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December, 2010:

MBS casino croupier charged

CNA, 30 Dec 2010

SINGAPORE : A Marina Bay Sands casino croupier has been charged in a district court with dishonestly converting cash chips amounting to S$13,000.

Lim Kim Yeou, 28, was said to have committed the offence on December 29 after having been entrusted with the chips by the casino.

Lim, a Malaysian, is also accused of having S$13,000 worth of chips at Block 34 Whampoa West at about 5.15pm on Wednesday.

It is an offence to possess casino chips outside the designated site under the Casino Control Act.

The 28-year-old has been remanded for further police investigations and will next appear in court on January 6.

Lim can be jailed up to 15 years and fined if found guilty of criminal breach of trust as a clerk or servant entrusted with property.

The offence carries a maximum five-year jail term and a fine of S$150,000.

StarHub secures deal from Marina Bay Sands

CNA, 29 Dec 2010

SINGAPORE : Info-communications provider StarHub said on Wednesday that it has secured a deal from Marina Bay Sands to provide telecommunications and entertainment services.

It added that the services will extend to both Marina Bay Sands (MBS) Expo and Convention Centre and its luxury hotel rooms and suites.

StarHub did not disclose the actual value and the period of the deal, but said it was a multi-year, multi-million dollar agreement.

In a statement, StarHub said the services will include mobile voice and data services, high-speed broadband and Internet lines.

In addition, a range of StarHub pay TV services will be available in all of MBS’ 2,500 guest rooms, as well as on all 75 public screens around the resort, including the casino area.

As part of the agreement, visitors to the resort can also buy a co-branded prepaid mobile SIM card.

Ng Long Shyang, head of Sales and Marketing at StarHub, said the agreement underscores the company’s commitment to offer a suite of business solutions that meet the needs of the hospitality industry.

Singapore casino to launch world’s first ArtScience museum

moshe_safdie

Reuters Life! – 29 Dec 2010

Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands will open the world’s first ArtScience museum in February, the latest attraction at its $5.5 billion gambling complex built by U.S. casino giant Las Vegas Sands.

With a form reminiscent of a lotus flower designed by renowned architect Moshe Safdie, the science museum is due to open on Feb 17 at 1:18 p.m., “as advised by our feng shui master,” a Marina Bay Sands spokeswoman said.

Dubbed “The Welcoming Hand of Singapore” by Las Vegas Sands chairman Sheldon Adelson, the museum hosts 10 “fingers” anchored by a round base in the middle. The design of each finger reveals different gallery spaces featuring skylights at the “fingertips” that illuminate the dramatically curved interior walls.

The building features 21 gallery spaces totaling 50,000 squa`re feet (6,000 square meters) that will deliver exhibits from art and science, media and technology, to design and architecture, the statement said.

The permanent exhibition includes objects representing accomplishments of art and science through the ages, such as Leonardo da Vinci’s Flying Machine, a Kongming Lantern and a high-tech robotic fish.

The dish-like roof of the museum allows rainwater to be harvested and channeled down through the center of the structure to the reflecting pond at the lowest level of the building.

HAWKER fare at restaurant prices from $13 nasi padang to $17 laksa

marina bay sands casino

ST, Dec 27, 2010

HAWKER fare at restaurant prices, from $13 nasi padang to $17 laksa, is becoming more common in food courts here, and it is raising the ire of diners.

These hefty prices, previously seen only at food courts in town, are also creeping into the heartland.

But stall owners say they have little choice but to charge such prices due to high rents and food costs.

At three newly opened food courts – Rasapura Masters in Marina Bay Sands (MBS), and heartland mall Nex’s Food Republic and Food Junction- there are stalls selling meals priced above $10.

A meal of nasi padang with three side dishes – meat, seafood and vegetable – at the 960-seat Rasapura Masters can cost as much as $13.30.

In contrast, Indonesian restaurant Tambuah Mas at Marina Square offers a $9 rice set with four sides – an egg, one meat and two vegetable items.

more information…

Bus service 88 axed

resorts world sentosa casino

ST, 24 Dec 2010

A WEEKEND bus service to and from Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) was given a doubly auspicious number when it started 11 months ago.

But Service 88, which ferries passengers to and from Coleman Street near City Hall MRT station, will be taken off the roads from Monday.

Transport operator SMRT decided to axe the $2 service because it was not getting enough passengers, a spokesman told The Straits Times.

Five other public bus services plying routes to the integrated resort will continue.

The cancellation of Service 88 comes after the authorities directed RWS and Marina Bay Sands in September to stop offering shuttle bus services to and from housing estates and the downtown area.

They were told to focus on attracting tourists instead of Singaporeans.

New waterfront show at Resorts World Sentosa

CNA, 22 Dec 2010

SINGAPORE : Resorts World Sentosa will launch a new show – the Crane Dance – this Saturday.

