Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas mood. Empathy.

Merry Christmas!

Oh, it's a wee bit early, but I'm getting into the mood. I have been so busy at work for the past 1+ months, coming home at least after 9pm nearly every night.

To some, it might be usual. But I choose not to - my family comes first.

However the year end activities are piling up, and everyday there are meetings after meetings to attend, issues after issues to settle.

I am SURE glad the Christmas weekend is finally here. And I thank God for Christmas. Makes me re-think my priorities, my purpose, my destiny.

Thank you Jesus.

Wrote this earlier in draft, but never had the time to publish.

Read this report:

Queries that will never be answered:

  1. Both her husband and she probably are high income earners, whereby if anyone of them quits temporarily, they still have much leftover savings for the single income earner to survive the next 5 years.

    How many of us have this kind of luxury?
  2. She did not mention the number of maids to help out in the house.

    Again, how many of us can be single income earners, have a maid(s) and also focus on the kids after work?
  3. Probably she had the spending power to bring in tuition teachers (among the best) to tutor her kids, I assume?

    How many readers here know that they had to go through the exams with their kids in today Singapore?

Please don't ask any of the women to be like you, Mrs Lim. You are definitely not the role model I like my wife to emulate.

There are many women who are struggling to find balance being a wife, accountant, mother, employee and citizen. Many do not hold directorships, nor have 6 months bonuses, or even pay increase/adjustments peg to the top 5 earners.

All I ask is for you to have empathy and compassion when you implement policies. Be aware that not many are blessed like you.

Be humble.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

All I want for Christmas is my PS3

Was reading an article in the Home Section from the elite newspaper, The Straits Times.

Avid gamers willingly pay more for these PS3s
by Leung Wai-Leng & Lim Yee Hung, 12 Dec 2006

Spring Singapore is going to fine (jail and/or S$10k) the retailers for selling parallel-imported PS3s because (quoted):

"And they may pose an electrical hazard to users, warns Spring Singapore, the agency that manages the Consumer Protection (Safety Requirements) Registration Scheme."

The gist is the scheme requires suppliers of high-risk electronic products to register their products with Spring.

It also reported that this did not damper the roaring trade in the consoles.

This is another case of NUTS (No U-Turn Syndrome) - you need to see the U-Turn in order to U-Turn.
The questions that will never be answered:

  • Knowing that PS3 has been released (but not in Singapore yet) and it will be a hot Christmas gift, why is Spring Singapore so slow in approving the sale and usage in Singapore?
  • Isn't this a setback in trying to push the local gaming industry as cited during the recent games convention held in Singapore?

I totally understand and agree on the 'safe standards' for electronic products. I repeat, I am not against it.

But to put the stop just because Spring Singapore has not gotten round to approve it in time is just moot.

So Spring Singapore take heed - this is globalization for you. If I can't get it locally, I'll go e-Bay, Amazon, etc. It's akin to the Foreign Talent policy.

I will get my PS3 for Christmas.

PS. I am an avid non-console gamer. I understand how a gamer feels. Long live World of Warcraft!

Friday, December 08, 2006

One Elite, One Non-Elite, One Singapore

Was reading the speech by MP Jessica Teo on Beware of Politics of Envy (Dec 7).

Here are my comments to another commenter named Yeo Joey and also to her speech.

“Elites must be humble and be sensitive on when will confidence cross over and be perceived as arrogance; non-elites must strive hard and believe in themselves. ”

Do you know why there is such a divide? Becoz many of the policies implementions came from the ‘elites’. The results affect the ‘non-elites’. And it always seem that the policies favor the ‘elites’, ‘white-horse’, upclass, whatever you call it. Ask a common man on the street.

Take $200 dollars from a common man is different from the $200 taken from a rich man. It’s still the same amount, but it is relative.

Whom do you think were affected the most in the CPF cuts?

Now the economy is displaying strong growth, will there be a restoration as promised? If not, why promise it when there is no intention to fulfill it?

Individual character? More like perception of how society ‘grades’ you based on your achievements in life - scholarships, cars, salary grades, academics, etc. Like it or not, people change to the perception others place on you.

Need more? See WSM, and know the significant divide is already happening in the mindsets of people. Just a rant from a kid? I think not.

On a side note:There are people who don’t take home 150k annually. For the non-elite, to strive hard without a good wage increase as compared to the increasing living cost seems unfair? Perhaps you should look at the household income percentile over the years.

How do you expect one to believe in oneself when the opportunities are limited, and people place a non-elite stigma on you?

Oh yes, the non-elites strive hard, work overtime, while the government asks the common man to pro-create and then increase the cost of living? How to? More GST hikes?

What makes you think the new poor does not work and strive hard? Do you know many of them takes up 2 jobs - day work and night shift to feed their families? And yet their take home pay may be less than even 1/4 of even my salary?

As the society moves on, these people don’t have degrees or academic backgrounds to push them through the ‘new’ globalization (everybody blames it on globalization. I have no idea why).
And then they face retrenchment at the magic 40. Will another company employ them? Did not these people also contribute to the society and economy of Singapore in the past?

Whose fault? Of course it’s not the government. Yet neither theirs.

I hope to bring you and MP Jessica to attention that not many people have the luxuries and opportunities perhaps like you do. There were many who left secondary school education in the past to work to provide for the family, ultimately contributing to the economy of Singapore. They are now 40-50+ of age. Can they and their family make it to the next 10 years?

Re-training? LOL.

Whatever happened to One People, One Nation, One Singapore?

Perhaps it can be changed to One Elite, One Non-Elite, One Singapore (forgive my satirical humor).

Thursday, December 07, 2006

HK vs SG

HK lowered its coporate tax. SG followed suit.

HK booted the 5% GST proposal. SG followed with Singapore Budget 2007 Feedback. Which is no feedback at all in my entire life living in Singapore.

My gut feel is that it's going ahead, whether you feedback or not.

Well, the government can take this opportunity to win some votes over by being compassionate.

