Whispers from the heart

Ocassional conversations with my heart. Never heart-wrenching and heart-breaking. Always light-hearted and hearty. Ever thankful for your heart-felt support.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The myth of the intelligent singaporean ...

My son and hubby teased me about being mentioned at the Intelligent Singaporean site for two days. The sniggers still linger on ....

I visited the site and found it interesting. So many intelligent people congregating, discussing, arguing and throwing mud at each other in a fun, intelligent way. They are very articulate, mind you. (I didn't know there are so many secret societies in Singapore. Wong Kan Seng is still looking for them in Geylang avenues when they have obviously upgraded themselves).

I am the butt of jokes in my family now. PM, if you're still feeling bad about your gaffe, my plight will make you feel better. I was not even paid a handsome peanut for it.

While I feel a little flattered (strangely nice to be considered intelligent), I am more embarrassed for it. I am an old fogey and everyone around me calls me 'aunty'. I have no grandiose visions for Singapore and no fancy solutions that require me to stage a rally to expound them. Strangely, PM doesn't seem to have, too.

Actually, PM's rally speech could be summed up in two simple words : NO CHOICE.

So, you see, there is some wisdom in "STOP AT TWO".

So, please stop arguing and complaining. Let's get on with the fun and sleazy, er, buzz that will make us rich.

Ok, for those who are still sniggling, I want to have my say hor, aunty warts and all.

Long ago, a foreign talent (an ABC with an MBA from Harvard) proclaimed to a group of lowly bank executives (me included) that "intelligent singaporean" is an oxymoron. Why? Because if they are intelligent, they won't be Singaporeans! I'll let you let off steam for a while if you happen to disagree with him.

Well, six months later, our dear foreign talent had to quit because, er, he had problems delivering his KPIs. Oh, his plans were very intelligent but he had no intelligent workers to execute his plans. We were lowly executives with no intelligence, he forgot. Luckily then, the CEO did not replace all of us with foreign executive talents. We went on to make it a record profit-making year, sans the intelligent plans.

But, I had to thank the foreign talent for having expanded my vocabulary by one word : oxymoron. I had to check the dictionary (no wiki and internet then) to know that he was the moron.

So, to reaffirm my stand, my dear son and hubby, I am happy who I am. I am not intelligent. I prefer to be wise. Being intelligent requires too much hard work. You can't laugh at yourself. You can't speak on emotions without first supporting them with facts, studies and quoting numerous luminaries' opinions. The ME is gone and I know you won't like it.

I like laksa with hum. Despite many studies to show me hum is bad, I'll die for it. I mean, how bad can it be?! You can only die once ... if it's for anything, why not hum?


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

National service is the mother of all problems ....

Singapore has a penchant to be hubs for all things ....

Unintentionally, we are also becoming a PROBLEM hub. We have no babies, no talents, no customer service skills, no smiles and no money (except a few of us wearing white).

Luckily, our government is very talented. The solution, it seems, to all these problems is to import immigrants. Yep, all these problems will disappear when immigrants arrive by the truckloads.

Fortunately, old fogey discovered the mother of all problems while listening to Mr Brown's podcast on Pluto's downgrading. No, it's not Pluto's fault that we have problems but National Service for Singapore males.

OK, don't fret for those of you who die, die want to die for the country. I am not advocating to abolish National Service. Even though this is one important aspect where many singaporeans feel they have been disadvantaged as citizens against immigrants.

C'mon, get real. Where would all those regulars work if there is no MINDEF? Outsourced them to Iran and Lebanon? I respect those who believe in dying for their country. How romantic! Dying for love of a country, for fellow men and family (actually, I prefer my son alive but that's not the point).

In fact, I wholeheartedly agree with Dr Huang for his big-hearted proposal to welcome our immigrants. So, why is National Service the mother of all problems?

Listen to the podcast for those who had never served in the army, had no brothers in the family who served NS and if you're a white horse (or is it white knights?). Did you hear the atrocious, non-standard English used ever so freely by our esteemed army officers?! My god, they are supposed to be stewards of discipline and male bonding functions for our impressionable young men of 18 or more.

I spent much money and time in enrolling my son in 'branded' schools, attending Julia Gabriel classes with native speaking teachers and holidaying only in Europe and the States. Imagine, all these efforts will go to waste when he reports to the army in few years' time. Because, day in day out, his army officers will teach him an expanded vocabulary of 'chow keng','gen' and many other forms of non-standard English.

From the State's perspective, this is seriously detrimental to MOE's initiative to bring in more Native Speakers to teach our children. What's the point of teaching from young, to be corrupted just when they are ready to join the work force?

