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28th Birthday/Wrestle Kingdom 12 Trip to Tokyo

Yup just got back (Actually a week ago) from a 2 week trip over to Tokyo, Japan and yup it was another fun one, since I got to hang out with my brother which is always fun! It was my first time spending the New Years/My Birthday in another country so that bit was cool. But also it was my first time at a big wrestling event which was the number 1 thing I was looking forward to the most during that trip.

 

Of course I had to go to the Pokemon Center on my 2nd day there, which is what I usually do anytime I visit Japan. Now that I am playing Pokemon TCG for real, I had more stuff to get there and the first few things I got there was mainly for my TCG stuff. Got to see a few stores in Akihabara that had Pokemon TCG stuff and singles too but for whatever reason, I didn’t get one from these stores. I even saw one store selling English cards but of course it had to be the rubbish Crimson Invasion set. Not for me.

 

We probably spent most of our time walking around Akihabara since that is my brother’s favourite part, be it for his Gundam models or other models or video games, the new and even the classic ones. I was so tempted to get the Switch since it was half the price of what Singapore has it for but I’ll wait for the Pokemon game to be announced.

 

Spending New Year’s eve and New Years in Japan was a first for me, I could feel the difference between spending it there and back home in Singapore. While people are out partying and make noises and causing a fuss when the clock strikes 12am, the people here spend their time making their way to the shrine to pray and say thanks for the last year and the year ahead, yup I prefer that way better than what we usually have. I’m more into peace and quiet than noises. But just before 2017 ended, it actually snowed for a bit! Finally I got to see snow for the first time since 2005 back in Vancouver.

 

My birthday was a fun one. Of course I went to Pokemon Center again but I didn’t realise they had a birthday service if it you showed them it was your birthday. First you’d get a crown which I obviously didn’t take, then you’d get a birthday card which was really nice! And finally you’d get an event pokemon of either Eevee and Pikachu, I chose Eevee. You’d also get a 5% discount coupon, sadly I only spent a total of $50, what a waste haha. We then went to Shinjuku and then Shibuya, where we got cake and then Taco Bell (woohoo), and visited Tower Records to get my two favourite records of 2017, As You Were by Liam Gallagher and Who Built the Moon? by Noel Gallagher, I have to support my Oasis dudes.

 

Then it was Wrestle Kingdom time. For the next 3 days all of our time was spent either watching the New Japan streams for the press conferences, the New Year Dash show, visiting a number of wrestling stores and of course, attending Wrestle Kingdom 12 at the Tokyo Dome! One of the shops we went to, War Machine ended up visiting the store at the same time so that was cool to see them. But my favourite has to be Haoming, that store was pretty cool.

Wrestle Kingdom 12 was amazing. The atmosphere there was electric, which is not what people might think of a Japanese wrestling show. Of course the main reason why I was there was to watch my favourite wrestler Chris Jericho make his return to New Japan and have his first match outside a WWE ring in 19 years! The fatal-4-way junior heavyweight match was amazing as was Cody vs Ibushi and Okada vs Naito but Chris Jericho vs Kenny Omega easily stole the show.

 It’s the best match I’ve ever seen live and one of the better matches I’ve seen as a wrestling fan. If you’ve not seen it, you have to watch it! 

I mean the show was just 2 days after my birthday but you could say i got the birthday Gift of Jericho. DRINK IT IN MAAAAAANNNNNNNNNN!!!!! And he replied to one of my tweets on my birthday, that made my day! ūüėĀ

 

We were a bit late to get tickets for New Year’s Dash but that didn’t stop us from going to the signing event and luckily for us Marty Scurll was one of them! He was really cool to us. After the show we thought of getting dinner at TGIF and we noticed a lot of fans hanging around so we did the same too. We got to meet Rocky Romero, Tama Tonga, Leo Tonga, Michael Elgin, Marty Scurll (again), Yujiro Takahashi, Jado, Gedo, Trent Berreta, Will Ospreay. Almost all of them were cool to us. I was just happy I got to meet Tama, he’s one of my favourite guys in New Japan.

 

The only new place I really visited was Harajuku, and it looked really cool, wished I had more time to check it out. Meji Shrine was awesome to check out. Also got to visit a wrestling store called Piledriver, owned by Minoru Suzuki. Yes, the same guy who is the leader of Suzuki-gun. And he just happened to be in his store so we got to meet him too. Really nice guy but I still felt intimidated by him because I knew the badass he was in ring.

I had fun in my 2 weeks there, even though I was shivering most of the time because of the cold weather, I like it way better than the hot weather we have at home. I’m a cold weather guy. I won’t miss the earthquakes though, experienced two of them, the second one really spooked me. But I do miss everything else there, the weather, the people, the places and of course my brother! I brought a laptop along just in case I was bored and had nothing to do, and well I rarely used it. It was that fun. Until next time! Funnily enough it won’t be my last trip for this half of the year, I’ll be off to Melbourne for a few days in March. If you know me, you’ll know what it’s for. Can’t wait for my next trip to Tokyo though!

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2015 done, now for 2016

2015 is over and it’s time for a new year. Don’t worry, there won’t be any “new year, new me” nonsense here. I’m still going to do the same damn thing as per usual. Back in the 2000s, most would have been looking forward to 2012 or 2015 mostly. For some weird reason I was always looking forward to 2016. Well I do like random numbers.

2015 was alright. For the most part I was studying, and not doing so well but that’s just the way it goes sometimes. Just need to study even harder this time around. And when I’m not studying, I got to do some fun things and also got on two short trips (one of them being a new country to visit for me). Went to Malaysia for a few days in March mainly to see the F1 Malaysian Grand Prix and in September to Japan for the first time to visit my brother who now lives there and also to watch the F1 Japanese Grand Prix. Yup, got to see three Formula One races this year, so 2015 was pretty good. First time watching back to back F1 races in two weeks too, that was cool.

Alonso vs Kvyat vs Verstappen

Not just Formula One, I got to see four football matches too. Everton vs Stoke City and Singapore XI vs Arsenal for the Barclays Asia Trophy 2015 and then in four days, Singapore vs Japan in a 2018 World Cup Qualifying match and four days later a Liverpool Legends vs Manchester United legends.

All four at the National Stadium so I’m getting used to seeing that place. Not so used to seeing the Indoor Stadium but I did get to go back in there for the WWE Live event in July, my third time watching a live wrestling show and always it was fun. And for once I was sitting near the front row (second row actually), had to pay $400+ but it was worth watching those guys up close for once. Not just sporting events, I also got to see a comedy show and a concert for the first time too. Yup, been spending a bit too much money on these events, haven’t I?

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All worth it though. Good fun seeing the incredibly funny Russell Peters live. He was so good most of his material that night came on the spot and from just interacting with the crowd. It was pretty cool to see Johnny Marr live in concert too, that guy is easily of the best guitarist ever. Was awesome hearing a few of my favourite songs live for once. It was nice to see some of my family from USA and Canada visiting us here so I had a reason to visit a few places in Singapore I’ve not been to before.

Universal Studios being the main one and now I’ve been there twice, loved it both times. Best bits are the Transformers ride, the Mummy ride and of course the dual roller coasters. Also got to stay at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel for once, fancy place for sure. The view at the viewing deck at the top of the hotel, or as I call it the boat, is quite awesome. One of the best views in all of Singapore.