Let's wait a see.

Good read by Yawning Bread:

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Confused and disappointed

To quote:
"ST Nov 29, 2006
Ministerial pay 'lags behind benchmark'
But decision on whether to relook salaries rests with PM, says SM Goh

By Sue-Ann Chia

BRATISLAVA (SLOVAKIA) - MINISTERS' salaries are pegged to that of the private sector, but they still lag behind the benchmark.

It is therefore likely that when civil service pay is reviewed, ministers' salaries will also be looked at, said Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong yesterday."

You must be joking, right? First transport prices are raised, then ERP, then GST, and now MPs pay?


I must admit, I never even dare think about it; considering the predictions of post-election hikes.

Look here, I have a few questions:
  1. Does it make sense to compare our ministers' salaries with that of the private sectors?
  2. Should not a minster's pay be compared to his counterparts in other countries?
  3. The US president annual pay is US$200,000, while my Prime Minister's annual basic salary is US$1,100,000.
    - Source from Asian Wall Street Journal 10 Jul 2000

Someone tell me again. Is this a joke?

  1. Firstly, how can a minister's pay be pegged to the private sector or top earners? See the flaw here.
  2. Secondly, it's not apple-to-apple comparison!
  3. Thirdly, how can a minister pay himself so much when:
    - the US GDP (in 2005) is $ 12,310,000,000,000
    - Singapore GDP (in 2005): $ 126,500,000,000 (figures from CIA website publications)?
  4. Salaries of a general citizen are pegged to their productivity determined by the National Wage Council. How is it that my Ministers are benchmarked to the salaries of the top earners in the private sector?

Doesn't take much common sense that this whole minister salary increase is wrong. Totally wrong!

Who determines how much they get? Themselves? National Wage Council (who also consists of themselves)? Benchmark against the top earners in the six profession? Sheesh. Shouldn't it be the public who decides?

Why aren't the ministers assets declared? Or even their directorships holdings made known with declared takings each month/year?

To declare 2% GST hike and then tell me that they intend to increase the ministers salaries? Oh, the cheek of it.

As if they do not have enough money already. How many in Singapore actually bring home an annual pay package of $150k?

Sometimes I wonder - wouldn't it be better to have lower pay salaries and risk the corruption?

I don't know... I'm just confused.

And sorely disappointed.

PS. And the civil servants 2.2 months bonus is just a one-time. Ministers salaries are not. Why not increase the salaries of the lower-income group?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Finn who loved Singapore (propaganda)? Help the poor? Fishy.

Read up some interesting article on the Finn (Mika Sampovaara) who praised Singapore model. However there were some 'hidden' stuff about him, which as usual the Straits Times did not publish:
Goodness. The cheek of it.

Putting character assassination aside, there are only 2 questions that will shed more light about his intent:
  • How much does Mika the Finn earn per year? Does he fall into the 'elite' category?

I bet he does. He's a derivatives trader. So of course he will sing praises on the elite model.

  • Has he converted his citizenship to that of Singapore?

Do you think the Finn is here because he loves Singapore? Or is he grabbing what he can here in Singapore (by paying lesser tax and other benefits) and then retire back in Finland?

I wonder who is the idiot now? SPH? Government? I can only say it's us, Singaporeans.

PS. A lot of my foreign friends do the same thing. Ever ask them about converting their citizenship? Heh.

--- informs us:

I don't know Econonics, but I know what regressive tax is. Thanks to the information I gather from the internet.

There are lots of articles about the 2% GST hike. And many have shown how it will affect a Singaporean.

Listing a few that I thought would shed some light:
  1. Robbing Peter to pay Peter
  2. Low income and corporate tax = more investments?
  3. Can an increase in GST help the poor?

Thus saith the government. Just printing an article on a minister supporting the motion ain't going to get anyone far these days.

I just will like to remind the government that the citizens are more well-read than before. Information abounds in the Internet (and also blog) world.

A comment I've written in the P65er blog in response to Lim Wee Kiak's comments on the GST hike:

"Hi WK,

From your replies:

It seemed the GST hike will be coming, no matter what the majority of the population says. It was as if the hike was decided some time ago, and when it was announced, the word was to 'diffuse' the tension with counter measures and lots of discussion.

Then there will be a confirmed announcement in Feb’07, with rehashed reasons cited in Oct’06.

Like it or not, the government has decided on the 2% GST hike.

Sounds familiar? I draw you to the Casino (let’s call a spade a spade) debate. If there was a debate at all.

The reasons provided for the GST hike till today does not convince any man on the street.

“Your concern is mine too when I learned about the GST increase. I am not an economist but from the papers I read, globalisation is one of the key drivers. ”

Again globalisation? That means to say it’s also alright to migrate or leave one’s country to work elsewhere too? *read sarcasm*

Politicians have used this word too flippantly, in my honest opinion.

It’s akin to weird weather changes and blaming it on El-Nino, Global warming, Ozone depletion, etc. It’s like telling the masses, what can we do? It’s bound to happen. Take it, accept it. Once you get past the first stage, it won’t hurt so much. Afterall, it’s the bottom line dollar that matters.

So we have transport fare hikes, ERP hikes, GST hikes. Again I’ve said in Zaqy’s blog, what’s next? Conservancy? Utilities?

“Face with an aging population, changing demographics, increased competition from other countries such as Ireland and Hong Kong (with lower taxes) for foreign direct investments and retention of our high net worth individuals, I see we don’t have much choices. I welcome any suggestions that can help Singapore in the long run.”

There will always be other countries who are doing this and that. So must we follow suit? If yes, I don’t see their citizens doing NS?

Ok, I may be off the mark in NS point, but the principle is the same. Following other countries just because they had revised some changes is not going to get us far.

Investors just don’t disappear overnight. For the government to be reactive to such changes and also giving (in)valid reasons for hikes - yes, citizens will disappear overnight.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Why the alternate views. P65ers blogsite and comments.