Remember, having a population of standard English speakers is very critical for our economy because the tourists and investors may not come if they don't understand us. Without money and economic growth, all other problems will pop up. The lack of money is the root of all evil, some say. (Evil is the fruit of having too much money?).

National Service is the problem. Yep. I urge the Minister for Defence (who's he hah?) to give this mother of all problems a serious thought. Maybe, we could ask those foreigners and immigrants to perform National Service as well. Spend some time in the army barracks to mingle and socialise with the local soldiers. They need not wear green, blue will do as a Mr Ng Ya Ken had suggested in Today (this chap suggested naming our citizens by the colour of the rainbow to forge cohesiveness).

Maybe, we could also adopt MOE's policy as well. Employ some native speakers to become army officers. Who knows, they might want to die for our country too, one day.


Sunday, August 27, 2006

Stand up for Singapore and understand, Singaporeans!

I am a huge fan of Lucky Tan. Get to know him here.

He is also one of the three most misunderstood Singaporeans, after LKY and CSJ.

His latest plea to Singaporeans to make an effort to understand is very timely because once Singaporeans understand that accepting immigration is all for our own good, we can move on. The MSM can start to entertain us with some other more interesting news like more murder and rape cases in our tiny red dot of an island.

I am more a 'fun and buzz' type of person. Afterall, I have paid my taxes to employ million dollar ministers to solve my problems. We are in good hands, aren't we?.

So, to help Tan and our PM out, I reproduce an earlier comment in his blog to further illustrate where Singaporeans have failed to understand, thus causing a slowdown in our economy.

"Singaporeans have problems understanding the following:

1 a few hundreds is better than zero

2 mee siam can have hum

3 foreigners are talents

4 selling tissue and cleaning toilets are respectable jobs only locals are qualified to do

5 PRC kids need their mothers to sit beside them to study. They are very resilient and can solve their own problems.

6 Breaking the law to operate food stalls is talent because they create jobs.

7 how to produce low-cost babies

8 Singapore is big enough to have a population of 10 million one day

9 what the MSM is singing everyday

10 what is good for them is better for the foreigners and best for PAP!

I hope fellow Singaporeans can take some free time to actively identify those which you do not understand and well, just understand them.

You might start with just repeating the most crucial one "What is good for me is better for the foreigners and best for PAP" about a thousand times a day. You will find a different perspective. No!? reapeat the process and try harder .... you can't be that stupid.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Don't kill the money tree

Some folks at Tomorrow.sg petitioned for the authorities to consider retaining the Jin Long Si Temple and the Bodhi tree. Read it here.

I really don't want to put any dampener on our youth (I think they are great!) but history does not prove petitions work in Singapore. You can petition but no one will listen. Of course, to romance a few, there was Chek Jawa.

However, we cannot always blame the government, you know. They are in a damned position. (Do and don't do also cannot type of situation). For example, what if the old tree fell and collapsed on someone causing bodily injury one day? Or worse, the Bodhi tree made everyone so enlightened about what is going on in the matrix?!

Perhaps, we should devolve the authorities of such accountability and liability by providing a proposal that even the 66.6% of Singaporeans think it is a no-brainer decision. When everyone thinks so, then no problem. It would be a collective and honest mistake that we made as stakeholders of this tiny little global city.

Most importantly, understand what makes this country ticks. MONEY. JOBS.

So, in submitting the petition to save an old temple, one must cut to the chase. Symbolic and nostalgic references are good but not good enough. Too clean and wholesome. More buzz needed. Open up our vista and hearts to see the temple as something more crucial to our survival.

By all means keep the temple because it is an integral part of our IRs. Without them, the IRs may make money but not good enough. C'mon, who will visit our casinos? Muslims around the region?! Who likes to gamble most? the Chinese. What do they do before and after they gamble? they pray for good luck. More so after they lost a lot of money. Visiting the temple before the IRs is an essential ritual for more good luck (gamblers think they are lucky to start with). When one loses too much (like 200 million? ask the chap serving sentence now), going to the temple might help too. Ah Loong Sans don't hang out in temples.

Imagine the possibilities of integrating the temple with our IRs. We could levy a visiting fee or a pay per pray mode of cost recovery in maintaining the temple. We could also provide entertainment in the form of charity show times. We have local monks who can perform dangerous stunts too. Or we could import some shaolin monks from China if we don't have enough of them.

