Tag Archives: singapore

The parks of Singapore: hot, sticky, but so much splendor!

Singapore is an island-city that’s simply must-visit. So visit it I have – many times, and I never tire of going back. Which is just as well, since I keep having to go back as we’ve so much business there. As per usual, there’s normally not much besides work on my visits, but now and again I do get a day or just half of one for my beloved mini-tourisms. Just writing that, I wondered how many times I’d been to Singapore, so I delved into my archives; the result: 13 times. And just the other week I had a +1 = 14 times!…

My first visit to Singapore was way back in 2009, and since then I’ve seen a great deal of the small island country – but by far not all of it. I’ve pottered around its resort-island Sentosa, been up quite a few of its skyscrapers, been blown away by its Jewel Changi Airport, visited its museums and galleries, dressed up as Santa Claus there (!), and sweated it out on a walk around one of its central parks, which featured monkeys. And for my 14th visit we were continuing the park theme: gardens and parks that are mega-awesome, designer, and simply oh-my-grandiose!…

First up, the Singapore Botanic Gardens. We didn’t cover all of them – you probably need more than a day for that, but we did get to see plenty…

Read on…

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Singapore: always a pleasure – never a chore.

Hi folks!

Only just coming back to my senses after a mega-hectic few weeks in Southeast Asia on business. All went to plan, all good, plus a spot of microtourism was tagged on too. But after such an intense couple weeks, it was high time to lie low for a while – regroup, re-center, re-balance… all that. Then I needed to catch up and finish off my on-the-road tales from the APAC side, of course…

The next port-of-call on our Asia-Pacific tour was Singapore. Hurray!

I’d been to this city-island-state more than a dozen times before, and seen plenty of its places of interest. How many exactly? Going through my posts tagged with Singapore would probably tell you that, but let’s just say “many” – especially for such a small island. But if you do click on that link, you’ll also find lots on Singapore’s main tourist attractions, events, street scenes, hotel stays, eats, and so on and so forth. (Btw, perhaps the highlight among all my visits was the time I had the honor of being at a meeting and shaking hands with none other than Lee Kuan Yew (sadly no longer with us), the founding father of Singapore. That was I think way back in 2012 or 2013.) But there were still a few places I hadn’t yet checked out – with one that I’d been wanting to see for years: Singapore’s central park/nature reserve. But that was to come later on. First up – a walk to the National Gallery Singapore in the building of the Former Supreme Court. Why? First – hadn’t been; second – locals recommended them, and here’s why! ->

Read on…

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Tokyo–Singapore: out the window – curious aerial views galore.

Today, aviation theme…

Window-seat air travel can be strange. There you are, ensconced, with plenty of thoughts whirling around in your head, but your brain doesn’t pay any attention to them – it just keeps looking out the window. Then, something aerial-awesome comes into view. Thoughts? What thoughts?! And then the hands reach for the camera almost automatically, and it’s “here we go again!” At least, that’s how things played out recently when flying on the short flight from Tokyo to Singapore, in this here mid-size airliner:

Right from the get-go after take-off the views out the window were fantastic. First up – the Japanese strong work-ethic, preciseness, and space-economy were in full view as far as the eye could see ->

Read on…

The Jewel in the crown: Singapore never ceases to amaze.

How I long to be in the paradise that is Singapore as a simple tourist, just for a week! To walk around the city, take in the sights, visit the zoo. Actually, the tourist and entertainment industry in this small city state is developing so much that a week might not be enough. Ah, this is the place!

I left a sweltering Switzerland in a hurry, heading in a south-easterly direction, while not forgetting to take pictures of the surrounding landscapes ->

Read on…

Me, myself and INTERPOL.

How I would love to just visit Singapore as a tourist! To stay here for a week, wander around the city … But not running, running, gunzo-shigoto-arbeiten, meetings-presentations-more meetings and other work-trabajo-labor and so on in various other languages. Alas, not this time. It was more like this…

You wake up in the morning after the Starmus conference and realize that you can only dream of a bit of peace and quiet. From a sweltering Switzerland we immediately head (you could say without regaining consciousness) east for an equally hot Singapore. That’s where the INTERPOL World 2019 exhibition/conference is being held. It’s an event that brings together representatives of state, non-government and private sectors from INTERPOL member countries.

I talk a lot about the importance of international cooperation between law enforcement agencies and private cybersecurity organizations. Cybercrime knows no geographical boundaries, which is why it’s necessary to act together to fight it. It’s just that there’s a bit of a worldwide problem nowadays with this “together” thing. So, any real, ongoing initiatives aimed at international cooperation are worth their weight in gold! And we’re proud of our many years of work with INTERPOL. Since 2014, we’ve been a strategic partner, signed our first cooperation agreement and supported the opening in Singapore of the Digital Crime Center as part of the special IGCI (INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation) unit dealing with cybercrime investigations. This center is where the technical side of INTERPOL’s investigations are conducted.

