Wednesday, September 5, 2007
I'm still stuck in a project, don't think we can meet the deadline. Isn't that how it is always... Will try and write something as soon as I can.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Increasing Cost Of Living
One glaring issue that he did not address was the problem of increased cost of living. I was very surprised that he chose to avoid this topic as it is one of the main reasons why the aging population and the less well off are having problems (so much for million dollar salaries). I believe one often overlooked reason why our cost of living has gone up so much recently is our foreign talent and immigration policy. Like Beijing and many other rapidly growing cities straining under the weight of increased population, the influx of foreigners have a direct impact of on the demand and hence the cost of limited resources. One obvious example is the transportation system. Without land to build wider roads and more flyovers, our roads are struggling to cope with the increasing number of cars, buses and taxis needed to move people around. The effect? Bus fares, taxi charges, train ticket prices, ERP gantry charges all go up, typically to cover the costs of tackling increased demand.
Widening Rich Poor Divide
Although the PM has announced a 4th university to bolster opportunities to climb out of the poverty trap, it is a poor substitute for much needed assistance for the less fortunate/well off. Not everybody is made for academic exellence, and adding more degree holders to the workforce could have the net effect of pulling down salaries for this group of workers.
Adding an extra 1% will not be enough to tackle the cost of living after retirement. Moreover, the majority of our CPF is locked in our houses and will not earn interest. If you have used your CPF to sevice your housing loan and have subsequently sold the property you will know who has to pay for that CPF interest lost while it was locked in the loan. You. And if you can't afford to pay back the interest lost, the amount is written off so effectively you did not earn ANY interest on your CPF, none.
Increasing the retirement age is not the magic bullet to tackle an aging population. The people who will probably benefit most from this are mainly company executives, managers, doctors, lawyers, accountants etc. That is, the people who are least likely in need of help during old age. The remaining majority of the aged might likely find themselves working for very little pay doing something they might not be interested in. Life is fast approaching the end and the last thing I want to do is something that I am not interested in.
I don't like to be forced into buying anything and I am aghast that the PM is forcing Singaporeans to buy a financial product from private businesses. These products are sold by private insurance companies for profit and I don't like being forced to enrich the CEO's and Board of Directors of these companies. Some people might like the idea while others might not. But if you make it compulsory that means the people that don't like the idea don't matter. What happened to education and providing options? If I've made it this far in life I probably deserve the right to choose how I spend my money for my remaining years.
Political and Individual Freedom
We have not progressed much in this area since day one and the PM has continued to not live up to his promises made during his inaugural speech as a PM. Freedom gained from the British and Malaysia have been replaced with subtle oppression in the name of national security and economic progress. A recent example here, and what some observers say about our version of democracy.
All in all, it seems to be business as usual in the City of Possibilities.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Young people get genuinely offended when reminded of the cruel fact that, musically, they well and truly missed the party. It must be hard to have your era defined by Duran Duran or Oasis or the Arctic Monkeys. One ought to avoid being too smug about this. Feign an interest. Don’t, whatever you do, make the mistake of introducing them to your playlist. They will discover it for themselves. The only interesting musical development of the past 25 years is hip-hop. Engage with it, it has moments of brilliance. But don’t play it in the car with the windows wound down.
And if you listen very hard
The tune will come to you at last.
When all is one and one is all
To be a rock and not to roll.
Friday, August 17, 2007
This probably sums up the feelings of everybody whose been following the saga.
Why did a judge see fit to force ISP's to release the names of customers on the basis of ODEX's accusations? Who is benefiting and who is being hurt? Instead of sending Cease and Desist letters to these kids, ODEX has gone straight for the bank by demanding money from children.
Aren't laws enacted to protect the weak? Why are we hunting down our children to keep a company, who is obviously struggling to keep up with the times, afloat?
Big Brother watches, but to hunt children just for the sake of a few? Aren't we going a little too far this time?
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
The day when we see no need for such parades is the day we should truly celebrate.
The master when it comes to parades, North Korea
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
On 28th July, Nicholas Lazarus wrote on the YPAP blog:
Saturday, 28 July 2007
The Alternative Vision for Singapore (and I mean Alternative!)
Posted by Nicholas Lazarus at 12:06 PM
With all this talk about legalizing homosexual acts, I was just pondering what would happen if such acts were indeed legalized.
Imagine men walking hand in hand with other men down Orchard Road, kissing, fondling and making out.