When the temple becomes world famous, a national tourism icon like the Merlion, we will stand to benefit hugely from its merchandising as well. Temple T-shirts, mugs, holy yellow ribbons to be tied onto the Bodhi tree and etc etc. The ultimate experience would be to pay to sit under the Bodhi tree. Yep, let some of Buddha's wisdom filters through so you will know which slot machine to use later.

I tell you, this one even better than our Spaceport. Imagine its immense potential to create jobs for Singaporeans, tour guides, dong-lui ah peks, joss-stick sellers and its various spin-offs to the food and beverage and hospitality industries. We can even hold MICE events for the world's spiritual leaders.

So while the authorities hear the chingling sounds of dollar and cents, devotees will still be able to chant for these people's delivery from their lives of wanton materialism. It's really a win-win for all.

To end, I must clarify that my entry is not meant to hurt any followers of any religion, especially not the Buddhists. I have many friends who are devout Buddhists. In fact, they always tell me that attaining wisdom (nirvana) is an individual journey, a lonesome pursuit. They usually don't believe in all that rah-rah in singing and holding hands. That's why Buddhists don't seem to be very 'hip and happening'.

Buddhism is about wisdom, a much needed intangible which sadly, not many of us have. For those who seek, there is still hope.


Getting into my digital age ....

After surrounding myself with digital clocks and digital watches, this fogey was ready to do what our PM asked us to do - embrace it, enjoy its benefits and manage it.

Yep ... I may be old but I am very resilient and vigilant. I am not afraid to step into my digiatal age.

My digital age is 101000 !!!!

Good gracious, sounds really old. Nonetheless, I should be happy about it, enjoy being 101000 years old and start to manage my old age.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The bottomline on local headlines (23 Aug 2006)

Time is precious for an old fogey. Like they say, you don't know when you'll go!

I don't really like selling tissues at MRT stations and shopping malls. Perhaps, I'll consider it when MOM and NTUC re-brand the profession with a catchy job title, job certification and a funky uniform to boot. Like the one worn by those star trekkies, cool.

Disgusting isn't? I am one of those fussy unemployed who refused to understand that a few hundreds is better than zero.

Well, I have bigger plans for myself. I will embrace our PM ... 's vision of the coming of the digital age. My son pointed out that he was a little late. Nevermind, old people are slower at things but I'm sure we'll get there at 73.

For starters, I got myself a digital clock. Tonight, I shall get myself a digital watch. I will re-train myself to be a digital media talent that Singapore needs. Next, I gathered I need to be a media expert as well. Ok, no probs, I'll start with the print media. Reading headlines is a breeze. Getting the bottomline is the tricky part. I'll try.

MOH publishes average hospital bill sizes which show affordability. Read.
Bottomline - we never had problems with medical bills, false alarm!

Police to examine practicality of alternative sites given by World Bank for protests. Read.
Bottomline - Sir, please fill up the 'Request for police action' form and queue behind those 'civil' assault cases.

Man smuggling Subutex in anus caught at Woodlands checkpoint. Read.
Bottomline - he should have used some of his creative sparks on alternative routes to avoid Woodlands checkpoint instead.

Reports on Taiwan President travelling to Palau via S'pore false: MFA. Read.
Bottomline - taiwanese newspapers retort that Singapore papers lost their sense of hearing too, quoting PM saying hum as hiam ....

Case announces six new central committee members. Read.
Bottomline - they are roped in to investigate rising cosumer complaints about not having any hum in their mee siam.

(More to come .... but need to re-charge after reading so much media bollocks).

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Loong-ny tunes

My son, the second generation young English-educated radical, criticized my post-NDR entry as uninspiring and downright lame compared to those written by more illustrious bloggers about town.

I have no defense and take no offence. For an old fogey who had survived many National Day Rallies, believe me, there wasn't much to feel excited/upset about them anymore.

However, Mr Brown was my savior again! I listened to his harmless podcast and presto! I found myself looking forward to the next NDR....

The Loong-ny tunes are finally here! mai hum .. mai hum rapped the hum-bug.

I think Mr Brown is more talented than the PRC man who illegally sneaked into Singapore to operate five illegal food stalls.

I don't know if PM knew if he was admitting to some of his esteemed colleagues' failed KPIs? The minister who allowed such easy entry for illegal immigrants and the minister who allowed illegal immigrants to operate not one, but five food stalls. To me, it sounded much easier for a foreigner to do illegal things in Singapore than for a Singaporean to do legal things, like writing a humorous article.

I urge our PM to give that same space of freedom that foreigners have to his own citizens. If Mr Brown could, in that tiny little legal blog spot, produce creative masterpieces, I'm sure he would be more spectacular doing illegal things to put your PRC man to shame a thousand fold.

