Sunday, 15 February 2015

SAF50 and SG50 Celebration

Lonely Planet's Best in Travel Cover pageWhen I told my mate Simon that Lonely Planet has named Singapore as the number 1 of their top 10 "Best in Travel" countries for 2015, those who don't understand the list would immediately say, "You're pulling my legs!" The top travel destinations are always the same every year (not in any particular order): France, Italy, Spain, Czech Republic, etc (I'm guessing. I have no idea. I'm probably not far off the mark). Lonely Planet would be out of their jobs if they keep reiterating this list.

What Lonely Planet includes in their list of top 10 "Best in Travel" destinations every year are based on special occasions that make the particular destinations worth considering because of their many events being held in that year. For example, the year when Brazil held their World Cup, they would top this list (I'm guessing. I have no idea. I'm probably not far off the mark).

This year, Singapore celebrates its 50th birthday. I know that you're  shocked by Singapore's young age. Some of you are older than the nation of Singapore. Aussies think that Australia is young , and barely 200 years old. Well, The Lion City is less than 1/4 of that. People are shocked because of her attainment (at least when I told it to my reasonably learned Aussie friend Simon). In human term, Singapore is only an adolescent. Look at what she has accomplished with practically zero natural resource. All these achievements were succeeded with only one resource: the Singaporean. It's like finding out that your company's CEO is only 22 years old when you always thought she was 44.

One can argue that she does have one valuable resource: its strategic position. That's true. Still, that's the only resource, and it's a intangible resource, unlike oil (or other much sought after minerals), where much work are needed to be done in order to take advantage of. Her achievements has gone far beyond this. She's the envy of all her neighbours; the Pearl of SE Asia.

And so you can imagine they would hold many additional events to celebrate this pride of achievement. SAF50 is such an example. Other events that Singapore holds every year will be bigger because of SG50 celebration. For example, its CNY Lantern Float of 2015 (this isn't guessing, but a promise from the event organiser).

One more thing, in order to get people into the celebration mood, there're many promos around for admissions to theme parks and what-not. One example that I've already taken advantage of is Jurong Bird Park promotion where you can pay one day entry price for unlimited entries for the 12 month period (I was so busy lately that I haven't even used it since I joined it last month). I'm quite sure this isn't the only SG50 promotion. Keep your eye peeled. Oh, the admission to Asian Civilisation Museum is also free. I imagine quite a few museums as well.

One last thing, SG50 collectibles. Only available this year.

Landing Ship Tank RSS Endurance moored at Vivocity, Singapore
Landing Ship Tank RSS Endurance moored at Vivocity

Helicopter park atop Landing Ship Tank RSS Endurance moored at Vivocity, Singapore
Chopper parked on top of the deck of RSS Endurance

The Landing Ship Tank was the star attraction of the SAF50 exhibition at Vivocity, but I didn't get to look inside. Only ticket holders were allowed in. Tickets were free, but already allotted before I was aware such an event. I only found out because I was happened to be in Vivocity when they were there. No worries, I can wait for the SAF100. I'm quite patient. Although it's likely that I won't remember it.

Sunset Ceremony took place on RSS Endurance, Singapore
Sunset Ceremony took place on RSS Endurance

Flag folding during the Sunset Ceremony took place on RSS Endurance, Singapore
Flag folding during the Sunset Ceremony

While RSS Endurance docked at the back of Vivocity, overlooking Sentosa, other hi-tech hardware were displayed up the front.

RBS70, SAF50, Singapore
RBS70 is very popular for kids to get their family photo

Heron 1 single engine UAV, SAF50, Singapore
Heron 1 single engine UAV with its large wingspan to fuselage ratio.
I'm impressed with its 200km range considering its tiny size. Very fuel efficient.

Heron 1 single engine UAV, SAF50, Singapore
The eyes (or cameras) of Heron 1 is located under the "chin" of Heron 1

Barber chair, SAF50, Singapore
Barber chair

Like civilian entering monkhood, which starts with the shaving of hair that signals an embarkation of a new journey, taking on a new identity and grooming, a point of departure, and a sobering experience in itself, the army also started with this ritualistic act.

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