Observation Deck of MBS Hotel

It was also nice to catch up with a few of my old friends from primary school days, it’s been too long since I’ve seen some of them and I don’t really have that many friends so it was cool to see each other again. I’ve had my fun this year.

Now to 2016 and well for the first five months I’ll be doing nothing but just studying and hopefully to better this time around. One of the main reasons I’m looking forward to 2016? Well this year one of the biggest races in the world, the Indianapolis 500, will have it’s 100th race. I’ve been following IndyCars since 2005 and after seeing the first Indy 500, I thought that was one of the best events I’ve seen. F1’s Monaco GP is another of the big races but there’s little to no racing in it. Lots of racing in the Indy 500. It became my favourite race after the 2006 race with that famous finish between Sam Hornish and Marco Andretti.

After watching that race, I told myself that in 10 years time, I’ll hopefully be able to attend the Indianapolis 500 race live in person, it being the 100th race that is the one to be at! The 16-year old me always wondered how the 26-year old would turn out 10 years on. “Would I be working by then?”, “How well would I have done in school and if I’m finished with it?”, “Would I be married by then? (HAHA that’s not gonna happen anytime soon)”. Or the biggest one, “Would I still be in Singapore by then?”. Yup, I’m still there. My brother now lives in Tokyo, one of my cousins is studying in London soon and another two moved to Canada many years ago and I am still here. And to think I was the one who had the idea of studying overseas first.

Well fast forward to 2016 and I’m 26 now (turned 26 today in fact) I’m still studying and then won’t be done in maybe 2 or 3 years time. Can’t say I’m doing well in Uni life right now but the fact that I’m in “University” still blows my mind. Who would have thought I would make it there? Not the 16 year old me that’s for sure.

I mean I didn’t really have much to look forward to back then with ITE looming and poly being the likest highest I could reach if I even got there. I’m glad that I made it but so far I’ve just been struggling with school. Nothing in life ever comes easy right? I of all people should know that by now.

There’s still time to change that, I hope. Now to do my best for the exams in May and who knows, maybe I can still make that trip over to Indianapolis in late May. That would be a dream come true. I don’t know what’s in store for 2016 but hopefully it’ll be a good year. All the best to all of you in 2016 and make it a good one!

P.S. To those of you who did, thank you for the birthday wishes. Really appreciate it!

2016 New Year

Happy new year! Have a great year ahead!

2015 Formula One Japanese Grand Prix ‚Äď Suzuka, Easily the Best!

I had been planning to visit my brother who is now studying in Japan and of course, the timing of it was just perfect for me to kill two birds with one stone. I get to visit my brother and at the same time I finally get to visit the amazing Suzuka Circuit. Of course, Suzuka is no where close to Tokyo so I got to visit a few more parts of Japan for my first visit to the country. I spent the first few days just exploring Tokyo and what makes that city great. Really colourful place and easy to get around thanks to the trains. I got to ride on the bullet train too (the Shinkansen), after all it’s the fastest way from Tokyo to Nagoya, the biggest city closest to Suzuka. And I have to say, I quite liked Nagoya too, really interesting place especially the place I was staying at.

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Friday

After my usual McDonald’s pancakes breakfast (they’re really good there), it’s off to Suzuka. It didn’t take me long to figure out how to get there using their subways. I even had it written on my phone in case I forgot:

Sake to Nagoya -> Higashiyama Line

Nagoya to Kawarada -> Kansai Main Line

Kawarada to Suzuka Circuit Inou -> Isle Railway Line

All sorted, reached the Nagoya station and I find out there’s an express train from there going straight to Suzuka Circuit. Guess I didn’t need to do all my researching after all. And of all the places, I bumped into my friend Mark from New Zealand standing in the train. What are the odds of meeting someone at a place like that? It took about an hour to get to the circuit and we’re not done there. Turns out there’s another 20 minutes walk from the station to the circuit itself. Good exercise eh? And guess what? Suzuka has a lot of elevation so you don’t need a mountain for a good exercise, just go to the Suzuka Circuit, that place will give you a good workout already and we’re not even talking about the drivers and their cars.

We made it in time for the first practice session at 10am and yes, it was drizzling. But I found out that for Fridays, seating is free ANYWHERE (except the main grandstand of course). So now the big question, where do I watch the action from? I decided to start the day off at the C Grandstand, which gives a good view of the first two corners and the run up to the S curves and the first two bits of it. Not a bad place to watch these cars go around but just one problem…there weren’t many cars going around because of the rain. Still, at least there was one car going around the circuit most of the time so I can’t complain. And yup, I sat in the rain taking pictures of these guys. I mean that’s what the locals have been used to doing, so I might as well do it too.

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But as there wasn’t much going on, I thought I’d walk around and check out the rest of the stands around the S curves. I really liked the view from the D1, D2 and E2 grandstands, mainly D2 as the cars were close by. And the best part about Suzuka I noticed right away, there is a lot of good spots to watch the action. And for those of us who like to take photos of these racing cars, there weren’t many catch fences in the way too, so that’s double the bonus to enjoy a day out at Suzuka watching these F1 cars.

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As we had time to kill after the first practice session, I decided to check out the F1 Village area to see what’s happening at the main stage and just to see what’s up. Lots of stuff to get, especially McLaren Honda, I don’t need to say why. There were a number of cars on show, 5 classic cars that would have demo runs during the weekend, one of them being the MP4-6 that won the 1991 Japanese Grand Prix with the same guy who won it driving the car, Gerhard Berger. The last two McLaren F1 cars were also on show. We showed up at the right time too as Fernando Alonso showed up to speak to the fans for a bit.

I didn’t walk around much for the second practice session. I started out at the Q1 Grandstand, sitting at the very last row just so I can get the best view possible and it sure was. You could see Turns 1, 2, 5, 7, 16, 17 and 18. One of the best spots around Suzuka for sure. You’ll never know where to look with the cars going by either side of the circuit which I didn’t mind, beats having just a two second view of the car like what I had at the Bay Grandstand most of the time in Singapore the week before.

I stuck around at that seat for about an hour, taking a lot of pictures too and for once a lot of good ones as well. And it was the place to be to see drivers making mistakes. Kimi Raikkonen, Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo all ran off at the chicane. I spent the last 30 minutes hiding in those entrance tents for the R and S Grandstands because it started to rain again and I wanted to see what the view was like there, which is alright but not as good as Q.

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I had to get some stuff while I was there so I got myself the two versions of the 2015 McLaren Honda F1 diecast cars. Time to walk back and me being a silly newbie, I followed the crowd exiting out of the amusement park (and with Suzuka F1 tickets, you would get unlimited rides there for a few days, which I never got to use). Turns out that was the wrong exit and I got to the station 40 minutes later. If you’re wondering, the easiest way to get in and out of the circuit is the gate near the first corner.

Saturday

I took it a bit easy for Saturday and went to the circuit a bit later than I would…turns out it was a bit late, we showed up just as the third practice session started. Because I don’t speak Japanese, I assumed a few parts of the circuit had a free viewing areas but it turned out to be a photographer area. And I’m not talking about the professional guys but people like you and me. Now I like Suzuka even more! They’ve got a few areas around the circuit for those with the photographer pass. And from what I see, they’ve got some good views too. I do wonder if people like myself who aren’t from Japan are allowed to get it. Would be nice if a few other circuits have a photographer area too, I do enjoy taking photos of these F1 cars too together with just watching them zooming past me.