For that matter, imagine all that taking place on the MRT.
Instead of teachers dealing with boy-girl relationships, teachers would have to deal with boy-boy relationships.
Then, you might have the homosexuals all over Asia descending upon Singapore to flaunt what they cannot in their own countries.
Something to think about for the future of Singapore.
More goodies from Nicky boy on 29th July as he spewed more froth when flamed for his piece:
Nicholas Lazarus said...
Leaving aside my religious views on this matter, I am against any change of law/policy on homosexuals because:
1. They threaten the social fabric of the nation. Their ways represent an alternative for which we should not accept as being mainstream.
2. They cannot procreate and thus cannot produce offspring for our nation.
3. They cannot serve as soldiers because instead of serving alongside our men in green, they are more keen to sodomise them.
I do not accept the notion that homosexuals are "creative" and thus we need homosexuals to make our nation more "creative". There is no evidence to suggest that homosexuals are any more or less creative than heterosexuals.
If an analysis is done, they seem to bring more problems than benefits.
29 July 2007 17:17
I can't wait to hear his religious views!
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Analysts had earier predicted that bids for the rights to broadcast the EPL from ESS, Singtel and Starhub would top S$150m. However, Starhub shocked everyone when it won the competition with a whopping S$246m bid. Starhub has apparently been struggling since to try and recoup from its miscalculation. Much to the ire of its subscribers, it raised cable charges by $4 across the board, then hammered its sports channel customers by almost doubling rates from $15 to $25 a month. Starhub probably tried to do the same to the fees it charges ESS. Like many unhappy customers who reportedly cancelled their sports subscription subsequently, ESS chose not to bow to Starhub's demands. So now Starhub will either have to spend more money to broadcast the games on its own, or find someone else willing to cough up the money to buy the games off its shoulders. There are unconfirmed news of a Dubai group considering a deal.
In addition to the EPL fiasco, Starhub has also failed in its attempts to launch the I-mode network here and is still struggling to penetrate landed property households. Will we see Starhub CEO stepping down soon? Looking at things, a golden handshake for its CEO might be the best thing for Starhub going forward.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Now: I read Sports, World News
Then: I watch CNA before I sleep in bed
Now: I watch Taiwanese variety on Channel U before I sleep in bed
Then: I know Ministers by their full name
Now: I refer to Ministers by their acronyms
Then: MIW is what you use when you go overseas
Now: MIW is a swear word
Then: I like porn
Now: I'm tired of porn
What about you?
Monday, July 2, 2007
The best answer is - there's no good or bad time to get married (if you ignore the fact about one's biological clock). You will KNOW in your heart if you've met someone you want to spend the rest of your life with. Marriage is not logical. Trying to rationalise it is like trying to understand women. (Insert exemption clauses... Note to self: check personal accident insurance.)
If you have doubts about marrying someone, then he/she is obviously not the ONE. Yup, I believe in the ONE theory. Its the only logical explanation for someone making such an irrational decision, marrying someone.
I'd better stop here or else I'll be sleeping in the living room tonight!
So my answer - if you have to think, don't do it!
Friday, June 22, 2007
Music: Jay Chou
Lyrics: Devon Song
The sky, so gray, like it just cried
Leaving you did not bring more freedom
The soured air, smells of our distance
The heart wrenching end, like breathing, unstopping
In the drawer, a yellowed diary
Pressed dried, our memories
That smile, like summer
Our past, with passing time, forgotten
A love that lacked oxygen
Careless tears are unnecessary
I know you and I were not at fault
It's just we forgot how to step back
Promises given, begetting sincerity
But time plowed their emptiness
I know you and I were not at fault
It's just that letting go would be better
The most beautiful love can only continue in memories
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Coincidently, the research was funded by the US Army (think dragline stormtrooper exoskeleton), which goes to show again that the best inventions usually come from the worst of intentions.
Friday, June 8, 2007
Remember the scientist Nicola Tesla who sold Hugh Jackman the huge electrical device in the movie The Prestige? Nicola Tesla was a physicist in the 19th century (no, he was not a rock singer =D), and he was the first person to propose the "transmission of electrical energy without wires". The movement of energy through space/matter that may or may not be conductors of electricity was subsequently named the Tesla effect in honor of Nicola Tesla. However, he died without realising his dream when a failed attempt to transfer energy wirelessly at the Wardenclyffe Tower in New York bankrupted him.
