The Brilliant Les Misérables Experience

With only tunes from the score in my head, and zilch background of the show, I entered the theatre and came out a fan. That’s how powerful the performance was. Cameron Mackintosh’s acclaimed new production of Boublil and Schonberg’s legendary musical, Les Misérables just finished its preview performances at Esplanade Theatre with full house and standing ovations. Lucky me got one of the best seats in the house – T15, and I was awed by the details and impeccable transitions from 1815 in Digne to 1832 in Paris.

Set against the backdrop of 19th-century revolutionary France, Les Misérables is a much-loved blockbuster musical which has been seen by over 70 million people worldwide in 44 countries and in 22 languages. Les Mis is undisputedly one of the most popular musicals of all time. Based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel, it is an epic and uplifting story about the survival of the human spirit.

One of the world’s greatest musicals, this new production of the much-loved blockbuster features glorious modernised staging, orchestrations and dazzlingly reimagined scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo. This new version of Les Misérables is not to be missed indeed.

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Playing the role of iconic role of Jean Valjean is established actor and musical theatre star, Simon Gleeson following his recent and prestigious Australian Helpmann Award win for the role. Valjean’s lifelong antagonist Javert is be played by Earl Carpenter, direct from his performance of the role in the Broadway company of Les Misérables, having also played the role in the UK and Toronto. Returning to the international company is Patrice Tipoki as Fantine, who just completed a West End run in the same role. Joining them are musical theatre stars, Cameron Blakely and Helen Walsh as Monsieur and Madame Thenardier, Kerrie Anne Greenland as Eponine, Paul Wilkins as Marius, Emily Langridge as Cosette and Chris Durling as Enjolras who all come directly from performing the show in Manila.

That’s me grinning after the awesome and brilliant performance at the media preview Les Misérables.

With such prolific casts and the breathtaking production, it is nothing less than stunning. Having caught several productions over these years, this is by far the more extraordinary theatrical experience ever! I want to watch it again!

Les Misérables in Singapore
Tue, 31 May – Sun, 17 Jul 2016
Tue – Fri: 8pm
Sat: 2pm & 8pm
Sun: 1:30pm & 7pm

At Esplanade Theatre, Singapore
Ticket prices range from S$58 to S$228.
Get your tickets at www.sistic.com.sg or call +65 6348 5555.

Make Heads Turn When Driving Volvo XC90 R-Design

The All-New Volvo XC90 R-Design is aimed at buyers looking for a head-turner that radiates a truly sporty and dynamic look. And it sure lives up to it’s head-turning reputation. We felt like some superstars driving around town when we took this monster ride for a test drive. At every traffic light we stopped, I counted at least 3 out of 5 heads turning back to catch a second look at our ride – The All-New Volvo XC90 R-Design. There was once where I laughed-out-loud when we spotted a white Volvo XC90 along Tanjong Rhu when the driver took a triple look back at our ride. He was driving the Volvo XC90 Momentum. Same same but yet different.

This time round, I did not get to be on the driver’s side as I was too chickened to drive this huge SUV. But I enjoyed every seconds as a passenger on the front seat, second row seats and even in the last row. Spacious seats comfortable enough for me (standing at 1.7m) no matter which row I was in. Feedback from the driver who drove throughout the long easter weekend in the Volvo XC90 will be quoted in the following review and feature of the SUV.

And here goes…

The All-New Volvo XC90 is visually striking, a premium quality 7-seater SUV with world-first class-leading safety features, new powertrain technologies, and an unrivalled combination of power and fuel efficiency. It also represents Volvo’ s distinctive take on what it means to drive a luxury car in the 21st century. The embodiment of unrivalled contemporary Swedish design and craftsmanship, both inside and out.

Spacious premium, smart and luxury interior that makes driving the Volvo XC90 so unique

“There’s so many function and features in this car, I don’t think we can figure everything out in just 4 days.”


True enough, we really did not get to try out the many features come pack inside the Volvo XC90. You can find the full specs and features of this car on Volvo Website, here I will be highlighting the ones we experienced and love. Let’s start with the outside.

Distinctive R-Design Exterior

The R-Design is what makes this Volvo XC90 such a sexy, head-turning automobile. From the grille, front bumper, integrated roof rails, silk metal wing mirrors and window trim and integrated dual tailpipes. All these make the vehicle look like a sporty monster ride for those who goes for a YOLO lifestyle. Its 20-inch R-Design Diamond Cut alloy wheels complete the stylish, dynamic look. What’s not to love about this sexy ride you tell me?

To match the sporty exterior, the inside is super cool too – sports seats and steering wheel in perforated fine Nappa leather upholstery are accompanied by special R-Design details, such as gearshift knob, pedals, floor mats and illuminated tread plates. The driver also gets an exclusive R-Design leather key fob in matching perforated leather.

Most Modern Control System in the Market

The new Sensus user interface is without doubt the most modern in-car control system in the market. It completely reinvents the way drivers operate their cars. The traditional selection of buttons and controls has been replaced with a smooth, intuitive interaction between a large tablet-like touch screen, controls on the steering wheel and a capable voice-control system. Yes we were talking to the car and it responded well!


Tell the car “I’m hot!”, and it adjusts the temperature for you.


Sensus gives comfortable access to a wide selection of cloud-based applications. The outstanding in-car possibilities includes Internet radio, connected navigation, seamless music streaming, the ability to mirror and use Apple and Android devices in the touch screen display, a hot spot for using a tablet in the car – and much more.