So we wasted 30 minutes walking around but it wasn’t a total waste. While walking around Turn 7, I noticed a small little area with a number of flowers on it. Turns out it was the tribute area for the late Jules Bianchi who tragically had his fatal accident at that corner in last year’s race. I did my own little moment of silence to remember Jules, he was a great driver. Taken far too early, he would have been a future world champion, he was that talented.

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I ended up watching the last half of FP3 at Turn 6, which wasn’t a bad place to see those cars. That and also there was a staircase nearby so why the heck not, just watch there. And there was a superscreen close by and I wanted to see how everyone was doing timewise. Thankfully this time the weather was perfect so I didn’t need to use my raincoast or my umbrella, which I forgot to bring the day before because I thought we were not allowed to bring it here. I mean they said no umbrellas allowed on the website so did I miss something?

For qualifying we watched it at our seats at I Grandstand which gave a great view of the Hairpin Curve (Turn 11), or as I like to call it, the Kobabashi curve because Kamui Kobayashi just loved to overtake and bash people at that spot and he made it work 9 out of 10 times, Turn 10 and the back straight before 130R (Turn 15). On the way there, I stopped at 130R to check out the classic cars on their demo runs and yeah, that 130R sure is a special corner. And the best part? It was a free viewing zone so that was a wasted chance for me to see those cars go flat out at 130R for FP3. Oh well, another time I guess?

The seats we had turned out to be a really good one. We saw a number of guys locking their brakes up before or during their qualifying runs. But I got my money’s worth later on when Max Verstappen stopped his Toro Rosso car right in front of us, giving me tons of great pictures so thank you Max for that (I got a picture with him too in Singapore the week before, nice guy). And to think I told my brother that Verstappen will give us a show with his overtakes there, well he did but a different kind of show.

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And then came Qualifying 3. Those of you who saw that session knew what happened. THAT crash. Daniil Kvyat had that massive shunt at Turn 10, he lost control of his car and he hit the barriers quite hard, flipping his car too. And guess where I was? Yup, right opposite where he hit the barriers. I noticed right away a few sparks were coming out before he crashed so I thought something broke. And then the big crash.

That was easily the biggest accident I’ve seen with my own eyes and I’m so glad for Daniil that he got out of his car unaided too! The whole left side of that car was gone, I’ve never seen a race car that badly smashed up before and to think Daniil escaped without any injury is quite amazing, it just shows how safe these cars really are. It’s still a dangerous sport as we know with Bianchi’s and Justin Wilson’s accident recently.

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The crash meant no-one could improve their lap-times and pole position went to….Nico Rosberg? Yup! The king of pole position this year had finally been beaten by his team-mate. And I did see Lewis Hamilton making that mistake at Turn 11 which did end up costing him that pole position. Bottas qualified 3rd for Williams so some hopes for them to challenge for the podium spot over the Ferrari guys. Now back to Nagoya and as if the 20 minute walk back from the gate to the station wasn’t bad enough, it turns out it was another 20 minutes from my seat just to get to the gate! More exercise then.

This video has 21,000+ views already? What the heck…

Sunday

It’s race day! The 27th time Suzuka was hosting the Japanese Grand Prix and it’s the 27th of September. Did I mention 27 is my number? Nico Hulkenberg drives the 27 car and I’m a huge fans of his so more 27 there. I missed the support series so that was a shame but with the long travelling, I was ok with that. We got to see David Coulthard at the fan stage speaking to the fans and me being a fan, I had to stop for a while to hear him. Oh did I mention, I raced with good ol’ DC once? He personifies the term gentleman, you’ll never meet anyone friendlier than him (maybe with the exception of Hulkenberg and Ricciardo).

We got in time to see the F1 driver’s parade and thank god they did the parade with those classic cars individually and not the whole “everyone together in one shitbox” that the European races usually do and now Malaysia and Singapore were doing it too. At least Japan is doing it right. I saw the parade opposite from my seat just after Turn 9 and it turns out that was another good spot to watch the action. Because you don’t just get to see the cars go one way but both ways. Yes I’m talking about that section where the track crosses each other. If I do get to go to Suzuka again, I’ll surely catch a session from that area.

Almost time for the race and I have to say, it was nice to see a race where the majority are locals. The same cannot be said about Malaysia and Singapore where I’d say it’s about 50/50. Even in Melbourne, there were a number of foreigners but at Suzuka, not that many. So in a sea of Japanese people, the people seating next to me were from Toronto, Ontario, Canada! What are the odds? A bunch of Canadian people there and me who loves Canada. So yeah we spoke about Canada for a bit. As yes, Montreal is the¬†#1 on my wishlist of races I’ve never been to that I really want to go.

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Speaking of the fans, many of you may have seen from the TV about the crazy stuff the people will bring and I can tell, these Japanese fans are really creative when it comes to these stuff. I saw so many hats with cars on it, the famous DRS hat that actually works, a bunch of Samurais in Ferrari colours and even a guy wearing Kimi Raikkonen’s overalls and the helmet too! These guys are really funny. Same for the marshals. They actually put on a show during the track inspection and gave the SC a good scare. They know how to put on a good show don’t they? And did I mention how polite the Japanese people are? That was a nice change for once. Not many people are polite from where I’m from.

The area at the I Grandstand was a good spot to see some close racing, but not as many overtakes as I expected. Most of them came from Daniel Ricciardo who had a puncture early on, so damn that. Good spot to take pictures of more than one cars and also for just one car as the view was quite clear. I think it was the closest I was to the cars of any of the areas I’ve watched F1 cars at any of the four circuits I’ve been to. If you’re thinking about going to Suzuka, that’s one place I can strongly suggest watching the action from.

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Lewis Hamilton won the race and it was a quick race, about 90 minutes and no safety cars which was alright with me. I had a bullet train to catch so I was more than happy with a quick race. I thought it was a good one, I got to see some good racing from where I was. Before Suzuka, I’ve always said Sonoma was the best circuit I’ve been to because it was a good circuit to drive on and also a good circuit to watch with so many great spots around the circuit. I can easily say now, Suzuka is the best circuit I’ve been to.

Many consider it the best circuit in F1 and from a fan’s point of view, I can say the same. So many great spots to watch the cars around here and well, the track is brilliant. And from wherever you are, most of the time, you’ll get a great view of these cars and at least more than one view of it. I can’t wait to get back there, really enjoyed my time there. Quite fitting that my 10th Formula One race live was at this legendary circuit. Really liked it there, I don’t know if I can say if that was the most fun I had at an F1 event but it might have been.

Races like the ones in Suzuka and Albert Park are the ones I enjoy the most, it’s just all about racing here. No concert or whatever like in Singapore, as cool as it maybe to see some superstars from that area but I¬†am and will always be a motorsports fan.¬†My main reason for going to these races are to see those drivers are cars in action, nothing else. Nothing beats that for me. This won’t be my last visit to Suzuka, that is for certain.

Interesting month of July

Well this month of July has been quite interesting. I’m still on my school break and unlike most of my classmates, I choose not to take up a part-time job because for me, if I were to work, I’d rather do it full time. I can’t do part time no matter what it may be, just can’t see myself doing it. Three big events this month and just more relaxing at home and also visiting parts of Singapore I’ve not been to in a while/not been to ever.

