So last weekend was a historic race huh? For the first time in the long Formula One history, we had a wet race at night! So that was a pretty cool experience to be in the first one ever. Oh and the Ferraris before retiring on Lap 1 for the first time ever too which really made my weekend haha.
So after my bad experience of sitting in a grandstand in Singapore 2 years ago and saying I probably won’t ever get another grandstand sit here again….yup I bought one. I couldn’t help it and I just had to give it a try so this time I went for the Esplanade Bayfront grandstand, I thought it might be a good spot to check out. Turned out to be a really good spot so I’m glad I did get seats there.
For once, I didn’t really do much in the lead up to the racing weekend. It didn’t help not hearing about any driver’s public events or appearances anywhere! They must have been all private events this year so that really sucked. You want to bring the sport closer to the fans but you keep blocking them off with little events and the only way to go to their autograph session is by winning tickets for it. Not cool. They really need to look at the way Australia does it.
I was really looking forward to watching the cars in action this year. Unlike some others, I actually do like how the cars look this year. And there were some good looking cars this year. Toro Rosso, Force India, McLaren, Sauber and Renault all have great liveries on their cars for the 2017 season. Quite rare to have that many good ones on the same grid.
So for Friday I started the day out at Turns 11/12. Since I was stuck in zone 4 for this year, that was the first place I had in mind to check out. After all, there aren’t many good spots in zone 4 so I might as well spend most of my time at the better spots. At any point you could be seeing the cars from the side view, the back view or the front view around that Turns 11-12 area. Good spot for taking pictures of the cars too. So much so I spent the entire FP1 at the Turns 10-12 area.
If you’re ever at the Singapore Grand Prix and all you’ve got is a zone 4 ticket, the really good spots are at Turn 8, 11/12 and 14. I even tried to see the action at the turn 13 hairpin but you had to stand on a railing just to see the cars. The bit before Turn 14 is also another good spot, that’s the place where you’ll hear the cars at their “loudest” and also the easiest place to see sparks flying off these cars which is always a nice visual. Too bad I can never get a good picture for it. It’s usually the one spot where I’ll be taking videos instead of pictures. You can actually hear the differences from each power units in action.
There is an interesting spot on top of the Esplande building overlooking Turn 15, you can see the cars from the view of the 4th floor and since the building is inside the circuit, anyone with a ticket can watch it from there. It’s also one of the few spots around the track where you can get a picture of these cars without those catch fences being in the way but only for one specific spot. I liked it so much I almost spent all of FP3 at that spot. I probably should have as I didn’t get one good picture of the cars from Turn 15 when I decided to switch with 20 minutes to go.
The atmosphere was amazing with fans from everywhere coming down to Singapore. There were people from Netherlands (lots of Dutch fans here), Denmark, Mexico, Canada and even good ol’ USA but the main ones are the Brits and the Aussies. I ended up sitting around some of them during the race and of course they had a friendly banter with one another with Hamilton and Ricciardo fighting for the win.
There’s no clear cut favourites on who the fans all support so it’s nice to see all different supporters, as it tends to be the case around here. You’ll always hear a cheer for either the Ferrari guys, Mercedes guys, Red Bull guys or the McLaren guys (McLaren fan here). Oh if you were wondering, there was a loud cheer when the two Ferraris crashed into each other during the race. Guess my area was the anti-Ferrari zone.
The same can be said during qualifying. I went back to Turn 11 because there was a super screen there and I wanted to see what times everyone was doing. The crowd around me for qualifying were pro-Verstappen. I was a bit surprised to see a lot of Dutch fans here in Singapore, they really do travel around to support their guys. Good on them. I was sure a Red Bull car would be on pole position with how quick they were in all three practice session but of course Sebastian Vettel had to ruin that and take pole away. Laugh it up Ferrari fans, guess who got the last laugh?
For once I didn’t really bother with the music concerts. I mean look who was there. One Republic? Don’t know them. Chainsmokers? Never heard of them. Calvin Harris? Who the heck is he? I honestly have not heard of him until the friday of the racing weekend. Turns out his is dance music. Really, you’re going to have that shit at an F1 circuit? Where’s our rock & roll music? I mean think about it, F1 is an adrenaline pumping sport, rock and roll gives you that adrenaline rush too! I mean it’s perfect for an F1 race and it’s my kind of music. So until we get someone good, I won’t bother with these concerts. Then again, I’m here at an F1 circuit for the racing itself. I guess you can see why the Australian Grand Prix is still my favourite race to visit, it’s all racing there.
So Sunday was fun in some ways. Looking up in the sky, I knew this could be the day we actually do get hit by the rain during the racing weekend. For some weird reason, the only time it has rained was two Fridays and it was well before any of the F1 practice sessions started. The weather really didn’t help that day. It was raining, then it stopped, then it rained again, then it stopped again, it went on and on. Especially around 10 minutes before the race started, the rain came down again. It wasn’t fun hiding under the grandstand to avoid the rain and still get hit by it! Oh and a piece of advice here, always bring a poncho! I forgot to bring mine and I had to buy one (just for $2) because they didn’t allow umbrellas to be used in the grandstands. I should have known better from my experiences in Suzuka and Melbourne.
So the rain actually rejuvenated the fans around my area, we were all psyched and ready to see the start of the race. We all kinda knew we were about to witness history, the first ever wet race at night in F1. And these guys have never raced around the track in the wet session too so it was a step into the unknown for everyone involved.
And then the start happened. So if you didn’t see, how did you not? Vettel started on pole, Verstappen 2nd and Raikkonen 3rd. Kimi gets a better start then the front two, Seb gets a slower start, tries to cut off Max and this caused Kimi to hit Max and then his own team-mate! The Ferrari guys took each other out! HAHAHAHAHAHA! I’ve never had a good laught at a race like that. People who know me knows how much I hate Ferrari so this felt like my birthday, the greatest gift of them all seeing those two cars out in the first lap!
It was weird seeing the cars race while shivering in my poncho. This was actually my first wet race! I’ve seen wet practice or qualifying sessions in Melbourne, Suzuka and Sepang but never the race itself. Of course I had a tall bloke sitting in front of me in a grandstand as per usual but this time he didn’t really block my view that much when trying to take a picture of the F1 cars in actions.
