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A Personal Introduction to Singastro

Posted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 1:33 am
by Airconvent
Personal Introduction

Well..as the title suggest, this is not an "official" account even though it came from the Mod but you are welcome to share your thoughts here too.
I had always been interested in astronomy during my primary school days, lapping up all the books in my school library. Somehow after I left school, astronomy took a backseat (in fact in the boot) but it was rekindled some years back when I read an article on astronomy. Hunting around the yellow pages for astronomy shops, I chanced upon The Physical Space and called Wee Kiong. Although I eventually did not buy the 60mm Meade Saturn I wanted from him (he was trying to push the ETX90EC to me then but I did not have the budget!), he did introduce me to Singastro and I had my first session in the old "home" of Singastro at Marina South. A pity that place is no longer available now due to development.
ok...back to the history of Singastro....

Singastro - The Beginning

Before the universe began, we had the Astronomical Society of Singapore (TASOS). It was a registered society affliated to the Singapore Science Centre and chaired by Albert Lim. Members had to pay an annual fee because it was an official society.

As far as I can see, partly because of the fees as well as the lower frequency of organised observations, some members wanted more control in organising sessions but less formality as well.

This led Remus Chua and Chu Yiren to get together to start their own forum in yahoogroups in Feb 1999. They named it Singapore Astronomers (or Singastro for short). The group immediately attracted large groups of students from Poly, NTU, NUS as well as some existing TASOS members. Amongst the first members were Singastro veterans Kay Heem, Gavin and YK Chia, to name a few.

Because it was free, barrier to membership was absent and being young and energetic, many of the student members conducted frequent observation sessions with Remus taking the lead which fueled their passion to new high. The Yahoogroups forum served the group well for many years. I remember the many sessions conducted at Marina South. So many enthusiastic people...each session easily has 20+ attendants with many scopes present. I missed those good ole days! Membership also grew to include people from all walks of life althought students continued to form the core support group, especially those from Singapore Polytechnic Astronomy Club which continued to hold Friday overnight sessions on their campus as well as their annual "Funomynite" astro-extravaganza.

The highlights came when Singastro, in conjunction with many working adult members, and students from polys , NTU, NUS and school clubs successful organised two Mars Watch for the public. It was a huge event and a milestone in Singastro history.

Singastro - The Next Phase

With the continuing developments on the Internet, 2 groups of members led by Vincent Snr/Cindy Quek and Yong Quan/Weicong had experimented with evolving Singastro into a full web-based forum. Some concept sites were put forward and when the trial was over, all the proposed projects were merged into the current Singastro forum today. The yahoogroups singastro continues to exists as a complement to the new website.

The new forum offered more features and flexiblity than yahoogroups and through it, the membership grew in leaps and bounds.

Today, Singastro offers a much needed water hole by which the small astro community in Singapore can coagulate and share their passion and interest. In addition, there is also a growing international component from countries such as Malaysia, Myanmar and as far away as Germany. It shows how a common interest in the heavens can bring many cultures together because afterall, wherever you are, we are all under the same skies (ok...maybe more northerly and southerly for some!) .

Singastro now also have access to several vendors, both locally and from around the world to provide products and services to its members.

Sustenance of the new Singastro has been through the kind donations of many members and if you wish to do your part, do contact Yong Quan or Chee Chien on this. Funds donated will be used to pay for the annual hosting charges.

It is hoped that through Singastro, people who have an interest in astronomy will be able to have an outlet to meet others with the same passion and together, allow for the local community to grow. And the beauty of it all is its still free but more importantly members still meet regularly for obs sessions which is the original intention for Singastro.

The Current Team

yup, thought I will give a brief intro on some of the core "Team Singastro"


Adminstrators

Yong Quan (nF) - The very hardworking system admin always tirelessly sorting out forum problems behind the scene but you never get to see him as he is always very busy.

Weicong (Q) - The other half of the core troubleshooter. We never see him also!

Vincent Senior - As the same implies, very senior consultant who is always involved in secret telescope projects. Cover was recently blown by very Vigilant News Reporter, Mr "A".

