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16th May
Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

IMDEX 2017 Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference at Changi Exhibition Center

Posted by Shaun at 8:28 pm under Events | 89 Reads | Post Comment

The Maritime Defence Exhibition & Conference 2017 is on this week at the Changi Exhibition center from 16-18 May. I was present to check out on the latest maritime developments as well as the static warship display at the Changi Naval Base (CNB). Vehicular entry to the Changi exhibition center this time is open to both taxi and private hire cars, unlike the previous airshow which does not allow private hire cars without a vehicle pass. If you are coming from Singapore Expo, there is a shuttle bus pick up point at the bus stop 50m before Expo MRT.

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IMDEX 2017
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Exhibition grounds
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Ships berthed at CNB

Exhibition portion of the event occupies half of the Changi exhibition center comprising of the big names in the maritime and defense industries. Thankfully, attendees are strictly by delegates and trade show visitors, giving the show a more professional ambience and completely eliminating the rowdy and chaotic Singaporean public crowd typically seen in the Singapore Air Shows, especially on public days.

Highlights for visiting will be naval warship display and tours. Warships from 20 countries are all here at Singapore’s first international maritime review. This includes ships from the United States Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Australian Navy, Thai, China and Russian navy (just to name a few). You can get to learn of on-board operations and even have a chance to buy merchandise from the ships (especially the US ships).

Unlike the Singapore airshow, where planes can be convenient parked within the exhibition grounds right next to the exhibition center with a nearby serviceable runway. The ships on display here only can be berthed at the Changi Naval Base, which is accessible through changing between two shuttle buses- one bringing you from the Exhibition center pickup point into Changi Naval base, and, after clearing another round of security, hop on another smaller looping feeder service bus service bringing you to 7 different stops along the berthing piers where the ships are.

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Ships pier-side
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Izumo CLS
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Izumo Flight Deck

One of the largest ships at the maritime display is the Japan Navy Izumo CLS (JS Izumo P/N 183) Helicopter Carrier. You enter the Carrier from the aircraft bay where you ride the hanger elevator up to the flight deck level. Another aircraft carrier berthed there is the HTMS Chakri Narubet (P/N 911) from the Royal Thai Navy.

Similarly, the warships on display are berthed at and only open to registered visitors and delegates. The Warships Display offered a rare opportunity to get first-hand experience to meet with senior naval officers from various countries who will bring you on tours of their ships. Almost all the ships berthed at the Changi naval base were open for tours when I was there, with the exception of the Izumo, in Japanese fashion runs on clock work with fixed tour times.

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HTMS Chakri Narubet
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USS Coronado
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Coronado Hangar

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6th May
Saturday, May 6th, 2017

May 4th Starwars Festival at Gardens by the Bay

Posted by Shaun at 3:08 pm under Events | 108 Reads | Post Comment

May the force (May the 4th) be with you at the Gardens by the Bay Supertree Grove and The Meadow this weekend. In conjunction with the Starwars run happening this weekend on the 6th (Saturday), Gardens by the Bay and Disney are teaming up to run a line of Star War activities ranging from movie screenings, fan activities, photo opportunities with cosplay fans (and an AT-ST walker stand-in) and even lighting up the Supertrees in the supertree grove as light sabers (Saber trees) from 8pm to midnight. The beams are even visible from across the Marina Bay.

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Saber trees
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AT-ST walker
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Toy displays

Within the supertree grove, you get a number of white tent stores littered all around the attraction boundaries. This area is also where Gardens by the bay hosts their annual winter wonderland carnival stores, only that this festival charges no entrance fee. The supertree grove open grass patch is home to the silent disco, which is a modern take of blasting streamed music through wireless headphones from the DJ booth. To an onlooker not plugged-in, it looks tad unreal seeing party goers nodding their heads to a mystery beat in unison.

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Various stores
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Silent Disco
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Photo opportunities

The festival runs from 4 to 6 May 2017 (Thursday to Saturday) from 3.00pm to 11.00pm, with the garden rhapsody playing the Starwars tune all the way to the 2nd June.

30th Apr
Sunday, April 30th, 2017

Singapore Heritage Festival at Caldecott broadcast center

Posted by Shaun at 3:04 pm under Events | 101 Reads | Post Comment

With much of Singapore’s Caldecott broadcast center operating at the new Ayer Rajah- Portsdown media hub. The once restricted areas are now opened to provide a rare glimpse of the media compound. The festival comprises of 8 main areas of interest, comprising of 2 outdoor prop areas, 2 tented market carnivals including an outdoor stage and movie-screening area, an indoor stage and a prop warehouse. The broadcast center is accessible via Olive via the OMG gate (old main gate). Free shuttle services are provided too from Caldecott and Bishan MRT stations. There are plenty of very professional and friendly event staff and security personnel to guide you and address your queries to and at the event. Admission is free.