In the end it was Lewis Hamilton picking up an unlikely win in Singapore. I wasn’t expecting to see a Mercedes car on the podium this weekend since Singapore is their weakest track so to see both of them on the podium was something else. Good ol’ Daniel Ricciardo was on the podium for the fourth year in a row but still not the win. One day Dan will get it and I hope I’ll be near the podium to see it happen. Special shout out to Carlos Sainz, Jolyon Palmer and Stoffel Vandoorne, all 3 of them got their best career finishes in that race with 4th, 6th and 7th respectively.
So it was another good weekend at the Marina Bay street circuit. I already know which tickets I’m aiming to get for next year’s race. Yes, there will be a next year after the news broke that Singapore has re-signed the race for another 4 more years among all the other breaking news to come out last weekend (McLaren switching to Renault power, Toro Rosso switching to Honda power and Carlos Sainz moving to Renault as part of the whole deal). Always good to have my fix of racing in for the year and hey, it won’t be the last, I’ll be at Sepang for the final Malaysian Grand Prix. I hope it doesn’t rain there too.
Wow how about that? After just 2 years since the last time WWE came to Singapore, they’re back in our little sunny island! Woohoo! And of course that means I’ve got another WWE Live event to watch. This being my sixth WWE event and the third one at the National Stadium in Singapore. If you can’t tell, I’m a huge wrestling fan.
But for once I got to see the WWE guys and gals up close for once. I had to go to Bedok to pick something up so I thougth why not just head down to Changi Airport too since they’ll be there around the same time. Apart from Booker T, Daniel Bryan & Dolph Ziggler, I’ve never seen these guys in the flesh outside a wrestling ring or arena before. Of course I knew not to distrub them, after all they’ve had a 20+ flight over and I know how that feels like.
But it was really cool to see how these guys actually are in the real world. I mean I’d never know that Maryse and Alexa are pals and Samoa Joe and Roman Reigns are buddies too. Even though most of them were tired some were still very friendly and saying hi to us fans, guys like Seth, Heath, Bray, Samoa Joe, Titus, Emma and Nia to name a few. Emma was nice enough to even let me take a picture with her! She probably had no idea I was a huge fan of hers, she and Alexa are my two favourite female stars in WWE today. I gotta support my Aussie peeps!
I got there maybe an hour early just to relax and wait for the show. They started it off with the RAW opening video which I thought was pretty cool. And to make things better, they started the show with Chris Jericho vs Hideo Itami. Yes, I’m a huge Jericho fan and I wore my Jericho shirt for this event so it was cool to see him here in Singapore. He was working as a heel and yes, I refused to boo him. I can never do that even though he was so good at being that heel you wanted to hate. It was cool to see a first time ever match in Jericho vs Itami and it was a good match with some comedic bits in there. Of course Itami won, after all, it was the Gift of Jericho. DRINK IT IN MAAAAAANNNNNN!!!!
Titus O’Neil vs Bo Dallas was the next match and it was a short match but Titus Brand…or more like Titus Worldwide now got it’s first international win. RAW Tag Team Champions Sheamus & Cesaro vs Heath Slater & Rhyno was the third match and of course the champs retianed their titles. I have to say, I’m really digging Sheasaro as a tag-team now, you’d never know that they were only a tag team from last year with how well they’ve been working with each other lately. Shame we didn’t get to see the Hardy Boyz in Singapore.
Between the third and fourth match, Enzo Amore & Big Cass had a little promo segment which was almost a rip off of what they did a few nights ago for Monday Night Raw. I will say I do like Big Cass as a heel, he did alright on the mic that day. Then came the fourth match and for me the best match of the night, The Miz & Samoa Joe vs Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins. You heard me right, Miz and Samoa Joe in a team! I’d never though I’d see that. And also a mini-Shield reunion with Ambrose & Rollins. I’m not afraid to say I’m a fan of the Miz and he really showed how good he was in that match. He entertained me and did good in the ring. He knew how to make the fans hate him and have a good laugh at him. At one point Rollins called Miz a chicken and us fans started a KFC chant at Miz. Everytime he got in to the match after that, he got the “KFC!” chants at him. It was really funny, it’s called sports entertainment after all right? I will say this, we need to see The Miz and Rollins in a fued together, it could be really fun to watch. Ambrose picked up the win.
After the transmission break it was the six women tag match Nia Jax, Emma & RAW Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss vs Bayley, Sasha Bank & NXT Women’s Champion Asuka. It was cool to see the RAW and NXT women’s champions square off in the same ring for once. Asuka got the win for her team. The sixth match was Finn Balor vs Karl Anderson with Luke Gallows. Yup, the Bullet Club brothers were up against each other. I still hope these guys will be in a group together and not be fighting each other. Balor got the win.
The main event was Bray Wyatt vs Roman Reigns. Of course I was cheering on Bray Wyatt because I actually like him, he reminds of the old Undertaker back in the day. I wish WWE would do a better job with him though, they’re really wasting a good talent like him yet Reigns keeps getting a push and I’m not a fan of his. I don’t see anything in him, just a big guy, that’s all. Of course Reigns won. But it still was a good time, it’s always fun to watch wrestling live, cheer on your favourites, boo the ones you don’t like and make up some funny chant like KFC. Wrestling is great, isn’t it?
So 27 eh? That age number is getting bigger and bigger by the year but I do like the number 27. It’s the combination of my two favourite numbers 2 and 7. So while others usually plan for a big birthday party for their 16th or 21st or 30th, that’s not for me. I don’t really like parties. But I did want to do something big for my 27th birthday.
So why not go-karting? Racing is one of my favourite things ever. Obviously I’ll never get to do racing professionally, I don’t have the money for it and I’m sure my parents won’t let me go for it too. So why not go for the next best thing, fun karts? So plan for go-karting was set but then I hear the go-kart track at Bukit Timah, the Karting Arena, was closed for renovations, I had to make a change of plans.