But alas, not only beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, talent is, too. To PM, someone who breaks the law to find a living is exhibiting highly-valued resilience. Darn it, why didn't he say so earlier?! I would have robbed a bank in my younger days....

For most Singaporeans, the difficult thing that we can't do is probably breaking the law. There is no "another country" to be deported back to. The fact that a PRC man can find it more efficient to operate illegal food stalls in Singapore than China, makes me think very hard:

1 Singapore is only a paper tiger. In reality, it's more 'wild wild west' than China.

2 He has more to lose in China. Here, he makes a killing and risks being deported only. Hypothetically, it is the same for a Singaporean's situation in China? Do they have tougher laws?

3 In the same speech, PM also welcomed immigrants and hailed them as our life savers. Why not become part of China and India? It certainly opens up many opportunities.

If I were to have any feeling, my son, it would be that I felt sad. In my earlier entry, I lamented that Singapore is a bending willow. I was wrong. It has grown downwards to become a creeper.

Singapore gives me the creeps.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The morning after ...

This old fogey is having a massive and splitting headache after spending a night with our PM.

Ok, you can fault me for bad taste and irresponsible behavior but there wasn't any more entertaining alternatives available at the same time slot!

Well, he was entertaining though the plot was somewhat predictable (and he even wore the same red shirt?!). I quite like the silly grin he has which always remind me of the guy on those MAD magazine covers?

To me, he was a tad disappointing but most Singaporeans found him inspiring and assuring in that way, totally himself. It will be too much to have him spotting tattoos and nipple pins.

However, he had the cheek to give a rally speech that lasted longer than an hour and yet forgot to offer any better solution or any groundbreaking wisdom for moving on (except something about mee siam and see hum/ham?). I presumed he was thinking about supper then. Sadly, he made me feel I had worked harder in coming up with some solutions (at least!!!) even though they may be extreme (see my earlier entry posted before his rally).

Nonetheless, it is not nice to pick on your PM especially when you did not pick him to be PM.

Maybe I should also give him some basics to start with ...

1 Try offering some new solutions (hearing the same old solution to the same old problem is boredom unlimited).

2 Since we are into connecting and bonding with each other, try giving us a choice. Like screening a movie blockbuster on another channel during the NDR. I'll even settle for "Snow-white and the 7 dwarfs".

Incidentally (this last bit is R(A) and parental guidance is needed for anyone below 18 and over 80 hor), I began to realise how serious our baby problem was when I saw this.

Lee Kuan Yew
Will stand in 2011.

Oh dear, I really don't think he should 重出江湖 at that age, no matter what pedigree genes he must have.


Friday, August 18, 2006

Extreme solutions for Singapore's problems

I think Singapore is in deeper shit than I thought. Click here to see what I mean. This is MM, our honorable founding father (aka the Oracle), telling us that he could only provide us with the basics! (Hey, the rest is up to you pathetic folks who are still dreaming of the many good years ahead). Even his upbeat forecasts are getting shorter. It used to be at least a rosy decade of more good years. Now, he is betting his lot on the next five only. Perhaps, some cynics might say it is the sly cunning despot's way of securing votes for the next election.

I don't think I need to know what PM would be preaching at the National Day Rally tonight. The yada yada will revolve around how we should stay united and steadfast in accepting anything that is better than zero.

So, to do my part in constructive citizenry, I shall attempt to give some solutions to solve some of our nation's problems. They may seem extreme and may cause discomfort for those used to higher standards of morality. I advice emotional guidance to be sought for readers venturing beyond this point. The problems listed are not ranked according to severity, perceived or fabricated. They are problems that our government had problem solving for a long time and looked desperately in need of some extreme solutions.

Problem No 1 - the shortage of babies in Singapore
Babies are our future suckers as they grow up to become future workers who will contribute more good years for us. Essentially, every citizen should have a replacement on the production line of Singapore Inc before he/she dies. However, despite having appointed an old fogey of a Minister to study into our procreation disability, the birth rate remains low.

The baby bonus will not help very much, everyone knows. Instead of giving out baby bonus, we should produce bonus babies. The idea is similar to stock splits for those who dabble in the shares market. For every baby conceived, we clone 2 or 3 of him/her. This will not only jack up the birth numbers, enlarge the future workers' pool but also bring many other benefits. If we raise these 'spares' in a state nursery away from harmful external influence (like their parents), this group will ensure we have 2 0r 3 more future voters who are sympathetic to PAP for every young English-educated radical out there.