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Event entrance
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TV50 exhibition
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Movie-screening area

If you are a visitor looking to see and learn more about the Caldecott broadcast center, as well as Singapore media history, you will be in for a rather big disappointment given the lack of any such content (the national museum might be a better place). I remembered watching Under One Roof live over a decade ago in one of the studios in the main Caldecott radio building, having the impression that I can enter that same building to show my family around the now-decommissioned building.

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6th Nov
Sunday, November 6th, 2016

SGDefence Exhibition, Celebrating 50 Years of Defence Technology and Innovations

Posted by Shaun at 7:45 pm under Events | 805 Reads | Post Comment

The Defence Technology Community (DTC) is a 5000-strong community of defence engineers and scientists responsible for developing, acquiring, upgrading and sustaining the SAF’s defence systems and capabilities. This exhibition is part of DTC celebrations happening this week, comprising of a dinner as well as the launch of a DTC commemorative book series. This SGDefence Exhibition on now at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre Hall A from 4 to 8 November 2016 and aims to commemorate the DTC 50th anniversary as part of a series of events around Singapore to recognise and showcase key innovative defence technology innovations developed by the DTC’s engineers and scientists.

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Exhibition main entrance
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Shaping our defence community
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Tech tryouts

You will be greeted by a large futuristic main entrance beckoning you into Cluster one- one of the five clusters spanning the exhibition. This gallery has walls lined with knowledge, remembering the DTC heritage, roots and history of the SAF technology covering the Early Years in Engineering Singapore’s Defence, starting from 1966 as a three-man team within the Logistics Division in then-Ministry of Interior and Defence. (currently known as MINDEF). The clusters lead onto the next in a linear fashion, with cluster two, the largest cluster of the exhibition showcasing the SAF Soldier protection and performance. Here, you can feel and interact with the exhibits, and try out VR-headsets to immerse yourself as a virtual soldier and shoot down adversaries in simulated displays.

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10th Sep
Saturday, September 10th, 2016

Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention (STGCC) 2016 at Marina Bay Sands

Posted by Shaun at 7:41 pm under Events | 918 Reads | Post Comment

The Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention (STGCC) was on this weekend from the 10th to 11th September at Halls E and F in the Sands Expo & Convention Center at Marina Bay Sands Singapore. The two-day event, organized by Reed Exhibitions is in their 9th running year of the event, with highlights of bringing to Singapore the best of comic-con pop-culture from East and West to Asia, uniting the worlds of comics, anime, toys, cosplay, collectibles and games.

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STGCC 2016
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Event main stage
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POP DJ Dances

STGCC prides itself as the only regular Singapore event where these Japanese DJs can perform in front of convention audiences. Such Japanese entertainment segments were claimed to be big in Japan, such as AKIBA POP STAGE and EDPx DJ Night had the crowd on their feet with their thumping beats and tunes. There is greater emphasis on gaming matches this time round, with on-going matches of Magic the gathering and LAN tournaments synonymous with the convention eSports gaming scene from Comic Fiesta (Kuala Lumpur).

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Magic the gathering
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Mountain Dew Overwatch eSports
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Mobile Dew dispensers

New for this year is the Overwatch STGCC eSports Mountain Dew Cup sponsored by Secretlab, Razer, MyRepublic and Mountain Dew themselves. There is even free flow of Mountain Dew brought to you by mobile drink dispensers served by the cup. 16 teams participated in the eSports event, with Team Elvellon clinching top cash prize of $1500 SGD.

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2nd Sep
Friday, September 2nd, 2016

Xbox One S Gaming event and Gears of War 4 Limited Edition announcement

Posted by Shaun at 10:41 pm under Events, Gadgets | 930 Reads | Post Comment

Microsoft hosted a gaming reception and showcase of their limited edition Xbox One S this evening at their Singapore headquarters in downtown Singapore. The presentation saw the introduction of the new white Xbox One S we last saw first released last June at E3. This revised version of Xbox One console, which was released last month, features new faster hardware with a streamlined form factor. The new casing is white-colored, 40% smaller than the original design, allowing it to be easily transported in a back bag for console game parties. Like the PS4, it can be placed in either a horizontal or vertical orientation with a stand.

