16 December 2006

Dinner tonight

The ribeye steak at the Borders Bistro is delicious. 
Chance Meetings

Strangely enough, I bumped into Terence at the Novena MRT station this afternoon. What a week for bumping into people...

She is sleepy.

Here she is, waiting to pounce. Posted by Picasa
Condominiums in Singapore

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Massive Discounts at Borders this weekend

There is a Borders 50% off a full-price book if the transaction is $50.00 or more coupon for this weekend. Not to be missed! Woo!

And a 30% off coupon too.

I wonder if I will get the opportunity to meet Sam the wargamer this time round. I'm curious. He's an old-timer in the Singaporean scene.
Singapore Arts Museum

I was planning to visit the Singapore Arts Museum last night after learning from Wan Sie that Friday night was free and it would be open late. I can't see myself paying for the exhibits there.

I enjoyed my casual trips to the National Gallery in London. And I recall re-visiting it many times over the course of two weeks. I wish museums here don't charge admission. I doubt if it will ever happen.
Meeting friends

Hmm.. This has certainly been a period where I met old friends. I hung out with Wo Sing and Kelvin last week and I met June for dinner last night.
Chance Meeting

I bumped into Wen Long at Novena Square last night. This was the second time that I have seen him in fourteen years. Two chance meetings in fourteen years. Fancy that.

It's strange that sometimes, one keeps bumping into old friends, aquaintances while at the same time one never sees others ever again. It is as if these people vanished off the face of the earth. Sometimes, I wonder what has happened to certain people.

Wen Long is unchanged.

One afternoon, during a quiet period. Ballpoint pen and pencil doodles. Heh. Nothing fantastic. Just messing around...

Yukito Kishiro 'Battle Angel Alita Last Order: Angel's Vision'

Yukito Kishiro does an Anne Rice in this surprising return to form in storytelling in 'Angel's Vision'. It is hardly surprising these days that he would venture down this unoriginal path after Anne Rice created the blond Lestat. We have everyone doing derivative tales of vampires or immortal beings battling for world supremacy and survival in the stylish Russian flick, 'Nightwatch', the Hollywood 'Underworld' and 'Underworld: Evolution', 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', 'Interview with a Vampire' and lots lots more. What can be more derivative than this?

After the last two dismal Alita books, this one comes as a godsend as there is actually a real storyline, despite being a sidetrack with little to do with Alita (initially). At least, it is not another sidetrack of the story of the life and death of a minor character with little bearing in the vein of the neverending soap opera found in George R.R. Martin's horrid, overrated and overhyped 'A Tale of Song and Ice' series.

Angel's Vision is a melodrama of vampires living in a perilous age where an asteroid had just destroyed the earth. It is a tale of betrayal, revenge, love and more. Alita? Well, she is merely someone who has accessed these memories of a previous age. Otherwise...

Great engrossing tale. I suspect it will continue for at least one more book at the very least. In other words, the Last Order series will have at least ten books...

15 December 2006

Paradiz Centre and Hotel Rendezvous

Selegie Road. Posted by Picasa
Curious Cat

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Beng Car

Here's another exchange between Kuoby (AK or Silver) and myself on MSN Messenger this morning:

Chuang Shyue Chou says:
Good morning Kuoby!

Chuang Shyue Chou says:
Good morning Richie Rich!

AK says:
my foot

Chuang Shyue Chou says:
Is made of gold!

AK says:
oki finally bought a 2nd car

AK says:
about $11K

AK says:
mitsubishi lancer

Chuang Shyue Chou says:
Beng car.

Chuang Shyue Chou says:
Didn't think Chinaman Kuoby can evolve into a Beng.

AK says:
oh my word

AK says:
don't push your singaporean values on me

AK says:
i'm australian now

AK says:
a superior being. salt of the earth!

AK says:
the pinkertons of all pinkertons!

AK says:
you're just asian scum

Chuang Shyue Chou says:

AK says:
again! pushing your cowboy values on me!

AK says:
singaporeans are the jews of sentosa. good for nothing.

Chuang Shyue Chou says:

AK says:

Chuang Shyue Chou says:
This is great stuff. Go on...

AK says:
i'm not some freak show

Chuang Shyue Chou says:
Not the show certainly, but the freak, yes.

14 December 2006

Saint Joseph's Church, Victoria Street

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A27M Cruiser Tank Mark VIII, Cromwell

The Meteor-engined version of the A27 was known as the Cromwell. Production started in January 1943. Armed with a British 75mm gun that was capable of firing both HE and AP round, the Cromwell soon became numerically the most significant British cruiser type.

Imperial War Museum, Duxford: July 2007 Posted by Picasa
Quoted from a New York Times review, Mel Gibson's Apocalypto

"Once you get past the costumes and the subtitles, though, the most striking thing about “Apocalypto” is how comfortably it sits within the conventions of mainstream moviemaking. It is not an obsessive opera like Mr. Herzog’s “Aguirre: The Wrath of God,” but rather a pop period epic in the manner of “Gladiator” or “Braveheart,” and as such less interested in historical or cultural authenticity than in imposing an accessible scheme on a faraway time and place."

That is certainly not unlike Oliver Stone's 'Alexander the Great' nor Ridley Scott's 'Kingdom of Heaven'. Heh.
The Leopard 2A4s will apparently not be replacing the AMX-13SM1s

The prices reported for the Singapore purchase of the Leopard 2A4s range from US$1 million to US$3 million. A report from Defence Industry Daily:

"While price was not disclosed in the Singapore deal, the surplus Leopards are being sold at "fire-sale prices" that can hover in the $1 million per vehicle range, as opposed to the $5+ million per vehicle one must expect for modern Western contemporaries. Even the far-inferior T-72 has difficulty competing at this level, and the only thing keeping Leopard sales from jumping far beyond the European continent has been restrictive German arms export policies."