It happened during my honeymoon and maiden trip to Europe in 2000. Missus and I were traveling with the Contiki Tour to 10 European countries. Exhilarating fun!

During our rest in the hotel room in Paris (nearing the end of the journey), I switched on the television. As usual I liked to channel-skip. (Women swear they find it irritating. Men still do it anyhow.)

The news of the day was about a group of illegal Chinese migrants who were packed into a container tanker and shipped to France like cargos. Many of them died during the journey due to overcrowding, poor ventilation and sanitation and sicknesses. They were just anchored offshore, awaiting their fate.

Being a typical Singaporean, the initial thoughts going through my head were:
  1. They deserved it for being illegals. (I didn't know how blessed we were in Singapore)
  2. Nobody's fault. They knew the risks.
  3. Can't blame the French government if they refuse entry to the illegals.
  4. Surely you can't account for people dying? At least not of your own nationality. Thousands die everyday anyway, etc.

What surprised me while switching the different channels were the various alternative views/perceptions/reports of how the media portray the French government!

One channel showed the ministers backing the government with their laws (probably ruling party owned); another side showed the opposition claiming the migrant laws were not good enough (probably opposition owned).

Then you have the human-rights group bashing the government for not taking them in first so more would not have died; then you have the people protesting outside the government house; then...

You get the picture? Or pictures? Yeah just a simple event triggered a lot of activities, discussions, alternative views and no-holds-barred bashing of government.

Initial reaction was: Great, how can this be? Can't the government take action against these 'jokers'? This IS your government after all! How can you fault them in front of the world?

Yet I was thrilled, fascinated.

Only then I realised how backward and isolated my mindset was. Mental constipation. I was not thinking out-of-the-box and all these years, it was 'cooped' up to think ONLY what the main newspaper -The Straits Times told me. I was 'boxed up' to view the pictures the SG government want me to see, the stories they wanted me to hear.

So there you have it. Just a simple exposure triggered me to see issues from different angles, perspectives. Which let me to read into politics, speak about it, acknowledge it. And not fear it.

After all, we do have a choice, don't we?

An encouragement to my readers:

Do take a second look at the P65s-blogsite. Their maiden speeches are there. Comments have started to trickle in, and yes, the new MPs do respond.

Er, just ignore the blogsite theme. It's painful to look at. But do visit and at least read their speeches.

See some of the comments I've posted below. It's a start at least.

Zaqy Mohamad:

  1. November 15th, 2006 at 1:48 pm
    I've tried to publish the comments below but it failed somewhat yesterday. However, after knowing about the GST hike and also hearing some other speeches, I do not think our comments matter.

    Coz I didn’t think your speech (or any others made an impact). It was as if the die had been cast, the plot determined. I feel disappointed. Maybe sorry for you too and even more so for the general public/common man.

    Here were the initial comments:
    Nicely done, Zaqy. Been waiting in anticipation to hear what you will speak on. I’m glad you have brought up some ‘current’ issues, eg mrbrown, malay community, disquiet among S’preans, etc. Glad you did your research and groundwork.

    Let’s hope it wasn’t just a speech (I truly don’t, coming from you), where it will be minuted down with no real action items. Many new MPs come into PH, highlighting real issues, bringing ‘connection’ with the man on the street... more

Michael Palmer:

  1. October 12th, 2006 at 6:29 pm
    If you want to ‘connect’, sit in the stands during the Chingay with your family among the common people. Not in some VIP seats and also not surrounded by a whole lot of plainclothes policemen and reporters.

    Sit there and ENJOY as a COMMON S’porean. See the procession from a citizen point of view.

    Know what? The word will get around and will spread faster than a speeding bullet.

    That’s what I call ‘connect’... more

Hri Kumar:

  1. November 15th, 2006 at 4:26 pm
    “Singapore is a philosophy, a state of mind. It will not be fully appreciated unless we understand our past, what we are today and where we stand in relation to our neighbours and the world.”

    Kudos to you for bringing this out. Very thoughtful words. May I add “Not only our past, but our future too.”

    Currently, the state of mind on the ground ain’t good with the surprise GST hike (actually no surprise to me. I kinda expected it. It hasn’t changed all these years, has it?).

    A country’s identity, loyalty is a state of mind. The government has been trying to instill National Education to the citizens. I do not know what the success rate is (reports and newspaper can be skewed), but I am sure it was a failure, having talked to campmates, friends who are/were teachers, students. And that’s just my outer circle. Even I, myself, don’t quite believe in it... more

So there you have it. Give it a shot. Alternatively.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Alternative: The Stoic Singaporean. ShinCorp Deal.

A very nice read (arty-farty) about the plight of a Singaporean citizen.

My comments to the author?

Nicely put.

For the uncouth me however, it's not stoic. It's the stupid/dumb/moronic Singaporean who does not fight for the alternative, or even make a stand for what he believes in.

Every 5 years, he does not make his national decision with his heart and conscience but with a 'kayu' (Singlish; meaning thick or stupid; incompetent) and fearful judgement - thinking it might just get a litte better the next phase.

So he deludes himself.

Each time he hopes someone from the other wards will make a stand and decide alternatively. For him, he only thinks for his ward (more likely himself) to benefit from the handouts.

And he deludes himself again. Year after year.

So finally, he says 'I've had enough'. And he packs up and leave. For good.

Alternative viewpoints: Temasek-ShinCorp Deal


Also note: using today’s exchange rate, the paper loss of 23 billion Baht is equivalent to S$968,735,546.40, or US$616,126,398.90.

I wonder how come reports are so vastly different?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Get out of my elite uncaring face

Will it change anything? Nah... but I sure get a kick in voicing my disgust and disappointment.

Funny that 2/5 of my predictions about the upcoming hikes after the last General Election came true. And all within 4 months. Not bad, eh?

Actually I don't need to be an economist or rocket-scientist to do the maths. The truth is - those items listed within are basic necessities that every citizen in every country needs. Read it here:

I'm going to monitor it under the Fav Stuff section in the right column.