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Xbox One S
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Event Announcement
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Gears of War 4

Gaming try-outs
Going in spirit of console gaming, Microsoft opened up gaming try-outs with a buffet spread in their office for gamers to have a go at full versions of various unreleased games due to be out in stores during the coming months. Such as Gears of War 4, Killer instinct, Dead Rising 4, Forza Horizon 3, Encore, and pre-production versions of Final Fantasy 15 and NBA live 2k17. The new console handles the games well, even on pre-production versions of Final Fantasy 15 and NBA 2k17, with visuals and frame rates being consistently high even in large 3D environment with far draw distances.

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Forza Horizon 3
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Killer Instinct
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Gears of War 4 Limited Edition

Xbox One S Gears of War 4 Limited Edition 2TB Bundle
In addition to the white Xbox One S, Microsoft announced the availability of the exclusive Xbox One S Gears of War 4 (2TB) Limited Edition in Singapore for pre-orders, which was available at the event to be viewed in the flesh. The $699 SGD painted Xbox One S console features a battle-weathered custom crimson paint job, complete with Swarm damage slashes detailing eating into the console plastic body itself. This is the first custom-designed Xbox One S bundle made in collaboration by Xbox design team and The Coalition (The studio developing Gears of War 4).

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10th Aug
Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

National Day Parade 2016 at Sports Hub

Posted by Shaun at 10:00 pm under Events | 830 Reads | Post Comment

It had been almost a decade since we had a National Parade back in the Kallang vicinity, this year’s National Day Parade (NDP) marks the first parade held in the spanking new National Stadium (Singapore sports hub) since the old national stadium closed in 2007. The Kallang stadium and the Padang (esplanade drive) had been the primary NDP venues since its inception from independence. The old Kallang stadium itself hosted NDP for 18 times on record since 1976 and holds many fond memories for all Singaporeans alike.

With the return of national stadium brings the comeback of the Kallang wave on the pre-show segments. No national day parade is complete without the marching contingent staple, comprising of members of the civil and armed forces. This was followed by the arrival of Prime Minister Lee, and the President Dr Tony Tan. Complementing the raising of the Singapore flag during the national anthem, large Singapore flags were being pulled up by audience right in the seating galleries.

President inspection
Floating City
Raising the flag!

This NDP also saw record audience numbers (and NDP tickets) for a single venue, with the increased sports hub seating capacity a large welcome to many. For the first time in a National day parade, we get aerial performances of suspended stage props and aerial acrobatics courtesy of guy wires and trolleys cranes hung off the stadium roof. This allows for various large props to float about the stadium, as well as enabling cirque du soleil styled human aerial aerobatics. The costumes in the NDP were impressive too, with full LED body suits to roller dressed used by the ladies in the closing song segments, complementing the lasers, spotlights and video projection used in the show segments.

Air aerobatics
Performance singer
Emphasis on special needs

There were trade-off for having this year’s NDP in the sports hub- the inability to see outside the stadium with the roof on means we had to do away with the air force aerial fly-past and an extended outdoor fireworks display. To make up for it, there were plenty of multimedia elements. The highlight of any national parade will of course be the night time light up. In place of fancy torch lights this year are multi-colour LED wristbands (similarly as last seen in the SEA games openings). These wristbands are RF controlled from within the stadium itself enabling animations and LED colour changes to happen on demand or to suit a performance setting, allowing audiences to participate in the night light show.

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21st May
Saturday, May 21st, 2016

RSAF Open House 2016 at Paya Lebar Air Base

Posted by Shaun at 12:18 pm under Events | 1875 Reads | Post Comment

It had been 5 years since RSAF opened their bases to the public in the form of an Open House. The RSAF 2016 open house is on this weekend at Paya Lebar Air Base and is also one of the few chances to see Paya Lebar Air Base before its closure and transition to Changi and Tengah Airbases by 2030. It is also one of the rare chances you can set foot in the sensitive military installation typically closed to the public. The event is opened to the public from Saturday 21st to 2nd Sunday May, 9:00am to 6:00pm. Admission is free.

Event hall
Outdoor static displays

Getting there
Getting there involves 4 ways of transport. The event-recommended official shuttle bus service departing from Eunos Bus Interchange and Kovan MRT stations, LTA Taxis (non-uber), and public buses (SBS service 90). However, despite both Eunos and Kovan shuttle bus services departing at capacity in near 1-minute intervals, typical waiting times are still a lengthy 60+ mins. I will recommend you to take a taxi there (stops you right in front of the event where the shuttle bus stops too).