Four-zone Climate System

The All-New Volvo XC90 can be specified with a four-zone climate system with individual settings for the occupants in the front seats and in the second row. Volvo Cars’ CleanZone air purification system, one of the most efficient on the market, has been further improved by adding a new carbon filter for more efficient capture of small, harmful particles and pollen in the incoming air.

Individual touchscreen air-condition control panel for the second row seats

“Such a huge car but so easy, so light, so comfortable to drive.”


The All-New Volvo XC90 R-Design come with a customisable Drive Mode function where the driver can choose between different drive modes. The control systems for the engine, automatic gearbox, steering, brake, electronic Stability Control and Start/Stop function are programmed to give different characteristics in the different modes. The Driver Display will even change accordingly. This mode can be easily changed by an elegant and ergonomic roller control on the centre console, without having the driver take his eyes off the road.

There are 5 available drive modes to choose from:

  1. Comfort Mode (default) which delivers an all-round comfortable driving and riding experience.
  2. Dynamic Mode which sharpens the car’ s responses, from a quicker take-off from standstill to disabling the Start/Stop function. The Driver Display changes to create a more dynamic experience.
  3. Eco Mode which assists the driver in driving more economically – minimising the impact on the environment.
  4. Off-road Mode which helps the driver drive through poor and difficult road conditions.
  5. Individual Mode which allows the driver to tailor a driving mode to meet personal preferences.

Safe and Stress Free Drive

Similar to our previous test drive with the Volvo XC60, we felt safe, in fact it was even more safe when driving the Volvo XC90 due to the following features.

  1. Adaptive Cruise Control makes sure your car keeps the distance to the car in front. It makes driving a lot more relaxing especially in slow moving city traffic.
  2. If your car starts to veer out of its lane, the Lane Keeping Aid kicks in, gently steering you back and sending warning vibrations to keep you alert.
  3. All-New Volvo XC90 comes with Road Sign Information technology as standard. It has been further enhanced to show an extended selection of road signs in the digital display in front of the driver, such as various types of supplementary signs. Including traffic camera, and speed limit, making sure you have a safe drive to your destination.

The All-new Volvo XC90 R-design is available at the Volvo Showroom, book now to test drive this premium SUV and experience its beauty and the unique and premium drive. More information of the car available on the website: www.volvocars.com

Here’s a video I shot during our test drive with the Volvo XC90. Sexy right?

ASUS Zenfone Zoom said to be a DSLR that fits into your pocket

ASUS and StarHub today announced the Singapore launch of ZenFone Zoom, the world’s thinnest optical zoom smartphone with 3X Hoya lens in an innovative 10-element lens arrangement for exceptional clarity and photo close-ups with up to 12X total magnification.

ZenFone Zoom is the world’s thinnest optical zoom smartphone, with a 13MP PixelMaster rear camera and 3X lens in a body that measures just 5mm at the edges. The innovative 10-element digital eye was created by the optics experts at Hoya. Glass, synthetic and prismatic lenses are meticulously configured in a dual-prism periscope arrangement to maximise incoming light and capture the best possible photo quality. Equipped with a built-in OIS, it ensures sharper, steadier shots every time even at maximum 3X optical magnification.

I got a first look at this world’s first from ASUS and here are some close-ups of the ZenFone Zoom smartphone.

It’s like having a mini DSLR in your pocket all the time

The ZenFone Zoom was meticulously created to be the world’s thinnest optical zoom smartphone with ASUS engineers rotating the ZenFone Zoom’s lens mechanism to create a compact, intricately- calibrated periscope-style camera in a smartphone. Coupled with a Panasonic SmartFSI® image sensor, the ZenFone Zoom captures more light and more colour, revealing detail and beauty in both natural and low-light compositions that other smartphone cameras will never see.

The ZenFone Zoom’s design takes its cue from the look and feel of professional DSLR cameras, with dedicated buttons for shooting and recording.

Its strong uni-body frame is precision-crafted to a metallic finish that is smooth to the touch, with a choice of premium Pure Black or sleek Ceramic White on the rear, plus diamond-cut edges to create four stunning patterns across the back and sides. The ZenFone Zoom even has an integrated a safety loop and many stylish strap options, for confident shooting from any angle.

The ZenFone Zoom’s 64-bit quad-core Intel Atom processor carefully balances brilliant performance and superb power efficiency, empowered by Intel’s sophisticated 22nm Silvermont architecture. Intel’s new Tri-Gate transistors have three times (3X) more surface area than planar transistors, enabling the flow of more electrons that increase computing performance and reduce power leakage. Furthermore, coupled with a huge 4GB of fast dual-channel DDR3 RAM, the ZenFone Zoom provides top performance in a smartphone.

More information of the ASUS ZenFone Zoom available in their official press release here.

Exclusive to Starhub

Starting 10 March, customers can visit StarHub’s Online Store at www.starhub.com/store to buy the ZenFone Zoom. Please refer to the below table for details on pricing.

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And here’s some shots of the launch event which took place at Parkroyal at Beach Road.

Mr Benson Lin, ASUS Corporate Vice President shared about Zenfone Zoom and I was sold by the quality of photos this phone can produced.
Mr Wang Li-Na, Starhub Head of Product & Marketing and Mr Benson Lin with their ASUS Zenfone Zoom smartphones
Everyone couldn’t wait to get their hands on the ASUS Zenfone Zoom after the presentation.

Am impressed by this album filled with photos taken by Tugo Cheng (Winner of National Geographic International Photo Contest 2015) with the ASUS Zenfone Zoom! Super nice wor!
Bloggers hard at work, who say being a blogger is easy?