Another report from Strategy Page stated it was US$3 million per vehicle.

The 'amazing' thing according to the Defence Industry Daily is that Singapore will NOT be retiring the old AMX-13 which entered service in 1948!

"The new arrivals will complement the existing force of 300-350 AMX-13 sM1 tanks, a heavily modernized version of a 20-ton tank designed for paratroop support that saw extensive action in the 1967 Six Day War."

"Defense Minister Hean has stated that the SM1s will be kept in service even after the Leopards arrive."

I guess they are useful for fire support and killing light vehicles.
Leopard 2A4s in the tropics

Singapore appears to be the only tropical operator of the Leopard 2A4s. The other operators, according to a list from Wikipedia are mostly European except for Turkey in Asia Minor and Chile in South America. I wonder if there will be conversation work.

On the next aspect, assuming a 10-tank company, 66-tanks will be enough for 6 companies. Two battalions worth of tanks... How will this be organised? I really have no idea. A tank battalion with two or three mechanised infantry battalions for a brigade? Hmm.. The organisation will likely be different from that of the AMX-13s. The size and frontage given the armament of the Leopard are vastly different, thus probably necessitating a different set of operating procedures and organisation.

Other questions. What of the APFSDS rounds? Tungsten carbide or depleted uranium (DU)?
Out with the Old, in with the New

CNN reports:

"News Corp.'s MySpace recorded 38.7 billion U.S. page views last month, compared with 38.1 billion for Yahoo Inc., according to comScore Media Metrix. MySpace's growth was 2 percent over October and triple the 12.5 billion recorded in November 2005."

It's no surprise really. Yahoo has been lagging for years. If Yahoo goes the way of the dinosaur, no loss really.

13 December 2006

One rainy night outside the Istana

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Bras Basah Complex

The Bras Basah Complex houses many of the old-time Chinese bookstores and stationery stores which shifted from Cross Street when the government forced a move-out some time in the late seventies.

Today, the traditional continues. Bookstores stocking books in Chinese are still located in this grey early eighties complex as well as shops stocking art supplies.

There is a block of public housing above the complex. Otherwise, commercial complexes with flats of this type are the common in Singapore, for instance, the now demolished Ellenborough Market near the Singapore River.

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Far East Shopping Centre

An old undistinguished shopping complex-cum-office, the Far East Shopping resides at the heart of Orchard Road, housing a mixture of pubs, travel agencies, used CD shop, LAN cafe restaurants and more. The well-known restaurant, Shaslik, serving 'Russian' cuisine, is located on the sixth level. In the seventies, Troika was one of the most high-end of restaurants in Singapore, being located at where the Liat Towers was, and later, shifting to the DBS Bank building at Shenton Way. Eventually, when it folded, the employees of that establishment, including the chefs, set up Shaslik. Posted by Picasa
Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer

The Hetzer ('Baiter') was an effective adaptation of an obsolete tank, the Pz Kpfw 38(t), into a low silhouettte tank destroyer. Production began in mid-1944, with 2584 built by the end of the year. Armed with a 75mm L48 gun, the Hetzer was highly effective.

The Swiss army operated 158 of the type, designated as the G13 postwar.

Imperial War Museum, Duxford: July 2006 Posted by Picasa

12 December 2006

IS-2 Josef Stalin II

The IS-II tank was one of the most powerful tanks to emerge in numbers* towards the end of the Second World War.

The low-slung IS-II, being a development of the earlier IS-I, was armed with a 122mm gun and between 120-160mm of frontal armour at the hull and 100mm at the turret.

The Germans first saw the IS-II in February 1944 and proved to be a match for the German Tigers and Panthers tanks.

The more IS-III, yet, a later development, came out towards March to April 1945 and shocked the Western Allied observers with its combination of firepower, armour and mobility.

*3854 produced

Imperial War Museum, Duxford: July 2006 Posted by Picasa
Grange Road circa 2006

I took these with my sister's Canon IXUS 4 megapixel camera. Obviously, I didn't take these from the same spot as in the 1985 ones. I will do so one of these days. Posted by Picasa
Grange Road circa 1985

I took these with a Canon 35mm automatic camera in 1985. It was a sunny day when I took these. Nevertheless, the colours of on these photos have faded somewhat. Posted by Picasa
Blue Skies

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Looks like I spoke too soon. It's raining heavily now.

It looks like a fine day. I think I shall go running after work.

11 December 2006

Singapore to acquire Leopard 2A4 tanks! WOO!

My friend just rang me and told me to visit the Mindef site. According to a Mindef report:

"The acquisition package will consist of 66 refurbished Leopard 2A4 tanks together with 30 spare tanks and supporting equipment. Training on the Leopard tanks will be provided by the German Army."

Factsheet: Capabilities and Specifications of the Leopard 2A4

I took photos of flowers and such on Sunday. Here they are, collected:

Sd Kfz 250

The Sd Kfz 250 half-tracked armoured personnel carriers were versatile vehicles, serving in a great myriad number of roles including personnel carrier, ammunition carrier, cable-laying vehicle, mortar carrier, traffic control vehicle, air support control, communications post and more. As such, the Sd Kfz 250 were the workhorses of the Panzer divisions.

Imperial War Museum, Duxford: July 2006 Posted by Picasa
Flowers IX

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