In my honest opinion, this should be the 'read-in-between-the-lines' summary speech by PM to the citizens of Singapore:

"Thank you for voting for us - here is 2% GST hike as your gift...

...oh did I also mention, I have this very comprehensive package to help you tide the GST hike. Do read the fine prints below though I doubt you will because your eyes will always be on the nice 'sweeties' you are going to get.

Oh, thank you, thank you!"

*gives the mega smile and the famous world-leader's wave to the cameras*

Fine prints:
1. There is no such thing as free lunch. This is the e*lee*t economy. Life will kick you in the balls. If not, I will.
2. All profits are belong to us. All your monies are belong to us. You owe us a living, a life, an existence. There will be winners and losers. You are definitely not the former.
3. The government will recover the cost of this comprehensive package sooner than you expect. And even more. Let's say 2008 10% GST? That's an idea for thought.

*turns to scholars and lackeys*
Now, find me a reason by end of year why I should increase to 10% GST. Your bonus will be tied to it, understand?

4. If you are not an elite, get out of my elite uncaring face.

Jeez, to think so many ministers (I don't know if they are just 'wayang', or selling 'ko-yok') speeches, including the president (eversince someone revoked his mandatory budget approval, I have no idea what he is there for), bloggers, stories, articles, studies, highlights, programmes, what-have-yous, etc have mentioned these things in common:

  • The new poor. Help them.

The feeling I get after hearing PM's speech is:

  • Thanks but no-thanks. This is my agenda. Take it or leave it.

Already many people have the general consensus confirmation that the government is uncaring, unresponsive to feedback, clinical, business-minded, profit-oriented, cold.

Just to prove their point - Oops!... I did it again.

So thanks those who sold their souls for progressive packages/payouts during the last General Election.


To quote someone:
"'Now get out of my elite uncaring face."

About Vivan Balakrishnan's speech about 'Many helping hands'. I had a darn good laugh. Really.

Some of the blogs that summarized my thoughts:

  1. The Million Dollar Difference
    He expects free help to come from volunteers who need to be passionate , committed. Yet the ministers are paid in millions to be passionate, committed (if not they go to private sector or become corrupt)?!!

    Common man says: what talk you?
  2. Mr Wang Is Skeptical
    I will be too, unless I'm paid millions.
  3. Funny comments by Lunatic Fringe:

    MIW (men-in-white): "Do what I say, do not do what I do…"
    Peasant: "Yay….Majullah MIW!… MIW is the greatest, tax from me GST and give back to me as workfare!"
    Robin Hood: "I thought it should be rob(tax) the rich, give to poor? We have the royalty that tax (GST) the poor and giveth to the rich (tax breaks/concessions)? Did they not consider zero-rating essentials?"
    Peasant: "Huh???!!!"


Monday, November 13, 2006

Fishy business

I smelt a fish when I noticed the way how the Straits Times and Today portrayed the resignation of the WP (Workers' Party) member Goh Meng Seng.

It was as if the WP has dissension within. Crap.

For me, there were too many loopholes and many questions not answered. It was as if the media wanted to blot out the whole truth of the matter. The newspapers only chose to publish the 'juicy' bits that made the WP look bad.

Nothing beats hearing out of the 'horse's mouth'. Read it and make your conclusion.
Sheesh... talk about media transparency. What a load of bull!

PS. This is to all those who only read the ST reports. Please grow up.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Why I will emigrate

This blog post literally hits the nail on the head. Read it:

If I ever leave, gosh, I'm going to miss my:

  • Late-night suppers
  • Night-walks with missus
  • Roti prata, satay, mee goreng
  • Coffee-shop coffee
  • Cheap hawker food
  • Durians
  • Pineapple tarts, etc.

*sobs silently*

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Baby killings. 'Victim' muslims. Tit-for-tat?

Read from The Straits Times a few days ago on the article about "active euthanasia" of newborns. As usual, I can't find the article online in the if-you can't-afford-to-pay-then-don't-read Straits-Times. So I've linked reports from other sources instead:

I can't imagine killing those babies. I mean do they have a voice or choice? Can someone speak for them? The parents? Who gave them the right? The law? The country? I can understand when an adult, who has had lived his/her life, feels it is necessary to end the pain and/or spare the guardians and loved ones from carrying the 'burden'.

But a vulnerable baby who cannot utter even a protest when its life get "snuffed out"?

Yet there is also another part in one of the reports:

"The college is arguing that "active euthanasia" should be considered for the overall good of families, to spare parents the emotional burden and financial hardship of bringing up the sickest babies.

"A very disabled child can mean a disabled family," it says. "If life-shortening and deliberate interventions to kill infants were available, they might have an impact on obstetric decision-making, even preventing some late abortions, as some parents would be more confident about continuing a pregnancy and taking a risk on outcome."

It can be very trying on the family - both in terms of emotional and financial burden. Which parents do not want a healthy child? Whose fault is it?

Side note: It's definitely not God's fault as some fault Him for the tsunami disasters and many other natural causes, sicknesses and deaths. Neither is it God's will or is He glorified.

Coz' if it's really God's will or for His glory, then they should gladly accept it. They shouldn't even be seeing specialists and surgeons to 'fix' those 'glorified' problems. Unless I'm wrong, in many cases, they still visit doctors and take medications. I feel it is just man's religion/self-righteousness/pride or blaming God for questions they cannot answer.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son... If He didn't love, why bother even to give? Why would a loving Father bring sicknesses or disasters to His children, only to heal them later? To teach them?

Do one as an earthly parent even do such an evil thing, less so God? To burn one's child only to apply medicine later and then tell the child, "Papa (or Mama) did it because I love you. I want to teach you about my love."

Goodness, the theories people come up with. As Singlish puts it - What talk you? (translation: You are not making any sense)

But I disgress.

Does having a blind eye label one as disabled? What about a hole in the heart? What about a deformed arm? Where do we draw a line?