So here's to Nicola Tesla, mocked by his peers at his time, reduced to an mad scientist in a movie. You were right. And your legacy might still change the lifes of every person on this planet.
BBC: Wireless energy promise powers up
Anywho, I do like the song by Tesla. The guitar solo just rocks, hell yeah! =)
"Love Song" by Tesla
So you think that it's over Say your love has finally reached the end
Anytime you call Night or day I'll be right there for you
If you need a friend
Yeah Love is all around you
Love is knocking outside the
Waitin' for you Is this love made just for two
Keep an open heart and you'll find love again
I know you'll find love again
It's gonna take a little time
Time is sure to mend your broken heart
Don't you even worry Pretty darlin'
I know you'll find love again
Love will find a way
Darlin' Love is gonna find a way
Find it's way back to you
Love will find a way
So look around
Open your eyes
Love is gonna find a way
Love is gonna
Love is gonna find a way
Love will find a way
Love's gonna find a way
Back to you Yeah
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Future not so rosy for working-class S'poreans
Jun 04, 2007
The Straits Times
MANY Singaporeans must be celebrating at the moment, with the buoyant economy, high employment, higher salaries and, for private home owners, skyrocketing property prices and 'en bloc' frenzy.
However, is the current state of the economy and future as rosy as it appears for most working-class Singaporeans?
According to data published in a report on the wealthiest cities in the world by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) on March 11, Singapore ranks 36th out of 70 cities based on gross domestic product (GDP) in 2005.
A look at the rankings will reveal that, apart from Singapore, all the cities in the bottom half are in Second and Third World countries.
Singapore's GDP of US$129 million (S$197 million) pales beside other Asian cities such as Tokyo (US$1.19 billion), Hong Kong (US$244 million), Seoul (US$218 million) and Shanghai (US$139 million). In fact, we are only slightly ahead of Mumbai (US$123 million).
These?rankings are arrived at by using purchasing-power- parity exchange rates.
However, unlike Singapore, our Asian counterparts in Hong Kong seem to have more to look forward to. The projections for city wealth in the year 2020 show that Hong Kong is likely to rise to 14th position, while Singapore is likely to decline to 40th.
The study (taking into consideration deduction of taxes and social-security contributions) reveals that net salaries in Asian cities such as Tokyo, Dubai, Seoul?and Taipei will surpass Singapore.
However, these sobering statistics apply only to the average Singaporean citizen. The top bracket of earners in professions such as medicine, law, banking and, of course, within the ranks of the Government, will earn as much, if not more, than some of their counterparts worldwide.
What do these figures tell Singaporeans? We can conclude that even though we pay a relatively low rate of?personal income tax, the net amount of wages we take home leaves us in the bottom half of the 70 cities in the PWC report.
Edmund Khoo Kim Hock
Monday, June 4, 2007
Good luck guys, and watch out when the lightning strikes.
Friday, May 25, 2007
People don't agree with tax policy - throw money at them
Economic unsustainable in the LT - throw money into the system by building a casino
Population declining - throw money at couples
Population still declining - throw money at foreigners
People might not vote for you - throw money at people
Hmmm... do I see a pattern?
On another note, did anyone's hair on their backs stand like mine when they read this?
SAF given new powers to deal with changed security landscape
So now the army can arrest people during peace time just because the Defense Minister says so? Hmmm, what's this steep slope doing here next to me....
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Like all tests that rely on a proxies (ie. your breath), externalities affecting the proxy can have significant effects on the measurement of the target metric (your BAC). One of the most common sources of error in breathalyzer measurement is testing too early. When the body is absorbing alcohol, the distribution of alcohol in the body is not uniform. It can take 45 minutes to more than 2 hours after drinking for the distribution to be uniform. During this time, some parts of the body will have higher blood alcohol content then others. During peak absorption, arterial BAC, which is what breathalyzers measure, can be as much as 60% higher than venous BAC. So taking a breathalyzer test before alcohol absorption is complete will tend to overstate your BAC. Whereas blood tests, usually done by drawing venous blood, will measure a lower BAC during peak absorption.
