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Saturday, August 01, 2015

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, China town, Singapore

We visited Buddha tooth relic temple on day 1 of our tour. It had an attractive structure on the outside and much more interesting and photogenic stuff inside. This post shares my pictures of Buddha Tooth Relic temple in Singapore's China Town and some related information.

Tang Dynasty style gate guards (Dwarapala)- notice sharp threatening looks, muscular body and weapons- read more here 

Buddha Tooth relic temple is about 10 years old

Additional Information
  • Address: 288, South Bridge Road, Singapore, 058840
  • Buddha Tooth Relic temple is open from 7AM to 7PM. 
  • China Town MRT is nearest station. 
  • Official website is here. It has lots of interesting information on the temple construction, architecture and so on.
  • Entry is completely free, including photography.
  • Dress code applies. Shorts, bare backs, mini skirts are not allowed.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Flipkart & Amazon to launch CET like counselling to sell smartphones

This is a satire and not real news.

eNidhi India has learnt that not content with repeated flash sales, major e-commerce players like Amazon and Flipkart have decided to organize a counselling session to decide who gets to buy what mobile. This counselling session will be modeled based on CET (Common Entrance Test)- a systematic mechanism used in Karnataka to assign engineering seats to aspiring students.

Below is how it would work:
Step 1: Write Entrance Exam
Under the new process, those aspiring to buy yet to be launched mobiles which are always in short supply than demand, need to take up an online exam, in which they need to answer questions such as
- What is your monthly income?
- How desperate are you to buy this new phone
- How many selfies would you be posting online on day 1 if you get the phone?
- What are the last six phones you've used?
- After how many months/weeks you plan to come back to us to buy another smartphone?

Step 2: System assigned ranking
Based on prospective buyer's answer, system will assign a ranking to each buyer.
Step 3 Counselling

  • On a pre-defined day, wannable buyers should visit the counselling centre with cash and a smartphone(to keep updating their progress)
  • Flipkart and Amazon officials, along with representatives from phone makers like OnePlusOne, Xiomi etc will be calling in the buyers one by one based on rank and buyers will have to select a model from available options
  • A large display board will indicate which model how many pieces are left out
  • Once a buyer is assigned a particular phone, he/she should publish a mandatory selfie with large size cardboard display of new phone, make full payment and go home.
  • New phone will be delivered to the buyer through sellers' logistics partner.
  • In case a heavy rock is delivered instead of smartphone, buyer should repeat the process from Step 1

Note Post inspired by a status update of Nivedith G Image used is also taken from the same update

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Early morning/Late evening attractions in Singapore

Assume you’re in Singapore on work- Monday to Friday. You don’t have a weekend to spare. Either because you want to go back to your family or your company doesn’t like you staying a day more than necessary, you’re taking Friday night flight back home. Because most of the attractions open by 9/10 AM and close by 5/6PM, they can’t be visited unless you get a weekend or you take off.  So what can you explore in Singapore during week days, out of office hours? Assuming you can get up early and visit some places before going to office (say 6 to 10AM) and you’ve some time to go around after office  hours before hitting bed (6PM to 10PM), I am listing a set of attractions in Singapore that can be explored early morning or late evening.

Early morning explorations in Singapore
1. Gardens by the bay – Opens at 5.00 AM (except tree top, cloud forest and flower domes which open only by 9 AM and close by 9PM) and closes only at 2 AM. You can’t go up the supertrees that early but you can explore rest of the Gardens by the bay. May be come back in evening again- check last part of the post.
2. Fort canning centre used to be HQ of British Army in Singapore, now houses a dance theatre. Located near Clarkey Quay/North Bridge road, Fort canning centre is a vast garden worth exploring along with your early morning walk/jog. Very close to raffles and other business districts. 
3. Merlion- Open 24 by 7, stop by whenever you’re free. Take good look at Fullerton Hotel

4. Labrador Nature Reserve: Located off Alexandra road, Labrador nature reserve is a nice forest to explore. I have a detailed post on Labrador Nature Reserve here. It is an open for all campus with no entry fees. Large trees, artefacts from world war times and a park that has waterfront on a side makes this Labrador Nature reserve a good place to visit. It is not pegged as one of the tourist attractions, so crowd will be very minimal here. You can enjoy some quality time with nature.
5. St Andrew's Cathedral at city hall: Right above City Hall MRT station, this church is one of the oldest in Singapore. Take a walk around, click some good pictures and meditate for a while.