Many questions, few answers. That happens when we play God, or try to fill His shoes.

Another interesting article:

Just the other day, I was talking with my Aussie friend. He was telling me about the new policies in Australia to tighten the controls of Muslim immigrants, especially the radical ones. The claim is that most of them don't assimilate well into the country's culture and society.

I don't blame the lawmakers. Wearing a veil is one thing. Having to talk to someone behind a veil is another. Imagine teachers behind veils, or insurance agents or even cashiers. Or even in a face-to-face-veil boardroom meeting.

A picture can paint a thousand words, a face can launch a thousand ships. Wearing a veil is not even required for a Muslim (as confirmed by my Muslim friend and also written in the article). How do you expect me to sign a deal with you if I cannot even see your face?

I mean wouldn't it be downright rude if Christianity (hypothetically) requires all believers to turn-around, wiggle their bottoms at you as a form of greeting? Who cares if it's your religious greeting? Who cares if it's your religion even?

You are bloody insulting me, that's what only matters. So if the world ostracize you because you need to shake your butt at me, then don't blame me for doing likewise.

On the same train of thoughts, we as Singaporeans when we travel to other countries should not believe ours is a superior system. Yes we may be efficient, yes we may be meticulous and well-planned, yes we may expect a certain kind of customer service from our service providers, retailers to respond within the next hour (eg. signing up for a broadband internet).

People don't always work like you think they do. People don't suit you. A shopkeeper in Europe may take time to chat with you as a form of friendly greeting. It is not slow service, mind you.

Just ask Wes&Jo - a Singaporean couple living in Paris. It's a whole new experience. And I'm sure, they have a whole lot to tell... and share.

My point is:
Most people in general can tolerate other views. But when it gets inconvenient and pointless for them in daily affairs, there is usually an attitude of ostracism.

Including a backlash of criticisms.

Another article in the elite Straits Times (hardcopy) mentioned that an Indonesian radio station has held a drawing and coloring contest to portray Denmark's royalty as pigs - in retaliation against the publication of cartoon of the Prophet Muhammed in a Danish newspaper.

The prize? 5 million rupiah (S$860).

I don't see the Danes running out the streets burning flags, chanting anti-Muslim slogans, boycotting of Indonesian products, vowing to kill those radio presenters, etc.

So where does it end? What are you trying to prove? Do you have to stoop so low?

Two wrongs do not make a right.


Friday, November 03, 2006

More about me

Just decided to keep a list of stuff I like or will like to have.
(Legend: italic grey - completed/bought)


  1. That Thing You Do - The Wonders and other artistes
    I dig all the songs in this album
  2. Needles and Pins - The Seekers
  3. Castles in the Air - Don McLean
  4. The Very Best of Jane Monheit - Jane Monheit
    Underrated Jazz/Swing singer
  5. Norah Jones Jazz albums


  1. Sony Ericsson K610i (red)


  1. Full suite of Calvin and Hobbes comics
    I have 4 of them only.
  2. Far-side Gallery comics

Books - Fantasy

  1. DragonLance Chronicles - Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
    I bought the three books.
  2. DragonLance Twins Trilogy - Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
    Ditto, see above.
  3. The Erevis Cale Trilogy - Paul S. Kemp
    - Twilight Falling (#1)
    - Dawn of Night (#2)
    - Midnight's Mask (#3)

Books - Politics
(always 2 sides of a coin)

  1. From Third World to First : The Singapore Story: 1965-2000 - Lee Kuan Yew
  2. Lee's Law: How Singapore Crushes Dissent - Chris Lydgate

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Trip to Malacca

Went with missus and a couple (QQ*librarian and her hubby) over the weekend (27 - 29 Oct) to Malacca... minus Rachel. Yeah I missed the bubbly princess, especially on the 2nd day.

But I shouldn't be concerned as we had planned for Rachel to enjoy herself with her cousins while we were away. I bought her a princess watch (Ariel) which she had always wanted.

Anyway, this is my second trip to the town since 4 - 5 years ago (before Rachel was born). The city is slowly losing the 'sleepy'-late-70s feeling, with the constructions of new high-rise buildings dotting the coastal landscape and the developments of new shopping malls within the city center. By and large it still managed to retain part of the Straits-Chinese heritage charm in certain areas (that's why tourists come), especially when we took a walk down Jonker Street area.

The journey took about 3 hours using the second link, coupled with two short stops for bios break, leg stretch and lunch. We reached the Hotel Equitorial just before 3pm for check-in. After that, we headed down to Jonker Street for some sight-seeing, shopping and mingling with the tourists/locals in the night market. Took a short rest at the Geographer Cafe.

Missus shopped and shopped. She must have enjoyed herself tremendously. Probably she never had her personal space to shop without Rachel drawing her attention away. Indeed Rachel can sometimes be a handful in shopping centers - running around, trying on clothes, shoes, accessories, girl-stuff, etc.

The next day, we visited the Peranakan Heritage museum/town house. The entrance is RM8 per pax. It was very reasonable as we got to see the deep history up to 4 generations of the family who owned the museum, the traditional customs and culture of a pure Peranakan family.

This is a must-see, make-your-money-worth tour. The valuable antiques and furniture inside are well-preserved. I was still awed by the deep history of the Peranakans, being a half-Peranakan myself (late mum's side). Even the tour guide was the same lady who had brought us the first time round. She didn't change a bit, even! I know it's her because of the monotonous, 'mechanical' voice (as if reading from a script) while she was conducting the tour. It was as if she had been saying those words for a millionth time. Probably...

We had the famous chicken rice-balls for lunch in the shophouse by the bridge. Still tasted as good since the first time I had it 4-5 years ago. Not those commercialized restaurants trying to emulate the original. You'll know the shophouse is the original, authentic, good-tasting one when:
  1. It is always crowded.
  2. It opens only during noon time. By 4pm it closes, while the other restaurants are still open.
We had it with the lime-chilli sauce. Yum yum! Don't ever miss it! Thinking of the chicken rice-balls right now makes my mouth water.

