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UBS Go-Kart Challenge with David Coulthard – My story of that event

I couldn’t tell you how excited I was when I found out that I was one of the lucky five chose to compete in this event. I mean, we got a chance to race with David Coulthard! Yes, that same guy who drove for Williams, McLaren and Red Bull and have won 13 grand prix in his career! And being a McLaren fan myself, I had always been a DC fan during that era so I got a chance to race one of my favourite drivers in the early days of me watching F1. I’ve done some runs in those fun Go-Karts a couple of times but this was my first time being in a “competitive” racing sessions, those guys treated the whole thing like one. I’ve done some runs in those fun Go-Karts a couple of times but this was my first time being in a “competitive” racing sessions, those guys treated the whole thing like one.

The kind people at UBS picked us up at their offices at Raffles and we made the long trip to Kartright Speedway (which is at Jurong, the very west of Singapore). Kartright was the first “race-track” t o be opened in Singapore in 2010 but this was my first time racing there. The track itself was not bad, best go-kart track I’ve driven at so far. I asked my brother to accompany me to the event and get some pictures for me but the UBS people were lacking some racers to fill the grid of 20, so they asked my brother to join in the fun, that lucky bugger. The first session was the practice session for us contests winners and just before it started, David Coulthard showed up, and of course, I had to meet him right away, it’s DC damn it!

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David Coulthard! Seen him race many times, now I get to see him race real up close

I only realised as we were getting ready for the practice session that most of the people I was up against we were pro-karters themselves or have driven go-karts on a regular basis, with me being the least experienced. I knew I had to do my very best to get into the grand final, my best practice time was just 57 seconds, not good so far. For the qualifying session, I did find some time and got a 53 second lap. All there was left to do was watch the second session and hope I’ve done enough.

I didn’t keep track of my time for most part of that session, just seeing what my brother was doing. He had been doing laps of 62+ seconds for the most time before he did a 57 second lap on his last effort. There were a few guys who did 52s laps and some 53s laps, so I had to wait to know if my time was good enough. I would know if I made it when the published the grid for the “mini-final” and my name wasn’t on it, so I made it. My brother didn’t do so well and finished a lap down but he was suffering with his wrist, just like I was. We didn’t have gloves like most others. Now it was time for the grand final, and I’m happy that I’ve got into that grand final, that’s all I wanted because I knew I wouldn’t be competitive against the others haha!

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Me and the legendary David Coulthard!

I was bound to start 7th and I had the legendary David Coulthard starting next to me. I wished him luck just before we got into our karts and he told me “just have fun out there”. It was a 10 car grid with two guys starting in pit-lane (one was supposed to start on pole but was penalised). DC had a mega start, squeezing his way through the field already and I was trying to pick up the pieces but I couldn’t do much. I tried my best to keep up with the rest but I just couldn’t. Then again, this was my first “race” against people who’ve raced many times before, all I wanted to do was to finish on the lead lap and hopefully not last.

I did get past one guy who was struggling more than myself with a nice outside pass, showing that I can race these guys, too bad I didn’t have the speed. DC had made his way to the front in just two laps but after a while, he drove through pit-lane just to have some fun. The two fastest guys the whole way battled for the lead and finishing 1-2, just not in the order most expected. DC was fighting for 3rd before he slowed down just before the line, allowing everyone to pass him. I didn’t want to beat a legend like him that way so I slowed down too just before the line, trying to make it a dead heat between us but I messed up, David beat me by some 0.2 seconds. I finished 8th in the end but hey, for my first race, I finished side-by-side with David Coulthard, no matter the situation, no-one can ever take that away from me haha! Still wondering if anyone had a good picture of it.

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Ok, so they spelled my name wrongly but that’s ok, my name is just below David Coulthard’s! Now that’s freaking cool.

I was a bit dissapointed with my own race, hoping I could at least fight for a top 5 spot but then again, I never really stood a chance. Oh well, I did get to race with David Coulthard, so that was super cool, and I got to speak to him as if we were good friends. I also got him to sign his book “It Is What It Is” and his 2000 McLaren F1 Minichamp diecast! People have called him the gentleman racer, he sure is a gent! I didn’t win anything but I did get some stuff from UBS and also the cake but that never made it home haha! Big thanks to UBS for setting this up, never had so much fun at an event like this in a long while. How I wish I could do go-kart racing or any kind of racing for a living, now that’s my dream job.

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If only I could do this for real!

