27.2.08

Planes, tanks and people

Shiny static displays

So I said I'd blog about the Singapore Air Show, but then I was busy catching up on sleep.

Ru's friend thought it was "hot, tiring and boring", and I can see why people would think that: the legendary kilometre-long queues for the shuttles at Pasir Ris MRT station, the energy-sapping mid-afternoon heat, the queues for other stuff that seemed to be going nowhere. We exited the show at 3:40 pm (over an hour before the official closing time) and spent over an hour in the line for a cab, not because there weren't cabs willing to come in to pick up passengers, but because the design of the traffic flow and cab line didn't move people and cabs along more efficiently.

But I guess I'm not the sort of person who goes to these shows in the first place, so the whole thing was a bit of a novelty. The last time I went to some kind of military show in Singapore was probably back when my father still qualified for VIP treatment, which meant no waiting in line, plenty of cold drinks and cooling off in an air-conditioned lounge whenever one wanted it, and lots of chances to bounce in the seat of some random piece of military equipment. So yes, I was a teensy bit jealous when I spotted a certain Minister and his family getting the special tour with the US Air Force guys, especially since regular folks don't get to clamber all over the planes and tanks like they used to be able to at SAF Open Houses.

Other things were different too. The noise from the planes during the aerial display seemed less, which also made their aerobatic moves seem less impressive. There were many, many more foreigners in the crowd --- the "1 in every 4 persons in Singapore is a foreigner" statistic translated into something more like "1 in every 2 public visitors at the Singapore Air Show".

But some things don't change. All those military vehicles on display still smell the same when you get up close. I still don't know what most of the vehicles were, despite my friend's running commentary. And it's still goddamn hot all. Day. Long.

Another reason things probably worked out well was because I had good intelligence from G-man and Beeker about cab lines, walking distances, sunblock and free back issues of military journals. Plus the surprising discovery that an ice-filled Nalgene bottle wrapped in a towel, then in a plastic bag and then stashed in my little messenger bag, retained enough coolness that the water remained icy cold for 3-4 hours.

They really ought to bring in more cute pilots, though.

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