We ate at Jonker 88 eating house. Tried the nonya laska and chendol. Absolutely delicious too!

Then it was more shopping (all hail the missus) at the Mahkota shopping center till mid-afternoon. We took a swim back at the hotel and had our dinner at the Banonya Peranakan Restaurant nearby. And then more shopping into the night. *groan*

We headed back to the hotel at 10pm as I wanted to catch the match between Man United and Bolton Wanderers. Final score: Man U 4 Bolton 0. Sweet!

I never knew Missus missed shopping so much! It was non-stop into the night till the shops in the shopping center started to close. I thought the 4-letter word that most women wanted to hear was 'LOVE'. It must have changed to 'SHOP' and 'SALE' after marriage. Sheesh...

Next day was the trip back home. We missed Nog-nog (Rachel's pet name) very badly. I only wanted to see her expression when I present the princess watch to her.

Rachel went absolutely crazy about the watch. She even slept with it! I'm a proud father. *smiles*

Overall, I enjoyed the trip (7.5/10). But I think missus enjoyed it more. Must have been the shopping factor.

In summary, the must-do in Malacca:
  • Jonker 88 eating house cum museum - 7.5/10
  • Jonker Street night market (opens from Friday - Sunday every week) - 7/10
  • Peranakan Heritage Museum - 8/10
  • Shophouse selling chicken rice-balls at the bridge - 8.5/10
  • Authentic Peranakan Food (either Banonya or Ole Sayang Restaurant) - 7.5/10
  • Pineapple tarts - 7.5/10
  • Shopping (for me) - 6/10
  • Shopping (for her) - 12/10

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Did they really say that?

Quotes compiled by an anonymous blogger:

"Retrenchment is good for singapore. If there is no retrenchment, then I worry." - SM Goh

"I don't think that there should be a cap on the number of directorship that a person can hold." - PAP MP John Chen who holds 8 directorships

"It's not for the money because some of the companies pay me as little as $10,000 a year." - PAP MP Wang Kai Yuen who holds 11 directorships

"If you want to dance on a bar top, some of us will fall off the bar top. Some people will die as a result of liberalising bar top dancing... a young girl with a short skirt dancing on it may attract some insults from some other men, the boyfriend will start fighting and some people will die." - Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports

"I would want to form an alternative policies group in Parliament, comprising 20 PAP MPs. These 20 PAP MPs will be free to vote in accordance with what they think of a particular policy. In other words, the whip for them will be lifted. This is not playing politics, this is something which I think is worthwhile doing." - SM Goh

"If you sing Jailhouse Rock with your electric guitar when others are playing Beethoven, you are out of order. The whip must be used on you." - SM Goh again, on a dramatic u-turn, rethink or backtrack, whatever you call it

"Save on one hairdo and use the money for breast screening." - another gem from Lim Hng Kiang

"We started off with (the name) and after looking at everything, the name that really tugged at the heartstrings was in front of us. The name itself is not new, but what has been used informally so far has endeared itself to all parties." - Mah Bow Tan on the $400,000 exercise to rename Marina Bay as *gasp* Marina Bay

"Having enjoyed football as a national sport for decades, we in Singapore have set ourselves the target of reaching the final rounds of World Cup in 2010." - Ho Peng Kee

"Only 5% are unemployed. We still have 95% who are employed." - Yeo Cheow Tong

"Singaporean workers have become more expensive than those in the USA and Australia." - Tony Tan

"People support CPF cuts because there are no protest outside parliament." - PM Lee

"No, it was not a U-turn, and neither was it a reversal of government policy. But you can call it a rethink." - Yeo Cheow Tong

"...I regret making the decision because, in the end, the baby continued to be in intensive care, and KKH now runs up a total bill of more than $300,000..." - Lim Hng Kiang, regretting the decision to save a baby's life because KKH ran up a $300,000 bill

No prize for guessing who said this recently:

"Army will intervene in freak elections" - 15 Sep 2006

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Eliteness, Peeves and People need people

Sigh. Eliteness at its worst.

RJC College student Wee Shu Min, a daughter of MP Wee Siew Kim, literally blew herself up. And her father's career too. I'm not too sure if he will get elected for the measure. Not at least by the common people.

A certain blogger by the name of Mr Derek Wee blogged about his concerns on Singaporean workers and the competition from foreign talents and the lack of job opportunities from older workers. (See his full article)

She dismissed his views and commented:
"Derek, Derek, Derek darling, how can you expect to have an iron rice bowl or a solid future if you cannot spell?"

"There's no point in lambasting the Government for making our society one that is, I quote, 'far too survival of the fittest'... If uncertainty of success offends you so much, you will certainly be poor and miserable."

She told him to 'get out of my elite uncaring face' in a concluding comment. (see her full comments)

To top it off:
"Mr Wee Siew Kim said he stood by his daughter's 'basic point', but added: 'As a parent, I may not have inculcated the appropriate level of sensitivity, but she has learnt a lesson.' "

As one blogger puts it:
You will be disconnected too if you eat 'mee siam' with 'hums'.

(Newsflash) SBS Transit launches 'Flag the Bus Early' campaign

Duh. How stupid can we get? Peeves:

  1. Since when has the bus not stopping at bus-stops became the fault of commuters?
  2. Why call bus-stops if it is not for buses stopping? Maybe we should change 'bus-stops' to 'bus-maybe-stop-but-not-for-you'.
  3. Why don't bus compaines have 'Bus-drivers slow down and stop at bus-stops' campaign? Or have a 'Big number signs on buses' campaign? Just an example, have you ever tried flagging down a 160, 166 or 169 bus which has all three buses running at the same bus-stop?
  4. Why don't bus compaines have 'Stop wasting money on lousy campaigns' campaign and direct profits to 'Decrease fare hikes' campaign?
  5. Why do bus companies post high profit earnings but increase fares due to whatever excuses they can think of? Maybe we should also have another 'Stop giving us lousy excuses' campaign.
  6. Why bloody have a campaign at all? Do we need one? Did we ask for one? Aren't we a mature and developed society? Must we need campaigns to think for us?
I was touched by the financial help poured in for the family who lost the husband and father. He committed suicide by jumping in front of an oncoming MRT train. A couple of thought-provoking reads:

  1. Turning Away
  2. What exactly constitutes “financial difficulty”?

These are real life issues. How low can a man go before the help he needed ever came?