6. Mustafa centre- open 24 by seven… Go there early morning- crowd will be less compared to evening and you can shop at convenience. There’re lots of Indian restaurants nearby, so your breakfast is also taken care of. It will be cheaper to buy here than at Changi airport- read my comparison

7. Kinetic Rain at Changi airport- In most probability, your flight will be in/out of T2 or T3 at Changi. So you are likely to miss T1 attractions. Take MRT to Changi airport. In T1, you can spend some time viewing the Kinetic rain. It is located before immigration area, so you don’t really need a ticket to watch Kinetic rain. Details here
Late evening attractions in Singapore
1. River cruise from Clarke Quay: There’re different kind of cruises to suite your taste and budget. Dinner cruise, bar cruise, basic no frills cruise etc. There’re several boarding and alighting point all along the route. You can pick the one that suits your needs (for example if you’re already at Merlion you can board at Fullerton Square and go back to say Clarke Quay, from where you can take an MRT to your hotel

2. Reverse Bungee jump at Clarkey Quay: Used to cost SGD 40 in 2012. Not sure of current rate. Open till late night. You will be made to sit in a capsule and will be shot into the air at full force. Then enjoy some up n down swings before coming down. Go with a friend or go without any objects- nothing is allowed on you while you take the ride (no wallets, phones, bags etc are allowed inside).

3. Singapore flyer – Opens till late night. Last ride is at about 10PM. Book your slot for an evening ride, which lasts 30 minutes. Get great view of the city. Read detailed post here.

4. Marina Bay Sands Laser show: Happens at specific internals in the night- check my detailed post here with photos and timings. You just have to be in a spot which has clear view of Marina Bay Sands and you can enjoy the laser show for free. 

5. Marina Bay sands Skypark Observation deck: Observation deck is open till 11PM. You can go there in the evening, buy ticket (SGD 23) and go to top. Spectacular night view of the city, Singapore flyer and Gardens by the Bay can be had from here. Take MRT to Bayfront station from where MBS tower 3 (at the basement of which ticket counter for sky park is located) is walkable

6. Casino at Marina Bay Sands basement: If you’re game for gambling, try your luck at MBS Basement. Do carry your passport. But be advised that Casinos are well designed to ensure that house wins majority of the time. Customers winning more than what they spend is very rare scenario. Don’t bet all you have, spend only a small amount which you’re comfortable to lose in worst case.

7. Have a Spin in a Ferrari: Read detailed post here. For Rs 15000, you can take a Ferrari or Lambo for a spin for 15 minutes. Open till 9/10PM. Note that you will be driving on normal roads amidst other cars, so you can’t push the cars to their speed limits, but still experience the luxury car in those precious minutes. More pics and details in this post
8. Night Safari: One of the most popular activities for tourists in Singapore- every hotel will have information on this. Free shuttle also might be available from some hotels. Just have a word with your hotel front desk and plan your visit. Usually you may have to leave by 6PM.

9. Alive Museum: Alive museum in Suntec Mall is open till 10 PM. Takes about 1.5 hours to explore various creative 3D  imagery against which you can pose and get interesting pictures clicked. Full details and pictures here. SGD 25 per person is the entry fee, last entry by 9.00PM. Be sure to watch the fountain of wealth in-front of Suntec city and also check out the Ferrari ride here.
10. Personal shopping at Tang Mall. Unlike other malls, Tang Mall inside Suntec mall has a unique provision where you can have an entire room for yourself and your companions, to try out all the new stuff you’re looking to buy.

11. Cloud Forest and Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay: You need to buy tickets by 8 PM and enter before 8.30 PM as these close by 9PM

Above list is based on my personal observation and experience during last 3 visits. There could be few more. Did I miss anything? Are there some other attractions worth visiting that can be checked out before 9AM or after 6PM? Do share your thoughts.

Getting used to Genx Tata Nano Easyshift AMT

I had a chance to drive around Bengaluru in the new Nano AMT. This was different from two other Nano events I had attended this year- Indiblogger meet at Pune prior to Nano launch and TheChosenOnes event at Ahmedabad.
This time got the car from Tata’s regional office in Blr with the intention of experiencing it in detail and write about it.

As I drove around the AMT in Bangalore city traffic, noticed a few things a Nano AMT owners/drivers should be aware of- particularly in uphill conditions.

If you’ve been using manual transmission all along and just moved to convenience of automatic, below are a few things you should be aware of, before taking Nano AMT for the first ride.

