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2012: What a great year

So in less than two days time, 2012 is history and 2013 is the now. I can’t say I’m looking forward to 2013, nothing real planned apart from study, study and yeah, study! Kinda like 2011 for me, work, work and yeah, work! So just as I wasn’t looking forward to 2011, it’ll be the same story for 2013. Just wanting to reach 2014 and hopefully start a new chapter in this crazy life of mine. I got to do many things in 2012, mostly the mid part of the year, and many memorable moments as well.

Didn’t really do much for the first two months apart from checking out the Singapore Air Show for once, which was kinda cool. Not often do you get to see aviation displays so why not? And it wasn’t just displays in the exhibition hall, there was one in the skies too, which was great to see.

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The last time I went on an overseas trip was just before I started serving the Army, that being my one month stay in Canada (Vancouver and Calgary). So it was nice to have a short trip overseas away from work for once, spending a week during March in Melbourne, Australia, which was my first time back down under since 20 years ago (I was just 2 years old when I visited Sydney). Really had a good time in Melbourne, great city and got to see most of downtown Melbourne and also the Great Ocean Road. And of course, I was there for another reason, the 2012 F1 Australian Grand Prix. That was my fourth F1 event (second watching the actual race live) and the first time outside of Singapore.

Gotta say the whole event in the Albert Park circuit was great, a must go for anyone who are into cars. Lots of racing action and car displays, I think I saw about 500 cars at least on display. The good thing about the Aussie GP, you actually get to see the drivers (F1 and V8 Supercar drivers too) on the Thursday (or other days for non-F1) for the autograph sessions, and walk the pit-lane if you have a pass (which I did). Had some good seats for the race at the Schumacher stand, and Jenson Button won it, and he’s my favourite in F1 these days, so all good for me!

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For April, I didn’t do much again, but I did get to visit Genting Highlands for the first time in almost 10 years (I think), and I had my fun there, with all the rides and everything else. I had to wait an hour to do a freaking go kart race, the main thing I was looking forward to, and you need a passport to do even ride them, which wasted my time even more. The delay was due to weather, after all, we’re in the moutains, it was hazy and raining. So I had my go-kart run in the wet weather, and that was fun!

For the most part of January to July, I was still serving the Army, just counting down to the magical date, “August 1st 2012”, the day of my freedom. 2011 was a crazy year of too much work, so I slacked most of the time in 2012, doing whatever I needed to do and just wanting to get out of that horrible place I call my camp, full of idiots and only a few good people there. So yeah, August 1st came, I did my medical on the same day as my ORD date, did the usual things, and that’s the last time I’ve been there! FREEDOM!

And two days later, I’m back at Changi Airport for my second trip overseas (3 if you count Genting in Malaysia, but my second flight, which is still the most I’ve done in a year ever, 2 flights), and off I went to California, USA to stay with family there for nearly 2 months. Had an awesome time there with my awesome family, got to see Sacramento, San Francisco, Berkeley, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Burbank, Santa Monica and many more. I love it there, I hope I can move to North California soon. Would love to stay at San Francisco, the weather at the Bay Area is just wonderful there.

What would you do if you’re near Los Angeles? Go to Disneyland of course! Even for the bunch of us who went there, and not kids anymore, still a great place to have some fun. I got to see an IndyCar race too for the first time over in Sonoma, and the show there was awesome. Was as good at the one in Australia for the F1 race there, which means better than Singapore. And for my first live IndyCar race, the guy who won it had to be Ryan Briscoe, the same guy who got me into watching IndyCars in the first place and will always be my favourite driver in IndyCars. That was his first win in two years, and his last win for Team Penske. At least I can say I saw it live! Wish I had more time to explore San Francisco other than checking out the obvious, the Golden Gate Bridge, hopefully I’ll be back soon!

