30 June 2008

AMX-13 SM1

The AMX-13 SM1, armed with the original 75mm L70 gun, was in service with the Singapore Armed Forces for a few decades. The SM1 modification included the mounting of an American diesel engine. This tank, now being retired, is replaced by the Leopard 2A4. This example is found at Kent Ridge.


A thank you to Gary who pointed out that this is an unmodified AMX-13.

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Pan Pacific Serviced Apartments

New building at Somerset Road. Pan Pacific Serviced Apartments.

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I was somewhat disoriented yesterday and did only managed 14 laps at the pool. I wasn't tired but I was discomfited. Oh well.
"I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it."

George Bernard Shaw

28 June 2008

Flypast I

This was spotted at the Singapore River this evening. Three AH-64 helicopter gunships and an CH-47 heavy lift helicopter. This was apparently the national day rehearsal.

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“Myth is the hidden part of every story, the buried part, the region that is still unexplored because there are as yet no words to enable us to get there. Myth is nourished by silence as well as by words.”

Italo Calvino

'Get Smart' is a run of the mill comedy about espionage based on an old TV series. It is entertaining but forgettable. 5/10
"People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, make them."-- From Mrs. Warren's Profession, 1893

George Bernard Shaw

27 June 2008

The theme of the Piano Festival 2008 is Bach. Oh dear. What an utter bore. How conventional and predictable. I think I will give this one a miss. Oh well.

But they do have someone playing Liszt's Sonata in B minor! Argh. I can't be attending just for one piece.

Victoria Concert Hall. Argh.
The Singapore Arts Festival Fiasco

It did appear from the given the lowest attendance figures in thirty years, the Singapore Arts Festival 2008 was a fiasco. Strangely enough, immediately after the lacklustre figures were released, the local paper, the Straits Times, was piling it on in a big way yesterday. The reports in the paper concluded that the shows were too avant-garde and audiences were put off. Meanwhile, one of the writers in the papers advocated more avant-garde fare which was at odds with their reports. Given that that reporter had free tickets and had covered many of the events over the years, of course, I would not be surprised that she would want something more avant-garde to thrill her jaded senses. For the rest of us who have had to part with hard-earned cash for the shows, well...

With reference to the fiasco, someone had also said that even if she was given free tickets, she would not have attended any of the items in the programmes. Nothing had seemed interesting at all.

Another friend who was in Singapore for a visit had organised an arts festival of sorts in Australia and he had spoken of how, with a much smaller budget, the Sydney programme was able to accomplish quite a bit more. He had said that it was the mentality and the passion that counted.


No comment from me as I had only seen part of the Water Fools performance one Friday night at the Singapore River. The programme had the wrong start time, thus, I missed most of it. The rest of the programming in the arts festival hadn't seem interesting at all. I was amused by the media reaction more than anything else.

26 June 2008

I picked up the following at Kinokuniya this evening:
  • The Thief of Time by John Boyne
  • The Lover by Marguerite Duras
  • The very first light: A scientific journey back to the dawn of the universe by John C. Mather and John Boslough
Wilmer House

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The Cosmopolitan

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WOO! Hahaha! This Euro 2008 tournament is incredible fun. Unpredictable results all round. Germany 3 Turkey 2. In the past, I have always supported Italy and Germany. These were the two teams that the Straits Times journalists and Singaporeans love to hate, after all, the typical Singaporeans' favourite team is Brazil. Hahaha. I must say that I am glad. In recent years, the German team has become unrecognisable to me as the great players have retired and it has become somewhat harder to identify with them. Why Italy and Germany? Well, basically, these two teams have played organised, tactical football, which can be utterly defensive at times. Tactics which can be sometimes be decried as anti-football by the so-called purists and such. However, tactics and formations basically mean that these teams are playing with their brains. Playing to their strengths and denying the opposing team their strengths. As it is, I admire thinking teams and Italy and Germany are illustrations of that sort of thinking football. Flair? Well, sure, leave that to the Brazilians.

Besides, I hate the arrogance exhibited by many of the Brazilian players. That reminds me of the Manure fans, players and manager. Manure fans are absolutely the worse. They are manure.
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him... The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself... All progress depends on the unreasonable man."

George Bernard Shaw

25 June 2008

I was at Time Machine Studio this evening and I picked up the following volumes from Concord Publications:
  • Luftwaffe: Field and Flak Divisions by Robert Kirchubel & Dmitriy Zgonnik
  • Battle in the East: The German Army in Russia by Gordon Rottman & Stephen Andrew
  • German Sturmartillerie at War: Volume 1 by Frank V De Sisto
  • Journal of Armoured Assault & Heliborne Warfare Volume 20
  • Special Ops: Journal of the Elite Forces & SWAT Units Volume 43

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Leonie Condotel

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Yesterday, I ran 10:02 in the evening. Slow.

24 June 2008

Airview Towers

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Leonie Towers

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I am almost done with 'The Sun over Breda'. The novel is about Captain Alatriste's experience in the Siege of Breda by a Spanish army led by Ambrosio Spinola in 1625. The narrative described the seizure of a small town, a repulse of Maurice of Nassau's initial attack and fighting in the trenches. An attack by the English was also described.

23 June 2008

Grange Heights

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I didn't go swim yesterday. It was raining. It was not the rain that stopped me but rather that the pool was closed due to the fear of lightning.