Of the three big events, there was one at the start of July, one at the end of July and the one in the middle was a last minute deal. The first big event was WWE Live in Singapore on July 2. Me being a huge wrestling fan, I had to go and this being my third wrestling event, I went for ringside seats just to see what it was like. $400+ for a Row 2 seat and well, it was sure worth it to be that close to the action. ¬† 20150702_194713A lot of wrestling fans here¬†were complaining (on Twitter obviously) about the lack of big names that were on the card but hey, at least they were still making the long trip to Singapore, I won’t complain about it. The card that was advertised was completely different to what happened and it turned out to be a better show than I was expecting. Sure, I was disappointed not to see Chris Jericho join the guys in Singapore due to his Tough Enough duties but I still got to see my favourite wrestler of this new generation, Neville!

Who knows when these guys will be back here or when the next time I’ll get to see them but when it does happen, I won’t be getting ringside tickets haha. Sure it’s nice being that close but it’s a heck lots of money and I’m not working just yet so I’ll get back to the cheap seats next time around. It was my third WWE show live and I have to say, it was the best one yet.

After that it was more of my own little adventures just walking around aimlessly looking at stuff and also trying to find the best deals for a few things I was looking for, two PS4 games, PlayStation Vita and a new iPod. If anyone has a suggestion for a good mp4 player, or whatever the term is now, that is about 4GB (or more), let me know of one!

The next big event was the Barclays Asia Trophy on July 15. It was a friendly football (soccer for you North American peeps) tournament featuring three English football clubs, Arsenal, Stoke City and Everton along with a Singapore XI selection of mostly Singaporean players and a few top foreign players from the S-League. The main reason I decided to check it out was the fact that there were English teams playing live in Singapore, that doesn’t always happen and me being a huge fan of English football, I had to go for it. ¬† 20150715_175848Both matches were alright, not the best of matches but it was a friendly after all. It was my 2nd and 3rd football matches I’ve seen live (the first being Real Madrid vs Inter Milan back in California last July). Everton vs Stoke finished 0-0 and the good thing about these friendly tournaments is that if there is a draw, there’s always going to be a penalty shoot-out to decide the match after the 90 minutes are up. It happened with the first game I went to live and it happened again with this one. Everton would win it 5-4, thanks to one save from their awesome goalkeeper, USA’s Tim Howard.

The Arsenal vs Singapore match was always going to be a one sided affair and the stadium was packed with Arsenal fan and me being a Manchester United fan, that wasn’t a nice feeling haha. No surprises that Arsenal ended up winning 4-0, one of their young players got a hat-trick so good on you Chuba Akpom. There was even the Kallang Wave (our version of the Mexican wave, just with a name change) and even a fight involving the Aussie Arsenal fans (those lot were carrying kangaroo blow up dolls or whatever it’s called) and I’m guessing someone who isn’t an Arsenal fan.

Those matches were the semi-finals matches with the final matches taking place a few days later in the weekend. I had other plans as my parents were heading off to Melaka and since I’ve never been there before, I thought I’d follow them. I didn’t reliase Melaka was actually a pretty cool place. If you’re a foodie, that is THE place for you. I was more interested in the sights around the place, especially the Dutch part of the area. Two days was good enough for me to check the place out, I might return there one day.

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A bit more exploring before the end of the month. One of them being the Henderson Waves. I’ve seen pictures of it and thought I’d check that place out for myself. I didn’t know it was a real pain in the arse to get to. The bloody bridge is the tallest in Singapore and I didn’t know it was that high but the pain was more on how to get there. I got tired just walking up the mountain like trails, that was my mistake.¬†Still, the view up there was pretty cool. The rest of the trail was just walking on a suspended like bridge around nature which was not bad. At least now I know how to get there properly haha!

And the last event of the month of July 30 was probably the one was looking forward to the most because it was a first time thing for me. I’ve been to a football match. I’ve been to a WWE event before. But I’ve never been to an actual concert, and I’m not talking about the ones the Singapore Grand Prix usually has. To me, that is an F1 grand prix event, not a concert. I’m there mainly to see some of the best drivers in the world in one of the toughest street circuits around and the concerts are just a bonus, not the main reason for me being there.

So here I was in an actual concert, there just to hear great music and for my first one, I was going to see the living legend, Johnny Marr! I’m a big fan of the guy and he’s had an amazing career, be it with The Smiths, Electronic, Modest Mouse, The Healers, The Cribs or his own solo stuff he’s been doing for the past few years. He’s easily one of my favourite musicians in all of the music industry, with Noel Gallagher and Ian Brown being the other two. So it was a real treat to see Johnny and his band come to Singapore for the first time and rock the house down.

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I thought my seats were really good, I had a clear view of the set until the part when Johnny came out and everyone started running down to the front. I didn’t know what was going on until I saw more people heading to the front and realising what was going on, so I joined in and gave myself a much better view than before. He played a couple of songs from The Smiths and Electronic days and also songs from his first two solo album, The Messenger and Playland. Both albums are really good.

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It was nice to hear great music live for once and I knew all but two songs he played, one of them being a brand new song called Spiral Cities. That song was pretty good as well, can’t wait for it to be recorded. As you can tell, I don’t really follow the artists that everyone likes or is popular, I’m more of a fan of people who can write their own music and play their own stuff. And well, the English rock scene do have some of the best music around.

And I’ll say this, Johnny Marr is probably the best guitarist ever. That is my own opinion. The things he can do with his Fender Jaguar are quite amazing. Him and Noel Gallagher are the reason why I really want to learn how to play a guitar. Good to see that there is still some good music around in this current era when there have been some really awful stuff. Why listen to those crap when you can listen to something good like Johnny Marr’s music.

Listening to good music always puts us in a good mood so find what you like and enjoy it. For me, music from the likes of Noel Gallagher and Johnny Marr is just the best of anything out there. It was an awesome gig, really enjoyed it from start to finish. I hope it won’t be long till Johnny Marr is back in Singapore.

Been a fun month of just enjoying life. Can’t say the same thing will happen in August, I’ll be nervously waiting for my exam results and hopefully it’s good news. Here’s my quote of the day to end this post, saw this while waiting for Johnny Marr’s gig to start:

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2015 Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix ‚Äď My Story

Friday

I actually started my Friday still in Singapore. Yup, got my flight to Malaysia in the early morning! Landed in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at about 8.30 and I quickly noticed some guys in either Red Bull or McLaren gears, they were obviously heading to the circuit so we followed them to the shuttle bus to get to the Sepang International Circuit. Here’s the funny bit. The Sepang circuit is just opposite side of the highway from KLIA but it takes bloody 20 minutes to get there. And you still have to switch buses to get to the ones that will bring you from the bus park to the entrance of the circuit itself! Lots of travelling already!

Finally got to the circuit and for Fridays in Sepang, it’s free admission to all and free seating in the main grandstand. My dad and I had tickets for the weekend but since it was free for Friday, my mum joined us to see what it was like for the first time. Now my entire family has since F1 cars live in action at least once haha, mission accomplished. Started the day with even more traveling. This time from the main entrance to the entrance of the main grandstand, stopped at one of the first few sections at the main grandstand to watch the first few minutes of the first practice session for F1 before moving on to the very end of the main grandstand.

Got some views of the seeing the F1 cars from inside their pit garages so that’s always a cool moment to see the drivers getting ready before hitting the track. I knew that after the first few laps, no-one would take to the circuit for at least 10 minutes so that was enough time for me to make my way to the end of the grandstand.

