I ran the JP Morgan Run – 16th April 2009

On 16th April, my colleagues and I took part in the JP Morgan Run. The twelve of us got off early from work to go to the city area where the run was held. The running route is 5.6km long, and it starts off in front of the Esplanade, running along the Marina Bay towards the Singapore Flyer, and then following the F1 race track, going one big round before finishing at the F1 Pit Stops.
 
There were 10,000 participants, and many companies sent in their group of runners, all wearing their company shirts to promote their business. Before the race started, several representatives of the organising commitee were introduced, most of them were CEO of some dunno what company, not really drawing our attention until we all cheered for the Minister of Community Development, Youth and Sports, since he was someone more popular than those others. There was another Minister who also drew a blank from the crowd.
 
The run started off at 6pm. It was still hot and sunny, but I was able to run the entire distance in a time of 32mins. One of my colleague was faster, he finished in 28mins. Good thing that I had been running regularly so as to keep myself fit, but this was quite an experience as my usual running distance is 2.4km, while this run at 5.6km was just more than twice my usual running distance. I take this as a challenge to myself, to see if I can maintain my running rate for a longer distance.
 
Everybody collected their goodie bags, which consisted of a shoe bag, sports bottle, T-shirt, plus a leisure magazine.
 
 
Me and some of my running colleagues. I am second from the right.
 
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Awesome Toy Collection – Recent acquisitions

Hello world, here I showcase some of my recent purchases, the new additions to my awesome toy collection.
 
This is the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-E, the famous starship featured in the Star Trek: The Next Generation movies. USS Enterprise-E serves as the flagship of the Federation, and is one of the most advanced starship ever built. The Enterprise-E had participated in numerous battles, defending the Federation against a Borg invasion and even repealed a Romulan attack.
 
This is the USS Prometheus, a starship which appeared on an episode of Star Trek: Voyager. During combat, the Prometheus is capable of splitting into three separate spacecrafts which could operate in concert with each other, effectively tripling the amount of firepower which can be applied on the enemy.
 
From The X-Files, FBI special agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. The X-Files lasted for 9 seasons, and had 2 movies released, with yet another movie said to be in the works.

Toys for sale! At the Toy Outpost!

Last week, my colleague and I together invested in renting a display locker box from a toy shop, to display several of our items that we wanted to sell. Toy Outpost is located at the 7th floor of Plaza Singapura. Since 2001, Toy Outpost has rented out locker boxes to merchants who wished to set up their own business of selling off their items such as toys, dolls, and various cute trinkets. I myself often shop at Toy Outpost, and on some occasions I was able to find certain rare toy figures that I had thought can no longer be found in Singapore, on display right in front of me in the locker box.
 
I had accumulated several extra Indiana Jones figures and Batman figures, and there were some figures that I no longer wanted, and I wanted to find a way to get rid of them all, especially since they take up so much space in my room. My colleague, whom I shall henceforth refer to as Yo-yo Girl, had also been trying to sell of her stock of yo-yos, which she had imported from China with the intention of selling them to make a profit. We decided to rent a locker box to try our luck in selling off our stuff, but since both of us had no confidence of making enough sales to even cover our rental fees, we decided to only rent the box for a month, to see if there’s even anybody interested in buying what we are selling.
 
Almost immediately after acquiring our locker box we ran into a problem. Both of us had brought so many items that it was difficult to try to squeeze them all into the locker box without blocking too much of the view of each other’s items. In the end we tried as best as we could.
 
I realised that the utter chaos within the locker box could turn off a potential buyer from thoroughly looking through the items. Although this is a business venture that I feel is doomed right from the start, I take comfort in the idea that both Yo-yo Girl and I could in fact be offering the rare yo-yo or figure that somebody had been trying so hard to find.
 

China Square Central Flea Market – Opens every Sunday!

Every Sunday I would go to the China Square Central flea market to look for toys and other interesting collectibles.
 
China Square Central is located in Chinatown, at the junction of South Bridge Road and Cross Street. On weekdays, it is a normal commercial office building. But on Sundays, the toy shops open, and space is rented out to flea market stalls which sell toys, gadgets, and various second-hand items including books, VCDs, and even antiques.
 
 One reason why I like to shop at China Square Central flea market is because sometimes, it is possible to find the rare toy figure or other items that I had been searching for on sale there, when some owner is selling off his collection. Generally speaking, items that are unopened and still in mint condition would cost more that those that are already opened. And in the current economic crisis, many toy collectors are offloading their toys so as to earn some money, allowing collectors like me to buy toys at bargain prices.
 