Another common source of error is mouth alcohol. Because breathalyzers assume that the breath sample is alveolar air (from the lungs), it will not compensate for breath mixed with alcohol from the mouth, throat or stomach. A tiny amount of alcohol from these areas can have a significant impact on breathalyzer readings. It may take 15-30 minutes for alcohol in the mouth to dissipate through the normal rinsing effects of saliva. Even then, it might not fully wash away alcohol trapped in dentures or gums (caused by periodental diseases). This is probably where a cup of Chinese tea might help wash mouth alcohol away. (Unfortunately, it does not lower one's BAC)
Even belching or burping will get you in trouble. Eructation causes liquids and gas from the stomach (including alcohol) to rise up into the soft tissue of the esophagus and oral cavity, where it will stay until it is dissipated. So if you happen to burp just before blowing into the breathalyzer, better rinse your mouth thoroughly and drink some Chinese tea!
Finally, you may also be incorrectly penalised by breathalyzers if you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly known as Acid Reflux. This is when the stomach valve becomes herniated, allowing alcohol to rise and permeat the esophagus and mouth, where it is then exhaled into the breathalyzer.
So, if you drink, don't drive. If you are sober and really have to drive, protect yourselves from our ever zealous authorities, take the necessary precautions to ensure breathalyzers do not overstate your BAC.
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Thursday, April 26, 2007
So how much money would create such angst in the Yudhoyono government and cause the PAP government to risk bilateral ties? A look at the top 7 most wanted Indonesian white collar criminals that are currently on the run might provide some indication:
- Eddy Tanzil: Sentenced to 20 yrs. Embezzled $620 million from state-owned Bank Bapindo. Escaped and is now believed to be living in
- Bambang Sutrisno: Former VP of defunct Bank Surya. Sentenced to life for embezzling Rp1.5 trillion. Now apparently living in Singapore.
- Andrian Kiki Ariawan: Former president director of defunct Bank Surya. Sentenced to life for embezzling Rp1.5 trillion. Now apparently living in Singapore .
- Samadikun Hartono: Former president director of defunct Bank Modern. Sentenced to 4 yrs for embezzling Rp169 billion. Whereabouts unknown.
- Sudjiono Timan: Former president director of state-owned investment company PT Bahana Pembinaan Usaha
. Sentenced to 15 years jail for embezzling Rp1.1 trillion. Believed to be in Singapore. Indonesia
- Maria Pauline Lumowa: Boss of PT Gramarindo Mega
. Suspected of embezzling Rp1.7 trillion from state-owned Bank Negara Indonesia . Fled to Indonesia before trial. Singapore
- Irawan Salim: Former president director of Bank Global, suspected of embezzling Rp830 billion. Rumored to have fled to Singapore,
For a country that has been ravaged by corruption for so long, who knows how much of Indonesian money that has flowed into
- Foreigners' share of total caveats lodged for private properties in
in 2006 increased to 23%. Indonesians accounted for the lion's share of 22% of foreign buyers. (BT, 21 Mar 2007) Singapore
- A third of
's 55,000 high net worth individuals are Indonesians holding PR status, with assets worth $87b. (Merrill Lynch and Capgemini, October 2006) Singapore
Not only are trillions of rupiah involved (1trillion Rp is about S$170m), Indon President Yudhoyono’s political survival depends heavily on his ability to tackle corruption in
Moral and ethical assertions aside, when would it be not in
A few readers in Singapore Angle saw my article as implicit support for harboring "dirty money". My reply:
I personally do not support harboring convicted white collar criminals. My intent was to discuss why, in my mind, PAP took so long to sign the treaty. Our relationship with Indonesia was never very good since Suharto's fall and the subsequent riots. One Indon president actually taunted us with the "little red dot in a sea of green" remark. It was only until the sand ban and its potential impact on PAP's plans for growth that it was forced to act. In addition to trying to gain something in return by throwing other issues onto the table (PAP is fond of what it calls a "win-win" agreement), I believe PAP had to also ensure due diligence by being certain IF and HOW MUCH dirty money is stashed in Singapore (not an easy task) and IF SO, would the key institutions involved be able to withstand any repercussions. I believe all these led to the delays.
In terms of risking the plans in being a financial hub in not addressing the accusations of harboring questionable money, we only need to look at Switzerland.
Monday, April 9, 2007
STI Home > ST Forum > Online Story
THE views expressed so far on this difficult issue rightly deserve attention, even as Singaporeans await the Government's presentation of its case in Parliament next week.
Given the unhappiness, it is hoped that the Government will do more to soothe this feeling during the Parliament sitting, and address this issue beyond the offer of relevant statistics and other pragmatic arguments.
This issue is not new. So too the attendant shock that many Singaporeans react to when this pay scheme was publicly goaded in the early 1990s and hotly debated in Parliament in 1995.
