Fangtastic Halloween at Singapore Turf Club

Halloween is a golden opportunity to horse around and I got a chance to literally do just that at Singapore Turf Club to celebrate this year’s hallow’s night. What an unusual venue for a heart-pounding Halloween party!

A good time up for grabs.

I’ve never stepped foot on Singapore Turf Club before this visit. Neither at its former racecourse located at Bukit Timah built in 1933 nor its current home at Kranji from 1999. The old race track has since been transformed into a dining and lifestyle venue known as The Grandstand while the Kranji club evolved to be more than just a horse-racing club but an exotic haunt for major events such as Singapore Symphony Orchestra concerts, lawn parties, ringside entertainment and holding private functions.

With the bubbly Fadilah who invited me to the Fangtastic Halloween party held in one of the Corporate Boxes with a 180-degree view of the race track.

马到功成,一马当先!Although I didn’t place any bets, it was quite a rush watching the horses and their jockeys try to out gallop each other.

Creative eats at the event… coffin-shaped salmon wiches that brings the carbo crave to the grave, crawlie sweets and spooktato mousse in beef stew.

The party’s theme was Halloween Glam and I don’t know how to mix glam and gore together, I was thankful make-up artists were on hand to add that spook factor.

Let me in!

Part of our night’s activities included a tour of the race arena and getting a close-up of the riders and stallions. I thought the ring would whiff of horse manure and wastes like most places that offer horse-drawn carriage or pony rides but it was thankfully stench-free.

Horse power on parade.

I’ve read that jockeys have a small stature so as to minimise load on the horses and maximise speed. It’s true!

一见发财!Looks like there’s an audition for sugar daddies going on. LOL.

We became the unofficial half-time entertainment for guests at the turf with our personas.

Halloween is the only time you can say that a horrific party is actually the best ever.

Having a fangtastic and ghoul time with new and old friends.

The thoughtful party was a cozy and intimate catching up session away from crowded clubs downtown and transportation was convenient as Singapore Turf Club is a short walk to Kranji MRT Station.

On the train, I finally revealed what had been hidden throughout the party…

Everyone can see the make-up outside, but only we know the devil within. Don’t let it eat you alive.

Happy Halloween!

Lessons from a Travel Contest

First of all, a BIG thank you to everyone who voted and supported my team in the Ultimate Thailand Explorers travel contest’s Koh Samui category. We didn’t win. We came in second place losing to the first team by about 1,200 votes. But that’s alright. It was fun running for the contest and I’ve learnt quite a few things in the process.

The contest is somewhat similar to Queensland Tourism Board’s ‘Best Job in the World’. In the Thai version, applicants have to form a team of two, create a one-minute video about why they’re the best team to showcase a selected Thai destination and send it in. There’re five destinations to choose from – Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Koh Samui.

From all the videos submitted worldwide for the different locations, the judges will choose five videos for each destination. The teams with the highest votes of each destination gets to go on an all expenses paid trip there for a week and share their experience via online media (Facebook, twitter, youtube, etc). My team, Darren & Jimmy, vied for Koh Samui.

When I knew we were shortlisted as one of the five teams to run for Koh Samui, I was in Chiang Mai. Needless to say, I was really excited but I was told that my team had the least votes. But when I returned to Singaopore the next day, my team was in the lead. We led for about four days before the New Zealand team in London overtook us. They had a news report in their home country asking their countrymen to support and vote for the team the day before.

Subsequently, they had another news report in Australia and that kept them in the lead. My team was trailing in 2nd place losing by an average of 300 votes. At one point, we even overtook them and got back to first place briefly.

I worked hard during the run and spent many hours on Facebook and msn approaching friends to vote, creating a fan page and posting contents to remind voters to vote daily. I even tried reaching out to the media to get coverage. Through my friend Jansen, who runs a PR agency, I got in touch with the producer for RazorTV. My team was also approached by a reporter from The New Paper (TNP), I approached a friend from Channel 8’s Good Morning Singapore (Zao An Ni Hao) and a friend even posted a news blitz on Stomp!. The result? None of the media was interested to run the story.

RazorTV told us they were preparing and thinking about an angle to feature my team and will get back to us. We never heard from them. Good Morning Singapore said their travel segment has already been filled to the end of the year, and TNP was not interested because they don’t want to be promoting the Thai Authority in Tourism (TAT). In other words, no free publicity if TAT is not buying publicity space. Stomp! didn’t publish my friend’s news blitz either. I tried approaching the media again on the angle of calling support for a local team. No response.

At the other side of the competition, the Filipino team got a number of news blitz calling Philippines to support their home team. Their team was in 3rd place all along (losing to my team by about 500 votes). After that online news article, their team caught up, replacing us in 2nd place. Then overnight, they were in 1st place. We were losing by about 300 votes.

Undeterred, I continued to post shoutouts to the 5,000 in my Facebook friends list and urged the over 1,000 members in our fan page to vote. I believe there were some serious efforts by voters, some of them creating multiple accounts to vote, but alas, my team never caught up with the pinoys.

So I’ve learnt this… When approaching Singapore media, link them up with a cheque book. And there’s no need to accept every friend request on Facebook if they’re not friends because many just want to see your profile and push for you to satisfy their objective, or just for viewing pleasure.

Regardless of the setbacks, I had fun with the competition and here’s something my team created to document the ‘hardships’ that teams in the contest went through to procure votes…

It gets scarier every year

When I can use less make-up to appear decomposed. I look dead without even trying. No Halloween party this year so ended up at St James, and I was really amused by the effort a lot of people put into dressing up. They made my reprise of the dead-soldier-look from Halloween 2005 so tame. But there’re too many fairies trying to be angels, and wings on a crowded dancefloor or podium is just asking to be plucked like a hen before slaughter.

Halloween 2007

Sometimes it’s funny how we put up a mask to be ourselves. I think the whole dressing up thing makes people friendlier. And it was really good fun except for this person who kept using its hand to brush against my crotch while dancing on the podium, in full view of everyone. This is Halloween, not ‘Hello-weenie’! So daring. Caressing someone so sexually in public. Such audacity. It shocked the clerical collar right off my conservative cassock. So before the situation got out of hand (no pun intended), I descended back on the hellish dancefloor with angel wings slapping me left and right. Perhaps next year I should dress up as a really big pair of scissors.

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