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Back home by September, and on the second day, had to go to my new school for some rubbish orientation program. They are incredibly boring. And yes, late September in Singapore can only mean one thing, Singapore Grand Prix. Fourth straight year catching the action, second time watching the full weekend live, and for the first time, had walkabout tickets to go to every zones. Worth the money for sure, got to see a lot of good action for zones I hadn’t been to before. Good show as always, too bad I took the wrong spot for the race, view was blocked the whole time! Got to see Maroon 5, Katy Perry and Noel Gallagher’s high flying birds in action. Noel being my favourite musician of all time, that was awesome even though I didn’t get to see him for all that much because of the F1 scheduling. Still, I finally saw him live! As for the other two, became fans of the other two from their shows. Sebastian Vettel won the race again, so that made it three races I watched this year, all won by drivers I’m fans of.

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From October onwards till November, study and more studying in my new school at SIM. Back to studying Accounting, it involves numbers in some ways, I like dealing with numbers, so why not? Slacked for the whole of December playing games, with school starting in January (first day back had to be on my birthday huh?). It’s been a great year, visiting some cool places, good some stuff, enjoying my time with my family in America, watching fast cars three times, and most of all, free of any stupid orders! 2012 probably has been one of my better years, 2013 will probably be the year I just concentrate on studying, no plans to go anywhere yet, so hopefully 2014 will be another enjoyable year again! Next up for me, to know how it feels like to be a 23 year old!

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2012 Formula One Singapore Grand Prix – My story from the weekend

Another Singapore Grand Prix done and dusted, and the good news is, there will be more to come with the race organisers having extended their deal for another 5 more years, something we all found out in the middle of all the action on Saturday. This event always seems to amaze me, be it the action on track or off it too, with some of the big names from the music industry also showing up and performing. For me, it’s the best of both worlds. I like watching motoracing and listening to music. They don’t just have Formula One cars in action but a host of junior series, including GP2 for the first time in Singapore, and a few big name performers.

Things didn’t start out well on Friday, as it was raining when I got to the circuit, and silly me didn’t bring a coat or anything, so I had to spend two dollars on poncho. The GP2 practice session was first up, and because it was still so wet, those guys had to use the Wet tyres, and there’s always going to be some good action in the wet in slow corners, so I just had to make my way to Turn 14 first to get some good shots and then Turn 8. And sure enough, a few guys did have some close calls at both these corners. One even went straight for the barrier, and I caught that on video!

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For the first practice session for F1, I found a nice spot at Turn 21, looking straight at the cars making their ways through Turns 20 and 21, and if it wasn’t for a bunch of pushy people trying to act all high and mighty thinking it was their ground and they can do whatever the hell they wanted (screw you idiots), I could have gotten a few more good shots out of it. For the rest of the session, I went just outside the exit of Turn 21, just to hear the loud engines at full power, and yes I took my headphones off for a while (why not?). Crossing the bridge and saw the action for a while from the other side of Turn 21 before making my way to the Singapore Flyer, overlooking the exit of Turn 21. If not for the fences, that would have been a good spot to get some good shots as well. Near the end of the session, Vitaly Petrov smacked the wall right in front of us. He had earlier given me a nice shot of him going sideways through Turn 21, but I wasn’t ready this time around.

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I didn’t catch the GP2 qualifying, the only time for the whole weekend that they would run at night, but I did catch the cars just before they got out on track for qualifying, all of them were lining up just outside the Singapore Flyer, so it was pretty cool to see the cars and the stars up close for once. For the second F1 practice, I thought it would be pretty cool to check out the action from the top of the Esplanade, and that was really something. Too bad the pictures weren’t that great, why are some Singaporeans so pushy all the time, I just wanted to take a few pictures, that was all! Some people really are a bunch of idiots. I went down to Turn 14 again, now from the inside, to get a few other pictures.

Friday is probably the best time to get some really good pictures as there won’t be many people around so you don’t have to worry about finding spots, and you can roam around easily as I did for that very reason. I did the same thing for Saturday’s F1 practice and qualifying, and the GP2 feature race too. It was cool to see the cars going around Turns 22 and 23, with the Singapore Flyer overlooking the whole action. I had the tickets that would allow me to go on the Singapore Flyer….FOR FREE! But I did promise my cousins I would take them there sometime in the future and that would be my first time on the Flyer too, and I’m a man of my word, so I’ll wait. I tried to get some shots of the cars going past the Singapore Flyer, but there’s not much you can do with those pesky catch fences ruining your pictures. The GP2 action was quite good, lots of overtaking from where I was (which was Turn 5 on both sides) and I was right there to see the first lap crash at Turn 5 too. I would end up making my way to the start/finish straight area and was in time to see the podium celebration, Max Chilton was the race winner. Not much happened for the F1 qualifying, except for the fact that Sebastian Vettel, who had topped all three practice sessions, only got 3rd for qualifying, beaten by Pastor Maldonado (how?) and Lewis Hamilton, who made it 4 poles in a row for McLaren.