 Apart from choosing from the displayed items, it is also possible to make an order for toys from the merchants if they so happen to be ordering for newly released toys directly from their suppliers and importing them to Singapore. Payment usually involve a downpayment, and taking into account the required shipping fees.
 
Do feel free to visit China Square Central flea market on Sundays, if not for shopping but also to gawk at the multitude of toys and figures on display at every stall. The flea market opens from morning until about 5pm.

Awesome Toy Collection – The Dark Knight’s Here!

“The Dark Knight” is the latest blockbuster Batman film. It features Batman as he fights against the amoral Joker and his criminal minions. In the film, the Joker gains the control of Gotham’s mobs, and he holds the people of Gotham hostage by planting bombs all over Gotham City. All these the Joker did to set himself up for a final face-off with Batman, whom the Joker considers to be his ideological nemesis.
 
TDK figures can be grouped into three main categories: The “Movie Masters” 6-inch figures, the 5-inch figures, and the 4-inch figures. I’ve collected several from each category, and here’s a showcase of my awesome TDK collection.
 
These are the 6″ “Movie Masters” TDK figures: Batman, Joker, and a Gotham City Thug. These 6″ figures have the most realistic sculpting as compared to the other categories. However, the Joker’s face is a far cry from that as seen in the film. There are actually five designs of Gotham Thug masks, one would literally need to buy five Thugs to collect all the masks. I’ve decided against doing that, since it is rather costly to do so. And besides, some designs cannot be found in Singapore anyway.
 
These two Movie Masters figures are actually from “Batman Begins”, but they are produced in conjuction with the TDK figures. A “Batman Begins” version of Batman, and his enemy in that movie Scarecrow. There is a change in the batsuit design between the two films, with a redesign of the bat logo on the chest, and the addition of shoulder pads.
  
These are my 5″ TDK figures. They are (from the left): Scarecrow, Joker (in purple), Batman, Joker (in green), and Two-Face. In TDK, Harvey Dent is the newly appointed district attorney of Gotham City who pledged to rid the city of the mobs. However, his efforts are frustrated by corrupt cops and a new enemy, the Joker. Harvey is finally driven over the edge when the Joker kills his girlfriend. Blaming the mobs, corrupt cops, and Batman for his girlfriend’s death, the disfigured Harvey takes the law into his own hands by becoming Two-Face, who attacks both the mobs and the cops. Two-Face often decides whether to kill someone by flipping his lucky coin.
 
As the figure sizes decrease, so does the level of sculpting sophistication. The 5″ Joker’s face now looks even more cartoony and is nothing like the Joker seen in the film. Note that the Joker never actually wore a green suit in TDK. Check out the new packaging design of the green Joker as compared to the others. As you can see, I have opened the Batman from his packaging. It is possible to open the previous packaging without damaging the packaging significantly such that the figure can be placed back inside, and make it look as if it was never opened. So far, I haven’t figured out how to do the same with the new packaging design.
 
It’s amazing isn’t it, the TDK figures come in so many sizes, and these are the 4″ versions. From the left: Batman, Gotham Thug, Joker, another Batman, Scarecrow, and Bruce Wayne, along with Bruce Wayne’s sports coupe. Apart from the car which comes along with the Batman and Bruce Wayne figures, the 4″ figures were never imported in Singapore for retail. The sports coupe can transform into a mean fighting machine.
 
 Batman in his awesome transforming sports coupe.
 
Here’s another line-up of the 4″ figures: Gotham Thug, Joker, Batman, Bruce Wayne, Scarecrow, and a special guest, Ra’s al Ghul from “Batman Begins”. Ra’s al Ghul is actually a Takara Microman figure, not part of the TDK line.
 
There are some TDK figures that I am still looking out for: a 4″ Two-Face, and two 5″ figures – Deathstroke and Firefly. Deathstroke and Firefly are Batman villians who didn’t actually appear in TDK, but they are extra figures made within the 5″ figure line, based on their designs as appeared in the Batman comics.
 
Looking out for: 4″ Batman (in yet another batsuit design), and 4″ Two-Face. These two figures are packaged together. 
 
Looking out for: 5″ Deathstroke and 5″ Firefly. These two figures were said to have been available much earlier on, but I seemed to have missed them.
 
If you see them on sale anywhere, tell me about it!