Problem No 2 - choosy workers who refuse to work

These troublesome Singaporeans have a tendency to destroy the good work ethics we have painfully built up over the last 40 years. As Wong Kan Seng had clearly pointed out to us, these clowns are unable to even understand the simplest mathematics concept of a few hundred is better than zero! Luckily, Wong is good at maths.

We cannot expect all Singaporeans to be as talented as Wong. For those who obviously lack such abilities, the solution is to provide a massive national mathematics learning exposition to train and re-train these people who have problems understanding 'anything is better than zero', well, except zero. More so when the zero comes in a string behind a positive integer?

Problem No 3 - the opposition parties
Technically, most Singaporeans do not find them a real problem at all. However, their presence create a big problem for our PM in the form of rising costs of Progress Packages and having to devote a large amount of his time to fix and buy them out. Time, he could have used on solving the nation's problems.

To improve our PM's KPIs and for us to move on, we have to eradicate this problem for him. We can either adopt a philosophical or a pragmatic approach. To be pragmatic, we could just re-brand the opposition as CIPO, 'Colleagues In Parliament Only'. When they are just colleagues of our PM, he no longer needs to see them as any threat. In fact, he could literally slap them in the face and still get away with it. Afterall, HE IS THE BOSS's SON. 'Cheapo' also refers to the group of 33.3% voters in their respective wards that hankers after abalone congee and empty promises of upgraded lifts.

Or, be philosophical about it. Since they are opposed to PAP, flip the words PAP sideways and downwards to form "dad"! Yep, treat them as THE ONE PM reports to work everyday and life will be a breeze for him.

Problem No 4 - controlling the price of oil
Our Ministers have been telling us (more confidently after the 2006 elections) that nobody can control the price of oil. They seem to have some illusions during the elections that PAP could. Anyway, my take is - it's all bullshit! Think out of the box, you highly paid peanuts... Why control the PRICE of oil???? Control THE OIL and let the price goes up, up and away!

Since we have a world-class army with so many wonderful Brigadier-Generals, we could take over one of those oil fields in the Middle-east. We could even join forces with President Bush. We could get a little more if we smile nicely enough. Singapore males would be very proud to die for their country for such a worthy cause as to protect our economic well-being. In fact, it would also be a good opportunity for those foreign talents and PRs to show their loyalty to Singapore by being the first to go. (Comeon you simpletons, why do you there are wars?)

Problem No 5 - the old and unemployed
Big problem, these clowns don't conveniently die off! Even if we clone more babies to feed these bums, the opportunity costs of maintaining these units are high. These costs could buy more peanuts for other more deserving managers of the production line of Singapore Inc.

Mercy-killing or euthanasia is the solution, period. Although it is hoped that high medical costs will do the job, it creates negative sentiments that might affect the workers' productivity. The way to go about mercy-killing is to er, show MERCY. Don't call it "killing" for heaven's sake! Sensitive marketing and promotion is the key to successful execution in any campaign. Have a major PR blitz like "Moving ahead and going up" or make it "hip and happening", complete with poms poms/fireworks display while we unplug. Singaporeans love fireworks.

Problem No 6 - Singlish undermining our economic progress
Never thought language problems can be so devastating to our economic well-being. I thought not having capable government was. If only Ministers who spoke Standard English are able to understand why Singaporeans prefer to use Singlish. They can't because they would have to learn Singlish leh. Ok, I'll do them a favour. "Singlish is popular because it is a more efficient use of words, like SMS. Like shorthand" so say we all .

Want to stop us using Singlish? No problem lah, just get MICA (they are communications experts) to pass down a Bhavani commandment (like an imperial edit) that henceforth hor, all Singaporeans who use Singlish must esprain in Standard English after every Singlish word or phrase is used. Singlish also must esprain. When Singaporeans find it so troublesome to use Singlish hor, they will 'kuai kuai' switch code to England's English.

Problem No 7 - seditious bloggers and internet chatter
While Lee Boon Yang is not affected by the internet chatter (he hardly works!), our PM may find the heat and noise a serious distraction from his work. The 2 opposition parties are giving him huge headaches and he can't concentrate. To help PM and to shield the 66.6% of Singaporeans from the harmful influence of these bloggers, the government should build an intelligent, fully wired island solely for them. Create a matrix of democracy and freedom of speech for those living on the island. Let them think they are having their way! Let them generate as much heat and noise as they want, at a distance from Singapore. As long as we keep them under wraps at the cyber threat monitoring centre, they can't pose any danger to the social fabric of our nation.

