I admit I know nothing about art. I can never understand how Merlion Hotel is considered an artwork. What’s so artistic about building an hotel room around the Merlion? Yes, you get to go up close and personal with that half fish half lion Singapore tourism icon. But is this call art?

Perhaps I don’t know how to appreciate Tatzu Nishi’s art. I know he is famous for encasing iconic statues within temporary room-like structures to give visitors a whole new experience.

But seriously, who approved this artwork in the first place? We are not talking about any statues in Singapore. This is the Merlion. The most famous statue in Singapore. Almost all tourist visit the Merlion when they come to Singapore. How can we allow anyone to “lock up” such an important tourist attraction in a red box?

I know visitors can still visit the Merlion Hotel from 10am to 7pm every day for free. But it is closed to the public and after 7pm for the lucky person who managed to book the hotel room. What will tourists see after 7pm? And the Merlion Hotel is closed from 7 Feb to 9 Mar for setting up and 16 May to 5 Jun for tearing down the temporary structure. Which means visitors to Singapore will not be able to see the Merlion during this period.

I don’t know about you. I felt that it is a very stupid idea. I know it is art. But really? Is there nothing else you can do? I feel sorry for all the tourists who are visiting Singapore during this period. Instead of the Merlion, all they see is a red box with a brightly lit sign saying Merlion Hotel. It’s like visiting Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower. Or visiting New York City without seeing Statue of Liberty.

And to be honest, I’m praying that none of the Merlion Hotel occupants try to do anything funny during their stay. The last thing I want to see spreading online is a picture of a naked woman posing beside the Merlion head.
Oh wait a minute…. That could be considered an artwork too. Right? Hmmmm…….

The Ultimate Start-up Space is back for the 2nd year! And this time, it’s bigger. The winning business idea will get a 1,400 square foot storefront in the bustling Central Business District area and a year’s rent fully sponsored by Martell V.S.O.P. The location of the start up space is at 29 Boon Tat Street.

The panel of judges will comprise 2 local entrepreneurs (Mr Low Cheong Kee from Home-Fix and Mr Jimmy Fong from EpiCentre), representatives from Martell V.S.O.P and INSEAD. The judges will assess submissions and the winning idea based on originality, ingenuity, and the potential to succeed. The top ten finalists will attend a 1 week intensive business training session conducted by INSEAD and will also be mentored by Mr Low Cheong Kee and Mr Jimmy Fong.

And for the first time, crowd funding will be introduced in the contest. Members of the public will be welcomed to fund their favorite idea out of the top 10 entries from 2nd June to 3rd July 2011. The total funds collected will contribute to 20% of the top 10 finalists’ total score. Only funds for the winning idea will be processed and it will go into the winner’s start up capital.

On top of the 1 year rent free store front, the winner of The Ultimate Start-up Space 2011 will also get S$20,000 start up capital and additional training from INSEAD valued at $29,000.

I think this year’s Ultimate Start-up Space is much better compared to previous year. Firstly, the location of the space is at a more neutral location. Last year’s space was located at Clarke Quay so the best idea for that space will naturally be a pub or restaurant type of business. But this year’s space is at Boon Tat Street which is quite centralized. There’s more room for creativity at this venue. The crowd sourcing portion is also very interesting. I’m interested to see how contestant try to get funding. This sounds a lot like the local version of Kick Starter
This contest is open to Singapore citizen and permanent residents. To take part, submit your business ideas in WORD or Video format to ultimatestartupspace.com.sg by 15 May 2011. The Top 10 finalist will be announced on 2nd June 2011. The winner of the 2011 ‘The Ultimate Start-up Space’ will be announced on 4th August 2011.
So…. do you think you have the winning idea?

This is going to be interesting. HTC is having a challenge at their upcoming HTC Desire road show from 15 to 17 April 2011 at VivoCity. 20 participants will be selected to be kept under “house arrest” within the Glass House for the 3 Day duration of the challenge while attempting to complete a series of tasks and challenges solely with the aid of a HTC smartphone.
Sounds like another Blogathon, except more people and for longer period of time. The prizes are pretty attractive too. The 1st prize is $5,000 cash and a HTC Desire S. In fact, the first 5 prizes are cash and a HTC Desire S. There’s also prizes for the best blog entry using HTC phone and best photo posed with HTC Desire S.
To take part, head down to the contest website and play a mini game. You need to get a good score and get your friends to vote for you to stand a chance to take part in The Ultimate “All I Need Is My Desire!” Glass House Challenge.

Hmmm….. interesting. Should I take part? Hahahaha….

First Orbit is a new film to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the flight of Yuri Gagarin. The film makers collaborated with the European Space Agency, and the Expedition 26/27 crew of the International Space Station to recreate what Gagarin see 50 years ago in his 108 minutes orbit.
The film will premiere on YouTube on 12th April 2011. For more info, visit firstorbit.org.

I’m excited about the film. Can’t wait for it!!!