Daniel Ricciardo

At the very end of the two long grandstand there’s another viewing area called the Tower Grandstand and it’s one of the best places to not just watch the action but also to get pictures of the F1 cars. You can see Turns 5 to 9 and Turn 15 and the two straights from the top level of that grandstand, but you’ll need to walk around to see every bit of it but it sure it worth it!

The next time I’m going to Sepang, that’s my first destination, really good spot to watch these cars. Plus, it being Turn 15, some guys will lock their brakes up there so you might see some tyre smoking action haha! I didn’t want to spend much time there because I didn’t want to keep my folks waiting but I lost track of time haha! I was enjoying the view from there so much I didn’t take notice of the time flying past. If anyone wants to get some pictures of these F1 cars, Turn 15 is the spot for you! This is one of my favourite pictures from there and the best part, it’s not the only one I got from there!

Jenson Button

Yes, I got that picture, can you believe that? For the second session and every other session in between, I decided to park myself at the main grandstand. There’s two parts to it, the lower deck and the upper deck. I prefer watching from the top as you can see much more and instead of seeing potentially just one pit-stop practice from the lower deck, you might see at least five teams practicing their pit-stops from the upper deck!

And remember, it’s all free on Friday! Didn’t really get much pictures from there as I was a bit tired from all the travelling but still it was cool to be that close to see the teams doing their thing, pit-stop practices, working on the cars and all that stuff. After that it was back to the hotel to rest and wait for the next day’s action. The travelling back to KL Sentral was a pain! Thank god it got better on the weekends.

Saturday

As the first session started quite late I waited for a while to get to the circuit. For those wondering what’s the best way from Kuala Lumpur to Sepang, I found an easy and fast way but it’s a three step bit. Step one, take the KLIA express train from the KL Sentral to KLIA. That will probably take about 30-40 minutes. But don’t worry about being bored in that train, they’ve got free WiFi on it! Nice one! Step two, take the airport shuttle bus to Sepang circuit’s bus park. That itself takes 20 minutes in one of those old buses, really uncomfortable haha. Step three, take the circuit shuttle bus from the bus park to the entrance of the circuit, that only takes at least 5 minutes but waiting for people to board might take a while. If you can’t wait, you can actually walk all the way up to the circuit entrance from the bus park itself. Good 10-15 minute exercise right there people!

The first thing I did was to get the new F1 driver numbers flags! Apparently it was on sale for the first time that weekend in Sepang so I just had to get myself one! Well actually I got myself three small flags for my three favourite drivers, Jenson Button, Daniel Ricciardo and Nico¬†H√ľlkenberg. These flags have the driver’s name on a small line at the top of the flag, either in white or black and main part of it has the driver’s number and his country’s flag colours. I actually got one of them signed during the driver’s forum a bit later on in the day!

F1 Driver Number Flags

The first bit of action I wanted to see was the Malaysian Super Series for the sole reason of watching my friend Claire Jedrek racing in that series. Never seen her race live before so it was cool to see someone I actually know on track! She started the first race in 7th and had a very strong race to finish 5th out of 50 cars! And it wasn’t an easy ride too, there were so many incidents during that race, one at the first corner, one at the second corner and she escaped one when these two clowns were fighting it out at Turn 1 with about 3 or 4¬†laps to go I think.

After that race it was down to the mall area to see the driver’s forum. I heard about this during the Australian Grand Prix and it’s cool to see it here too so it looks as if we’ve now got a new addition to the racing weekend’s activities for every circuit. Good on Formula One to bring the drivers closer to the fans. It works with IndyCar and NASCAR, F1 had to give it a try at least! What usually happens is three groups of drivers will show up in different time slots and they’ll be asked some questions by the MC and the fans too. I heard some really interesting questions like “who will win this weekend” or “who’s the most famous person in your phone contact list”.

I managed to get Nico¬†H√ľlkenberg to sign the flag I got of his! He was signing stuff for everyone else after the session and I was standing probably four rows back and I showed him the flag and he ask the rest to help get it for him so he could sign it for me! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, what a class act Nico¬†H√ľlkenberg is. I’ve seen him at least four times now and every time he’s been really good to me and the other fans. I just cannot understand why he’s still not got a top seat in F1. ¬†He’s got the talent to make it!

Nico H√ľlkenberg and Sergio P√©rez

After that it was back to my seats at the K1 Grandstand and I got some really good seats. The view was quite amazing, you’ll get to see most parts of the main straight, Turns 1 and 2 and some bits of Turn 4. And with the DRS zone being at Turn 1, there’s bound to be a lot of overtakes going into Turn 1 and also into Turn 2 so I’ve got the perfect spot to watch some good racing. Check out the view!

My View

The first F1 session on the Saturday was the third and final practice session and I decided to walk around a little bit. I noticed there were no marshalls keeping guard at the entrance to each zone so I sneaked by to see what the view was like on the other parts of the K1 Grandstand and I have to say, I’m glad I bought the tickets I got because that was easily the best view of the rest of the grandstand.

The only other good view was at the other end of the grandstand where you can see Turns 3. You’ll get a different view of Turn 1 too. I spent half of the 3rd practice session watching the action from there and got a few good pictures too before heading back to my seat for the rest of FP3.

Even in the practice session a few drivers were already having some good battles going into Turn 1 so I already knew my seat was worth the money! After that session was something new. The first ever TCR International race. It was cool to see history in the making, being there to see their first ever race. It’s a bit similar to WTCC, a bunch of touring cars from at least five different manufactures racing around the world. They put on a good race for their first ever race so kudos to those guys. They’ll be in Singapore too so this won’t be the only time I’ll see them in action.

Turns 1 and 2

The final action on track was the qualifying session for the 2015 F1 Malaysian Grand Prix. Good news, we’ll get to see these guys decide the grid for the race tomorrow. Bad news, the rain clouds were quickly making their way across Sepang.

As some of you know, the race start timing for most of these Asian races had been pushed back a few hours to avoid the mess that happened at the Japanese Grand Prix last year. But if we’re pushing the start time back, why not the qualifying time as well? The race started at 3pm but qualifying started at 5pm. And guess what happens? At around 5.25pm, during the early bits of the second qualifying session, it rained! And when it rains in Sepang, it pours! And I mean a shitload of rain! My grandstand was covered but that didn’t help me that much.

Rain Stops

I ran all the way to the back of the grandstand to look for cover and after about 20 minutes, the rain stopped. Still, it was nice to catch up with some of the other fan during the waiting time. I have to say, there are more foreigners than locals at the circuit! Lots of Australians too but then again, Australia isn’t that far from Malaysia and you’ll see a lot of them in Singapore too.

Luckily they got Q3 going again and it was a good session, Sebastian Vettel nearly stole the pole position from Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes. Let’s not forget, Mercedes scored 18 out of 19 pole positions last year so that was a good effort from Vettel in his Ferrari. I’m still getting used to saying Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari together. There were some overtaking action during Q2 and Q3 too.

And you might have seen it but there was an almighty long line of cars at the end of pit-lane before the start of Q2, all of those guys were trying to avoid the rain and because of that, we got a bit of a mini race during that session. I think I saw Hamilton overtake two guys at Turn 1 at one point!