Problem No 8 - empty HDB units
This is not a consequence of bad planning and weak foresight of the government in estimating housing demand (they had you fooled). The oversupply is in fact, a forward vision of our nation's strategy to increase our population to 10 million one day. The abundance of empty flats everywhere is a testament to the government's optimism and confidence of achieving their target. It is important that a global city like ours has a decent population size.

However, empty flats are a waste of resources. That's the real problem. HDB is going to lose money if these flats are left vacant for too long. The win-win solution is to lease them to Study Mamas or other foreign talents as corporate offices for their various nefarious businesses. We can have more heartlander casinos (gambling dens) and Crazy Horse revues (brothels) amidst our clean, wholesome and boring landscape. Isn't this what MM said we should have more!? At the same time, we would solve many PDMM's livelihood problems and prevent foreign talents taking away our jobs.

Problem No 9 - quarrelsome neigbhours getting in the way of progress
No, I am not talking about those Joo Chiat clowns. We have very quarrelsome neighbours like Malaysia and Indonesia. Their refusal to progress economically is really dragging us down with them too. I mean, what's their problem? Why don't they aspire to be like us? Rich, modern, corruption-free. So what if we become materialistic, soul-less and spineless? It's only a small price to pay for economic progress!

Unfortunately, our neigbhours are too slow to embrace the wonders of materialism and we need to do more to help them. We need a concerted effort to corrupt them and induct them to a life of wanton materialistic existence, just like ours. We need to visit our neighbours more often, spend and invest in their shopping malls and companies. Introduce inflation and asset enhancement. Viola, before you know it, they will be working as hard as us, trying to keep up with the treadmill like some stupid hamsters.

Problem No 10 - PAP lags in solving problems
Singaporeans have become increasingly perceptive, an undesirable by-product of the education system in its efforts to create more useful workers (ie valaue-added production units). They are beginning to notice that the ruling party is not very good at solving problems like they used to. Or that the previous solutions are bigger problems waiting to manifest themselves, like now. Ok, this is not meant to be a fault finding mission and it is really no fault of anyone. The ministers are clueless in their jobs, to start with. The ruling party has promised many things during the elections but none of them specifically includes solving the country's problems. In fact, PM could identify with only one problem of two opposition parties.

The old solution was to put the blame on those stupid citizens and silence them with guilt-ridden feelings of not measuring up. This is losing favour amongst the young. Neither is calling problems challenges going to work. In fact it is worse. Challenges sound more sinister, more unsurmountable. How demoralising.

The new solution is to remove the Minister who 'created' the problem. Yeah! This is what those pesky citizens wanted, accountability. It won't hurt much to THE ONE truly responsible. But no one needs to know. We're not about to give up transparency too.

This is a timely solution really, as the rapid removal of 'problem' ministers makes way for faster leadership renewal. How can the ruling party have fresh new faces every other day to pander to the 'hip and happening' crowd when these ministers just refuse to move on and away from their seats? It's brilliant, if you think about it. The citizens will be happy that PAP solved the problem because the minister 'responsible' has been removed. The old problem becomes the new minister's baby and hey, it becomes 'new' and everyone forgets about the old one or that it is the same problem.


Monday, August 14, 2006

Life-threatening activities I should not do in Singapore ...

Mr Brown's latest podcast had me laughing so much (as usual ) and thinking hard as well. I liked the number of times the word 'vigilant' was emphasized. It's true, Singapore is a very dangerous place to live in. We have potential terrorists all around us, waiting for that little moment that we are not vigilant to bring Singapore literally to the ground, like the Twin Towers aka 9/11.

Actually, it is not enough to be vigilant about terrorism risks. We, as world class citizens, should also be aware of the many life-threatening activities that we must not engage in.

1 Providing feedback to the government without workable solutions. Talking bad about Singapore and the government will guarantee a re-ordering of your present life. For journalists who have to put food on the dinner table for the family, this is suicidal.

2 Taking the world class MRT system during peak hours is life-threatening especially if you suffer from claustophobia. But, it is also the best place to experience the sights, sounds and smells of Singapore.

3 Staring at others is very life-threatening as evidenced by a recent spate of assault cases in Singapore. This applies even when one may be eating in a local hawker food center and not in one of those cul-de-sacs in Geylang.

4 Experimenting with cardboards and placards may sound like a creative pursuit but try cutting out elephant shapes out of them or scribbling words on them and displaying them publicly is danger personified.

5 Working as a domestic maid in Singapore is life-threatening unless you are one of the superleague characters. You must have Superman strength to work 24/7, climb windows like Spiderman and also tell others you are as happy as the Joker.