Let us recap the two sides of the argument. To the Government, we are fooling ourselves if we want to lure top talents but refuse to pay them top salaries, and that moral counter-points must give way to pragmatic ones.
The cost of living, the competitiveness of the market place in a global economy, the high standards of integrity and performance expected of ministers and the equally high cost to their private lives are imperatives that must be taken into account.
MM Lee even once argued that 'moral values on pay are good only for textbooks on socialism and political tracts on social justice'.
However, to many Singaporeans, other factors must be given consideration. To begin with, is it right to compare jobs in the public and private sectors since there are obvious fundamental differences between the two?
Secondly, while many have no problem with raising ministerial salaries as a matter of principle, the quantum of the raise seems to be unduly high, making our Cabinet ministers among the most highly paid in the world.
Thirdly, while we must credit the political leadership for securing Singapore a sterling economic position in the world - our Republic's GDP growth rate and foreign reserves are among the highest in the world - such a remarkable achievement could not have been attained without the contributions and sacrifices of an equally productive workforce.
Finally, this increase of ministerial salaries may convey the wrong signal that money is actually the bottomline, even in such a nationally important issue of political contribution and service.
What about other redeeming intangibles such as honour and sense of duty, dedication, passion and commitment, loyalty and service?
It may be difficult for many to believe that the talent pool is so small and that the able are so money-minded that the best way to get them to come forward is to give them more money.
Hopefully, the Government will do more to appease this unhappiness. What about delaying this proposed increase until more public consultation is done and a better way of compensating the ministers and senior civil servants be found?
Otherwise, many Singaporeans will feel the sheer helplessness that however unhappy they are about matters that are close to their hearts they will have little chance to be redressed, both outside Parliament and inside - and this is not good for Singapore's future.
Dr Hussin Mutalib
Elia Diodati has also published a letter from someone working in the US about his thoughts on the issue. A good read on the views of a brethren on the outside looking in.
Thursday, April 5, 2007
Its been announced, the newspapers have been spinning it for days. Hue and cry from the great unwash, but everyone knows the likelihood of our displeasure causing a “rethink”- zilch. Ministers and some 230 Administrative Officers are raising their own salaries, some a whopping 80%, and nothing short of our sun going nova is going to stop them from getting what they think they are worth, nosiree.
You can guess which side of the fence I'm
pounding standing. Yes, I've read all the reasons - competing with the private sector, paying top dollar or they will leave yadayada. Does it make sense? Yup. Would I give them a raise?...
If I were a shareholder of a for-profit corporation, my decision on whether to reward management will depend on what I’ve gotten in return for my investment, my ROI - dividends, bonus shares etc. You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.
So now these Ministers and their 230 or so officers are
asking for demanding announcing a raise. So how do I, as a tax-paying citizen, evaluate this request decree? How is my life (the ROI on my taxes) so far under these peanut-deficient men?
Top on the list, Jobs. They may say it’s the economy that’s most important. But what’s the point of having a roaring economy if you don’t have a job, or your job doesn't pay you enough? I support a government who can best look after my needs. Selfish you say. But the one that can satisfy the needs of the most gets to run the country. If I am the minority who doesn't benefit from existing policies, the government of my choice doesn't get elected. If the policies make more and more people less better off so much so that they become the majority, the government gets booted out. Isn’t that how it’s suppose to work? So jobs… I have a job, but I'm reaching a point in my career where my position is constantly under pressure from cheaper foreign imports. If I get laid off in the next few years, I'm done for. I'd probably have to switch industry, which means I'd have to start from scratch. That's 10+ years of career planning and hard work down the toilet. I'm not the only one facing this problem. Most of my friends are in the same boat. It is real and pretty widespread and is the result of various policies implemented by the current government.
Next, Housing. I was initially pretty satisfied with my housing situation. Although the value of my flat has fallen, I had no intention of moving so it was a paper loss. That was until my area was selected for en block redevelopment and I will be forced to realise the loss. Even after taking into account any compensation offered to cushion affected residents, this unplanned move is going to cost me around $100,000 – loss on current flat, built-in furniture, fixtures, floor tiling, kitchen etc. will have to be written off and new ones bought for the new flat. I've yet to work out if I would have to top up my bank loan... My MP? He says it can't be helped and I was unlucky to have bought my flat at the wrong time. I wonder if he knows what it feels like to be kicked out of your own home and moved around like a refugee.