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Booker T in Singapore

Before last weekend, I had not once seen a wrestler up close and that all changed last Saturday, and it wasn’t just any wrestler, it was the legendary Booker T. I had been looking for that day a long time if I’m honest, I’ve been a wrestling fan since I was young, so it sucks to have waited this long to meet one wrestler but hey, some things are worth the wait I guess.

The venue was Bugis+, a place I hadn’t been to before even thought it’s right next to Bugis Junction which I used to go to all the time seeing as I stayed over at Rochor as a kid just a stones throw away from Bugis Junction. I knew I had to go early if I wanted to meet Booker T, only 50 lucky fans with some StarHub bill would get in and luckly for me, I was the 40th or 41st to show up. Yeah, I showed up at 11.30pm, when the event was only due to start at 3.30pm. Being a diehard fan of wrestler, I didn’t mind the long wait one bit. At least I brought my DS to keep me entertained with the new White 2 game (why the heck not?) and just wait.

It was pretty cool to see Booker T live for once, I’ve watched him during his days in WCW (yes, they did show WCW here in Singapore) and I thought it was crazy that I get to meet someone I’ve seen wrestle for a long time and he’s not just any ol’ wrestler. He’s a 6 time world champion (well, he is the FIVE TIME, FIVE TIME, FIVE TIME, FIVE TIME, FIVE TIME WCW Champion), 15 time tag champion, King of the Ring winner and he’s achieved many things in the crazy world of professional wrestling. The little mall with thousands of fans went nuts seeing Booker T when he showed up, and yup, YES! chants took over Singapore too haha (I’m jumped on Daniel Bryan’s YES bandwagon long before anyone else did, when he was still a heel, I always thought that YES chant was funny and chatchy).

They had some trivia questions, all of which I knew but of course, they’re always picking some kid or someone that doesn’t look like they know the answer. Heck, the “impersonation contest” was kinda rubbish, I could have done a better job. And everyone said the same thing, “can you dig it, sucka”. Come on, no “Tell me, you didn’t just saw that” or the awesome “oh shucky ducky quack quack” or even “the fave five”. Come on people. Oh yeah, the new WWE 2K14 game was on demo but I couldn’t try it, too many clowns around haha. It does look similar to the previous game though.

Still, I did get to meet Booker T during the meet and greet session which was super cool, didn’t think I could get in as one of the first 50 but it happened! I got up to the table and the first thing I did was bow to Booker T, he was King Booker at one point. I told him “All hail King Booker” and he got a good laugh about it, gotta entertain him a bit too after all the years he entertained me. Told him I was a big fan of his to which he said “thanks man, I appreciate it”. Didn’t get to talk to him all that much but I can tell he’s a nice guy, and I got my picture and a signed poster of him, so I’m more than happy after that day! A bit dissapointed that there was no famous Booker T spinnerooni on show for us that day, but as some of you may know, he did have surgery on his elbow so he couldn’t do it but promises not just to come back to Singapore one day but pull it off for us, and hopefully I’ll get to see it haha. Finally I got to meet a wrestler and it happened to be Booker T, I can dig that sucka!

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Booker T and myself!

One thing Booker T did say was that WWE might come to Singapore for a house show next year, which would be awesome. I did get to see the December 2002 show many years ago, but it’s been a while since the WWE was in Singapore (mid 2007 was the last time they were here). The moment I hear WWE is coming to Singapore, I’m getting those tickets no matter what. Still, if Wrestlemania is heading to San Francisco in 2015 or 2016, I might go for that one too. Big thanks to StarHub and WWE for making this meet and greet happen and giving me the chance to meet the legendary Booker T.

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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Can’t wait for more!

First half of 2012 almost done!

Wow, the year really has flown past just like that! I’ve always said that I’ll like 2012 for some good reasons, the main one being that on the 1st of August this year, I’ll finally get out of the army, having had two years of my life wasted there doing nothing when I could be studying!

Already having lots of fun this year, not doing as much work as I did last year (since I had to help out with NDP and all). I’ve been two two trips already, firstly to Melbourne, Australia in March to check out the city for my own little break along with attending the 2012 Formula One Australian Grand Prix. The second visit was to Genting Highlands near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. But that’s not all, only 2 days after my army is done, I’m going on another trip. After all, I do like to travel and see the world for myself. I do like an adventure.

The first half of the year has been great, and I cannot wait for the second half of the year! I mean, in just a few days time, ORD! Gone from the army. School starts in October, I hope, and it’s back to the life I’m used to, as a student. Anything with freedom and I’m cool with that!