6 Catching the flu along with a few hundred others during a flu epidemic. If the flu doesn't kill, the wait for the hospital bed might.

7 Advocating democracy and freedom of speech is a surefire way to court death in Singapore.

8 Getting old and unemployed is the most common life-threatening thing that normal Singaporeans have a high chance of doing. Participants usually engage in a related activity of asking for free lunches. Both activities are deemed not as productive as to 'conveniently die off'.

9 Becoming a Member of Parliament has become life-threatening only recently. The degree of life-threatening risk is dependent on how long an MP takes to solve trivial problems for others.

10 Making short films about the 'softer side' of individuals can take a year out of your life. While it is ok to film our Ministers crying like pigs over Sars, badminton losses and other historical incidents, other Singaporeans may not need to show theirs.


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Singapore is my no-choice country ....

I only read from the blogosphere. I don't relish paying for a copy of the Straits Times to have them tell this forty-year-old aunty how to live her life. I found these instructions very familiar:

1 The internet is dangerous because one may be misled by big bad wolves disguised as pro- active citizens writing for the good of the nation.

2 One must be resilient to solve problems on his own.

I remembered dishing out similar advice to my son when he was about ten. Then, I reminded him that we must be vigilant against big bad wolves that prey on children. Time flies. Before you know it, your son was telling you not to waste time reading LKY's memoirs for a similar reason to the first above.

I also told him he had to do his homework without my help. Fast forward another 10 years, I was glad he did not cite the second reason when I asked him to solve my computer problems. Like I have commented somewhere, I did regret reading those memoirs. But that's not the point here.

As with any National Day in any year, the issue of loyalty and emigration would be discussed ad nauseum by Singaporeans. This is the time to head for Xiaxue's blog for a breath of fresh air.

To me, Singapore is my no-choice country. From young, I have been told Singapore is small and lacks resources. But, hey, I am born here ... no choice. So, I grew up accepting many no-choice realities around me.

We have to excel in our studies ... no choice. Unless you want to sweep the roads.

We must be bilingual ... no choice. Unless you want to skip University studies.

We must study science and engineering ... no choice. Unless you want to become an Arts teacher.

We must accept the yearly transport hikes ... no choice. Unless you can control the oil price.

We must accept the casinos ... no choice. Unless you want economic doom.

We must accept the PAP government ... no choice. Unless you find a better opposition.

We must drink recycled water ... no choice. Unless you want to die of thirst.

We must acccept Foreign talents ... no choice. Unless you are able to contribute to the economy like Bill Gates.

We must accept whatever given as best ... no choice. Unless and until 66.6% becomes 33.3%.

Luckily, I am no babe in the woods. I know how to keep my sanity intact within my small personal space. Unlike some mentioned in Xenoboy's '21 grams'.

The trick is to comfort myself that I am not alone in having no choice mah. Look at those no-choice PRs who need to be stuck here for a while before moving on to greener pastures. They are quite similar to those no-choice transit tourists at the Changi Airport too.

The good thing about having no choice left is that, it signals a time to make U-turns and to think of the unthinkable. You wouldn't want to keep moving on till you bang into the wall of a cul de sac, right?

I am not a prophet of any sort. Never would I have, in my earlier years, prophesized that Singapore would one day welcome gambling in a big way (not 1 but 2 casinos!). Wonder how many of my generation did ....

I like having no choice. It is fun to see what goodies come after having no choice.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Ten solid reasons why I should not emigrate ....

1 We have the best char keow teow, laksa, roti prata, bak chor mee (with or without ter kwa) and chicken rice in the world. Some say we even have the best pizza and spaghetti.

2 We have the Esplanade. No, it doesn't mean we have to esprain for everything, idiot. This is the place to receive good western influence by way of approved western concerts and plays.

3 We have the best government in the world. They 'take care' of us from birth till death. Some say this is 'fixing'.

4 We also have the best foreign talents in the world. They leave their countries which are enjoying economic growth to come here to help build our economy.

5 We have the best citizens in the world. We seldom complain because there is nothing to complain.

6 We have the most interesting campaigns in the world. Most governments won't bother to spend so much money to entertain its citizens.

7 We still have life-long employment in the world (even Japan is changing). Most of us must work till 70 to live. Our MM is still working at 83. Reaching 90 isn't going to stop him either. In fact, he said he'll work from his grave too.

8 We have the most number of empty (un-taken) HDB flats in the world. This is to ensure the property market does not overheat in the upgrading frenzy.

9 We have the best MRT system in the world. You know it's very popular because it is always very crowded. And the NEL runs on its own, so that there is no driver to blame for the breakdown.