Keep your hands off the gear lever.
If you’re used to driving with one hand on steering and another hand on gear lever, you should change your habit. Keep both hands on steering wheels. Because even when the car is in motion, gear lever can move from A to N at slightest provocation and at times this could be risky (Sudden loss of  power accompanied by driver panic could result in hitting others or getting hit from behind). Some automatics come with a button- you need to press the button and then move the lever. 
Be careful during uphill drive
Nano has a creep function whose purpose is to let the car move forward a bit when the driver lifts leg off brake pedal. However, when on a slope, if forces pulling the car backwards (downhill) is stronger than creep function which tries to push the car forward, there is a risk that Nano will roll backwards. If not noticed and arrested by driver in time, this could mean hitting the vehicle behind. There is no hill hold control. So in an uphill drive, driver should use hand brake or needs to use both legs- one leg on the brake and another on accelerator and by releasing both simultaneously, ensure that car moves only forward and not back. There is no half clutch concept in automatic, so extra caution is needed.

Ensure that right gear is engaged, when you toggle between forward and reverse.
You might move the gear lever to A(Drive forward) or R(Reverse), but unless the digital display in the central console shows A or R, car will NOT be moving forward or Reverse respectively. So please make a habit to check the display and ensure that gear is really engaged as expected. After moving the lever, pressing gas pedal blindly without this confirmation could risk in car moving in opposite direction than intended.
Nano AMT is at par with other affordable automatics and is pretty safe to use. There is also a sticker on the driver door indicating AMT behavior. Just that those who are not using to automatic or those who think automatic transmission will manage everything 100% are likely to take some time till they get used to automatic.  This post is only to prepare prospective owners well for their Nano easy shift experience.
Do read your owners' manual very carefully, particularly the pages related to AMT, to understand it better.

Expect another post on Nano with some more photos and price details

Monday, July 27, 2015

ರಂಗಿತರಂಗ ಸಿನೆಮಾ (Rangi Taranga Kannada movie review)

ಇತ್ತೀಚಿಗೆ ಎಲ್ಲರ ಪ್ರಶಂಸೆ ಗಳಿಸಿ ನಾಡಿನಾದ್ಯಂತ ಹೆಸರು ಮಾಡಿರುವ ರಂಗಿತರಂಗ ಸಿನೆಮಾವನ್ನು ನಾನು ಕುಟುಂಬದವರೊಡನೆ ಮೊನ್ನೆ ಭಾನುವಾರ ಕೋರಮಂಗಲದ ಪಿ ವಿ ಆರ್ ಚಿತ್ರಮಂದಿರದಲ್ಲಿ ನೋಡಿದೆ. ಚಿತ್ರದ ಕೊನೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ನನಗೆ ಆಗಿದ್ದು mixed feelings. ಅತ್ತ ಪೂರ್ತಿ ಹೊಗಳಲೂ ಆಗದ, ಇತ್ತ ತೆಗಳಲೂ ಆಗದ ಸಂದಿಗ್ಧ ಪರಿಸ್ತಿತಿ. ಬಹುಷ ನನ್ನ ನಿರೀಕ್ಷೆಯೇ ವಿಪರಿತವಿತ್ತೇನೋ ಗೊತ್ತಿಲ್ಲ, ಚಿತ್ರದ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ನಾನು ಗಮನಿಸಿದ್ದನ್ನು, ನನಗೆ ಅನಿಸಿದ್ದನ್ನು ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಬರೆದಿದ್ದೇನೆ. ಹೊಗಳುವುದು, ತೆಗಳುವುದು ಅಥವಾ ಉಪೇಕ್ಷಿಸುವುದು ನಿಮಗೆ ಬಿಟ್ಟಿದ್ದು.

ಇತ್ತೀಚಿಗೆ ತೆರೆ ಕಾಣುತ್ತಿರುವ ಮಚ್ಚು ಲಾಂಗು ಭರಿತ ಹೊಡಿ ಮಗ ಬಡಿ ಮಗ ಮಾದರಿಯ ಸಿನೆಮಾಗಳಿಗೆ ಹೋಲಿಸಿದರೆ ರಂಗಿ ತರಂಗ ಸಾವಿರ ಪಾಲು ಮೇಲು. ಹೊಸ ಮಾದರಿಯ ಕತೆ, ಹೊಸ ಮುಖಗಳು, ಉತ್ತಮ ಚಿತ್ರೀಕರಣ ಇವೆಲ್ಲವೂ ಮನಸೆಳೆಯುತ್ತವೆ. ಆದರೆ ಮೂಲತ ಉಡುಪಿ ಜಿಲ್ಲೆಯವನಾದ ನನಗೆ ಕತೆಯನ್ನು ಇನ್ನಷ್ಟು ಉತ್ತಮಪಡಿಸಬಹುದಿತ್ತು, ಭೂತಾರಾಧನೆ ಬಗ್ಗೆ, ಸ್ಥಳೀಯ ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತಿ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಹೆಚ್ಚಿನ ಮಾಹಿತಿ ಕೊಡಬಹುದಿತ್ತು ಎಂದು ಅನಿಸಿತು.

ಕತೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಕಂಡುಬಂದ ನ್ಯೂನತೆಗಳು:
೧. ಆ ಕೆಲಸದ ಹೆಂಗಸು ಕದ್ದ ವಾಚು ಪೈಲ್ವಾನನ (ಗರ್ನಲ್ ಬಾಬು) ಬಳಿ ಹೇಗೆ ಬಂತು ಎಂದು ತಿಳಿಯಲಿಲ್ಲ.
೨. ಸಂಧ್ಯಾಳ ಕಾರಿನಲ್ಲಿ continuity ಮಿಸ್ಸಿಂಗ್ ... ಒಮ್ಮೆ ಇನ್ನೋವ, ಮತ್ತೊಮ್ಮು ಪೋಲೋ ಕೊನೆಗೆ ಸ್ವಿಫ್ಟ್ ...
೩. ಸಾಮಾನ್ಯವಾಗಿ ಆಡಿ ಕಾರುಗಳು ಅತ್ಯುತ್ತಮ ಸುರಕ್ಷಾ ತಂತ್ರಜ್ಞಾನ ಹೊಂದಿರುತ್ತವೆ. ಮಾಮೂಲಿ ಬೈಕಿಗೆ ಅತಿ ಕಡಿಮೆ ವೇಗದಲ್ಲಿ ಡಿಕ್ಕಿ ಹೊಡೆದ ಮಾತ್ರಕ್ಕೆ ಕಾರು ಸಂಪೂರ್ಣ ಭಸ್ಮವಾಗುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. (ಆಡಿ ಗೆ ಬೆಂಕಿ ಹೊತ್ತಿಕೊಂಡ ಕೆಲವು ಉದಾಹರಣೆಗಳಿವೆ - ಉದಾ ೧ * ಉದಾ ೨ ಆದರೂ ಒಳಗಿದ್ದವರು ಹೊರಗೆ ಬರಲಾರದಷ್ಟು ವೇಗವಾಗಿ ಬೆಂಕಿ ವ್ಯಾಪಿಸುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. ನಿರ್ಮಾಪಕರು ಡಾಟ್ಸನ್ ಗೋ ಬಳಸಿದ್ದರೆ ನಾನು ನಂಬುತ್ತಿದ್ದೆ  (ಡಾಟ್ಸನ್ ಗೋ ಬಹಳ ದುರ್ಭಲವಾಗಿದೆ).  ಹೆಲ್ಮೆಟ್ ಅಥವಾ ಇನ್ಯಾವುದೇ ಸುರಕ್ಷಾ ದಿರಿಸು ಹಾಕದ ಬೈಕ್ ಚಾಲಕ ಆಡಿಗೆ ಗುದ್ದಿದರೂ  ಏನೂ  ಆಗದೆ ಬದುಕುಳಿಯುತ್ತಾನೆ.
೪. ಲಾಬ್ ರಿಪೋರ್ಟ್ ಒಂದೇ ನೇರವಾಗಿ ಆಸ್ಪತ್ರೆಗೆ ಹೋಗುತ್ತವೆ ಅಥವಾ ರೋಗಿಗಳೇ ತೆಗೆದುಕೊಂಡು ಹೋಗುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಅಂಚೆ ಮೂಲಕ ಹೋಗುವುದಿಲ್ಲ.
೫. ಕಾರು ಅಪಘಾತದಲ್ಲಿ ಸತ್ತ ಇಬ್ಬರ ಕುಟುಂಬದವರು ಸುಮ್ಮನಿರುತ್ತಾರೆಯೇ? ತಮ್ಮ ಮಗಳ ಹೆಸರು ಬೆರೆಯವಳೊಬ್ಬಳು ಬಳಸುತ್ತಿರುವುದು ಅವರಿಗೆ ಗೊತ್ತಾಗುವುದಿಲ್ಲವೇ?
೬. ಹಳ್ಳಿ ಪ್ರದೇಶದಲ್ಲಿ ಗುಡ್ಡದ ಮೇಲಿಂದ ಕೂಗಿದರೆ, ಕಿರುಚಿಕೊಂಡರೆ ಎಷ್ಟು ದೂರ ಕೇಳುತ್ತದೆ? ನೂರಿನ್ನೂರು ಮೀಟರ್ ? ಚಿತ್ರದಲ್ಲಿ ಕಿಲೋಮೀಟರ್ ಗಟ್ಟಳೆ ಕೇಳಿಸುತ್ತದೆ ಎಂಬಂತೆ ತೋರಿಸಲಾಗಿದೆ.

