Sunday, April 25, 2010

[The Helix Opening Ceremony]

after the widespread newspaper advertisements on the grand opening of the double helix bridge linking The Float @ Marina Bay and the Marina Bay Sands IR, I decided to go and check it out. From the advertisement, it seems as though there will be lots of entertaining performances leading up to the opening of the bridge, where we will be amongst the first to cross it.

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unsightly metal structures at the back, wonder what it is for... NDP?



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Waiting to enter the floating platform



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More and more people arrived, and so did Mr Rain (no, not the Korean one)

the weather was sadly kind of gloomy, and it kept drizzling. thank god it did not pour heavy showers. I don't want to be a soaked chicken! but mummy and I were armed with umbrellas and ponchos anyway.


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The artist impression of the marina bayfront



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The current unfinished Marina Bay Sands



I don't see how it can be open in 3 days time! It looks super uncompleted, not like Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) when it was first opened! Plus as usual, MBS does not have its license yet to operate the casino. Same scenario as RWS. Perhaps they are so confident that they will get the license anyway, hence they left it to the last minute. But... what if...? Seems like there isn't much of a contingency plan.


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came for this event with mummy, because she said that she hasn't been spending much time with me despite the holiday. I actually wanted to ask gh to come with me. Then she ask why he cannot come along, is it because she is here? Sadly, it seems to be one or the other.


We came pretty early because we expected a crowd. However, there wasn't that many people and we were definitely assured a seat. Hence we went to Gluttons Bay for dinner first. When we got back to the floating platform at 6.20pm, there was an even greater crowd already. This is because the floating platform is supposed to be open at 6.30pm for the public.

at 6.40pm, one barricade was removed, and the usual singapore style kiasu-ism was displayed where everyone chiong in and went for the centre seats. There was this guy who tried to do some crowd control. Well, he basically blocked the path instead -_-"

Mummy and I chose the red seats, because it seems to be directly facing the centre, as there was a tiny stage with chairs and microphones of it. This male emcee came and welcomed us to the event, and told us that the performances will start shortly at 7pm. Well, I didn't expect that! I expected to wait all the way till 7.30pm for the actual start of the event.

At around 7.10pm, there was still nothing happening. And then we heard Diana Ser's voice over the broadcast system. She was the other female emcee, and she was giving us more information about the double helix bridge and the programme for the day. She ironically also said that we were blessed with good weather for the event. Alot of us were wondering whether she was mad. Because we were hiding under umbrellas and the drizzle was getting heavier by the minute.

There were actually balloon sculpturists and magicians at the front of the platform, together with some stores selling food and drinks. Well, actually it should be ONE sculpturist and ONE magician and ONE chinese yoyo entertainer. I guess their budget must be really low.

at around 7.15pm, she announced that a percussion group from ngee ann polytechnic will be performing. Good thing the rain started to ease up by then, and umbrellas were being put away.


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after the percussion group ended, we all clapped and waited for either of the emcees to start talking again. I was waiting for the "and let's give them another round of applause" or something along that lines. but there was none and the percussion group just left. So we were all... weirded out. And started to peer around to see what's happening and where are the other performances. In fact, we were left stoning for quite some time.


and then, I realised that there was this tent at the side, where all the invited guests were at.

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Invited guests were all inside the white tent


lucky them, under shelter and with catered food. While we were hiding under umbrellas and being bored to death! That was also when we realise that Diana Ser was actually in the tent, and her commentary was actually directed to these invited guests. Yup, this explains her earlier comment of "good weather".


Next, she announced the arrival of the Guest of Honour, Mr Mah Bow Tan. And asked us to clap. So all of us clapped enthusiastically and peered around the platform, waiting to see his arrival. But there was none. Well, he obviously just entered the tent. There wasn't any LCD tv broadcast for us to see anything, so we were basically the 2000 Singaporeans sitting at the marina bay platform and waiting for something to happen.

The newspaper reported that around 2000 Singaporeans, however I think there were way more than that. The seating capacity of The Float stands at 30,000. From what I observe, the yellow and red sectors were mostly full, assuming a conservative estimate of 60% filled. There are 6 coloured sectors. There would have been at least 6000 people there. Well, with that said, I have no evidence of that as I did not head down to take the photo of the crowd.


Subsequently, there was a looooooooooong pause. Don't know what is happening, no announcements or anything. I was really bored, and started to take pictures of the scenary.


