Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Fortress Singapore

Fortress Singapore, a Today newspaper headline, seems very suitably named. The Today's news article is about how the authorities have stepped up the security for the 117th International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting, which among other things, will choose the host country of the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Sometimes I really wonder if the Singapore authorities have over-reacted to the security threat. Even before this event, the security measures across the island has tighten up. So I see machine-gun at Orchard Road! And the big Security t-shirt at the MRT station, which I think is useless. Not to say the 'cannot take photograph' immigration checkpoint at land crossing with Malaysia, which doing nothing else other than causing long traffic jam. Oh ya, may be they stopped the gun flowing in, but I don't heard much of it even before 911 attack. Anyway, luckily they don't jail if you take photograph at the immigration building. The worse if confiscation only.

Anyway, here the full article:

Fortress Singapore

Along with IOC glamour comes security burden

Wednesday • June 29, 2005

Ansley Ng

THE smiles have been perfected.

But as Singapore prepares to hold the 117th International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting to choose the host country of the 2012 Summer Olympics, one group has its guard up.

For eight months, security officials have been sparing no effort to ensure the safety of delegates at one of the highest-profile events to be held in Singapore this year.

More than 2,000 police officers, soldiers and civil defence personnel will be deployed to protect about 3,500 foreigners, including heads of state, celebrities and sporting greats.

"This will be one of the biggest security operations in Singapore in terms of scale and numbers," Senior Assistant Commissioner Aubeck Kam, the Singapore Police Force's director of operations, told reporters yesterday.

For a week starting on Saturday, security will be tightened for the arrival of world leaders such as British Prime Minister Tony Blair, French President Jacques Chirac and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

Football stars David Beckham and Raul, and boxing legend Muhammad Ali will also be in town.

Police have been working closely with the armed forces, civil defence force and organisers to "ensure all delegates have a safe time and see the best of Singapore", said SAC Kam.

For example, police may conduct checks on shoppers at the Raffles City Shopping Centre, next to the convention centre where the meeting will be held.

Vehicles entering the mall's basement car park would also be checked, while visiting delegates would be assigned bodyguards.

While the authorities prefer to err on the side of caution, security experts told Today that the threat of terrorists mounting attacks on the meeting was low.

"You can never rule out the possibility of an attack but I would be extremely surprised (if it happened)," said Dr Tim Huxley, senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

"Singapore is such a hard target that it is extremely likely to deter terrorists from thinking seriously about attacking this event because Singapore has been proactive in the war against terrorism."

The attendance of so many world leaders and sports stars is viewed as a sign of the world's confidence in Singapore's security.

"In Singapore, the level of security is very high," said Dr Huxley, who specialises in Asia-Pacific security and defence. "It is precisely that sense of security that not only reassures leaders attending such a meeting but also helps attract them."

But it is the high-profile nature of the event — and the guests — that has driven the authorities to take no chances.

Of the cities vying for the Games, New York has already been the victim of the most spectacular terrorist in history. Madrid and Moscow have also been hit by terrorists. London is Enemy No 2 for some, because of Britain's ties with the United States. And, until recently, the Al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah terror group was sharpening its knives in the region.

But the authorities can breathe a little easier, knowing that the militant group — whose last significant act of terror was the bomb blast near the Australian Embassy in Indonesia last September – has been crippled.

"We have seen it mount significant attacks … but it's leaders are on the run," said Dr Huxley, speaking to TODAY from London.

"They are probably more worried about evading capture than mounting significant attacks at the moment."

Another security expert, Dr Andrew Tan of the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, agreed.

"They (JI terrorists) have to assemble a team of people, have local logistical support, be able to smuggle weapons in and carry out surveillance," said Dr Tan. "It's difficult for JI as many of their commanders are either on the run or arrested."

Last weekend, Basque terrorist group Eta set off a car bomb next to a proposed Olympic stadium in Madrid to protest the city's bid to host the 2012 Games. Could they try to grab the world's attention here?

"Eta does not have the capacity to operate worldwide … chances of them carrying out attacks here would be remote," said Dr Tan.

"Eta has political demands. They explode a bomb but they usually don't want to kill too many people. They want to make a political point," he added.

Nevertheless, along with the smiles, the officials have been striving to perfect their defences too.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Blogsome is Down, hence blog on Dae Jang Geum

I host my blog about Korean drama series Dae Jang Geum in Blogsome. It's an instant hit. Within 2 days it's found, indexed and crawled by Google, and sending numerous visitors to it each day. However to my horror today, it seems like Blogsome is down today. I can't access my blog and even Blogsome homepage at all. Hopefully it will be up very soon.