  1. How ever can a poor person (who is usually illiterate) know that he can receive help? How will he ever know there are 'vouchers' for him? If he had 80cents to buy a newspaper, wouldn't he be saving that for more important matters like food, basic necessities - soap, toothpaste, water, etc, which we often take for granted?
  2. How many people, who had given up their studies (in the late 60s, 70s) to work so that they can bring money for their younger siblings, find themselves lost out in the rat race to be elite? Re-training? *LOL*
  3. How many more of such people exist (with suicidal tendencies thinking where/when their children next meal will be) in Singapore? Must a suicide wake Singaporeans up? Must a death snap us from our Singapore dreaming?
  4. Are we too ingrained in pursuing academics, elite-ness that we forget who we are - humans who need humans? Just a touch, a simple gesture and kindness can turn a family around. Or can it?
  5. How come his relatives and friends never came to help? Now the family is 0.5 million dollars richer through the kindness and help poured in from the public. Will they suddenly appear to 'help' and become close to the family? Where was your loving back then?


Guess some questions will never be answered.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Perhaps God is telling me the answer to the haze. Perhaps it's my life, the search for a deeper meaning. Perhaps it's all the answers to the questions I've asked and the answers I'm longing to hear.

Perhaps. Just wait.

One thing I know - when I see His faithfulness, He sees my faith.
This poem written was by a missionary after a 2-month illness.

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried:
Quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate,
And the Master so gently said, "Child, you must wait."

"WAIT? You say 'wait'," my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers. I need to know why!
Is Your hand shortened? Or have You not heard?
By faith I have asked and am claiming Your Word.

My future and all to which I can relate
Hangs in the balance, and YOU tell me 'Wait'?
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign,
Or even a 'no' to which I can resign.

And, Lord, You promised that if we believe
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And, Lord, I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply!"

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
As my Master replied once again, "You must wait".
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
And grumbled to God, "So I'm waiting....for what?"

He seemed, then, to kneel, and His eyes wept with mine,
And He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead, cause the mountains to run.
All you seek, I could give, and pleased you would be.
You would have what you want...but you wouldn't know Me.

You'd not know the depth of my love for each saint;
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint;
You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there;
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence were all you could see.

You'd never experience the fullness of love
As the peace of My Spirit descends like a dove;
You'd know that I give and I save (for a start),
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart,
The glow of My comfort late in the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight,
The depth that's beyond getting just what you asked
Of an infinite God, who makes what you have last.

You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that "My grace is sufficient for thee".
Yes, your dreams for that loved one overnight would
come true, But, Oh, the loss!
If I lost what I am doing in you!

So be silent, My child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me.
And though oft may My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still, "WAIT".
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Friday, October 13, 2006

YAI (Yet another idiotic) bitter aftertaste

(append) QQ*librarian has kindly included the newspaper article as a comment. Thanks!

Which is worse? To have ash and soot up your nose and in your mouth? Or have someone clogging your ears by spewing nonsensical statements?

In this case, my grouch is against this Indonesian minister guy who has either too much sooty air in his brain that clouded his judgment, or he has inhaled too much haze that has virtually killed off his intelligent (if any) brain cells.

If you have read what he said with regards to the haze issue, you'll agree with me. (I could not find the article on the web, so I'm paraphrasing. I'll post what he actually said when I find it.)

He mentioned something along the line of :
For years, Indonesia has been providing good quality oxygen to our neighbours (Singapore, Malaysia) through our XXX hectares of land. They should be grateful for the clean air given and thank us. Now they should not 'complain' about the bad air quality.

Er sir, with all due respect, it's like farting in an air-conditioned car with Singapore and Malaysia as your passengers. And then you do something stupid like:
  1. Fault the driver for using the air-con. Or it's nobody's fault since the car came along with an air-con system.
  2. Tell your passengers to wind down the windscreens and breathe (whereas for this hazy case, Singapore and Malaysia don't have a friggin' choice. We share the same air).
  3. Tell your passengers that they have a choice not to breathe for the next 3 months.
  4. Pull out a couple of bags filled with oxygen and sell them at an exorbitant price to pay off your debts.
  5. Quote from a farmer and blame it on the wind direction. You know, Mother Nature's fault for farting in the wrong direction.

Yeah right, the car-maker forgot to cater for an intelligent system to detect fart and divert the air elsewhere, lest your passengers die of suffocation.

If I was the car-maker, I'll install an eject-seat function for morons like you.

I mean, what the...? People can actually get away saying that?

Let me spell it clearly to you:
I didn't start the haze problem. You did. I didn't set the forests on fire. Your farmers /culprits did. I didn't complain until it got so bad that my eyes started to smart. And my family is having flu-like symptons. You didn't pay my medical bills.

So which part you don't understand?

If you have a huge glass dome over your country and you are burning your forests down and killing all your own citizens with your own actions, that's your problem.

But when your problem becomes my problem, I have every right to complain and re-arrange your face.

It's like people who smoke all the days of their lives and then get diagnosed with nose/throat cancer, they sue the tobacco company. Or people who keep up-sizing their Mcdonald's meal and then sue the company for their obesity and over-eating.


Who knows, probably he is rich enough to buy oxygen tanks and masks for his family and kids.

I don't.

And I speak for the majority of the Singaporeans and Malaysians who suffer at your YAI actions and words.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I have done the UNTHINKABLE. I have put a new link - the P65 blog.