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some guy commented that the Singapore skyline is similar to that of Hong Kong's, and that the Hong Kong's skyline was much more impressive. I beg to differ. In Hong Kong, the pollution is so bad that you might probably not get to see a clear image of the skyline anyway! there was this other woman in front of me who took about 30 shots of the skyline with her (lousy) camera handphone. She must be really bored as well. The picture turned out the same EVERY SINGLE TIME! Except when someone blocks her view.


Finally at around 7.50pm, Diana Ser made the announcement for everyone to head to the right of the tent. And everyone at the floating platform started wondering whether we needed to move as well. However, the announcement was only directed at the invited guests. So okay, Mah Bow Tan made his speech and announced that the pedestrian double helix bridge will be named as The Helix and the vehicular bridge will be named the Bayfront Bridge. Nice names, I like it! He also read out a poem written by some professor, specially for this event.


Then, there was this mini countdown (even though Diana Ser asked everyone to count) to the opening of the event. Basically, I could only hear her counting. While everyone of us were just...stoning and staring at nothing. After the opening, (probably the pressing of some button or cutting of some ribbon), there was a 2 minutes fireworks display


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fireworks were pretty alright, I mean, it can't be compared to the NDP ones. I was wondering what is the protechnytics (i know i spelt wrongly) display which the emcess mentioned about. Perhaps it is the lighting up of the bridge? Well, I have no idea.

After that, Diana Ser announced that mah bow tan and his immediate contingency of people will get to go onto The Helix first, while the others will hold on for awhile. There will be fire eaters, stiltwalkers, etc. on the bridge to keep everyone entertained.


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The bridge is now open!


Basically the ceremony ended then and there wasn't any announcements for people at the floating platform. So, many of the common Singaporeans on the platform decided to make their way down to the barricades, hoping that it will be our turn to go onto the bridge after the invited guests have made their way.

Just as we were heading down to the ground level, the male emcee made the announcement "The Public will only be allowed on the bridge from 9.30pm onwards. For now, please enjoy the harp performance..." There was almost a unison "cheh" or "wah lau" from the crowd, where probably half the crowd walked away from the barricades and left the floating platform. well, OF COURSE RIGHT? we have already lifted our asses of our seats, and then you tell us that we have to wait 1.5hours? Almost everyone that got down did not bother to go back to their seats again to wait. we have ENOUGH of waiting already. And this will be roughly a 1.5hours wait for us.

I felt really cheated at the event. Yes, no doubt the news did say that the bridge will be open to the public at 9.30pm. But based on the scenario, we did not expect that we have to wait so long. I blame this all on the bad planning of the event. Let's see what I think could have been done better:


1) If the male emcee is responsible for the floating platform and diana ser is responsible for the invited guests in the tent, then her voice should not be broadcasted through the whole floating platform. It only serves to make us confused. It should only be broadcasted when inviting the GOH to make his speech.

2) Minimise the lag time between the 2 emcees. Don't just leave things hanging there, and making the public confused.

3) Invite the GOH to make the speech at the centre of the floating platform, so that everyone can see. this will make the public feel more included.

4) Make more announcements at the floating platform and introduce more performances

5) Make the performers feel more welcomed, like the "let's give them another round of applause" thingie

6) Provide ponchos or plastic sheets for us to hide from the rain. This is better than us using umbrellas because we cannot see anything if the people in front has their umbrellas opened. (I understand that this requires lots of budget)


I think that the main problem with the event is that I felt that the public wasn't included enough. It seemed like the invited guests were the main priority and the public... well, they come if they want to. they can just see the 2mins fireworks that's all. I felt that it was pretty misleading from the way it was advertised that there will be performances and entertainers. If I had known that the main thing was only that 2 mins fireworks, well, I'd have just arrived at the Esplanade Bay at 8pm, see the fireworks, and then leave. Then again, perhaps I wouldn't even bother to see the fireworks, and probably just arrive at 9.30pm to go onboard the bridge.

With that said, I guess they probably had limited budget and limited time to plan this. yeah, i guess.

I really dislike the feeling of being exluded.

It made me remember the NUS Business's Mochtar Riady Building Soft Launch, where gh and I were totally out of place and there were bleak attempts to include students in the event. The worse thing about that event was that an email blaster was sent thanking students for their attendance, when there were practically no students except for the bizad club people which got a table for themselves.


I doubt I will attend any of such events again, unless I know that I will be duely entertained and included.

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