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    Dec 30, 2013

    How to survive NY countdown chaos

    THERE is no better reminder of how important it is to plan ahead for your New Year's Eve (NYE) outing than being surrounded by absolute chaos.

    Of course, it is usually too late by then.

    And red is the most detested colour because it seems like every cab has a "busy" sign on.

    Every year is the same.

    Here is my cheat sheet to ease your transition into 2014.

    Beat them with a to-do list

    Failure to plan is planning to fail, said someone who probably suffered one too many NYE outings.

    Do not join the thousands wandering aimlessly like zombie chickens - similar to a headless chicken, just slower - around the city after midnight.

    Start with 10 activities/locations you would like to take on - dinner, drinks or checking out the fireworks.

    Then narrow it down to five that are within close proximity to each other.

    Unless you have access to a presidential motorcade, forget activities that are far from each other - for instance, travelling from Boon Lay to Pasir Ris is off the cards.

    Once you have five, choose two that you can miss without bursting into tears. This leaves you with three must-do activities.

    Now, all you need to do is to plan your route of attack with military precision.

    Entry-exit strategy

    Whether you are driving, taking public transport or jogging to your selected destination, never assume it will be easy.

    Transport operators have announced route diversions. But extensions of bus and train services are also being added during the countdown at Marina Bay and Boon Lay.

    Yes, Boon Lay. Don't doubt that the heartland can throw a stellar party.

    Affected roads include: Bayfront Avenue, Collyer Quay, Connaught Drive, Esplanade Drive, Fullerton Road, Marina Boulevard, Raffles Avenue and Temasek Avenue, which will be closed from 6pm on NYE to 1am the next morning.

    The same timing applies to road closures on Boon Lay Drive, Boon Lay Place and Corporation Road.

    But MRT services will be extended to as late as 2.55am on certain routes, and Night Owl bus services will operate until 4am instead of 2am.

    Now all you need to do is to formulate how to get in and out in timely fashion.

    With your activities within comfortable distance, travelling by foot is best. If you must drive, park early in the day.

    With public transport, getting to your destination is easy but getting out is another thing.

    Try booking a cab in advance or position yourself close to the nearest bus or train ride right after the countdown.

    Be technologically prepared

    Be prepared for a telecommunications disruption as thousands of mobile-phone users send out New Year greetings.

    Best leave the status updates to when you get home.

    Even worse is seeing that "low battery" message when there are still hours of partying to do.

    How are you going to rendezvous with friends when you have lost them amid the chaos?

    Communicate before setting off. Set meeting points.

    Then, put the phone away and experience the hustle and bustle of NYE in its full glory.

    But do still take a portable phone charger, or you may find yourself starting 2014 in the Stone Age.

    Home is where the heart is

    When all else fails, nothing beats spending NYE in the comfort of your home with friends and family. If that is the most out-of-character thing you have done all year, now is the best time to kick-start that resolution.