Hamilton and Grosjean

Sunday

It’s raceday! And I left pretty early in the hopes to get in line for the autograph session. And that failed miserably. There was already a long line of people when I got to the circuit and hour after gates had opened. I didn’t want to try my luck so I decided to see the session and see if I could sneak a few pictures of the drivers. That failed too. I have to say, the autograph session in Sepang was very messy. Very un-organised. One moment you can’t skip the line, the next you could. Make up your bloody minds! And the timing was weird too. At the start it was just Sergio Perez. I felt bad for those who were first in line because instead of getting autographs from four guys, they only got one guys’ autograph.

Sergio Pérez

Then came the Marussia guys and that’s when things got messy. At one point no-one was going up to the stage so they decided on the brilliant idea to let “Marussia fans” to jump the queue and get their autographs from outside the queue. And I can bet you everyone who went up wasn’t a fan of the team but just wanted some free autographs. I could have gotten theirs but I was just to pissed with how everything was going I decided not to waste my time. These guys need to learn from the guys at the Australian Grand Prix, they knew how to put on a good autograph session and I got a lot of driver’s autograph when I was in Albert Park!

Now on to the races and to the brilliant seats I had. All three races were great. The TCR race was alright even though I missed some parts of it to have laugh at the race cafe at the mall area. Fish N Chips as usual haha (they’ve got A&W at the main grandstand, and there’s no A&W in Singapore, buggers!). The MSS race went well too, luckily I didn’t miss the start because of that rather rubbish autograph session. Claire had an even better race, she finished 2nd! Nice one buddy! It was cool to see someone I know up on an F1 podium. And the Singapore flag “flying” high during that particular weekend too, that was cool.

Malaysian Super Series

The 2015 F1 Malaysian Grand Prix might just be the best race I’ve seen live. The racing action was just too good. And I think I got a bargain of a deal with the seats I got, it felt as if something would happen every other lap at Turn 1.

And yes, I did see Marcus Ericsson spinning off right in front of me too. And I got to see three cars going side by side by side into Turn 1 not once but twice! And I did get to see H√ľlkenberg¬†crashing into Kvyat but from my view, it looked more like Kvyat didn’t give him enough room at Turn 2. Lots of overtaking action there so I’d really recommend a seat at the K1 Grandstand in the first few blocks to anyone thinking of going to the Malaysian Grand Prix in the future.

Ericsson spins!

And it was a great race too. It was cool to see Sebastian Vettel take his first win as a Ferrari driver in just his second race with them. Another history making moment happening right in front of my own eyes! Everyone in the crowd was cheering Vettel on and to think this is Malaysia, the dominant Mercedes team is backed by Petronas from Malaysia! Then again like I said earlier, there’s more foreigners than locals here!

It was about bloody time someone gave Mercedes a run for their money. And to think Nico Rosberg made that silly comment about wanting Ferrari to give them a fight, they sure got one in Malaysia and lost! As they say, keep your words soft and sweet if not you might have to eat them later! The racing was just brilliant today and like I said earlier, lots of overtaking down at Turn 1. Here’s a video of some of the great racing I saw.

So it was a great weekend after all, I really enjoyed my time at Sepang this time round. The first time it was alright but it wasn’t that great. This time around, I might have changed my opinion about the circuit and watching the race from there. Heck, I’m already thinking about coming back for another race and telling everyone to give it a look, I wouldn’t have done that the first time I was here! And the tickets in Sepang is a lot cheaper than anything I’ve seen so that helps. I still prefer the Australian and Singaporean grand prix events but now if I can’t make those races, I won’t have to worry about the Malaysian grand prix being the next alternative choice. It’s actually a pretty good choice itself!

Vettel Wins

Monday

Nothing happened on Monday, I was just walking around two mega malls for the most part of the day looking for stuff to buy. I found this one funny book about how Football Manager stole 20 years of this guy’s life, looks like a good read. I’m a FM addict myself haha. And I found three Oasis albums too, Heathen Chemistry, Don’t Believe the Truth and the very rare The Masterplan album. Anything from Oasis is¬†always awesome.

Headed back to the airport and I saw members of four teams walking around at the airport (Ferrari, Williams, Sauber and Red Bull). The funniest thing I saw was the Ferrari guys creating a long queue at Burger King! Never knew those Italians liked Burger King haha! That’s my Malaysian Grand Prix weekend story and one final picture, this is a picture of my hotel room. Easily the best one I’ve seen. Aloft KL might be the hippest hotel I’ve been to haha! I wish this is what my room looks like haha!

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My 2014 a repeat of my 2012?

This year is starting to feel more and more like it did in 2012. Back then, I started the year in the Army, finally had my freedom, went to Australia in March and California in August/September and in October, started my new school program. For this year, I’ve just finished my Diploma program, enjoying my “freedom” for a little while before going through a preparatory program of sorts for the Degree program (still Accounting, hopefully less theory work and more numbers work) and then start that school in September and in between July till then, I might make a visit to good ol’ North America.

And if it all works out nicely, I might attend the same three motoracing events as I did in 2012, the Australian Grand Prix, the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma and the Singapore Grand Prix, three very good events as three very different circuits but all usually giving great shows. If that’s not all, I’m trying to attend another event but this is something I’ve not seen before, hopefully I’ll get to watch a live wrestling show for once. LA usually hosts WWE’s 2nd biggest show SummerSlam and it would be kind cool to check it out live for myself for once. And it’s LA, maybe I should make another visit to Disneyland, truly the happiest place on earth. Or Universal Studios. Fun fact, I’ve never actually been to Singapore’s Universal Studios yet!

There’ll be some fun times coming up for this year I hope but also I have to work hard, my next school will be really tough and this time I can’t joke around any more so for those of you who know that I’m playing certain games online, don’t be surprised to see me take a break from them. I just hope I can get into that next school and do my best. I’ll still be in Singapore and not study overseas as I’ve always hoped to do just to see what it’s like (I like to travel and see other places but unlike most people here, I’d rather go to North America and Australia than the rest of Asia). There may be a chance for me to do some studying over in London with this program (it’s done by Uni of London) so who knows?

And this is also the year I’ll be back to wearing green but just for a week, thankfully my reservist is a week after my pre-degree course. Not sure what to expect but I can survive 5 days there. And hopefully I’ll be on that plane flying high a few days after it, just like I did in 2012 when I left for California two days after my two years of National Service was completed. I have no idea what the future holds but we’ll see how it goes. Hopefully this year will be just as fun as it was two years ago and then work like crazy for the next two years and do something with my life after it.

Great September so far

I can safely say I’m kinda enjoying this month’s holiday break for me. The way my school works, we study for two months, rest for one, so September is the third “rest” month for me, and so far, the fun one too haha! Not just because the Singapore Grand Prix is just next week, but a few things have been happening too.

This time last week, I was looking forward to seeing WWE legend Booker T in Singapore for the first time ever in a meet and greet session and I got to meet him. This time next week, I won’t just be looking forward to the first days action of the Singapore Grand Prix with Friday Practice but also I’ll be looking forward to meeting F1 legend David Coulthard! Yup, I won some UBS Go-Kart contest to race with him along with 4 others, so I can’t wait for that. The contest theme was about “I love racing”, no surprise that I won right? The picture that won it for me was my 70+ F1 diecast collection. Then again, it does show how much I love racing!

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That’s the picture that won it for me.

Also, this time last year, I wasn’t quite looking forward to returning back to Singapore from my two month stay over in Sacramento, California at my cousin’s place. I had just finished my two year National Service, I had two months of nothing to do, might as well visit my family overseas, better than rotting at home and doing nothing in this hot weather. I do love the weather there, especially at the Bay Area (San Francisco/Berkeley), would love to stay there!