So at the last minute, I thought to myself, I’ve not been to the Kranji go-kart track yet, why the hell not? Then came the next problem. Since New Year’s was on a Sunday, Jan 2nd was a holiday for being the monday after a pulbic holiday (or maybe it was a holiday for being my birthday haha). The track would open either 9am (PH) or 3pm (Monday). Of course I had my answer as I was heading to the track at around 11am so I did my usual thing, more late change of plans, head down to Orchard for a while.
I did make my way back to KF1 circuit around 3.30pm, this time with my uncle joining me because even though it’d be fun by myself, I had to share this fun with someone else. And just my luck, it started to rain when we got there. It wouldn’t be my first time racing in the wet though. This would be my 5th visit to a karting track, having tried go karts in Sunway Lagoon and Genting Highlands both in Kuala Lumpur, Kartright Speedway at the other end of Singapore aka Jurong and an indoor circuit somewhere away from downtown Melbourne.
Time to get those tickets. Of course I had to go for Novice (30kph karts) and not Advanced (50kph karts) since I don’t have my driver’s license. At least now I have motivation to get it, so I can drive the faster karts. Those 30kph karts didn’t feel that quick but it still was quick around the circuit. $38 for just 10 minutes doesn’t sound like much but I’ll take it. And since the track was wet due to the rain, that made hings more interesting for everyone. More chances for mistakes eh?
We had to wait a while until it was our turn. Woohoo I’m finally going racing again! But I noticed right away something wasn’t quite right with my kart. I was easily getting overtaken by the rest. But what really pissed me off was this little kid who kept blocking me. He knew I was behind him and let’s just say he was driving a little recklessly. I almost hit the back of his kart a few times but thanks to my supreme racing skills missed him all four or five times.
I finally got past that little bugger thanks to another slower kart holding him up. I was just getting comfortable with the kart and guess what? Time is up! Our 10 minute session was over, I only had 5 laps in and I wasn’t really satisfied. I was only 7th quick out of 12 karters. My uncle was almost the quickest but someone just beat him to the top spot. I had fun but something in me wasn’t quite satisfied with that. So we went for another round.
But of course we had to wait a while again for the Advanced karts and the one guy with the one race kart who got 15 minutes on track action all to himself. The weather wasn’t helping either. The rain got heavier then it got ligther and on and on and on. Not that I wouldn’t have a go on those fun karts in the wet again. Why not?
This time I had a much better kart while poor ol’ uncle got a crap one. I overtook him right away and that was the last I saw of anyone for the next 10 minutes, I had a clear track for my 6 laps this time. And I made full use of it. I noticed my times was getting better and better and on lap 5 I got my best lap to go P1. And that’s how it ended! I’m the fastest! Ok out of only 6 karters this time but still, my name is on top of a timesheet! Now that’s a first for me.
One thing that did suck was that me and my uncle never really got to compete properly. I had the crap kart first then he had it later on. My best lap in my second session was about 0.3 seconds off his best time but the rain was a bit heavier in the second session so who knows! Yes I’m making excuses, that’s what racers do.
So that was a fun little trip up to Kranji. That was easily the most fun birthday I’ve had in a long while. I didn’t really do much before and after that. Watched some wrestling, played some Pokemon Moon and opening up some Pokemon cards too. I’ve still got a good $140 left to spend on my birthday gifts, $40 of which I thought I would use for this but someone paid it for me (thank you uncle). No big fancy meals for me, I don’t need that. I just need a good time and do the things I like and I’ll be happy. That’s the way it should be right?
It sure was worth it. I was tired (didn’t get much sleep), I was wet (rained heavily on track), I had dirt all over me (track again), I was hurting a bit thanks to that first go kart but that was all worth it to have two runs on a go-kart. 🙂
To those of you who did, thank you for the well wishes! I did enjoy my 27th birthday. Now back to reality, school and exams in 4 months time. Wish me luck for that, I’ll need it badly! And of course today being my 27th birthday, I had to get myself a new Manchester United jersey with my name on it and also the #27:
I got myself something really expensive too and if you’re a wrestling fan who plays the PS4/X-boxWhateveritscallednow, you should get the special NXT edition of WWE wK17 game. Some nice stuff in there along with the game.
I also got myself a pokemon TCG EX box because well, I’ve not bought one of those before yet. Wanted to see if there was anything good in it. Of course I got the Gengar EX box because Gengar is one of my favourites and because the Charizard one wasn’t there. Turned out to be a good choice, I got a full art Mega Steelix and a secret rare Mega Gengar! Yes my first ever secret rare card and how ironic it came from a Gengar box.
I’ve still got $30 to spend on. What else can I get…
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.
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?
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.
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!
The guitar hero himself, a true living legend of the music industry, Johnny Marr was in town this past week to do his first ever concert in Singapore. It was my first time at a proper concert (meaning not the ones by the Singapore Grand Prix, I’m there for the races mainly) and for the first one being a Johnny Marr concert and me being a huge fan of the guy, I could not have asked for anyone better.
It was a real treat to see him live to play not just his solo stuff from his first two solo albums, both of which are great, but also his songs from his time with The Smiths, one of the best bands to come out of Manchester and one of the best ever. Then again, my three favourite bands are Oasis, The Stone Roses and The Smiths, all from Manchester! No surprises there haha, their music are just brilliant. It was a nice mix of the old classics and the new hits and some great covers as well.
I’ve seen top names in the music world like Maroon 5, Noel Gallagher (my favourite musician of them all) Katy Perry, The Dhol Foundation, Shakira, Chris Daughtry, Ziggly Marley, The Sam Willows and Pet Shop Boys, all of them great artists/groups themselves but apart from Noel Gallagher, none of them really compare to Johnny Marr’s gig, it was just awesome from start to finish. Then again, I’m a fan of his stuff, especially the things he does on his Fender guitars, so I’m a bit biased there but it sure was a top show the whole way.
I really had a lot of fun listening to some of my favourite songs so I’m here to share the set-list from Johnny’s gig for those who didn’t get to go or are interested to know what it was like. And hopefully some of you might like what you may not have heard yet from the genius that is Johnny Marr. Enjoy!