Healthcare. I don’t know when it began. But recently I’ve begun to feel the sting of medical bills. I guess when I was younger, I just don’t see the doctor enough to feel the pain. But now, I’ve had consultations, x-rays, scans, checks, tests, scopes, a day surgery, medication etc. I’ve spent close to a month’s take home on medical. What’s it going to be like when I am 50? 60? As the healthcare system is currently still being revamped, I’ll reserve my judgment until it’s done. As of now, it is still bearable but will definitely get worse if nothing is done to tackle costs.
Living Costs. Up, up, up. Someone once said fed up. What else is there to say? Blaming it on globalization doesn’t make it less of a problem to me. I’ve heard you talk about cutting business costs year after year, when are you going to get some of those 230 AOs to work on cutting MY costs?
Quality of life. This is a biggie and a bit of a mix here. Law and order, cleanliness and infrastructure, I’ll sing the praises. But you know, there’s just this nagging feeling that something is missing from my life. People use to say
…what’s that? I have to pay you more or else you’ll go work somewhere else?
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
1. Life is tough here in the city, and its only going to get tougher. Living costs will continue to climb faster than my pay and the people in charge won't admit they don't have the solution or political will to solve the problem. And you can't vote them out.
2. Our nation's plan for a fulfilling life is A) the promotion of money worship and the pursuit of material goods. There is no plan B.
3. I am afraid of growing old here. I hear in some countries they treat old people with respect and dignity. Here, old people are seen as a problem, fully depreciated assets that cannot be discarded but continues to suck on national resources.
4. My country doesn't value my opinion. When I was living with my parents, I had no say in family decisions. I couldn't wait to move out and take control of my own destiny. Ditto here. There are just too many obstacles (perceived and real) if you want to be heard, even more so if your views are different from the people in charge. And you can't vote them out.
5. My country doesn't value my or anybody else's freedom. I don't think we will learn to accept the chaos that usually comes with individual freedom anytime soon. We are so intoxicated with our economic success that we are too afraid to live any other way.
6. I want a better life for my child. See points 1 to 5.
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
To suggest that "society should not have to shoulder the burden" of helping children with special needs if their parents chose to raise such a child, to me, defies the very nature of Humanity. This is not the brave new world or clockwork orange, mate. The logic of responsibility simply doesn't apply here. We, as civilised humans,
If this the type of society you want to live in?
Unlike Kitana, I have to admit that LHL's maiden speech is not my fav speech. In fact, I hate it, only because I think it serves as tacit evidence of confusion, incompatibility and contradiction in the LHL Government.
But this post isn't about that, its about Singapore being the "Paris of the East". Has anyone ever asked how we can be the "Paris of the East"? Certainly not by transplanting a Parisian cabaret in the middle of Clarke Quay. I certainly don't think aping another city (is this a city plan or a country plan anyway?) is the answer to our future.
I don't look forward to it. For starters, anyone who thinks that we can become Paris in his or her lifetime will be sorely disappointed. As cliché as this might sound, Paris, like Rome, did not become Paris in a day, not even a hundred years. And Paris certainly did not become Paris because of her roads or spanking new malls. So what makes Paris Paris? To me, she is great because she has layer after textured layer of History and Culture. Sit back and think about Paris and what comes to your mind? For me its~ crazy kings all named Louis, musketeers, men in white tights, wigs and face powder, women with moles, hunchbacks, Mona Lisa, baguettes, Grace Jones jumping off the Eiffel Tower, Napoleon, Da Vinci Code, Amelie, Nikita etc.. the exquisite memories wash over me. What about you?
Paris is a cultural tour de force, a culmination of hundreds of years of history, a history that was made by its people, young and old, rich and poor.
So, is Singapore on its way to become the Paris of the East? It would be a fallacy to think that "to be" Paris is a specific point in time and space to be reached, that when you get there, you can plant a flag and say "We are Paris!
So are we on our way to Greatness? Not by the looks of things. The policies and actions of the current Government sure aren't helping us get any closer. Will we ever get there? Not that any of us will ever know, because we will all be dust by then.
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
Its nice to see a good rebuttal to a ridiculous argument (Straits Times, Andy Ho, 3 Mar 2007, Nude shots give gays wrong idea.). Ho's article reads suspiciously like a badly written proposal that was hurriedly made up to make a quick sale. There's a term in consulting circles that's used to describe something like this - smoke and mirrors.