NB: The site is up and running again after about 5 hours outage.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Page Rank Update

Ever since Google floated the idea of Page Rank, it has became one of the most important aspect of Search Engine Optimization. Higher Page Rank will push the position of a website towards the top in a Google search, which is the major search engine in the world. However, the information on Page Rank is scare. The only ways to view what is your website's Google Page Rank is via Google Toolbar or Google Directory. Even so, the Page Rank is not updated instantly. It's updated only once about 3 months.

SEO Company's Page Rank Update List History provides some important information on when a Page Rank update occurred, and predicts when is next. It also contains information about backlinks update, and other Google related update. Backlink is the link from other website to your website. Basically, the more quality backlinks you have, the higher the Page Rank will be. So the information of the backlinks is important too.

Blog Promotion

How to promote a blog? Looks no further. Best Blog Directory And RSS Submission Sites lists more than 100 blog directories and RSS sites that you can submit the blog to. This ensures maximum exposure to your blog. However, unique quality contents are still key to a success of a blog.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Finished Writing Northern Vietnam Travelogue

Finally I finished writing my Northern Vietnam Travelogue which included travel in Hanoi, Halong Bay and Sapa. In the future, I will continue to touch up the travelogue when I have free time. But I guess it will be more or less the same.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Crazy about Dae Jang Geum (大长今)

Finally I finished watching Dae Jang Geum. Last 2 weeks, I had spent most of my time watching the 70 episodes Korean drama series (54 episodes for original Korea's 60 minutes version).

Dae Jang Geum, also translated as Jewel in the Palace, or 大长今 in Chinese. The drama background was set on the period of Chosun (or Joseon) Dynasty (朝鮮王朝) in Korea, and spanned across briefly during the reign of King Seongjong (成宗 李娎), King Yeonsangun (燕山君 李隆), mostly during the reign King Jungjong / Chungjong (中宗 李懌) and ended during the reign of King Myungjong (明宗 李峘), about around 1490 - 1552.

The drama depicts the historical story of Dae Jang Geum, the first female royal physician in Joseon Dynasty, which portrays the her determined struggle, her sacrifice and her wisdom to rise thru the rank at the time where female has no place in society to become the first female doctor to the King.

Did I like this drama? Ya, for sure. Why? Not sure. I believed this drama is also a typical Korean drama series success formulas. An interesting story line, a tearful and 'all the bad things hit them' characters, beautiful sceneries, a little humors, and of course, very nice sound tracks. Nevertheless, this drama inspires about determination and courage, and provides insight into ancient Korean culture, medicine and cuisine, and nonetheless, peasant life.

Visit Jewel in the Palace for more information.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Tiger Causeway Challenge 2nd Leg

Singapore won again! At the first leg of the international friendly between Singapore and Malaysia, Singapore won over Malaysia 2 - 0. Now at the 2nd leg of the match at Stadium Bandaraya Penang, Malaysia, Singapore again won Malaysia 2 - 1.

Malaysia's goal was scored by Arsyah Ayob at 25th minute. Singapore's goals were scored by Noh Alam Shah 19th minute and Daniel Bennett at 66th minute. Well done Signapore!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Tiger Causeway Challenge with Beers and Girls

Courtesy of Tiger Beer F.C. I was able to attend Tiger Causeway Challenge, an international friendly football match between Malaysia and Singapore, also in support of President challenge 2005. Malaysia and Singapore has long been an arch rival, and this game was a chance for Singapore to seek revenge after continued to lose to Malaysia 3 times, and even humiliated by Malaysia 4-0 in front of home crowd in 2002.

So Singapore did it! The Lions won Malaysia 2-0, scored by Noh Alam Shah at minute 32 and 90. But for the Tiger Causeway Challenge, the challenge is not ended yet. There will be the second leg of the match in Penang next week. Who will win next?

Tiger Beer promotion before game starts

Malaysia and Singapore teams and the referees lined up in the field for national anthems.

Beep! Match started.

Beautiful Tiger Beer girls Serene and Jean (if I heard correctly) with Tiger Cup, won by Singapore Lions on 2005. The girls helped others to take the photo with the Tiger Cup with instant Polaroid camera, and served as model too.

Football, beers and girls were all ingredients for the enjoyable night. The 2 pretty Tiger Beer girls served the guests with, what's else? Tiger Beer.

From National Stadium, beautiful scene of Singapore skyline.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Tiger Causeway Challenge

I get 2 VIP tickets to Tiger Causeway Challenge, a football match between arch-rival Malaysia and Singapore to raise fund for President Challenge 2005. The funny thing is, while I am a Singapore Parmenent Resident, I am actually a Malaysia citizen. The 2 VIP tickets that I got is sponsored by Tiger Beer Singapore, so I believe it's for supporting the Singapore soccer team. But naturally I should support my home country team. So which team should I support? Anyway, since 2002 Singapore had lost to Malaysia for all 3 matches that they met each other, and even humiliated by Malaysia 4-0 in Singapore backyard itself.

Most importantly is we're going to have free flow of food and ice-cold Tiger Beer for the day!