10 We have the best taxi drivers in the world. They are highly educated because they were corporate executives previously. They also go for training sessions that teach them to dress nicely and avoid having body odor.


Saturday, August 05, 2006

We want more?!

Dr Lee Boon Yang (the serious one) reminded his GRC constituents about this at the National Day celebrations at the Neptune Theatre Restaurant.

Trust our very serious Ministers to be the party pooper anytime! Wah lao, can't even enjoy a little celebration without being ticked off or be reminded that there are bad things around the corner. No wonder Singaporeans are not that happy...

Well, Lee reminded all that more young Singaporeans are seeking financial assistance and it disturbed him that these people seemed vulnerable to developing crutches. They won't hold down a job and find themselves unable to pay for their needs.

On a more positive note, Mr Lim Boon Heng (the smiley one) gave us this advice . Take advantage of the economic recovery, he said. Ok lah, before we go ballistic with our jibes, I implore all to give the man a break. Afterall, he was the clown who ventured a 80% win for PM in AMK. We can't really expect him to be very accurate in his observations. Moreover, he may not know that one-third of Singaporeans' wages were decreasing during this economic recovery period too. He is only the Labour Chief, not your MOM.

Actually, some had already heeded his kind advice. The transport operators (taxi/bus/train) had increased their fares. Latest to join in the fray was the LTA with its announcement of increased ERP charges. Basically, those who can take advantage of this economic recovery, 'take advantage already' and those who can't (like the commuters and car owners) had been taken advantage of instead.

Perhaps, this little wisdom of 'taking advantage while you can' was manifested way before Lim's enlightenment. If the CDCs, CCCs and the RCs etc were too generous and eager to throw crutches to everyone, including those not needing them, no one can blame the young for taking free lunches. According to Mr Mah Bow Tan, this is rare in Singapore. And Singaporeans know the value of a rare commodity.

Having said that, I think Lee's message is not meant for the young who increasingly seeks financial assistance. Afterall, there are criteria to be met before assistance is distributed? I think he wanted to remind those folks at the various CDCs, RCCs and what-nots to exercise due diligence when performing their Santa Claus duties (the elections are over, dude, no need to pump numbers). Or, it could mean two other possibilities:

1 Wages are really not keeping up with the costs of living (so the young can't afford their needs). This also means that the job market is still bad as there is a dearth of good-paying jobs even for the young (not your old fogeys stuck in structural unemployment)

2 Criteria for assistance needs reviewing.

Many years of taking Singaporean salt tells me the problem will dissolve like salt crystals in water. The young will take advantage of the economic recovery to find well-paying jobs that can pay for their needs (after paying for other companies' urgent needs like fare increases). More effectively, the signal was there to slow down the giving till sometime around 2011?

Our young will always be saved from developing those crutches simply because there is no free lunch in Singapore (especially after elections).


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

We are happy!

My son thinks 'Uniquely Singapore' sucks as a tagline. Ahh, the follies of youth and the young English-educated radicals.

Only old fogeys like me would appreciate the Uniquely Singapore features we have. Like our democracy. Another would be the uniquely 'stealth-like' ability our country has that can evade detection by foreign bodies. These foreigners, be it voluntary organisations or the foreign press, always see a totally different image of us (usually negative). Uniquely, they seem oblivious to the realities that Singaporeans enjoy in our beautiful tropical island. Either they are looking at the wrong red dot or the true Singapore is hiding below their radar.

Look at
this. Where on earth did Human Rights Watch get the idea that our foreign maids are unhappy!!!

The survey by the Feedback Unit said it all. Our foreign domestic talents can't be happier since they are allowed to visit the doctor when sick. See, Singapore employers treat them really well. Fellow blogger, the good-hearted NofearSingapore
, thought a mandatory day-off should be given, at least, as maids often multitask 24/7.

Nah, what a frivolous (and probably a decadent western idea) suggestion to grant a day-off when they are so happy in their jobs. Mind you, this could lead to a 'handouts' mentality amongst foreign maids. There is no free lunch in Singapore. Amazing isn't it, our government is so consistent in its principles of governance.

While we are at it, I urge the Feedback Unit to also publicise survey findings that prove all Study Mamas in Singapore are very happy and that they are financially independent. Most of them spent their afternoons in posh hotels having High-tea after shopping along Orchard Road.

I think the Feedback Unit shares the 'twins effect' with our MSM. Without them, Singaporeans would not know that everyone else in Singapore is very happy. Only Singaporeans are unhappy but that is not important hor