Smoke and Mirrors
Trickery or deception, often in a political context
This expression to the performances of stage conjurers who use actual smoke and mirrors to deceive the audience. the figurative use that is now more common refers to the obscuring or embellishing of the truth that is employed by spin doctors and the like in order to deceive the general public. This later usage comes from the writings of American Jimmy Breslin. In his Notes from Impeachment Summer, 1975, Breslin twice refers to smoke and mirrors being used in the US political scene:
"All political power is primarily an illusion... Mirrors and blue smoke, beautiful blue smoke rolling over the surface of highly polished mirrors... If somebody tells you how to look, there can seen in the great smoke, magnificent shapes, castles and kingdoms, and maybe they can be yours... The ability to create the illusion of power, to use mirrors and blue smoke, is one found in unusual people."
Similarly in local parlance, this is known as "bue ko yok", literally meaning "selling medicine". The Hokkien phrase, like smoke and mirrors, alludes to the traveling salesmen in the 70s who moved from village to village hawking wares of questionable nature, usually medicine that promised incredible benefits. The sales pitch typically happens at night, accompanied by gongs and martial arts performed by an athletic middle-aged man (think spears bent against bare throats), whom we were supposed to believe had been the beneficiary of the very medicine being sold.
So here we have Ho, whom we were told is a Ph.D holder, single and successful (I'm not sure if he's as successful in life as he is apparently at work, as I remember he wrote once about having had to throw a ring into a ditch after another unsuccessful pitch), the embodiment of the "perfect" male, performing acrobatic spin, telling us that banning Leslie Kee's Superstars was for the good of everyone, straight or otherwise.
The problem is, Ho and his buddies neigh high think they are still in the 70s, selling "ko yok" to ignorant villagers.
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
1. 2.5” 60% Serrated locking blade
2. Nail file, nail cleaner
4. Adjustable pliers with wire crimper and cutter
5. Removable screwdriver bit adapter
6. 2.5” Blade for Official World Scout Knife
7. Spring-loaded, locking needle-nose pliers with wire cutter
8. Removable screwdriver bit holder
9. Phillips head screwdriver bit 0
10. Phillips head screwdriver bit 1
11. Phillips head screwdriver bit 2
12. Flat head screwdriver bit 0.5 mm x 3.5 mm
13. Flat head screwdriver bit 0.6 mm x 4.0 mm
14. Flat head screwdriver bit 1.0 mm x 6.5 mm
15. Magnetized recessed bit holder
16. Double-cut wood saw with ruler (inch & cm)
17. Bike chain rivet setter, removable 5m allen wrench, screwdriver for slotted and Phillips head screws
18. Removable tool for adjusting bike spokes, 10m hexagonal key for nuts
19. Removable 4mm curved allen wrench with Phillips head screwdriver
20. Removable 10mm hexagonal key
21. Patented locking Phillips head screwdriver
22. Universal wrench
23. Laser pointer with 300 ft. range
24. 1.65” Clip point utility blade
25. Metal saw, metal file
26. 4 mm allen wrench
27. 2.5” blade
28. Fine metal file with precision screwdriver
29. Double-cut wood saw
30. Cupped cigar cutter with double-honed edges
31. 12/20-Gauge choke tube tool
32. Watch caseback opening tool
33. Snap shackle
34. Telescopic pointer
35. Compass, straight edge, ruler (in./cm)
36. Mineral crystal magnifier with precision screwdriver
37. 2.4” Springless scissors with serrated, self-sharpening design
38. Shortix key
40. Fish scaler, hook disgorger, line guide
41. Micro tool holder
42. Micro tool adapter
43. Micro scraper-straight
45. Fine fork for watch spring bars
46. Pin punch 1.2 mm
47. Pin punch .8 mm
48. Round needle file
49. Removable tool holder with expandable receptacle
50. Removable tool holder
51. Multi-purpose screwdriver
52. Flat Phillips head screwdriver
53. Flat head screwdriver bit 0.5 mm x 3.5 mm
54. Spring loaded, locking flat nose nose-pliers with wire cutter
55. Phillips head screwdriver bit 0
56. Phillips head screwdriver bit 1
57. Phillips head screwdriver bit 2
58. Flat head screwdriver bit 0.5 mm x 3.5 mm
59. Flat head screwdriver bit 0.6 mm x 4.0 mm
60. Flat head screwdriver bit 1.0 mm x 6.5 mm
61. Can opener
62. Phillips head screwdriver
63. 2.5” Clip point blade
64. Golf club face cleaner
65. 2.4” Round tip blade
66. Patented locking screwdriver, cap lifter, can opener
67. Golf shoe spike wrench
68. Golf divot repair tool
69. Micro straight-curved
70. Special tool holder
71. Phillips head screwdriver 1.5mm
72. Screwdriver 1.2 mm
73. Screwdriver .8 mm
74. Mineral crystal magnifier, fork for watch spring bars, small ruler
75. Removable screwdriver bit holder
76. Magnetized recessed bit holder
77. Tire tread gauge
79. Patented locking screwdriver, cap lifter, wire stripper
80. Special Key
84. Key ring
85. Second key ring
The knife weighs a hefty 1.3kg and measures 22 cm, in width mind you. But don’t worry, it has a snap shackle so you can carry it around with you on your belt.