With nothing to do, I’d usually turn to my games and I finally bought White 2 after a year of waiting. The second version feels a lot different than the first version, that much I’ll say. It’s like playing a different version with a few similarities. And yup, I’ve already beaten the champion, easiest league match ever (too much training helps). Also been playing Football Manager 2013 and got Scottish side Queen’s Park from the 3rd division to the 1st division and on course to make it to the Premier Division. Now, what other games can I play before school starts. WWE 2K14 and F1 2013 won’t be coming out soon, so that sucks.

So next week in the Singapore Grand Prix, I can’t wait for it as always. I still have not made up my mind on where I’ll be watching the race from (Sunday’s action I meant). I thought watching the action from Turn 7-8 would be a great spot, too bad my view was blocked by some tall buggers the whole time, should have gotten there earlier. This time, I might decide on Turns 22-23 or Turn 3 (I’ve got walkabout tickets if anyone is wondering). I’ll be walking around the circuit as usual, just enjoying the event. Hopefully I’ll get to meet one of the drivers again, I’ve bumped into one or two in the last few years (nobody last year in Singapore, a number of guys in Melbourne though). Bring on the racing weekend!

2013 Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix – My Weekend in Sepang

Friday

The day started at 4.30am for me. Why did I get up so early? Well, I was heading to Malaysia on the Friday itself, with an early morning flight from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. First time I took a budget flight and it’s actually not so bad, I sure as heck wouldn’t mind taking these budget flights again. Since the Sepang International Circuit and Kuala Lumpur International Airport was close by, why the heck not fly on the day itself. And I learnt from the day itself right away, if you’re going to Sepang, don’t ever take the cab, just take shuttle bus. Actually, don’t ever take the cab in Malaysia, those guys will try to cheat you off by making you pay for a little bit more than you should.

The one good thing about the Malaysian Grand Prix is that for the Friday, it’s free admission to ANYONE and the only reason to bring a ticket would be for the pit-lane walk (which I didn’t go as I was a bit tired). As it is free admission, you don’t need to watch the action from your seat, you can watch the action wherever you damn well please. So for the first F1 practice session and the GP2 session, I was watching the action from the main grandstand just opposite the pit-lane.

I was right opposite the Marussia and Caterham pit garages as they were the nearest and the ones that wasn’t the most crowded (don’t need to say which ones were the most crowded), so I might as well watch it from there. It was pretty cool to see the cars come out from the pit-lane and doing those pit-stops and the practice starts. And of course, those cars streaking down the front straight at full speed, they really are freaking loud but that is music to my ears.

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After the first F1 practice and the GP2 practice, it’s time for a break, I’m not interested in those Malaysian Super series of whatever it was called, so I got my lunch, and guess what? They actually have A&Ws over at Sepang. Singapore doesn’t have A&Ws anymore and the last time I actually had them was over in Calgary, Alberta during my short trip to Canada in 2010 before the start of my national service. I sure miss those curly fries and obviously the best bit of A&Ws, the awesome Root Beer!

For the second F1 practice session, I was watching from the other side of the main granstand, overlooking Turns 9, 10, 14 and the back straight, so it’s another good view from there. After enjoying the view there, I wanted to watch the action from opposite the pit-lane once again and we would stay there for the duration of the second practice session and GP2 qualifying. Just as I made it there, it started to rain! So nice timing from me there, didn’t get to see any action for a while thanks to the wet track. I was close to the Red Bull and Ferrari garages so I got to see those guys in action. Pretty good view there, and after the session ended, Felipe Massa and Jenson Button stopped for the inspections so I got to see them in flesh (Raikkonen as well). GP2 qualifying was good too, Coletti scored the pole. Saw one of the dumbest things on the big screen when¬†Cecotto shoved Bird off circuit for whatever reason. And just in front of me, I saw Canamasas and Berthon nearly trading blows, pretty interesting qualifying eh? After the session, it’s time to head to the hotel to check in. I did get to see the ten Sauber showcars near the main grandstand, pretty cool.

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Saturday

After a nice breakfast from the hotel (aren’t they always nice?), it’s time to get to the circuit via the shuttle from the hotel, so that’s nice. A shuttle full of Brazilians sure can be quite entertaining. Friday is free admission, so for Saturday and Sunday, it’s to the proper seats. Got my seats at Grandstand F and actually, the view there is pretty good, you’ll get to see Turns 5, 6, 7, 8 and 15 (the last one). If I had gone a few rows further to the left, I would have gotten a great view of the two long straights!

First piece of action was the GP2 Feature Race and it was a great race, lots of action around. Got to see two team-mate taking each other out, lots of overtaking at Turn 15. For that race and the F1 third practice session, I was moving around the grandstand to get pictures from all sorts of views and I think I got some good ones from both sessions. The fish and chips they’ve got there is not bad too!

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Qualifying was good session, but I didn’t move around much this time. Usual suspects got eliminated from the first session and the second session. The second session was a bit crazy. It started to rain with some 8 minutes or so to go for the session, so a few guys had their sessions ruined by the rain. I did get to see Paul di Resta spinning like a top at Turn 8 thanks to the wet weather and him being on the dry tyres.

So with that, the third qualifying session would be on the intermediate tyres and everyone sitting from the back rows moving to the front, it may have been a “covered grandstand” but we were still hit by the rain! I thought for a moment the Mercedes might spring a surprise but guess who got the pole, Vettel again. Massa got a big cheer when he bit Alonso to 2nd. Luckily the rain stopped before the Q3 started. Oh, and if you can drive to the circuit, you might as well do that, long wait just to get onto the shuttle bus.

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Sunday

After another good hotel breakfast and checking out of the hotel, it’s time to head over to Sepang for the Sunday action. I had a major dilemma for the first part of Sunday, head over to the F1 autograph session or watch the GP2 Sprint Race. I knew that there was little chance for me to get anything, the autograph session didn’t look as properly planned as those guys over in Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix, so GP2 it is for me. Did bought a Webber and Button shirt and Michael Schumacher’s 1991 Belgian GP debut race minichamp model.

The GP2 sprint race was as good as the sprint race, with Coletti winning this time. Great races for the likes of James Calado, Felipe Nasr, Jolyon Palmer and Conor Daly. Nice to see Conor go from one of the slowest in practice to scoring points in the race, hope to see him in action in Singapore for the GP2 race.

Next up was that Malaysian series. The best bit was Saturday’s race because a Singaporean won it, so for those Malaysians to hear the Singaporean anthem must have been awful for them and awesome for me. IN YOUR FACE SUCKAS! The Asia Porsche Carrera Cup race was good as well, didn’t see the other sessions as it was the last one, but for sure I was going to watch the race.

After that, it’s time for the big one, the 2013 F1 Malaysian Grand Prix. And to make things even more interesting, it started to rain 30 minutes before the race started. Kinda sucks that they didn’t have a driver parade as they do in Australia and Singapore, their was only at the front straight with some kids asking some silly questions, really? I’d rather have those guys go around the circuit for the parade.

Got a good view of all the crazy action on the grid and got to see the tents come up thanks to the wet weather. The start was ok, didn’t see anything crazy but then as I was filming the guys crossing the line for the first lap, Fernando Alonso goes off at the first corner on the second lap. I had originally planned to watch the race there, so that kinda sucked, didn’t see anyone go off from where I was for the F1 race (for other series, I did see some off moments).

