Posts Tagged ‘Singapore’

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 10,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


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Not much……just freakin HAILSTONES…at the Equator n all !




Enjoy your Christmas!!

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Enjoyed this article by Alan Grant published over at inSing.com

Singaporeans needs to take a long hard look at wherever they think the grass is greener, and remember Grass grows on BS !!

Things aren’t as bad as they seem, Singapore

by Alan Grant inSing.com – 17 December 2013 1:15 PM

Wah Lau

There are complaints aplenty in this little city Singapore (Photo: Wikimedia)

People like to moan. Even when things are going well, we’re not able to fully embrace the good. Instead, we complain about the little annoyances in life.

I am a “glass half-full” type of guy, but a poorly thought-out protest will still emit from my mouth on occasion.

It’s just human nature.


Singaporeans love to moan about the growing number and influence of “foreign talent” (FT) here.

I’m not here to restart that xenophobic debate (although I’m sure I’ve already incited a few FT haters), but I wonder if Singaporeans have ever stopped to think why foreigners are so attracted to this country in the first place.

After all, with our long list of gripes about the economy, the crowded trains and buses, traffic jams and the ERP (Electronic Road Pricing) system, elusive taxis, domestic helpers, the weather — why the heck would people want to come live on this overcrowded little red dot?

The answer is because life here to most non-Singaporeans seems to be in many ways better than in their home countries.

Most foreigners are economic immigrants because Singapore has one of the most vibrant economies in the world.

Whether the many manual labourers who help to build the gleaming edifices symbolising Singapore’s boom, or the more educated foreigners helping to service it, most are here because they can earn more money in Singapore than they can in their own countries.


Of course, not all Singaporeans are thriving in this bustling metropolis, but this is by no means a poor country.

The sheer number of foreign domestic workers highlights this. The Ministry of Manpower estimated that at year-end of 2010, there were 201,000 of them. Yet, this group of people is so often the target of complaints by Singaporeans and residents.

When my family and I moved to Singapore in 2004 from New York, one of the upsides was the prospect of hiring a helper. Having spent four years in the Big Apple, we did what most Americans do: we cleaned, cooked and raised our child up by ourselves.

It has been great having help on hand here in Singapore, and my family has hired the same lovely Filipina for nearly nine years.

She is not perfect, but then again, who is? To our shame, we’ve moaned about her occasionally, but we’ve never seriously considered replacing her.

I always cringe when I hear people talk down to their maids, or giving up on them after a few weeks or months because their English isn’t good enough or that they can’t quite get the floors clean enough.

I’ve heard the dreaded phrase, “Can’t follow instructions”, too many times.

We’re talking about human beings, not commodities to be traded. So the next time you moan about your maid, remember that many families in other countries, rich or poor, can only fantasise about such a luxury.


Another perennial gripe here is about the taxis, or the lack of them when we need them most. Whether it is this, the taxi booking systems, the perception of taxi drivers as lazy, or a combination of other factors, we should step back for a minute and think.

Is it the end of the world if we have to wait 15 minutes to get our ride home? Can’t find a taxi? Get on the bus or catch the train.

Yes, the MRT is crowded and there have been occasional delays, but we still have a world-class mass transit system in Singapore.

The MRT should be held up as a national treasure, and while it doesn’t quite go everywhere yet, it’s quick, clean, safe and efficient.

I wish the same could be said for the Tube in London, the Subway in New York or the pathetic little single line that serves my native Glasgow, a city of 600,000 people.

These systems are old and creaking, perennially dirty, rarely on time and due to generally smaller car sizes, much more overcrowded than the Singapore MRT.

The bus network here, too, is splendid compared to other cities in which I’ve lived.

Sure, a rush-hour trip in the rain might take longer than normal, but a standing-room-only ride in Singapore beats the cramped, dirty and slow journeys on a daily basis in cities such as Bangkok, Jakarta and Manila.

The other target of public ire, the ERP, plays a part in making sure we don’t have the monstrous traffic jams that our regional Asian neighbours have.

What’s wrong with paying a few dollars to get to work in the comfort of your own car? If you can afford the huge expense that is a car in Singapore, you can well afford the ERP charges. And it’s cheap compared to the other ERPs around the world. The Congestion Charge that covers central London from 7am till 6pm on weekdays is a whopping flat fee of £10 (S$20) a day, for instance.