The waterfront show involves two cranes, each 30-metre high or as tall as a 10-storey building.

It is the world’s tallest dancing animatronics show, and because of its scale, it will be visible even from across the waterfront at VivoCity.

The show will involve a slew of digital art, LED displays, light and water effects, pyrotechnics as well as an original score.

The cranes are made almost entirely of steel and weigh some 80 tonnes each.

But that does not make them any less dexterous and graceful when they mimic the birds’ courtship dance ritual in the wild.

Developed over 36 months, the show was created by four-time Emmy Award winner Jeremy Railton, who has designed many live concert stages for international performers including the late Michael Jackson, Cher, Barbara Streisand and Diana Ross.

“I wanted to ensure that not only was it going to be an iconic headliner, it had to resonate with Asian influences, yet touching the hearts of an international audience through a simple story about love,” Mr Railton said.

The free nightly spectacle, located at the waterfront of Resorts World, debuts on Christmas Day.

One CMS to rule them all at Resorts World

AsiaOne, 22 Dec 2010

RESORTS World Sentosa’s (RWS) slogan ‘one card, one customer, one resort’ is catchy, but it’s also a tall order for an IT system which has to enable information flow across the $6.59 billion integrated resort.

The scale and customisation required by such an envisioned system called for its IT team to build one from the ground up, said Yap Chee Yuen, RWS senior vice-president and head of innovation and technology and operation services.

There was simply nothing of its kind in the marketplace that was so specialised, he told BizIT in an interview.

Parts of the set-up such as the ticketing and hotel management system could be bought off the shelf, but integration between all the systems’ parts was the main challenge, he explained.

As such, he embarked on a plan to build RWS’s Customer, Membership and Services (CMS) with a team of about 50 people.

The team started with a group of 10 people back in 2007, when the resort’s physical construction was beginning.

Twenty-one months later, Mr Yap was ready with what he felt was a ‘pioneering system’ which tied together the infrastructure and all the peripheral systems.

To uphold the resort’s slogan, visitors would be able to access their privileges across the resort’s six business areas of four hotels, F&B (food and beverages), retail outlets, the region’s Universal Studios theme park, shows and entertainment functions, and a casino.

RWS has plans to open next year two more hotels, a marine life park as well as a maritime museum.

The aim of the CMS was also to offer frontline staff a more complete view of a customer’s profile and history across the different business operations, Mr Yap said.

The system stores details of customers down to their family members and preferences such as their choice cuisine or hotel within the resort.

A number of customisations were built in as well, such as the levy collection system required by the Casino Regulatory Authority.

Failover provisions are a must, said Mr Yap.

For example, should the levy collection system go down, it would cause the casino admissions process to grind to a halt.

The network is able to switch over to a handheld system in the event of such downtime, he said.

Another redundancy measure put in place is a mirror data centre outside the resort, backing up the one onsite. The RWS CMS runs on a pool of about 800 to 1,000 servers, with 35 per cent of them virtualised, said Mr Yap.

‘Continuity is very important, the systems run non-stop 24 by seven,’ he said.

Based on Microsoft’s Windows and SQL platform, the system also runs atop a service-oriented architecture (SOA).

This common delivery channel is the lifeblood of the CMS, upon which all its backend systems can be integrated.

RWS’s team is also able to plug in various access modules to the system via the SOA, in order to allow Web, mobile and kiosk access, Mr Yap explained.

This also allows for upgrading done to the system in phases, he added: ‘Business keeps changing and the architecture allows us to shorten the time taken to enhance the system.’

For the team’s efforts, the RWS CMS system won this year’s Infocomm Development Authority’s (IDA) National Infocomm Award (NIA), under the category of Most Innovative Use of Infocomm Technology in the Private Sector (General).

Mr Yap is not new to the Awards. In 2004, as the CIO of JTC Corporation, he won the NIA for a mission critical system built for the company.

‘I enjoy building (systems),’ he said, noting that one common factor across his experiences were employers which were able to see IT strategically.

These companies were embarking on ‘transformations’ in their business models and were thus able to position IT in a key way, he pointed out.

Another factor enabling success in such projects is talent, he said.

‘People are the key success factors. You need to choose the leaders to manage the project, as well as those managing the technology architecture.

‘Also, you need to choose those who have good domain knowledge of the business processes, as well as how to make the system easy to use and implement,’ he said.

But RWS’s IT team cannot rest on its laurels, said Mr Yap.

Further plans for the CMS include pulling in third-party retail tenants into the privilege programme, a process that will take some heavy lifting in terms of data integration.

Mr Yap said it is the next step towards a fuller experience at the integrated resort. Customers will be able to earn points and use them at tenants’ outlets, in addition to the resort’s own.