ಸಿನೆಮಾದಲ್ಲಿ ೨-೩ ಗಂಟೆ ಸಮಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಕತೆಯೊಂದನ್ನು ಶೂನ್ಯದಿಂದ ಪ್ರಾರಂಭಿಸಿ ಒಂದು ತಾರ್ಕಿಕ ಅಂತ್ಯ ಕಾಣಿಸಬೇಕಾದ ಅನಿವಾರ್ಯತೆ ಇರುವುದರಿಂದ ಕೆಲವು ಲಾಜಿಕ್ ಗೆ ಸಿಗದ ವಿಷಯಗಳನ್ನು ಅಳವಡಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳಬೇಕಾದ ಅನಿವಾರ್ಯತೆ ಇರುತ್ತದೆ ಎನ್ನುವುದನ್ನು ನಾನು ಒಪ್ಪುತ್ತೇನೆ. ಆದರೂ  ಒಂದು ಮಿತಿಯಲ್ಲಿದ್ದರೆ ಚೆನ್ನ.

ಸಿನೆಮಾದಲ್ಲಿ ಭೂತಾರಾಧನೆಯನ್ನು, ತತ್ಸಂಬಂಧಿ ವಿಷಯವನ್ನು ಒಂದು ಭಯ ಹುಟ್ಟಿಸುವ ವಸ್ತುವಾಗಿ ಬಳಸಲಾಗಿದೆಯೇ ಹೊರತು ಅವುಗಳ ಇತಿಹಾಸ ತಿಳಿಸುವ ಪ್ರಯತ್ನ ವಾಗಲಿ, ವೈಜ್ಯ್ನಾನಿಕ ವಿಶ್ಲೇಷಣೆ ಆಗಲೀ ನೆಡೆದಿಲ್ಲ. ಗುಡ್ಡದ ಭೂತ ಧಾರಾವಾಹಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಹೆದರಿಕೆ ಹುಟ್ಟಿಸಲು ಬಳಸುವ ತಂತ್ರವನ್ನು ಬಯಲಿಗೆಳೆಯುವ ಪ್ರಯತ್ನ ನೆಡೆದಿತ್ತು.

ಅಬ್ಬರದ ಸಂಗೀತವನ್ನು ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಕಡಿಮೆ ಮಾಡಿ ಮೈತ್ರಿ ಸಿನೆಮಾದಂತೆ ಇನ್ನೂ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ನಾಜೂಕಾಗಿ ತೋರಿಸಿಕೊಟ್ಟಿದ್ದಾರೆ ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿರೊದು.

ಹತ್ತು ಹಲವು ಉಪ ಕಥೆಗಳು, ಒಳ ಕಥೆಗಳು ಕೆಲವೊಮ್ಮೆ ಅನಗತ್ಯ ತಲೆಬಿಸಿ ನೀಡಬಹುದು.

ಇಷ್ಟೆಲ್ಲಾ ಇದ್ದರೂ ಸಿನೆಮಾ ಮಾಮೂಲಿ ಮಸಾಲೆ ಸಿನೆಮಾಗಳಿಗಿಂತ ಬಹಳ ಭಿನ್ನವಾಗಿರುವುದರಿಂದ ಎಲ್ಲರಿಗೂ ಇಷ್ಟವಾಗಿದೆ. ವಿಶ್ವದಾದ್ಯಂತ ಜಯಭೇರಿ ಭಾರಿಸುತ್ತಿದೆ, ಇತರ ಭಾಷೆಗಳಿಗೂ ರೂಪಾಂತರಗೊಳ್ಳಲಿದೆ. ಹೊಸ ಪ್ರಯೋಗ ನಡೆಸಿ ಯಶಸ್ಸು ಕಂಡ ಚಿತ್ರ ತಂಡಕ್ಕೆ ಶುಭಾಷಯಗಳು