It is my last full day in South East Asia, and I'm working from the Microsoft Singapore office down on Marina Boulevard. There's a great view from the cube I'm squatting in during my two day stay. From the 19th floor, I can just about see the famous Singapore Merlion statue located down at Marina Bay.
What is is?
Well, the Merlion is half lion, half fish, and half water fountain, making it a 100% (+/- 50%) tourist attraction.
I had wandered by it last year during the extremely short day I spent here en route to Seattle from TechEd SEA 2006. However, last time I witnessed this landmark from the waters of the Singapore River, since I was taking the Singapore Duck cruise to pack in as much sightseeing on that one 3/4 day last year.
This time around, Sunday to be exact, I walk through the little plaza and down to the promenade, and took several photos of the Merlion up close. Adding this 19 story view from the MS Singapore office, I believe I've completed a Merlion hat trick by seeing the thing from land, sea, and "air" (okay the last one is a bit of stretch).
Here's a phone from where I'm sitting (note this is from my Treo's camera, going through a thick plate glass window):
The red circle is meant to point out the blurry white bit that is the top of the of the Merlion. For those planning to visit this part of Singapore, you'd be happy to note that there is a Starbucks right in that long building across the waterfront and a short walk after the Merlion park.
The yellow circle (that's yellow) is around the famous DHL Balloon ride. It's more famous because I read in the local newspaper that it's future (at least in its current location) is in jeopardy. It happen to be floating upwards when I snap this photo, and I wanted to provide context -- this is not an UFO (technically).
On to the point of my blog: Elevator security.
In my travels, it's not uncommon for the hotels I stay in to have some kind of "insert your room key to access your floor" security control in their elevators. This includes the hotel I stayed in Kuala Lumpur (next to the KLCC), and the hotel I'm in Singapore.
Normally, you need to insert your card into the slot marked "Insert Room Key Here" and then you can select your floor. In 99% of the case, one can only select one floor per card insertion, which seems a reasonably smart approach.
Not so at my hotel!
Once you've "authenticated" yourself (or at least your room key) to the elevator panel, you can select all the floors you wish! So, if I was someone looking to "rob" the place, I could just wait in the lobby (perhaps pretend to keep missing the lift when one arrives while I'm still solo), follow someone else in, and wait for them to authenticate and select away. I might even keep a shinny white plastic card in my hand to make it appear that I have my room key.
The above photo is of the aforementioned elevator panel. As you can see, I'm moments away from going to the 13th floor. We don't seem to have those around in the US.
So, this is really a good example of a half thought out security scheme. Yes, these key card elevator authentications won't stop someone from getting in. It's a hotel, not Fort Knox. However, it seems to have fallen short. Why not tweak the system to require one card swipe per floor button.
Nevertheless, I've been keeping my eyes open for anyone who maybe following my tips. At least I know you're reading my blog <grin>.
Post Script: One funny thing happen to me at the dinner buffet at this very same hotel. It was one heck of buffet. I mean, it never seemed to end.
In fact, just when I thought I had sampled items from all the available choices, somebody would walk past with new options previously unseen.
This was a multi-room buffet!
Roast duck was one of the options you could sample, and I was very eager to give it a try.
Once the chef sliced off a portion of the duck, I asked him which of the three sauces in front of me was the correct pairing with the duck.
He pointed to one and said "that one."
I asked him immediately, "what kind of sauce is this?"
He responded without batting an eyelash, "duck sauce."