Playland – Johnny Marr – Playland
Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before – The Smiths – Strangeways, Here We Come
Right Thing Right – Johnny Marr – The Messenger
Easy Money – Johnny Marr – Playland
25 Hours – Johnny Marr – Playland
New Town Velocity – Johnny Marr – The Messenger
Panic – The Smiths – Panic EP
Back in the Box – Johnny Marr – Playland
Spiral Cities – Johnny Marr – ??? (Brand new song, not yet recorded)
Generate! Generate! – Johnny Marr – The Messenger
Bigmouth Strikes Again – The Smiths – The Queen is Dead
The Messenger – Johnny Marr – The Messenger
Getting Away With It – Electronic – Electronic
There Is A Light That Never Goes Out – The Smiths – The Queen is Dead
Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want – The Smiths – William, It Was Really Nothing EP
Dynamo – Johnny Marr – Playland
I Feel You (Cover) – Depeche Mode – Songs of Faith & Devotion
I Fought the Law (Cover) – The Crickets – In Style With the Crickets
How Soon Is Now? – The Smiths – William, It Was Really Nothing EP
I thought it was pretty cool that he played all three of my favourite songs from The Messenger and also Easy Money and Back in the Box, two of my favourites from Playland. Real shame that he didn’t play my other favourite from that album, Candidate. I thought his new song Spiral Cities sounded really good, can’t wait for it to be recorded and released, hopefully in his third album, whenever that’s coming out.
And of course, he had to end the night with my favourite Smiths song of them all, and one of my favourite songs of all time, the bloody awesome How Soon Is Now! If I was a wrestler, that would be my theme song, it just sounds fantastic. I hope it’s not long that Johnny Marr and his band will be back in Singapore. I’ll be there no matter the price. I never did get to meet the great man himself but I did get a poster with his signature, I might as well get that.
And yes I’ve gone and made a playlist with all of those songs if anyone is interested:
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. A 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. Both 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.
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.
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.
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:
After 8 long years away (12 for those of us who didn’t go to that show but went for the 2003 show), finally the WWE is back in Singapore at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. WWE do tend to go overseas a few times to entertain us fans who don’t live the North America but it’s rare that they make a stop in Asia. Usually, they’ll have shows in the United Kingdom and Europe around the April and November time and recently Australia for the August time so it’s nice that there was an Asian tour this time. Half of the roster went to Singapore first for the July 2 show and then to Tokyo, Japan for the July 3 and 4 show and as most of you know, the July 4th show ended up being a live WWE network special and what an event that was.
We got to see pretty much the same guys who were in Tokyo except for Chris Jerico, Paige (both couldn’t make it due to Tough Enough duties) and Brock Lesnar (he only planned on going to Japan to visit an old friend). And of course, a lot of people weren’t happy with the card we had initially we kinda pissed me off, at least the WWE were showing up here, doesn’t matter if the roster were filled with guys I’m not fans of, I’d still go for it! I mean it’s not always the WWE shows up here in Singapore right? Just one thing for these WWE Live shows (or house show as it used to be known), usually the babyfaces wins and the heels don’t ever win, unless it’s by cheating or they end up getting beaten up by the faces at the end.
And since it’s been a while since WWE had been here, I went for ringside seats just for the heck of it. It cost me a good $430+, which is more expensive to what the Tokyo shows had (which was about $230) but hey, I wanted to see how it was like really close to the action and I have to say it was worth the money. Ok, one of the turnbuckle blocked my view of the entrance ramp but still, was a good view from where I was to see the action in the ring. And yes, we got to take back the chairs we sat on for the event for those of us with ringside seats!
The card for the night completely changed as the event started to the one that was advertised for the show, the only match that didn’t change was the main event, Kevin Owens vs John Cena. And I have to say, the updated card gave a much better show than I expected. And they started the night off with my favourite wrestler of this current generation, the man that gravity forgot, Newcastle’s own Neville!
Neville vs Kofi Kingston (w/ Xavier Woods & Big E)
I was expecting to hear Finn Bálor’s awesome theme song to hit after Neville’s own awesome theme song but what came next was Big E’s irritating promo voice. “OH SINGAPORE, DON’T YOU DARE BE SOUR, CLAP FOR THE NEW DAY, AND FEEEEL THE POWWEEERRR”. Yup, it’s the New Day. And it didn’t take long for the fans to start doing the famous clap chant. New Day Sucks! New Day Sucks!
I personally don’t think they suck, all three guys are good wrestlers and funny guys out of the ring, just their new characters…yup, you really want to hate those characters. Makes it easier to go with the New Day Sucks chant. And those guys are hilarious too. They’ll interact with us fans on the outside and just exchange jabs and we talking crap about them and them replying back. Or when Woods go “New Day” and the rest go “Sucks!”. WWE Universe, you gotta be a part of it to experience the fun that comes with being at a WWE event.
This was a really good match to start the night with two high flyers. Neville was amazing as usual, his high flying moves are some of the best in the world. And of course, he won with the picture perfect Red Arrow, the best finisher in WWE today! And I got to see that move live in person, woohoo! Neville won of course and as I say during any of his matches on Twitter, Howay Neville! (Geordie slang for Come on Neville)
Lucha Dragons vs Los Matadores (w/ El Torito)
From one match involving high flyers to another match involving high flyers, this time a tag match with two lucha-style team of wrestlers. I’ve always been a fan of this Sin Cara (who used to be Hunico), not the shitty original Sin Cara and Kalisto, that guy can do some amazing stuff in the ring. It seems like Los Matadores is now the team for the comedic matches. After faking a lock-up, Diego actually locked up with the referee! Haha, good one! Even the poor ref didn’t know what to think of it.
But they weren’t just funny as a face, but also as a heel. Poor El Torito just wanted to be in the match and have some fun but he got thrown out by Fernando. He then decide to stick around and cheer for the Lucha Dragons haha! And yes, he would end up costing his own team the match. Sin Cara with another nice high flying finisher, Senton Bomb, for the win! Another good match.
Finn Bálor vs King Barrett
This match, just like the first match, was another show stealer. King Barrett came out and what a surprise, he cut a promo about him being the king of the ring and king of Singapore. I do like Barrett so he’s alright with me. Bálor came out to a huge pop, not bad for a guy who’s not even on the main WWE roster. Then again, the NXT roster might just be better than the main WWE roster these days. It’s only a matter of time before Bálor gets the call-up to move to the main roster.