Public parking will not be available at the airbase and airport road in front of the airbase is closed off to private traffic. If you are driving you should park around the Taiseng MRT industrial area (where parking is cheaper) and take Bus 90 (2-3 stops) right to the venue itself. If you are taking an Uber, you will have to alight at the bus stop right before KPE tunnel entrance (the moment you see the airbase before the Airforce museum). Entry is a short 10 min walk via a plane taxiway after clearing security, bringing you to the main runway where the events are adjacent to. This beats waiting over an hour for the shuttle buses at the MRT stations.

Things to do
There are several indoor and outdoor exhibits to see at the open house, with the air-conditioned exhibition area and static displays reminiscent of the RSAF showcase previously at the 2014 Singapore airshow with a few nice extras.

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13th Mar
Sunday, March 13th, 2016

Singapore MAN Lion City A95 Bus

Posted by Shaun at 6:15 pm under Events | 2442 Reads | Post Comment

MAN Lion’s City A95, built by Gemilang Coachworks is one of the two new buses introduced in the Singapore Bus Carnival 2016 to be operated by Tower Bus services in Western Singapore. The bus has an excellent track record in Europe and is the main bus brand used by the Berlin bus company.

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MAN Lion’s City
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Front exterior
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Bus rear

Exterior-wise, the bus has a very sleek black and industrial look taking cues from its bigger brother, the MAN Lion’s City DD. The front grill and angled bumper of the bus gives it a very bold and masculinise look, a nice trait for a workhorse. This design carries onto the side and rear of the bus, giving it a very sleek and modern look. The MAN A95 Lion’s city bus has more of a original design, bringing out the best of European engineering with features you commonly see in European buses (like extended storage/luggage racks and stop information) lacking in most public buses in Singapore today.

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Drivers seat
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Lower deck
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Upper deck

The interior of the Lion City is simple. The spill-proof seats are plain cream coloured, though they lack bolstering support, they are actually more comfortable, spacious and not as firm than the Enviro 500. The MAN Lion city has a very nice passenger info system, delivered through large TV screens placed on both the lower and upper decks. You get conference-style backward facing seats on both the lower and upper decks.
The bus bells are LED lit capacitive touch-sensitive and do not depress when pressed. You also get two USB charging ports (one 2.1A and one 1A) available to commuters for every row of seats at the side wall, accented by silver stainless steel band with blue LED power indicators showing that the port is active.

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Passenger info system
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USB charging ports
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Bus Bell

The main selling point of this bus will be the split rear exit doors. The MAN bus forgoes a third rear exit door for large outward swinging wheel-chair accessible (manually folding wheelchair ramp) extra-wide rear exit doors. The doors have separated exits, with one dedicated lower deck on the left and the other split right door for the upper deck exit staircase to prevent commuters boarding the bus from obstructing and crowding exiting passengers. For a 12m bus, MAN made a good decision to exclude a third exit door, allowing it to keep 10 more seats on the back rows and carry more passengers with good leg room.

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Conference seating
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Wide exits
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Rear seats

I personally like the seats and engine of the MAN bus. The bus is rather powerful bus too, utilising a 320-360hp MAN D2066 LUH-33 Euro V Turbo diesel with 2-stage Exhaust Gas Re-circulation (EGR) turbocharger for torque rating delivered through a 6-speed automatic transmission.

The MAN A95 looks like a custom built MAN Lion city DD, shrunken down to a 12m chassis, it will be nice if LTA brings in the MAN Lion City DD as it brings the best features of both Enviro and A95 into one. You do get a third exit door on the 13.73m long MAN Lion City DD. If you like this bus, do give it a vote at the Singapore Bus Carnival 2016 (Bus B), currently on as a touring carnival over 3 areas in Singapore.

13th Mar
Sunday, March 13th, 2016

Singapore Alexender Dennis Enviro 500 Bus

Posted by Shaun at 6:13 pm under Events | 1767 Reads | Post Comment

The Alexender Dennis Enviro is one of the two new buses introduced in the Singapore Bus Carnival 2016 to be operated by Tower Bus services in Western Singapore. The bus is a direct lift from the Enviro 500 used by the Kowloon bus company in Hong Kong- where almost all of Singapore’s public transport system is largely modeled after. Exterior-wise, the bus has a rather streamlined and curved look up front with the new green colour scheme accented by sleek black panels with a curving wind shield flowing to the upper deck. The sides and rear of the bus are long and angular, in contrast to the feminine front curves.