We’ve also been known to moan about the cost of parking our cars in Singapore. The average cost of parking in the heartlands — 50 cents to $1 every 30 minutes — is so cheap that it’s hardly worth talking about it. Even the hefty $5.50 an hour for parking near Raffles Place, Marina Bay etc, is low compared to cities in Australia.


Then, there is our daily gripe about the weather. People complain about it worldwide, but in Singapore, we have it made when it comes to weather.

But you know what, residents of Singapore, next time the entrance to your favourite shopping mall gets flooded or a fallen tree blocks your path, be thankful that the waters will quickly recede. The Land Transport Authority will have that tree cut up and removed in a comparative jiffy.

Think of the poor people in places like Dhaka, Mumbai or even Kuantan, who put up with yearly devastating floods, or the millions displaced by the typhoons that strike the Philippines, Vietnam and China every year. Or the Americans who lose their homes to destructive tornados on a regular basis.

So as we sit here in a relative cocoon surrounded by countries plagued by typhoons, earthquakes, mudslides and volcanoes, let’s not moan about the weather.

Let’s all try to stop and think the next time we’re about to open our mouths to wail about some small irritation that, in the grand scheme of things, is a mere blip.

I love living in Singapore, it has so much going for it, and I’m going to try and concentrate on those positives rather than the minor annoyances. You should, too.

Alan Grant has been in Singapore for nearly eight years. He first visited in 1991, then again in 1996 before his latest arrival in 2004. He has placed his journalistic hat down at such legendary Singaporean spots such as The Straits Times and I-S Magazine. He loves the local food, with his favourite haunts being the Indian vegetarian joints dotted around town.

(The views and opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of inSing.com and SingTel Digital Media Ptd Ltd.)

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Not the beach view anyone wants

These are just my own personal ramblings about an incident that has caused a sickening loss of life. My heart goes out to the families and friends of those who perished, as well as the survivors who will doubtless relive those terrifying events in their minds eye for many years to come.

From every marine accident there is an investigation and from every investigation there are conclusions. Such investigations are not tasked with prosecuting the guilty, they are simply to find the facts of what happened and why it happened, so that where required, systems or procedures or equipment can be changed or modified to try to ensure the same thing will not happen again.

The relevant police authorities will make their own enquiries to deal with the facts of suspected liability and guilt. Thereafter the relevant legal jurisdiction will act accordingly on the matter.

But more than that, after an incident like this with such a tragic loss of life, surely in many maritime regions and territories, the relevant persons are asking: Could this happen here ?

That is a question to which I believe there is no “Yes or No” answer, but there are a lot of things to consider.

There is a simple and chilling fact; any accident at sea or elsewhere is analogous to a chemical reaction, if you allow the dangerous mix of ingredients into the same place at the same time then there may well be a violent reaction.

If you can keep them separate, then hopefully nothing happens. In many accidents at sea the ‘ingredients’ are speed, complacency, poor lookout, visibility and navigation, systems failure, and the unexpected.

As to the question; Could it happen in Singapore ? well it could, but in my opinion, it’s very unlikley, and here’s why.

Firstly the relevant Goverment Agency, the Maritime & Port Authority, MPA, has been very active for many years in “managing” the operation of ferry traffic in Singapore. One of the major features of this is that all ferries are required to follow demarcated routes into and out of, and through Singapore waters, and the routes are well defined and well known by near all users. In addition these ferries are required to adhere to set day & night speed limits for the routes in the direct approaches. Consequently if you are at sea in those corridoors at night, then you expect to meet ferry traffic, and at 12 knots you have a bit of time to spot them, and navigate out of their way.

Just One of the Designated Ferry Routes

It’s worthwhile to note that these routes and speed regulations have been in place for around ten years. Also be assured that they have added time and distance onto each and every journey. I can remember some journeys being around 15 minutes quicker. It was also strange to watch as a ferry gets further away from the destination to follow the route.