The knife is priced at US$1,200 and can be had by placing an order via the telephone. Now where's my mobile...
Images courtesy of Popular Science
Monday, February 26, 2007
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
When I read the ST report that PAP was "mounting a counter-insurgency against its online critics" anonymously, my first thought was – why? Why do it? Why the need to be anonymous? And why announce it (I seriously doubt the news was "leaked")?
Why the need for such action? The PAP has long enjoyed monopoly over media channels and the Internet is probably an itch it just couldn't scratch. Its recent efforts to "manage" this medium have thus far been somewhat a failure. A casual browse through current Internet discussions would show that the PAP is not exactly the most popular kid in town. The party has already targeted the winning over of young Singaporeans as its main priority over the next 5 years. So it cannot ignore the Internet, the current playground for the young.
But why do it anonymously? Weren't PAP the ones who insisted that those who hide behind a pseudonym are not credible and thus to be dismissed? I suspect their hands are tied on this. Frankly, PAP party members are flame baits online. It doesn't matter what they say, they will either be ignored (see P65) or be eventually beaten down by the boo boys (Sammyboy players will attest to that). PAP must have realised this by now. Something must be done, and the only way to do it effectively is to hide behind a pseudonym.
Which leads us to the last question – why jeopardize your success by announcing to the world your plan? To find out why, it would be useful to know the main objective of the initiative. Lets not kid ourselves, this isn't a Government action, it's a Party action (read the first few words of the report again) and so the beneficiary of this action is the PAP. And the main priority of a political party is Survival. Announcing the plan allows PAP to not stray too far from this objective whatever the outcome. There are only 2 possible unique outcomes to any initiative – a success or a failure. A successful "counter-insurgency" initiative will reap the obvious reward – positive political equity. What about a failure? Like a general that poisons a river beforehand in case it is lost to the enemy, PAP has cast the seeds of doubt and mistrust by tarnishing everyone writing under a pseudonym. This has the potential to stunt the growth of a vibrant alternative media online, in case the PAP has to retreat in failure and resort back to denouncing the
Internet as not credible.
The die is cast. How shall we play it?
Monday, February 12, 2007
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Would a Singaporean have come up with an invention like that? What was the first thought that came to your mind? Waste of time and money? Is it really useless? How many thought of Akio Morita's Walkman as a silly piece of toy when it was first marketed? (The creation of the Walkman is actually credited to Sony engineer Nobutoshi Kihara. However the idea of portable music was thought of by Morita, who wanted to be able to listen to his favourite music during his frequent trips overseas). How has our national devotion to efficiency, productivity and practicality affected our spirit of invention and creativity? Would a local chapter of Chindogu be able to survive in our climate?
A bee once sang..
Good, better, bestAre there any potential inventions to problems that are unique to us and the region just waiting to be discovered? How about a solution to the humidity problem in Singapore? Maybe special fibers that can be woven into fabric which when worn accelerates evaporation of sweat? A silly idea? Tell that to Morita.
Never let it rest
Till the good is better
Better than the best
Speaking of Sony Walkmans, I just got myself a W810i. Will post a mini review of it once I get the time.
If our eye could penetrate the earth and see its interior from pole to pole, from where we stand to the antipodes, we would glimpse with horror a mass terrifyingly riddled with fissures and caverns.Bina, Chapter 18
What do you see when you look down
Are they your feet, do they go in your stead
Are they shuffling, hoping from one to the next
Do they drag, leap or skip ahead
Are they covered, polished or painted
Do they carry you
Before the eyes of the weak and tainted