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Alexander Dennis Enviro 500
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Front exterior
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Rear view

The bus is a low floor-wheel chair accessible (manually folding wheelchair ramp) bus similar to the current 2nd and 3rd generation in-service double deck Volvo-Comfort “Super buses”, only it has the inclusion of a 2nd staircase, third rear exit door as well as two USB charging ports (one 2.1A and one 1A) on the side walls for every row of seats. The USB ports are covered by a rubber plug, preventing accidental damages, though still prone to vandalism.

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Conference seating with wall USB ports
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USB Charging ports
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Rear 3rd row doors

I particularly like the inclusion of the rear exit staircase as it encourages people to move and exit from the rear (and not crowd in the middle of the bus). However, this 2nd exit stair case inclusion at the rear greatly reduces the lower-floor seating capacity, where the 10 rear-row seats are effectively lost on both floors. This might be sensible for a bus longer than 12m, like the MAN Lion City DD used in Berlin.

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Drivers seat
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Priority seats
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Upper deck seats

The spill-resistant seats feature an alternating grey and maroon colour scheme and have nice bolstering on the sides which increases it size, but is much on the firm-side. They come with seatbelts and I found the seating arrangement rather cramped, with smaller leg space to make up for the lowered seat count. especially the 2nd floor ceiling height is also shorter and you will find yourself scraping the ceiling if you are 178cm tall. This bus also uses conventional red buttoned push-button style bus bells.

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Lower deck
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Upper deck
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Rear stairs and exit

I had been on a couple of Volvo buses in Europe with rather nice smooth blue LED interior ambient lighting at night, it’s nice to see that included in this bus too. The bus comes equipped with either a Volvo D9A/D9B engine, currently service on all SBS-transit double decker buses or the Cummins ISMe/ISM/ISLe/ISL (ADL Enviro500) delivering 330- 380 hp through a 6 speed Ecolife automatic transmission. It has no emergency exit doors and similarly uses window breakage for emergency exits. In place of a tempered glass hammer, emergency exit hammer are now integrated into a push-button window breaker found on every other window pane at regular intervals.

The main selling point of this bus will be the third rear exit door. If you like this bus (Bus A), do give it a vote at the Singapore Bus Carnival 2016, currently on as a touring carnival over 3 areas in Singapore.

13th Mar
Sunday, March 13th, 2016

Singapore Bus Carnival 2016- Our Bus Journey

Posted by Shaun at 12:42 pm under Events | 2341 Reads | Post Comment

The Singapore Bus Carnival 2016 is currently now on, join LTA with a run through Singapore’s Bus Journey over 3 weekends in Singapore from March to April. The interactive exhibition is self-contained and split into three main areas, each exploring different chronological eras of the Singapore Bus industry.

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Singapore Bus Carnival
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Event Logo
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Services from around the world

You start off with the Past Zone with a trip down memory lane. Here, you get to board and explore inside a freshly restored single deck non-air conditioned vintage bus as well as check out previous service bus models, such as the first generation Volvo Olympian “Super buses”, Trans-island buses Nissan diesel buses (presently SMRT buses). An area of interest too is a photo gallery of the old buses in service, as well as old conductor bus tickets and trans-link cards before the inception of the EZ-link card system.

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12th Mar
Saturday, March 12th, 2016

We Tech Care 2016- Launch of President’s Challenge 2016

Posted by Shaun at 10:55 pm under Events | 1079 Reads | Post Comment

Held in support of President’s Challenge at JTC LaunchPad @ one-north, We Tech Care 2016 saw the gathering of over 200 people from local start-ups, non-profits, Microsoft and partners to showcase the power of technology in creating a smarter and more inclusive Singapore. This year’s President’s Challenge aims to boost senior volunteerism with aims to promote community interaction and integration to build a better support ecosystem in the community by empowering people with technology to achieve more.

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Meeting point event space
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LaunchPad @ one-north
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Arrival of Tony Tan

We Tech Care 2016 marks the start of Microsoft’s fund-raising activities in support of the 16th President’s Challenge. Microsoft had been in support of President’s Challenge since 2002, and raised S$268,963 this year. President Tony Tan was there to grace and kick off the 16th President’s Challenge for this year and receive the donation cheque.

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Officiating the event
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Welcome Lion dances
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Cheque presentation

The event saw close to 600 beneficiaries and members of the public participating in the event Assistive Technology Showcase, lessons, tours and fringe activities comprising of games and fun family entertainment. The event has a carnival area, hosting food, game stalls as well as Xbox Games Competitions for all ages to compete for prizes.

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