It was a good race, Webber was looking good the whole way and all of a sudden, Vettel closed on him and passed him, obviously I didn’t know what was going on at that time, the speakers didn’t give any good info about the race. I saw the Mercedes guys overtaking each other for a while but then it stopped, didn’t know about both team’s message to their drivers about holding station. One obeyed, the other didn’t.

So Vettel won in controversial fashion. I would only know about it at the airport a few hours later, we didn’t get to hear the post-race interview. But the way Vettel celebrated the win, I didn’t think there was anything up. Still, it was a good race. After the race, time for the long wait for the shuttle to the main entrance and another long wait for the shuttle to the airport. Didn’t stay on for the Guns N Roses concert, I’m sure I wouldn’t get a good view of it anyways. McDonald’s dinner and a few hours of waiting with free wifi at the airport. Just before I headed for my gate, I bumped into Fernando Alonso and got a picture with the two-time world champion, talk about good timing. Good weekend in Sepang. Would I go there again? I just might actually. Not as good as Singapore, Melbourne or Sonoma, but still quite good.

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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!

March 2012 Trip to Melbourne, My Stories (from my old website)

Day 1

It’s been great so far here in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia! Took us a while to get out of the airport, thanks to some checks, including a guard check were guard dogs were sniffing us! Sorry buddy, I’m straightedge, no drugs here!

The hotel is not that bad, not the greatest one for sure, but at least it’s better than nothing. I don’t like the idea of paying neaely $100 just to use internet everyday, but hey, at least I can keep up with what’s going on the world and do these kind of stuff!

So far, just been exploring Melbourne, which is a bit tricky at times to locate where you’re going, but we got the hang of things quickly. Had lunch at where else…..McDonald’s! And birds actually flew in the damn Macs! Saw some interesting shops, Vodafone, Target, and my favourite, Modelmania, a place to get model cars, which is what I collect!

Day 2

Got to do some exploring of the city yesterday, which was the plan. Melbourne really is a great city, it looks good with all the buildings and the surroundings, it’s got all kinds of thing for everyone really. The free tram ride was worth it, about 25-30 minutes but you get to see all kinds of stuff.

Also got to buy some of my model cars at a shop called Modelmania, that’s the biggest model car shop I’ve ever seen! I wish we had one like that in Singapore, would make my life a lot easier! And it’s got all sorts of cars too, I think I can probably reach 100 models if I were to stay here!

And I one thing I noticed about Melbourne, there are a lot of Asians around here, which is nice to see. Kinda reminds me of Canada, lots of different people! Chinatown was packed with chinese people, then again, it’s Chinatown! But it’s so weird to hear some of them with an Aussie accent!

Best part of the day has to be checking out the entire view of Melbourne from the top of the Eureka Skydeck 88! From the 88th floor, you can pretty much check out the whole of Melbourne, and I got some awesome pics from there!

Day 3

After some Macs breakfast, it’s off to Albert Park for us, the site of the Australian Grand Prix, and wow that was some fun today. The queueing is not fun, either entering the circuit, trying to get to the Pit lane or waiting for driver’s autographs!

The pit-lane walk was quite interesting, went for the first one, and caught so much that I didn’t really need to go for a 2nd one! You get to see the cars (not entirely fitted), the parts, the people who work on them, and also got to see a few pit-stop demonstrations! Other than the F1 garages, also got to see the V8 garages. And the fans can actually go behind the garage to see the things going on there, so I got some pics of the drivers from there too!

Thanks to my buddy, I even got to meet Garth Tander! And with the autograph sessions, I also got to meet Mark Webber and Seb Vettel (no photographs though, sucks), Sergio Perez and Heinz-Harald Frentzen while my brother got to meet Bruno Senna, Pastor Maldonado and Kamui Kobayashi! And we saw a lot of drivers as well! The best one is the Mercedes one for sure, Michael Schumacher got most of the attention, while Nico Rosberg got very irritated having to sign some of Schumacher’s stuff and started singing to himself at one point because he was bored waiting!

I wish I had gone onto the McLaren line though, you can actually get a pic of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, and I’m a huge JB fan, so that’s a brain fart moment from me there! Oh I’m gonna regret this for a long time aren’t I?

Thanks to the Silver GP advantage passes, we got to see all kinds of stuff, and also watch the action from the paddock club, which was quite nice! Now to enjoy the three day action from the Schumacher stand!

2012 Australian Grand Prix

The Power of 1! Gotta love that slogan! ūüėÄ

It really was a great event, the whole four days were way worth the $300+ tickets to watch the action from the Schumacher stand! Sure, trying to get to the circuit can be tricky, even with the free trams, but once you get in, there’s so much to do!

The off-track action is quite good! All kinds of car displays, which is pretty awesome! Lots of car-related activites, which is alright for me! Better than the Singapore GP for sure, I’m not into the whole entertainment/musical activites.

Thursday was pretty fun. The pit-lane walk was quite eye-opening, seeing all the things that go around the garage and what these F1 guys do just before these race weekends! And that’s thanks to the GP Advantage, which allowed me to watch the action from the F1 paddock club for the day too, access to the GP Bar and a free item (a freaking cup). Also on thursday was the F1 driver’s autograph session. I got Vettel, Webber, Perez signatures while my brother got Senna, Maldonado and Kobayashi. I even got to meet Garth Tander and Heinz-Harald Frentzen! What a day and that was just Thursday!

Friday was mostly just watching the action, either from the Schumacher stand, overlooking Turns 15 and 16 (the last two turns) and also checking out the action in Turn 14 for a while too. If only I had known that Turn 13 was a good spot to check out the action too, I would. Problem was, it rained that day! It was on and off, so that didn’t really help much for me!

Saturday was another good day. Listening to those V8 engines of the F1 car, that’s music to my ears! I got some good action from my stand for the support races, so that was nice! I got to meet two of my good friends from my online game, and another two on Sunday as well, so it’s nice to meet them in person, and at a grand prix too, since we’re all fans of motoracing!

Sunday was a whole day of action! Like the previous day, it was petty hot, but still, the action to me on track was hotter! Before the F1 race started, I was watching the pre-race events from the GP Bar and got to see what the teams did while on the grid. After the race, everyone ran to the podium stage and just hung around in the start finish straight! The atmosphere there is superb, so much better than anything I’ve ever experienced!

The Formula Ford races was quite good! I only got to see one Red Bull race-off, but that was full of action, and there was plenty in the last two corners! Only watched one of the Porsche races, but that one was alright too! The V8 Supercar races were all superb, one of the best series in the world for sure! And of course, the F1 action was amazing the whole time! And Jenson Button won the race, and he’s my favourite driver, I can’t ask for more! How I wish I could make another visit here, I’ll make that my aim for the future!

Ending Part

For the last day, most of it was spent on a tour around the Great Ocean Road, which is really something. If you’re in Melbourne, you’ve got to check it out. From the kangaroo sighting to the koala sighting, trying out the Australian foods and also vegimite, to checking out all the historical sights and listening to the stories about early days in Australia and the highlight of the trip, seeing the 12 Apostles, which is something amazing with a great story too. We flew off the very same night, as just my luck, I got to meet Romain Grosjean and Bruno Senna at the Melbourne Airport! Can’t wait to get back there!