As I said before, this was another great match on this card, one of the better matches for sure. There was one point where Barrett was punching Bálor up, stopped, pointed to someone and said “this one is for my fan over there”. He clearly heard a certain somebody shout “All hail King Barrett”, I heard it too. Who said it? None other than my brother who is a huge fan of Barrett so that must have been a cool moment for him. Here’s the funny part, he’s also a fan of Bálor since he’s from NJPW. Bálor got the win, no surprises there and a 2 days later, won the NXT Championship from Kevin Owens over in Tokyo. Barrett should get a push, this guy is good. Give him a chance!
Dolph Ziggler vs Kane in a Singapore Street Fight
This was a fan’s choice match. It was either going to be a normal one-on-one match or a Singapore Street Fight. It was nice to see Kane get one of the loudest pops of the night, great respect for the legend from everyone here. Ziggler obviously got a louder cheer from his fans, but I’m not one of them. He’s a great wrestler but there’s just something about him, I’m just not a fan.
This is the one match where we get to see the weapons involved, be it a steel chair, a Singapore cane, a table or even the steel steps. Yes, you heard me right, they used a Singapore cane in this match….in Singapore…with Kane using it. Let that all go in, Kane using a Singapore cane in Singapore, oh the irony. Another good match, not as good as the two I mentioned but still not so bad. We got to see Kane put Ziggler through a table with a Chokeslam, that’s always good haha! Ziggler won the match, again no surprises there.
There was an intermission break for a bit after the match and since the food and drinks were way too expensive, I went to speak to my brother and meet up with two of my friends. Kinda cool to bump into four friends on that day itself, all of us wrestling fans!
Divas Champion Nikki Bella vs Tamina
Next up is the divas match and I’ll be honest, wasn’t that great of a match, quite short too. It was supposed to be a triple threat match involving Nikki Bella, Paige and Naomi. Paige couldn’t make it because of that Tough Enough show and Naomi pulled out due to personal matters so her cousin in law Tamina took her place. I don’t know why Nikki Bella got such a huge reception, not a fan of hers and well, she’s not that great. Remember that shitty promo about her sister? Yeah. The sad part is, they are planning to make her the longest reigning Divas champion, breaking AJ Lee’s record because well…AJ Lee is Mrs CM Punk. CM Punk betrayed the WWE and now he’s a part of that shit company UFC. And Nikki Bella is technically in some ways Mrs John Cena. So there you go haha!
I thought Tamina did most of the work in that match, it’d be nice to see her get a run with the title soon. Nikki won with a roll-up and that was it. Heck, all I got on video for that match was their entrances haha!
Cesaro vs Big E (w/ Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods)
Another great match on the card and well, anytime you put Cesaro in any match, he’s gonna be good. He’s proven he can match up well with just about anybody in the roster. I still don’t understand why he’s not had a main event push yet? He’s got the following, he’s got the talent, give him a chance to shine!
Of course, New Days were entertaining again in this match. At one point, Cesaro chased Xavier Woods out of the ring just for the fun of it. And not just that, Cesaro hit one of his uppercuts with Big E resting on the guard railing right in front of me! You can’t get any closer to the action than that. And to prove how awesome he is, he stood on the damn railing!
New Day got kicked out of the match because Mr Up Up Down Down (Woods’ gaming channel) tried to hit Cesaro with a chair and both got sent to the back. Cesaro hits Big E with the always awesome Cesaro swing and finished the match with one of my favourite finishers of all time, the Sharpshooter. That was in tribute of his injured tag team partner Tyson Kidd who should have been in Singapore too if not for a serious neck injury. The Swiss Superman was amazing in the ring and even when I saw the wrestlers going back up their coaches and head to their hotel, he was one of the few wrestlers to stop for a bit to say bye to the fans. He’s a top guy all round.
Now for the main event…
WWE United States Champion John Cena vs NXT Champion Kevin Owens
It’s the battle of the champions, US Champ Cena vs NXT Champ Owens. These two have had two brilliant matches in the last two WWE PPVs, and to think those were also the first two WWE PPVs for Kevin Owens. He’s made a huge impact since joining the main roster and well, who is surprised by that? He was killing it in NXT and you should know of what he’s done in ROH and around the world under his real name Kevin Steen.
Of course, with a Cena match, you’ll get the usual “Let’s go Cena, Cena sucks” chant and for the Owens fans “Fight Owens Fight”. There was even a CM Punk chant going at one point but really, why cheer for that guy anymore? He’s done with the WWE, stop wasting your time. I had a CM Punk shirt on before the event and quickly changed to my newly bought Chris Jericho shirt only because, that CM Punk shirt was the only WWE shirt I had haha!
It was another great match between those two. Owens was really funny too, he kept picking on this one little boy in front of me just because he had a Cena shirt and kept looking at him and told him “this is your hero huh?”. Of course, there was the five moves of doom from Cena and when Owens did Cena’s own move, he got a louder cheer! The matched ended by DQ because well…Owens kicked Cena in the nuts! Of course, Cena got his revenge, hit the Attitude Adjustment to send the fans back home happy.
And before we did head home, he spoke to the fans about being back in Singapore and in some ways, said it won’t be the last time we’ll see him and WWE in Singapore. So come on guys, bring the WWE back to Singapore soon, I had so much fun this time around like I have during the other two shows I went to (Singapore 2003 and Sacramento 2014).
It was a great day to see the WWE guys and gals up close in action. It’s a shame I didn’t get to meet even one of them, I was just at the wrong place at the wrong time, darn my luck eh? Oh well. So it remains that the only wrestler I’ve met so far is the legendary Booker T, that guy is funny as heck.
Me being a lifelong wrestling fan, nothing beats going to a WWE event live (maybe apart from watching an F1 race, IndyCar race or a Manchester United match which I’ve not done so yet) and just have some fun there. It’s called sports entertainment for a reason and no-one does it like these guys.
And before I end this, here’s an awesome picture of Neville doing his Red Arrow. I don’t know who took this photo, but nice one!