Secondly the Police Coastguard has a large presence on the water with a large number or active patrol craft throughout Singapore waters. Whilst they have a multitude of roles, they would seem to keep some form of watch of ferry and private and passenger traffic. This is part deterant, and part Big Brother to make sure that maritime rules and laws are followed.

At a location near you ?

Thirdly, major events such as fireworks, or yacht races or waterborne events, etc. likely dont draw the same volume of on-water spectators in Singapore as perhaps as in cities like Hong Kong, Auckland or wherever. Also Fireworks in Singapore are within sheltered or enclosed waterways, and can be easily, and best viewed from onshore. Just look at any National Day, F1, or New Years event video to see what I mean. Obviously Fireworks are at night, which immediately brings navigational and lookout issues.

Victoria Harbour Fireworks

Fourthly and importantly, the MPA many years ago implemented a scheme of ensuring each and every craft on the water has some form of AIS or HARTS, (Harbour Craft Transponder System) on board. This in effect enables the MPA Port Operations to monitor the location and speed and heading of every craft on the water, if in fact they have the time, the interest and manpower to do that. (Note they’ve just upgraded their system to handle 10,000 vessel tracks at any one time ! Click on photo to follow link to read the release.)

WOW just upgraded, they can handle 10,000 vessel tracks at any given time ! Click to follow link !

In addition there is any number of MPA Pilot boats, and MPA launches out and on the water. There is also the system of Cruising permit application process for Non Singapore registered pleasure craft vessels, which requires approval for their route and schedule for any given cruise.

Perhaps lastly there is the issue of geography and layout. Singapore has a defined and ‘regular’ coastline, and a small number of islands with ferry access, with defined routes of access to and from. Reclamation has played a big role and Islands have been dredged, linked, joined, connected and amalgamated for the use by Indutstry, Military and Leisure/Property Development. In some cases bridges and roads have been built for access, negating the use of ferries.

Other than that, and significantly, the regional ferry traffic has to be very much less than in Hong Kong.

A lot of sea room there. Easier to miss than have a collision

Indicative only. Believe accident site was close to NW tip of Lamma Island.

The investigation is underway in Hong Kong, and the families of the perished will be waiting for those conclusions, to answer the question of “How could this happen”, but the likelyhood is that is that this will all come down to those ingredients mentioned above.

If there is however one immediate lesson to be learned from this whole affair so far, it is the conclusion from the photos below.

It’s a bit unfair to make this comparision as I dont know the standards that each vessel was built to, but the immediate reaction is that one sank, and one made it to the dock, presumed to be under it’s own power.


The conclusion ? Travel by Catamaran !

Two Hulls = Two Chances !


Image Source : BBC, SCMP, ST, online news outlets, etc.

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Watched from my balcony as an afternoon Thunder Storm developed and swept in across from the West. Was fortunate enough to capture the following photo of a spectacular Lightning strike. In fact all told there were three Lightning flashes quickly repeated to the same spot. The subsequent Thunderclap rolled on for more than twenty seconds.

To be sure the people in that area must have been fairly impressed by the Light & Sound show all around them.

The building in the centre is the Singapore Indoor Stadium. The place where Lady Gaga will strut her weird stuff in a week or two.

“Lightning Strike”. All rights reserved. © Property of Bill Petrie. 10 May 2012

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Clipper Round the World Yachts arrive at Marina Keppel Bay, Singapore on Saturday 28th Jan 2012. See the Video at http://tinyurl.com/7yvtpwf

Is the Yorkshire boat really Barbie Pink ? Are they sponsored by Yorkshire Airlines? http://tinyurl.com/7lvxg6r

Video taken from my balcony at Reflections at Keppel Bay.

The Boats in order of appearance are;


New York


De Lage Landen



Gold Coast

Apologies to


Geraldton Western Australia


Sorry could not wait for you

Hope the guys on the Clippers enjoy their stay and RnR in Singapore and get ready to get beat up on their way North to Qingdao, across the Taiwan Straits.

Also loaded a Video of a Busy Fuel Dock at Telaga Harbour, Langkawi, Malaysia. The friendly guys from the Maritime Police kindly agreed not to moor up alongside my sparkling white decks, and gave me a wave as they later spluttered away.

The Video is at http://tinyurl.com/6smgmgu


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