese Baroque. Dr Victor Savage, from NUS, who co-authored the Topynymics book about Singapore street names, gave his insights about shophouses. The segment zoomed in on Ellenborough Building, one of Singapore’s earliest shophouses.

To the young ones, that’s where Clarke Quay MRT and the monstrous Central stand today. Yes, nothing like old photos and archival film juxtaposed against yet another shopping mall to bring out the indignant anti-progress pro-conservation armchair-activist in me.

Dr Savage laments the loss of this shophouse (as well as the name – Central, he points out, has absolutely no link to Ellenborough) but also balances it by pointing out that these issues are never easy to deal with.

The next segment covered People’s Park Complex. I’ve no affinity for the place, so I was surprised that this show managed to get a modicum of response out of me. (And that response was… I think I got my first Atari set there…) By now, it was obvious that the show’s researchers seemed to have put quite a bit of effort into learning about architecture. All three segments of the show attempted to set the stage by highlighting the architectural influences of the buildings’ design. In fact, the latter two segments involved interviews by the architects of the buildings themselves.

The final (actually, not quite final) segment dealt with the love-it-or-hate-it-there’s-no-in-between Golden Mile Complex. The architect seems quite attached to this building, and hopes it doesn’t go the way of the dinosaur. In truth, it is a unique building – it’s a bloody eyesore. Which is why we should keep it. All our high-rises are neat little pigeon holes. Let this one anomaly stand.

The real final segment, if you can call it that, was a short plug for the Marina Bay Sands IR.

Pardon me but, wtf? Okay, I understand this show is supposed to cover contemporary buildings too. Still, that building doesn’t bring to mind mixed use. And it was all of two minutes too. Didn’t see the point – the show would have been complete without this part.

Still, overall a very well researched, narrated (by Timothy Nga) and produced show. Looking forward to the next episode!

Catch Listen to our walls on Tuesdays at 7.30 p.m. on Channel 5.