Sunday, April 24, 2016

LINGGIU RESERVOIR

Receding water levels at Linggiu Reservoir have been hitting the headlines


To see how bad the situation really is, we headed towards Bandar Tenggara. The main entrance of the reservoir is located 12 km east of the town


The gate is guarded by military personnel and needless to say, we were refused entry into the premises. However, with the help of GPS and Google Map, we tried to explore other possible accesses into the reservoir. This led us to drive through plantations and over unmarked tracks. It wasn't long before we realised that our choice of vehicle could have been better!


Nonetheless, we were undeterred and even went on foot when the track leading to the reservoir was not passable for my car. 


After trekking (on foot) over a series of undulations, the view of the reservoir was in sight. We can't help feeling like small kids arriving at a theme park. Welcome to the southern tip of the reservoir!



While we were feeling excited about our discovery, the overall "dryness" of the area was equally shocking.  
Note the bank at the background of this photo


From the bank, we could walk on the dried reservoir bed for almost 1km before reaching the current main water body. 


In terms of height, the water level must have dropped equivalent to 5 storeys or more. 


Here's an abandoned boat that shows water was probably aplenty not so long ago. 


And the cracked earth is a cruel reminder that water is precious, a reminder that we need to conserve water. 


Monday, April 27, 2015

EARTHQUAKE IN KATHMANDU

I landed in Kathmandu, Nepal on 22 Apr '15 to attend the FIA Sport Regional Congress at Everest Hotel.  For the next few days, there were numerous interruptive power cuts.  Some attendees of the congress were joking among themselves, predicting when the next stoppage would occur. But none of us would ever imagine the power cut on 25 Apr '15 to be so horrifying.  It happened at 11:56 am, when the floor began to tremble.  This was followed by strong sways causing people to panic and scream.  At that moment, I was in the hotel function hall together with more than 30 attendees from various countries. Many of them ran for the door instantaneously while few of us crawled under the tables. In between the panicky moments, all of us managed to get out of the hotel and we ran towards the streets where vehicles have come to a halt and terrified locals were everywhere.

At a nearby hospital, patients were evacuated from the building for safety reason.

The tremors continued intermittently.  At around 12:30 pm, our host from Nepal then moved us away from the streets to an open ground behind the hotel.

 We were grateful for snacks, drinks and chairs arranged by our host. For the next few hours, we 'camped' at the open ground and, while waiting for further instruction from our host, we talked with each other to keep our worries at bay.

 By 5:00 pm, it was getting dark and chilly.  We were allowed to enter the hotel building where the staff had checked and swept the debris aside.

 All of us scrambled up the stairways to collect our belongings from the rooms.  Our host then provided cars and rushed us to the airport.  Along the way, I witnessed more locals who feared for their own safety and filled open spaces outside buildings.  Our driver had to pay extra attention to avoid the crack lines on the roads!

 The scene at the airport was no better.  It was crowded, chaotic and, to our disappointment, the terminal building was closed. (We later learnt from an unconfirmed source that part of the runway may have been damaged.)  Fortunately, our host managed to convince the airport authority to allow us into the waiting lounge.  Here's a picture of the deserted departure area. 


 Just as we felt a little more settled, a series of aftershocks got us panicking again, particularly the ones at 1:00 am and 5:00 am.  At 6:00 am, I stepped out of the terminal building and saw thousands of people scattered around the airport compound.

 Meanwhile, we continued to experience more aftershocks.  Our host tried to bring us breakfast but only managed to get drinking water and fruits - a clear sign that the city is not operating business as usual.  Around 10:00 am, we were advised to have our luggages scanned by the security at the departure gate so we could proceed to check in for our flight.  There was hardly any control at the gate but glad we managed to squeeze through.

 As expected, we encountered further problems such as delay at check-in counter and lack of information on flight gate, boarding etc.  But the main chaos must be the strong aftershock which occurred at 1:00 pm measuring 6.7 on the Richter Scale.  Passengers ran for the tarmac and waited in the open.  With such large crowd and assortment of planes (both commercial and military), the scene at Tribhuvan International Airport could be mistaken as an Air Show.

To have to work in such conditions and handle the unusually large volume of traffic, including airlifted aids from Singapore, India, US and other neighboring countries, the airport staff are truly commendable.  My gratitude to our host Nepal Automobile Sports Association - particularly to General Secretary Govinda, Secretary Sushil (see in below picture) and their fellow colleagues who never failed to place our safety as priority. 

May the people of Nepal find the strength and courage to rebuild itself.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

AHTIPC





Sunday, October 19, 2014

HYUNDAI GENESIS 3.8

Leading motoring magazine Torque features the new 3.8-litre Hyundai Genesis as its cover story for this month's issue.  

The car was test driven by 3 drivers representing their respective age groups.  

For this photo-essay, I snapped the following pictures at Dempsey Hill. 

Note the front anti-collision sensor (just above the number plate) which is well camouflaged by the top second and third row of the grille. 

Rear view of the car reveals traces of Hyundai's current DNA. 

On the move, the rear seat offers slightly better ride comfort.  

The winged logo of the Genesis is widely deployed throughout the car. Hence the car is often mistaken as a Bentley or an Aston Martin. 

However, the Hyundai logo can be spotted at the bottom corner of the car windows and the engine cover. 

"The Genesis is impressive - it drives well and looks great".  Check out page 34 of Torque Oct 2014 issue for my full comment on the new Genesis.

Monday, May 26, 2014

CANBERRA ROAD SAFETY CAMPAIGN 2014

The Canberra Road Safety Campaign was officially launched by Grassroots Adviser Dr Lim Wee Kiak on 5th May 2014 at Northoaks Primary School.  Dr Lim is seen here chatting with Mr Tan Teng Lip (SMSA President), Bingo (with helmet) and Mr Peter Burns (FleetSafe Asia).


For this year's campaign, the objective of SMSA Mobility and Road Safety Commission is to demonstrate and educate young children on the various blind spots of a heavy vehicle. As exemplified in the picture below, the motorcycles are in the blind spots of the truck and hence cannot be seen by the truck driver.

However, it will be too challenging for us to arrange an actual truck into the school premises and carry out the exercise.  Hence, with the help of Karl Daruwalla, Paul Lincoln and Peter Burns, we created a prop (shown in the picture below) that's not only portable but could be erected within minutes!

For our demonstrations, Peter was the presenter while Carmen played the  role of the truck driver.  A webcam was mounted on her head for the purpose of transmitting live feed to a connected projector. This in turn enabled the audience to witness the exact view from the driver's perspective.

Bingo would then move around the truck to illustrate where the various blind spots are to the audience i.e. areas that were not visible to the driver. 

Last Friday, our team conducted its 2nd demonstration at Wellington Primary School where I was warmly greeted by the Principal, Mr Gary Tsu (center).  I was also pleasantly surprised to have the Road Safety team from Traffic Police Department and their Commanding Officer DSP Soh Wan Khuan (left) there to watch our demonstration.

This morning, we witnessed the largest turnout (more than 1,500 students) for our 3rd and final show at Endeavour Primary School.  In order to ensure that the signals from Carmen's webcam were properly transmitted, I checked out the AV room located on top of the school hall. Very glad to see the controls were manned by 2 very young students!

Our shows may have ended but we are proud to have found a new 'home' for our truck.  It is now parked within the Road Safety Park at East Coast where the teaching of blind spots shall continue.....