And, so, on July 3 in Singapore, we extended the cooperation agreement with INTERPOL for five years. Good work chaps!

Read on…

SAS-2019: a lot more – in Singapore.

Hi folks!

My April journeying continues. It’s already seen me visit such charming cities as Hanover, Baku and Dubai (reports thereon coming soon). Next stop – Singapore. The garden city, the island wonder – one of my fave cities on the planet, if not the fave. But oh it’s hot. And, oh, it’s humid. But it still remains the city of the future. Maybe that’s why I like it so much?…

First, a few ok pics (mine), and some really good pics (not mine; I still need practice) of this wonder-city – by day, by night, of the ships waiting in line for access to the port:

So why was I here (as if I needed a reason)? Because the annual Security Analyst Summit was being held here – the eleventh! And it was… hmmm – I’ll get to that in a bit…

First – how does one go about gauging the success of a SAS? How do you measure it? Was it totally awesome, or just so-so, or something else? Well, IMHO, you can tell if it was totally awesome if, afterward, you have a strange, somewhat paradoxical feeling: on the one hand you have nothing but positive emotions – a euphoric aftershock that just won’t go away. On the other – you’re already aware that something’s sadly lacking in your life, and will stay lacking for another year – the buzz of a SAS! And on the other – third?! – hand, you feel a little… afraid – when you wonder just how on earth next year’s event will be made even better than this year’s! But then you remember how every year after a SAS you think the same thing – and the following year’s event does turn out even better, and you start to feel better again. All these psychological symptoms together should really be called ‘post-event syndrome’. Must remember that term for next time…

Oops. I’ve digressed. Let me get back to ‘was it good?’. It was, as I hope the previous paragraph indicates. But also – have a look at all the comments, links, likes…

If you’re a new reader here, and maybe SAS is new to you too, briefly, SAS is: an annual event bringing together experts (and the press, bloggers) from all over the world to basically talk to each other, in an informal setting, all about cybersecurity. Announcements, presentations, achievements, challenges, industrial CTF, etc., etc. For a bit more on the SAS template, go here.

Next up: where, why, how, who, from where…

SAS-2019 brought on a ferocious bout of post-event syndrome, whose intensity was all the more acute due to fears that some folks might pull out due to geopolitical reasons. But in the cybersecurity industry folks think with their heads and aren’t swayed by sensational headlines. After all, battling the cyber-baddies is only effective when done together, exchanging information, and telling each other about our victories over the computer underground. Cybercriminals know no borders. And the cyber-goodies shouldn’t be limited by them either. And I’m so glad that our colleagues and competitors in the industry feel the same way.

So, there we were fearing no-shows, but in the end not only did everyone turn up but even more did than we expected! But that figures really – for who doesn’t want to get better acquainted with the company that’s being targeted because it takes a principled stand on protecting users from any cyber-vermin, no matter who may be responsible for it and no matter how much it roils certain very powerful cyberwar-mongers. SAS-2019 broke all its own records: 500+ guests, 100+ contributors, 34 countries represented, ~70 presentations, ~10 workshops and training sessions, and more coverage on social media and in the press than ever before.

Right, where did it all start this year. Ah yes, like every year – it all starts actually months in advance when a countdown clock starts showing the number of days, hours and minutes there are left until the event. Fast forward to the morning of the first day, and those clocks have just minutes left, and the anticipation is hitting fever pitch… All the kit and chairs are in place, microphones fully charged, lighting and visual effects all set up, cameras ready (prepare to flash)…

One minute left…

And we’re off!

After a short welcoming speech, I was pinged to get up on the stage. Of course I obliged, gave a very warm warm-up speech, and also took some pics of the audience from the stage. Why should the audience have all the happy-snapping fun, eh? )

After me it was expert after expert sharing their stories – each one fascinating…

This year the number of presentations was the highest it’s been, as mentioned above, but the diversity of types of presentations was real wide too: some were very technical; others were more business-oriented; there were special training sessions on reverse engineering and other methods for pursuing the cyber-swine; a mini-exhibition; an open presentation room for rooky specialists, and a new feature called SAS Unplugged… As to the best of the best content – that will be coming up shortly in a separate cyber-news-from-the-dark-side post.

This year’s SAS brought us for the first time the following:

  • Separate cybersecurity white-hat hacking streams;
  • A small exhibition of participating companies;
  • Industrial topics;
  • Lots of other stuff, but I can’t quite remember it all.

Come the evening, though everyone was no doubt tired trying to take in all the new information of the day, we all headed to a super seafood restaurant I always visit when in town. Yeh! Yum!