2 more weeks to go until WWE makes it’s first appearance in Singapore in 8 years or so and me being a wrestling fanatic, I can’t wait for it! For whatever odd reason, I didn’t go for the July 2007 show so the last one I saw was the 5th December 2003 show (Brock Lesnar was on that show so he’s already been to Singapore haha). This show will be on 2nd July 2015 as one of three stops for their mini Asia tour along with two shows in Tokyo, Japan. I can’t wait to see the action and see the best sports entertainers in the world live for the second time in a year, my last time seeing WWE live was actually in Sacramento, California for one of their usual weekend live shows. I’m sure it’s going to be a great show and just from being around other wrestling fan during the Dolph Ziggler meet and greet session, the Singapore Indoor Stadium will be rocking in July, I’m sure of it.
I’ve seen myself twice on that video bit, I’m on the WWE Network haha! 😀
Now, who will we get to see in action? But first, who won’t be on it.
WWE usually has two rosters for their weekend live shows, there’s usually two shows in two different places so you won’t see everyone in one show, it just doesn’t work that way. Anyone hoping to see Randy Orton, sorry to give you the bad news but he doesn’t really do house shows anymore. In saying that, he’s going to be in the Australian and Puerto Rico shows! Come on man! By the way, the Australian roster looks really good. It would be nice to see more of the NXT guys on tour but I guess they’ll stick to their own NXT shows for the moment. At least we’ll get two of them here.
Let’s start with the guys and gals that are on the Winnipeg show. The ones that are advertised to be on the show are WWE Champion Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, WWE Intercontinental Champion Ryback, Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose, Big Show, WWE Tag Team Champions Prime Time Players, Natalya, The Miz, Fandango and Stardust. So we can count these guys out unfortunately, there are quite a number of wrestlers on that list that I’d really like to see in action live here instead.
There’s also the guys who were supposed to be on the Singapore/Japan shows but have been injured or were pulled out. Dean Ambrose was advertised for the show initially but as you know now, he’s on the Winnipeg show. Chris Jericho had planned to be on the show but now he can’t make it due to Tough Enough (thanks for ruining my chance to see one of my all time favourite wrestlers!), so he won’t make the Singapore show but he’ll be on the two Japan shows. Daniel Bryan was another who was advertised but he got injured shortly after that news so he’s out. The main event was supposed to be John Cena vs Rusev but Rusev is also injured. Tyson Kidd just recently joined that unfortunately list when he had his serious neck injury so he too won’t make it (big fan of Tyson here so that’s a real shame). Wishing those three a speedy recovery!
Before I end this list, there are a few more I’ve got to include. For those hoping to see Brock Lesnar, haha give up. Let’s be real, Brock Lesnar does not do house shows. Hell, he doesn’t even show up for most of the bloody Raw TV shows! Why would he want to travel all the way to Singapore just for a show? Ok sure, he’ll be in the second Japanese show which is his first “house” show in ages but that’s only because he had planned to go to Japan himself to visit some friends. And since WWE has a show there, why not get paid to beat the crap out of Kofi Kingston? Hideo Itami won’t be in the Singapore show because from what I know, he’ll be heading for Japan first to visit his family. How do I know this? Hehe…my brother met him and he told him about it! Nice to have some inside scoop for once haha!
Ok, now that’s out of the way, who’s going to be on the show itself? Here’s the card (as of right now, June 21 2015):
United States Champion John Cena vs NXT Champion Kevin Owens
Dolph Ziggler vs King Barrett (or as I like to call him now, Sir Bad News of Barrett)
WWE Divas Champion Nikki Bella vs Paige vs Naomi
Finn Balor vs Neville (Easily match of the night, let’s go Neville!)
Lucha Dragons vs Los Matadores w/ El Torito
Cesaro and Lucha Dragons vs The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and Big E)
Kane will be on the show too, he was supposed to be in a match with Chris Jericho but that obviously will change.
Why are Lucha Dragons scheduled for two matches? I know the planned Cesaro and Kidd vs New Day match can’t happen now but why have them wrestle twice? Just doesn’t make sense. I mean, WWE have got a lot of guys on their roster, surely they can bring in another tag team or bring a few guys and throw them together for that match. Perhaps the joke team of Mandow and Axel Mania for the laughs? Would be nice if Luke Harper and Eric Rowan could fill those spots but they’re a heel team themselves and I have a feeling they’ll be on the Winnipeg show too. What about two face guys together, Jack Swagger and R-Truth maybe? Ok, that won’t work surely. It would be a shame if Kane’s role becomes that of a “general manager”, he can still go in the ring. I initially thought Cesaro would be the perfect guy to replace Chris Jericho but I guess that won’t happen.
I’ve noticed something, Sheamus isn’t planned for either shows so who knows, maybe he might be a last minute addition? Would be nice, I’m digging his new character. I’d like to see Bo Dallas too, he cracked me up at the Sacramento house show last August, we need these guys for the entertainment bit. Looking at the roster heading for Singapore, the only guy who’s likely to cut a promo will be Barrett and New Day (to cheer the power of positivity to a loud NEW DAY SUCKS chant) there’s gotta be more surely. It’s entertainment too.
The card is alright, could have been a bit better but I can’t complain, it’s not always that WWE shows up in Singapore, I’ll take whatever I can get. I’m more than happy that Neville will be on the show, with Jericho not doing wrestling full time, Neville has become my favourite wrestler in the WWE (and NXT before that) so it’ll be awesome to see that amazing wrestler live in person. And he’s gotta hit his amazing finishing move, the Red Arrow. I will go nuts when I see it, I’m sure of it. They have to let him do it surely.
And I’m sure whatever happens, Cena will probably end up the winner at the end. Kinda weird that he’s been on all three shows I’ve been to (Singapore 2003, Sacramento 2014 and Singapore 2015). I’m sure it’s gonna be a great show, I’ve got row 2 seats for it! $400+ but hey, it’s not always WWE will be here and why not, just an expensive seat for once, see if it’s really worth it and I’m sure it will be. I mean, the seats I got in Sacramento was not bad and it wasn’t the first few rows!
Less than 2 weeks away, I can’t wait!
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.