Chee Chien - Owner of the 12.5" curry pot! What else do I need to say ? :-)

Remus - Started the original Singastro and continues to shares his talents in astrophotography with aspiring imagers. The Imaging Guru!

Moderators

Weixing - Our most on-the-ball celebrity mod. Has appeared in the newspapers ! Conducts frequent sessions in Tampines, teacher to many newbies, avid astro-photographer, always courteous to a "T" and always buying and selling telescopes.

Chris - The more academic mod. Always coming out with publications, reports, articles to help all newbies in need. Accomplished Diy'er too.

*Me* - Oldest in the team (but not the wisest or wiser or even wise). Always idling. In charge of the 12am-3am shift on this forum. Also the resident newbie (somebody please teach me how to star hop).

Posted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 2:02 am
by VinSnr
wow!! I didn't think we went through so much until I saw your post. Wonderful!

Yes...to be exact, Singastro Yahoogroup was started by Remus on 19 Feb 1999. Earliest members were Remus, Yiren, Kayheem, Lin, me, Gavin and one more guy who was very good in planetary imaging...(can't remember his name now)

Since then many things have grown. If I were to look back now, I don't think any of the pioneer members have ever imagine that Singastro would have evolved to what it is today. I think through the commitment and passion from the various student bodies and individuals, a lot of informal activities were carried out and that really help us in our cause. Remus drove most part of it, and he has such relentless energy when comes to astro.

Today we have various active people here who have individual talent and knowledge. I think we are in much better stand compare to 7 years ago. The pioneer members started merely from passion (we don't have much fancy scopes or fancy cameras back then to talk anyway) , and that passion to share drove Singastro to what it is today. I hope the current members would do the same thing.....use that passion and knowledge to continue to share and guide so that we can all propel Singastro to greater heights.

Posted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 2:36 am
by Jeremy
Great to read the potted history of Singastro! In my experience Singastro is unique - never before or since have I met such a bunch of enthusiastic astronomers, always willing to share. It was a privilege for me to have been a "member" during my time in Singapore. Every good wish for the future!

Go well!
Jeremy

Posted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 8:49 am
by kayheem
VinSnr wrote: one more guy who was very good in planetary imaging...(can't remember his name now)
Are you referring to Tan Wei Leong? Yup, he is a master in his own right. His pic has been published on S&T and he has given a talk at Stellarfane before.

His website is at:
http://sg-planets.org/

Posted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 12:16 pm
by klutz
*Me* - Oldest in the team (but not the wisest or wiser or even wise). Always idling. In charge of the 12am-3am shift on this forum. Also the resident newbie (somebody please teach me how to star hop).
And you are my most favourite "reporter"... with all your funny abc... :lol:

I'm really glad LG gave me the "chance" to surf net all day... that I could bump into this Forum and meet you Gurus. :)

And yes, this is truly an unique forum 8-)

Thanks folks for all the contributions!

Posted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 12:29 pm
by weixing
Hi,
always buying and selling telescopes.
Err... Did you mistaken me as someone else??? :roll: I didn't "always buying and selling telescopes"... :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Have a nice day.

Posted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 12:49 pm
by kayheem
The first guy I met who sold small astro stuff was Jeff (who still pops into Singastro every now and then). Astro gear was hard to come by as online buying was not that common in Singapore.

I did my bit to help out the situation by becoming a Guan Sheng dealer, but was forced to curtail it due to time commitments. Fortunately other guys came by to take up the slack, e.g. Harlequin Astro, AstroBargains, McGill etc

Now with the Singastro website, buying and selling 2nd stuff here has become much easier.

Posted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 1:16 pm
by Jingguo
WOW very interesting history of SingAstro. it amazed me that the astro community still going very strong considering the number of clear sky we can get in SG.

Posted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 2:44 pm
by Canopus Lim
Interesting history. Well, good that I found this forum as I have now some khakis to go observing with me instead of going alone for years.

Posted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 3:48 pm
by azri
So that's how it all started... I guess you can add Brunei to your growing international component... or were there Bruneians here before? :)