And that was that – almost. Time left only for the final few mega-presentations that are traditionally saved till last. They really were something. If interested – have a search for them on the internet.

Then it was my turn again up on stage. ‘Thank you all for coming’, and the obligatory back-at-you pic:

PS: A big thank-you to Roman Rudakov. His ‘masterpiece button’ provided most of the photos in this post.

PPS: Briefly about where we held this year’s SAS – the Swissotel Stamford, where I’d stayed before, and which I only had negative recollections of. Not that I’m fussy when it comes to hotels. I’m comfortable up a mountainside in the cold and spending the night in a tent, but if a hotel says it’s a 5* hotel on the tin, I expect that’s what’s inside it too. Here, back in 2017 that wasn’t the case. However, this year I was very pleased with the place. Everything seemed to be in fully working order, everything seems to have been renovated, with everything shiny and new somehow. The one thing that they haven’t gotten round to is providing decent Wi-Fi, but that’s all:

Yes, I know – I still use Far Manager! I’m used to it, that’s all ).

Well that’s it for today folks, but I’ll be back with more tomorrow…

All the pics form SAS-2109 are here.

The best city in the world.

Singapore is a fantastic city – and that goes for its economy, architecture and transportation system. It’s hard to believe, but there’s almost no such thing as traffic jams here! There are loads of tunnels though. You can even drive across half the island underground.

Singapore is especially good in December. In winter here, it’s just hot – not the usual for this part of the world. You still get wet here in December, but not soaking wet like in other seasons. Singapore is located on the equator, in the humid tropics. In all seasons other than winter, you end up completely soaked – every part of your body and everything you’re wearing (if in a suit on your way to a formal business meeting, it’s best to make multiple stops in climate-controlled areas or, even better, use the underground metro walkways). After a while your consciousness takes a hit because of all the humidity you’ve inhaled… and that’s the end of it.

Despite all that, Singapore is the most delightful city in the world, according to my measurements and calculations. Singapore is no. 1. That’s right.

The prices are also fantastic; cars are particularly expensive because of the high import duties. The laws are pretty draconian too, which gave rise to the joke “Singapore is a fine city”. Also, the connoisseurs of modern democracy occasionally badmouth Singapore for not always being ‘democratic’. But it works. I’ve seen some sociological research that found that the residents of Singapore are the happiest in the world. And there’s a queue of those who’d like to get permanent residency, but the quotas are very strict.

On top of all that, Singapore is fabulously beautiful. No matter where or what time of day it is, this place is just beautiful – you can be hypnotized by it and contemplate it forever.


Read on…

Hotel with a downside and 3D printing Singapore-style.

Once, many years ago (10 to be precise) I visited Pattaya, the resort city in Thailand. I was staying in a large hotel whose name I forget. The room was quite ordinary, but it had a magic number:

11111

No word of a lie. When I asked for Wi-Fi on the beach, I had to give my name and my room number. It was funny saying “one-one-one-one-one” :) // Even back then, in ancient times, they already offered a Wi-Fi service on the beach. Even then. On the beach.

It’s a real shame that I lost the photos from that conference (they included some from partner parties). Nor do I have any pictures or recollections of happened there later. In fact, no one actually knows what happened there.

So, the hotel room number was 11111.

That’s great, but it was ages ago.

There are witnesses, but no evidence remains.

Nowadays, you get room numbers that look even more magical.

Believe it or not, but this was my room number in Singapore.

Read on: Hotel with a downside…

An 8-day transcontinental trip.

Dear regulars and visitors to my blog, I continue to pay back my week-old debts. The week in question was pretty hectic. To be more precise, it was an eight-dayer, because it stretched from Monday to Monday.

It all started with my departure from Moscow to St. Petersburg on Sunday evening, and was rounded off by my return from Ekaterinburg to Moscow early on Tuesday morning (right after midnight). All in all, there were four cities on my itinerary, seven flights and 35 hours in the air: Moscow (SVO) – St. Petersburg – Moscow (DME, connection) – Singapore – Sanya – Almaty (refuel) – Ekaterinburg – Moscow (SVO).

The best route from St. Pete to Singapore was via Domodedovo airport in Moscow, where I could catch the direct MOW-SIN (Moscow – Singapore) flight. From St. Pete to Domodedovo, I flew S7 economy class (S7 doesn’t offer business class on this route) without anything of note to report. However, if I have the same sort of connection at Domodedovo again, I will definitely give a full account. Everything there is so messed up inconvenient. They really must have put their minds to it to make it so awkward. I always try to make connections at the far more convenient Sheremetyevo, but this time I had little choice.

Singapore Airlines was top notch, as always. After 10 hours of relaxation, we landed at 6 a.m. in the dream city of Singapore!

Read on: The Interpol exhibition is interesting…