The racing weekend usually starts on Thursday not because there is something going on with the circuit officially (well there was the Driver Autograph session and the Pit-Lane walk but I didn’t win either tickets, so much for paying back to die-hard fans), but just to look at the circuit and see if I can bump into one of the drivers. In previous years I’ve met the likes of Heikki Kovalainen, Narain Karthikeyan, Sebastien Bourdais and Sebastian Vettel in either 2011 (for the first two) or 2008 (the next two). This time, I didn’t get to meet a current F1 driver but I did meet a possible future F1 driver in James Calado, who’s been doing well in F1’s feeder series GP2, and is the new Force India test driver. Also saw Daniel Abt but he just walked away.
Also got to meet Porsche Carrera Cup Asia drivers Yuey Tan and Rodolfo Avila, big thanks to a friend of mine for allowing me to just talk about racing with those guys like we’re just fans of the sport, you don’t always get to do that with professional racers like those two. I didn’t get to walk around the circuit due to the heavy presence of security, but I did get to see the GP2 cars almost up close, they’ve moved to the support paddock opposite Marina Square. Also went to Millenia Walk later on the day to catch a glimpse of Mercedes F1 drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. No luck with getting their autographs.
That Friday was possibly one of my longest days, starting from leaving the house at 9am to getting back home at about 12.30am! I didn’t just enjoy the action at the Marina Bay Street Circuit for the first two practice of F1 and also GP2 practice and qualifying (also staying back to watch Korea’s Big Bang at the Padang stage for my cousins) but also the UBS Go-Kart Challenge with David Coulthard. I did one post just for the UBS go-kart challenge before this post so check it out.
After the super fun but extremely tiring go-kart race with David Coulthard, which I finished side-by-side with him. We got dropped off at the same place they picked us up, and guess who I saw there? DC himself, he had just finished a appearance for UBS, giving prizes to the winners of the simulator challenge (I didn’t do so well for that one). It was cool that he noticed us and I said to him to enjoy the weekend and he said to me to enjoy my weekend too. After my lunch/dinner at Burger King, it’s off to the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
I started my “adventure” at Gate 6, just opposite the Fullerton Hotel, with a good view of the Turn 13 hairpin, the same place where I stood to watch my first race live back in 2011. I missed the first session which was the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia practice and barely made it to the start of the GP2 practice session, watching the future F1 starts making their way through Turn 13, and this time, getting much better pictures there than I did back in 2011. That day I saw a number of guys making mistakes there, this time, I didn’t see any mistakes. That’s because I wasn’t there when the mistakes happened in the first F1 practice session, I had moved elsewhere.
I made my way down to the Esplanade Straight, just before Turn 14 to see the final bits of the GP2 practice, hearing the cars at full power. For that reason, I stayed there for the first practice session for the F1 guys. I do like that spot as you can really hear the cars working, downshifting going into Turn 14 and even see sparks coming off these cars. I would have moved around if not for my friend letting me know that he was coming along and wanted to meet me. Still, I did get to see the cars (if I could catch them) at their very best down that straight.
After that session, my friend wanted to get his dinner at Macs, which I knew would be packed, so I told him to get it dinner while I enjoy GP2 qualifying, which I missed half the session because of the long line going into Gate 3, which is the popular spot (just off Raffles City mall). I caught the GP2 qualifying action from just after Turn 8 and didn’t realise that the spot I chose was actually not bad, so I stayed on for the start of the second practice session. We moved over to the Bay Grandstand next as my friend wanted to see what view he would get from his ticket. Of course, I had to check out the view too so we swapped tickets for a while and I have to say, even from the second last row of the Bay Grandstand, the view isn’t all that bad!
After checking out the view, we made our way to the Padang stage, trying to get a good view to catch K-Pop stars Big Bang. First of all, I’m not big on K-Pop but some people in my family are, so I was trying to get some pics and videos just for them. Those guys aren’t that bad, just their fans there were a bit too crazy, pushing around just to get a better view, I nearly dropped my $1,000 Nikon camera thanks to one idiot. I got so pissed off I just left after 30 minutes, I just couldn’t take getting pushed around for no reason anymore. Plus, I was freaking tired at that point haha!
Not an early start for me on Saturday luckily but I still went earlier than usual, I got to Gate 2 just off Millenia Walk by 3pm and didn’t realise the gates only opened at 3pm so I was one of the first few lining up. I didn’t know this was also a good spot to see a number of F1 personnel. I was walking right behind McLaren’s Sam Michael the whole way to the Singapore Flyer and also saw the likes of Stefano Domenicalli of Ferrari and Guillaume Roquelin of Red Bull. That wasn’t all the people I saw.
I moved over to the GP2 support paddock and saw all the cars lined up, but not the drivers. I stood by near the entrance of the support paddock and then saw GP2 drivers one by one, walking out of the support paddock and to their cars. The one person I almost got to ask a pic for was the one guy I was hoping to meet, Alexander Rossi. I was a bit too starstruck to even ask him initially and when I started moving, he was heading off to his car. Damn my luck.
I made my way to a viewing platform just opposite pit-lane, all the way to the right of the pit grandstand, meaning I got a good view of the cars going past at the start. I had hoped to catch the action from Turn 3 but for some reason the viewing platform wasn’t there. I stuck around for a few laps, just seeing the cars fly past before heading off Turn 23, the same place I had decided I would watch the race from for Sunday. On the way I got to see one of my classmates working at the pit granstand so that was a nice surprise. After a short while of watching the action from Turn 23, I moved over to Turn 22, I might as well wait for the action at Turn 23 till Sunday.
The spot I found at Turn 22 wasn’t that good with many catch fences as it was for the photographers but interestingly none of them were there for the GP2 Feature race, giving me some good shots from that angle. For the last few laps, I went over to Turn 21, that’s one of the better spots to take pictures of these cars. It was there that I saw Felipe Nasr lock up, and one lap later, his team-mate Jolyon Palmer overtook him for the win. Good to see James Calado finishing on the podium too, hope he gets a drive in F1 soon.