Another target in RWS’s cross hairs is business intelligence (BI).

‘Our priority was to keep operations up and running, but having gone through about six months of operations now, our next (step) is to develop a BI system,’ Mr Yap said, adding that for now, the team will need to build its knowledge of BI technology before embarking on an implementation proper.

Beyond that, RWS is also working on plugging in mobile apps to its system. If successful, this will allow updated information to be delivered to smartphones, as well as the provision of e-vouchers and mobile e-payment to be done, he said.

Maintaining the massive IT system takes about 60 to 70 per cent of IT budget, with the rest spent on innovation – an amount Mr Yap is comfortable with.

‘You should spend about two-thirds maintaining and making sure you are doing well. A third of resources should be directed to new development and ideas,’ he said.

This article was first published in The Business Times.

Battlestar Galactica enters final testing stage

CNA, 21 Dec 2010

The world’s tallest duelling roller coaster, the Battlestar Galactica, is slated to re-open in Singapore by the first half of 2011.

The ride is undergoing final checks, which involves day-time stress-testing.

It has been nine long months since its shutdown. But theme park junkies can soon look forward to hurtling down speeds of 90 kilometres per hour at zero gravity force.

Battlestar Galactica, one of the main attractions at Universal Studios Singapore, was shut down just weeks after its opening this year.

On March 25 during a routine test, a failure was detected on one of the seats. No one was on the ride at the time.

But as a precaution, Universal Studios carried out comprehensive tests – including filling cars with dummies to simulate human passenger weight.

Universal Studios Singapore says hot day and cooler night temperatures affect – very differently – the expansion and contraction of metal, composite and rubber components of a ride.

These temperature swings can change the wear rates and friction levels of components. These are factors which affect operation and maintenance schedules.

The fault detected was attributed to fatigue cracks in a welded component of the seat’s support structure – the part which attaches the coaster’s seat to its frame.

As the fault was inherent to the design, the flaw was not detected during the computer-generated design stage of the ride. To rectify the problem, every single component of the ride has been taken apart, examined and then re-assembled.

All welded components for the seats have since been replaced with new machined parts.

Guests were excited over the prospect of the ride’s re-opening.

“Can go and have fun. Will bring my girlfriend … here too,” one said.

“They’ll be more willing to come because a lot of them … don’t want to come because they say the rides are not fully open,” another said.

A third added: “Maybe we’re gonna come back next year because my daughter likes to ride on the roller coaster.”

After the end-stage testing is completed, authorities will still have to re-certify the ride before it re-opens next year.

Saved by guest not lifeguard

ST, 20 Dec 2010

A GIRL who almost drowned on Sunday afternoon in Marina Bay Sands’ infinity pool was saved, not by a lifeguard but by a hotel guest, who performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

The incident was reported by STOMPer Eric on Singapore’s leading citizen journalism portal STOMP. The contributor also posted photos of the scene online.

The drowning girl, who wore a pink bathing suit and looked to be no more than ten years of age, was successfully pulled out from the pool.

But ‘the lifeguard on duty didn’t seem to be able to perform CPR’, wrote Eric which shocked by-standers.

However, in an email reply to straitstimes.com, a Marina Bay Sands’ spokesperson said, ‘in a near-drowning incident, the first step is to ascertain if the airway is clear and in this case, the child was placed in a position to minimise any possible airway blockage. The lifeguard will determine if there is a pulse as CPR is only performed if there’s no breathing or pulse.

‘At the time, one of our hotel guests identified himself as a doctor immediately and came forward to administer CPR. We thank him for his proactive assistance.’

The spokesperson also said that all Marina Bay Sands lifeguards have received Lifeguarding Certificates and CPR Certificates.

‘We strongly encourage all guests to take the necessary precautions if they are not strong swimmers or if they are swimming with children or people with any pre-existing health conditions,’ said the spokesperson.

more information…

Dolphin exhibit still part of RWS’ plan

ST, 20 Dec 2010

RESORTS World Sentosa (RWS) will proceed with its plan to have a dolphin exhibition in its oceanarium, despite the recent death of two of the seven bottlenose dolphins it has in holding.

The news has drawn flak from animal welfare groups, which are asking the integrated resort to rethink its decision to keep dolphins in its upcoming Marine Life Park.

The two female dolphins – caught from the wild in the Solomon Islands – died after they were infected by the melioidosis bacteria while in a holding area in Langkawi two months ago.

Melioidosis is a soil-borne disease, with infections occurring primarily during the rainy season.

Mr Robin Goh, assistant director of communications at RWS, said the pair were in perfect health before the infection set in. The rest of the animals in holding have not shown any signs of infection, he added.

The 8ha oceanarium – the world’s largest aquarium – was part of its proposal when Genting International won the bid to build the Sentosa integrated resort in 2006. It is expected to open next year.

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