Thursday, 11 September 2014

View from the Auckland Sky Tower

Built in 1997, it is the tallest man made structure in the Southern Hemisphere standing at 328 metres. It has observation levels, restaurants and is also used as a communications such as broadcasting and radio. It has 150 metres of concrete shaft with reinforced foundations. Levels 44 to 46 contains refuge that can fit up to over 800 people in an event of a fire/emergency.

At 182 metres, is Sky Lounge Cafe and Bar on Level 50. A place to have coffee, cocktails and cafe food while enjoying the view.

Main Observation Level is at Level 51 at 186 metres. It is a public viewing deck which includes glass floors.

At Level 52, there is Orbit Revolving Restaurant at 190 metres. It is New Zealand's only revolving restaurant that provides great view while having a la carte lunch/dinner.

Level 53 was the outdoor viewing deck when the Sky Tower first opened. It was later changed to Observatory Seafood Buffet Restaurant which went on until 2013. It was renovated and changed to The Sugar Club led by Kiwi celebrity chef Peter Gordon. Unlike Orbit, The Sugar Club is a fine dining restaurant offering degustation dishes. At the height of 192 metres, it is also the floor used for SkyJump and SkyWalk. SkyJump is a controlled fall from 192 metres to the ground at rapid speed. Skywalk is a walk around the outer rim of the tower wearing a harness.

At 220 metres is the Skydeck located on Level 60. It gives a great 360 view of Auckland with frameless windows.

The Sky Tower also includes a 108 metre antenna which is used for broadcasting and communications. It is only the tallest structure in the Southern Hemisphere because of the long antenna as Sydney Tower's observation deck is at 250 to 270 metres. The highest observation deck in the Southern Hemisphere is the Eureka Skydeck at 285 metres. As the Sky Tower's observation decks are low, it stands no chance is Australian cities (except Adelaide and Darwin) as they all have skyscrapers as tall as 250 to 300 metres.

Able to withstand intense earthquakes and high winds, it also has coloured lights to showcase celebration at night. During Lantern Festivals and New Years, thousands gather for the tower to unleash fireworks.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Ending dictators mean a happy future?

When ruthless dictators rule with oppression and bloodshed, many would think that getting rid of them would make the nation a better place. Is it really?

Libya was once ruled by Muammar Gaddafi, a ruthless oppressive dictator. He had plenty of blood on his hands and was responsible for the Lockerbie Bombing that killed 270 people. During his rule, he survived the sanctions by selling and exporting oil. Cities like Tripoli and Benghazi were thriving cities. When Gaddafi was overthrown and killed, the country was in a messy civil war with rival factions battling the weak central government. The fighting left Libya in ruins with thousands flocking to the Libya-Tunisia border with the fear that the conflict will spill over onto Tunisia.

Iraq was once ruled by Saddam Hussein, another ruthless oppressive dictator. He had conflicts with Iran, Kuwait and the Kurdish people. He was responsible for using chemical weapons that killed over 5000 people. Before the Gulf War, Iraq was a thriving nation and was renowned for it's culture, literature, music and history. After Hussein was overthrown and captured, the nation was left with a weak central government that suffered humiliating defeats from ISIS rebels, ISIS was a terrorist organisation that came out from the middle of nowhere and gained so much ground almost reaching Baghdad. The nation is still in ruins with vicious fighting still ongoing.

One thing that the Communist Chinese Government can learn is that if the single party government collapsed, there would be a power vacuum with the country divided and factions emerging. Having territorial disputes with Japan, Philippines and Vietnam, the Chinese Government is playing it very carefully because if they suffer defeat, the people will turn against them and it will take almost two centuries for Chinese Civilization to ever recover from such downfall.

If democratic nations like Japan or Philippines suffer defeats in war, there would not be such big problems as the Government will be replaced by the Opposition Party.

This is not to say democracy is bad and dictatorship is good. Democracy is great as it gives the people a voice in deciding their next leader. When the United States is trying to forcibly promote democracy to countries ruled by dictators, are these nations ready to have a democracy? Do they have a foundation set up and is there a long term stable plan for the future?

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Beauty of alcohol

From Sunday to Thursday, Auckland city is peaceful and civilized. On Friday and Saturday nights, the city opened it's nightclubs and the streets are filled with drunken people. Over drinking and vomiting are seen on the city streets especially when people bring their own alcoholic drinks. Dropped and smash bottles unleash the unholy smell of alcohol.

The alcohol problem doesn't end there. The problem also landed on public transport. The Northern Express (NEX) is a bus service from Albany to Britomart running a frequent service. It has been a Friday/Saturday night trend where people drink on the bus while heading to the city. Treating it as a predrink before hitting the clubs, it is clear that people get intoxicated before the bus arrives at Britomart. When the bus arrives at Britomart, the bus is filled with smashed and dropped alcoholic bottles/cans rolling around the bus. They are mainly RTD (Ready to drink). The bus sometimes is also filled with vomit from an intoxicated person. People taking the NEX back to North Shore end up waiting for the bus driver to quickly clean up the mess. They also walk into a disaster zone which required specialist clean up due to spilled alcohol and vomit.