I went running in the late afternoon. 10:26. Lousy timing. The air was rather dense and I had to breathe hard.

21 June 2008

Shaw House

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I came home and found this little fellow lying on my bed! What!
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Sir Red Nose, The Crybaby and Big Phil

The Christiano Ronaldo transfer saga is getting interesting with him saying that Phil Scolari had asked him to leave Manure for Real Madrid! Woo!
I picked up 'A History of Reading' by Steven Roger Fischer and 'Universe: The Cosmos Explained' by Colin A. Ronan at Borders this evening. The latter is a lavishly illustrated volume explaining origins.

20 June 2008

The Neapolitan with the crystals

A moment ago, an Italian with a smattering of English walked into my office. I received his card and saw that he was from Napoli but the card had precious little information as to what his business was. He managed with some difficulty to convey that he had organised an exhibition for the Sultan of Brunei recently and he was on his way back to Italy. As it was, he had three pieces of crystals some kind that he wanted to sell off at half price rather than lug them back to Italy. He asked if I had wanted to see them, he had them in his car. I declined and he was gone. I get all kinds of curious people visiting my office these days.
A wandering fortune-teller in Bishan

Two days ago I was walking amidst the shops beneath the housing blocks in Bishan when a man with a huge beard and blue turban approached me and indicated that something pleasant about my face and asked if I knew why. I immediately steered clear of him, smiled and walked away. He must have thought that I was an easy target. This was probably the same fortune-teller that had visited my office some time earlier this year and he was attempting to sell his services again.
Trapped within a Mindset, incompetence compounded

A moment ago, I received a cold call out of the blue. A woman with a pleasant voice called and wanted to know if I had received an invitation in the mail a week ago. She was puzzled to hear that I hadn't received anything and remarked that her other 'guests' had received the mail. She introduced herself in a fast slur twice and I did not manage to catch her name or her company's name despite having her repeat herself. She spat out words like a running water hose which was not wrong but when she slurred the names of the company, it was certainly detrimental to the awareness she supposed to be creating. Deliberate or incompetence? Well... Slurring wasn't going to assist the communication of ideas when it came to marketing, was it?

She said that her company had just established itself in Singapore and would be holding an exhibition at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel this weekend to build awareness. A $50.00 gift voucher to some restaurant - she slurred again - would be given after the event. I asked her what this was about and she claimed that it was awareness-building for that mysterious company she represented and there would not be any selling involved.

My impression was that the exhibition would almost probably be that of a new condominium or resort development project either local or overseas. However, it was hard to say, it could well be a scam or some hard-sell tactic of some sort.

She finally came to the point and asked when I would be attending? I told her I would not, hence, she wanted to know why. I posed the same question back to her, 'Why would I be attending?' and she simply could not comprehend. Try as she did, she stuttered and grappled with the question. She was trapped within a mindset and was unable to comprenend that there were people who did not follow her script, people who were not sheep out there. Finally, she hung up.
Portugal 2 Germany 3

Woo hoo! Euro 2008 is proving to be exceptionally entertaining in terms of results. Petulant Christiano Ronaldo sobbing like a schoolgirl after a loss? Priceless!

I am celebrating! I am waiting for further good news! Let's hear him depart Manure for Real Madrid!

19 June 2008

I'm reading 'The Purity of Blood' having finished 'Captain Alatriste' just now. I was watching 'Paprika' on DVD earlier but I did not finish it. I will continue later.

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18 June 2008

Day Watch

'Day Watch' is an incoherent effects-laden visual feast about vampires, shape-shifters and seers in the vein of Underworld and Interview with a Vampire. This convoluted sequel to 'Night Watch' was based on Sergey Lukyanenko's novel 'The Night Watch' which was split into several parts. Set in Moscow, this dark fantasy had what I perceived to be a Russian tone, perhaps, rendering it somewhat exotic for audiences of a non-Russian culture. Worthwhile watch though tedious at times. 5/10
Lost in Translation

This overrated Oscar-winning middle-aged male fantasy written and directed by Sofia Coopola featured Bill Murray, he of the one-expression acting, though admittedly he managed more than that dourful Nicholas Cage face in this movie, he smiled, and a nubile Scarlett Johanssen. The premise was two unsympathetic characters, lost in an alien environment*. Yes, pretensions of alienation, oh dear oh dear. Yet, another fantasy of a middle-aged male and a listening sympathetic young female. How typical. With Murray's character making smart alec quips throughout, for instance, highlighting of the Japanese inability to distinguish between 'l' and 'r', and also taking the piss out of them, this movie set a condescending tone in more ways than one. Japan was depicted as an alienating environment of childlike and oblivious others, the outgroup. I would not be surprised if someone thought that this movie reeked of racism. The ugly American tourist anyone? The saving graces besides a nonexistent plot and acting? The direction, the Japanese urban landscape as an unusual backdrop, and parts of the soundtrack. 5.5/10


Lost in Translation wasn't funny, it reeked of pretentiousness and self-indulgence. Bill Murray the deadpan comic genius? He hadn't been funny since Stripes which wasn't very funny either.

Addendum II

I did a swift search of the many reviews online. Most were favourable, however, there were also charges of racism. I could not say that I was astonished.

*Yes, it is alien to me as well.

17 June 2008

I ran this evening. 9:50. I stopped. Then, I ran some more.

I was at Spinelli's at the Heeren later. I wrote my diary there. I visited HMV and then I departed for home.

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