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As I said, the action just isn’t on track for the Singapore Grand Prix, there are some off it too. There tends to be a lot of things going on at the village areas, but I didn’t check them out that much this time out, except for the one over at Zone 1, since it was my first time at that part of the circuit. I didn’t see any acts on Friday, no-one interesting of note to catch. I mean, I would rather watch Korea’s Big Bang (last year’s main attraction for Friday) than the Taiwanese guy who was the main attraction for Friday, Jay Chou, whoever the hell he is. At least there were two big names for Saturday, the main one being Maroon 5 (and it took me nearly an hour to get to the Padang stage, which normally would only take me 15 minutes!). They were pretty good, made a fan out of me at the end of the night. They might have been the main attraction for Saturday, but the one I wanted to see was the main attraction over at the village stage, none other than Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. I had to see my favourite musician live since he’s here in Singapore.
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I’ve always been a fan of Oasis and Noel Gallagher, so that was a real treat for myself to see the legend himself with my own eyes. Their self titled album is just awesome, best album I’ve heard in a while. Sunday’s closing act is probably one of the biggest stars around (to everyone else, to me it was Noel Gallagher), Katy Perry. She too made a fan out of me with some of her music, her show was good too, espicially the top hit “Firework”. And yes, there were fireworks going off too during that awesome song. Glad to have caught all three of them in action.

I had originally planned to watch the Sunday’s action from Turn 3, but having seen the place for myself the day before, I didn’t think it would be all that great, the catch fences really would screw up most of my pictures. I caught the GP2 sprint race action, firstly near the start/finish itself, then to Turn 23 and finally back to Turn 21, and then over to Turn 22 to get some good shots of those GP2 cars. Last year, I wanted to watch from just before Turn 8, the same place where Michael Schumacher had his big moment. So I caught the action there this year. Good place to watch some really good action, espicially some side by side moments. Not so good place to get photos, espicially as there were many people around there, all doing the same thing! Hate being short sometimes, and hate coming late too sometimes, I could have gotten a better place if I had gotten there a bit earlier. Oh well. Still, I did get a good view of the drivers during the driver’s parade, so it wasn’t all doom and gloom.

The race itself was quite interesting, Hamilton lead Vettel for the first part of the race quite comfortably before he had his gearbox failure, taking him out of the race. Vettel then lead from Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso, who was chased the whole time by Paul di Resta. Narain Karthikeyan brought out the first Safety Car after he hit the “mini-tunnel” at Turn 18. The second safety car came out a few laps later, yet another Michael Schumacher moment, he ran into the back of Jean-Eric Vergne’s car at Turn 14. He did give us all a wave over at the viewing platform just before Turn 8. I wonder if he was waving goodbye too. Vettel went on to win the race quite easily, his second win of the season and his second in Singapore, thus making him the first guy to win in Singapore back to back. It was nice to see Button finishing on the podium. Every grand prix I’ve been to so far (Singapore 2011, Australia 2012 and Singapore 2012), Vettel and Button have been on the podium on each occasion (1-2s as well) and Schumacher have retired in all of them. See a patern emerging here? I guess my dad and my brother may not want me to watch any more grand prix from now on! Haha!

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It was another great event, three days of fun, listening to some good music and watching the best young drivers showcasing their talents and also watching the best drivers in the world battle it out in one of the hardest circuits in the world. That was also my third race watching live this year, having previously watched the 2012 F1 Australian Grand Prix and the 2012 GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, all three were really good in their own special ways. I can’t wait for the 2013 Singapore GP already!

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Can’t wait for more!