I headed back to Turn 22 for the first part of Practice 3 before heading back to Turn 21. This time, the pro photographers did block my view, making it more tricky for me to get some good pictures but when I had a gap, man were those pictures great! Plus, there’s something about the last two corners at Turn 22 and 23 that always attracts me there, the two quickest (and proper) corners on track, you get to see the cars at their best (and worst for those cars that are rubbish).
After the session, I headed over to the Esplanade Outdoor Theater to catch The Dhol Foundation in action. Those guys are just simply awesome, the were probably the only ones for the off-track entertainment that I wanted to catch (and that includes The Killers and Rihana). How awesome were they with their dhols? They didn’t just play Bhangra songs, they also did Reggae and even Irish Folk! I thought their acoustic set was awesome too. I had to leave before their show ended, hoping I had a good spot for F1 qualifying at my usual spot of Turn 16.
I had a decent spot but the place changed the last time I was there (2011), so I didn’t get as good views as I used to but hey, they still had a superscreen there, so that’s all good for me. I thought I’d have some fun by trying to get close up shots of the driver’s helmets, I sure need more work on my timing and my focus to get them just right. Q3 was an interesting session, Sebastian Vettel did the one lap and never went out for a second run. That nearly backfired with Mark Webber, Romain Grosjean and Nico Rosberg all doing quick laps but Rosberg just missed out, which made the Vettel fan-girls next to me scream like crazy. Jeez, it’s just a pole position.
Last day of the racing weekend and once again, I’m making my way through the circuit from Gate 2, realizing that’s the best place to spot drivers or personnel. I did get to see PCCA driver Earl Bamber but couldn’t get a picture of him. I headed straight for my spot at the viewing platform at Turn 23 and guess what, no-one else was around, giving me enough time to find the right spot. Soon I was joined by a couple of Aussie peeps, and hey, it’s always good to be around these Aussies, they’s always the ones who make the atmosphere more fun. Makes it better for me that I’m also a Mark Webber fan and sporting his shirt. Heck, even an English lady next to me was a Webber fan, we were turning that spot to the Mark Webber fan zone haha! That was until other fans joined in.
The first piece of action was the GP2 sprint race, the one were pit-stops are not needed but strangely enough, there were a lot of pit-stops in that race, the tyres just didn’t go well for some guys. It sucked to see Alex Rossi with wing damage at the start, he was the first to make his way to pit-lane with his broken front wing. I also spotted Stefano Coletti with front wing damage before he made his stop. It was another good race, the mid-grid action was the best with cars closely following each other. Great to see Sam Bird taking the win, his fifth of the season. The guy deserves a shot in F1.
Next up was the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia race and well, we didn’t get much of a race because of a strange incident. A one car crash on Lap 2 didn’t look big, it caused the safety car but it looked as if they could get the car away quickly but it took them 6 or 7 laps out of the 12 scheduled to get the car to a safe place, the car was badly damaged. There were a lot of good racing there too, and Rodolfo Avila got some overtakes in front of me, thanks man! He and Yuey Tan even raced with each other for a while, both those guys sure were friendly when I met them on Thursday. Bamber won the race ahead of Craig Baird, who had won this race for the last two years.
After that was the F1 driver’s parade and this one was a bit different for me. I hadn’t realised that right opposite me was the spot where the drivers would drop off after the parade and that meant I had a bit of trouble trying to get some of the drivers in my video. I missed Lewis Hamilton in my view as he went off his parade classic car right away, some of the fans were not happy about that haha! Of course, Mark Webber and Jenson Button got some of the louder cheers along with Raikkonen, Vettel and Alonso. And well, being around a bunch of Aussies, there were loud cheers for Daniel Ricciardo too, and he gave us all a thumbs up!
I got a great view of the last two rows on the grid but the only guy I could see was Max Chilton, who walked past opposite us for his little break for the race. Turn 23 turned out to be a good spot, you can tell which cars were great around the last two quick corners and which ones were rubbish. The Marussia cars always looked like it would go off, they were really unstable at times. So it was pretty funny that apart from Chilton’s second lap off moment there, they didn’t go off at the corner. Esteban Gutierrez nearly hit the wall in front of us in his Sauber, I really thought he would head straight for it, but he saved it! Valtteri Bottas also went off but wasn’t as dramatic as Gutierrez’s off moment.
After the safety car, the race got more interesting and everytime Mark Webber made an overtake, there were loud cheers going around my area. There were even louder cheers when Paul di Resta crashed with a few laps to go. Not the fans didn’t like him, but it looked like the safety car might come out and cut Vettel’s huge gap and mean Webber would be right in front of Raikkonen for the last podium spot. We kept looking at the marshals, some even shouting at them to put up the “SC” board haha!
It never went up and Vettel had an easy run to the flag. Alonso finished 2nd with Raikkonen taking 3rd, amazing drives by both former champions (Alonso started 7th, Raikkonen started 13th and had back issues), and they’ll be Ferrari team-mates next year! Webber didn’t finish 4th. Heck, he didn’t finish the last lap. I saw smokes count out of his car with one lap to go and he stopped with two thirds of the circuit to go. But hey, he gave us that classic shot when Alonso gave him a lift back to the pits, that rarely happens! I never thought my last picture of Mark Webber would be that of him being on Alonso’s car getting a taxi ride back to the pits.
After the safety car went through the circuit, mayhem ensued! Fans running to the podium, hoping to catch the podium finishers up close. I did join in when they were playing the Austrian national anthem for Red Bull, I mean that anthem was freaking long. So long that when I got to the track, Raikkonen just got this 3rd place trophy, so I got a good shot of the guys spraying the champagne! Of course, we had the whole controversy of the booing of Seb Vettel on the podium but that only happened the second time Martin Brundle spoke to him. And at the same time, there were a lot of Alonso chants too, need me to tell you who were booing Vettel? No surprises there I guess.
After checking out the pit-lane, seeing the Sky Sports doing their thing just outside the Red Bull garage and seeing the cars at parc ferme, it was time for me to head back home. I got delayed when I saw The Dhol Foundation playing at the Village Stage, so why the heck not? Just stay back a little bit more to watch them playing their awesome dhols, these guys are just mega! 2013 Singapore Grand Prix is done, I can’t wait for the 2014 Singapore Grand Prix to start already. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the sights of another race before it, bring 2014 on!