*bugger, what did you go do that?*

Yeah yeah I know the risks and issues. Look, I know Zaqy when he was just a consultant doing a project for a stepboard I was working in. He's smart and nice. And family-oriented. We had some fun chats in the meeting rooms while waiting for latecomers.

Not sure if he has changed over the years.

You see, the main purpose is this: since the P65 team wants to be real and personal, I'll provide him a window into the world of a normal Singaporean. And the disgruntled and sometimes passionate sentiments that many of us feel.

Zaqy's a human. So am I. He has a kid (maybe more?), so do I. He has real-life issues of daughter falling sick (sometimes political issues), so do I.

He wants to 'connect'? I'll give him a chance. But just don't tell me what I can (or cannot) do with my blog, especially my opinions and other comments.

Opinions are like a**holes; everybody has one. The moment the line is crossed, I'm going to remove the link. Or maybe close this blogsite down.

And to my friends reading my blog, I assure you - I'm not going into politics. And I surely do not want to be politically affliated too. Let's stick it to just friends.

Let's see how 'connect' the P65 can be (pardon the Singlish).

As the song goes:

Fly me to the moon
And let me play among the stars
Let me see what spring is like
On Jupiter and Mars...
Think I just got hit in the head by an asteriod...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Funny thing: Singlish

I was just thinking about Singlish the other day when I suddenly realized one thing:

It is the kind of language that all races in Singapore speak and understand.


C'mon admit it. Everybody Singaporean speaks like dat. Why, huh? I don't know lah; it's like a growing organism, evolving with new words added to the rojak (mixed-up) vocab every other day.

An ang-moh speaking it just doesn't sound right, yes? No offense to my ang-moh friends but they will say something like 'I'm trying to understand you. Lah'. Notice the pause before the lah? *cringe*

And we just cannot get enough of it! God knows I've tried to purge it out from my system. The roots go a long, long way.

It's not Racial Harmony day, it's not National Day, it's not campaigns or National Education or even writing lots of newspaper articles on patriotism, loyalty to country, Uniquely Singapore or what-have-yous.

Yes, it's Singlish. Unfortunately.

Purely because everyone from Ah-Peks, Ah-Mas, aunties at the markets, the Bibis, the Ka-Ka neighbours, the Ah-Neighs at the Mama shops, the kids at the playground, you and I. Everybody uses it!

It's like a National Identity.

And the government thinks it's not good for us. From the English technical point of view, absolute yes, it's bad. From a cultural, Singaporean Ah-beng, Ah-Mat, Ah-neigh, brudder perspective - resounding NO!

What else, you tell me, can make a group of young men from various backgrounds, educational levels and races doing their National Service (aka Army) and communicating on a sama-sama (same) wavelength?

I'd swear it's not the green-coloured uniforms they wear but yes, it's Singlish. You speak Singlish, I understand. Brudder-brudder. Siong or not, we ciong together, k? And the Sergeant snickers, "Today, whole platoon going to get tekan (punishment) becoz all super-slow. You are supposed to fly, you understand? Nevermind, take your time, hor!"

Rings a bell, doesn't it? Every Singaporean mother son of a Malay, Indian, Chinese soldier understands the sentences above. Do you think the Sergeant will speak in perfect English and then invite you over for a cup of tea?

Ling-pei say kena sai! Er, nevermind this translation.

Changing the lifestyle and the way we speak daily is like removing our very common identity that binds us as Singaporeans. Uniquely. As PCK says - some say in JB and Batam. Heh.

How often (if at all) do you see the Straits Times publishing:

  1. "Today one Taiwanese politician hantam (hit, punch) the opposition member. Then all fight like siao (madness) in the Parliament House."
  2. "Lebanon kena bomb until bin-qi-qi (translate 'face green-green' or means unbearable) by Israel. So buay-song (not happy), hantam back with rockets into Israeli towns."
  3. "LTA (Land Transport Authority) says 'Fare hike increase bo-bian (cannot help it). Oil prices increase. MP salaries increase. Anyway cheap-cheap what, only few cents.'

    In response, opposition Workers' Party says 'Siao, think money grow on trees. Your father surname Lee, huh?

    In retort, LTA says 'Ah-but then (Needless to say). Buay-song, huh? Say some more, I fix you'.

    WP says 'You wait, hor. For now, chiam-see-tong...' (be patient, wait a while. Also has similar spelling as veteran opposition leader with same name. Coincidental?)"
You see, when you type it out, it seems all weird. But when you share over a coffee with your friends with kopi-tiam (coffee-shop, means idle chatting) talk, everyone understands what you are getting at.

Funny, hor?

By the way, the post-65ers doing hip-hop for CNY (Chinese New Year) is definitely not funny or cool. The word spreading in blogs is 'LAME' - Losing All Mental Effectiveness.

  1. We don't need you to connect with us. Just listen.
  2. When implementing policies, not only use your brains but also your heart and conscience.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Goodbye, Hammie

Well I finally did IT. By my own hands.

I put the poor, suffering hamster to sleep. I'm not proud of it. I felt very sad.

It triggered when missus frantically called me and said Hammie scratched off a piece of the growth and it was bleeding all over.

Hammie had been suffering for >3 months from a large growth that had nearly covered its whole cheek (Refer to pix, see the growth in the left ear. That's about 1 month old only).

It started small - like some pieces of mini flesh antennae sticking out from the ear. I thought perhaps water had gotten into the ear and I did not think much of it.

But it grew... and grew... into a monstrous piece of disgusting brown tumor. The tumour sized a diameter of ~2cm (for a hamster it is actually quite big) before it's death. Ack!

The growth had entirely covered its left ear, all the way down to the underside of the cheek. The whole left ear was unrecognizable and had become part of the growth. And I didn't know hamsters can have tumours until I searched the internet about hamsters having tumours protruding from the ears.

And the right ear started to have these funny looking antennae too.

Hammie had lost a lot of weight during this period. He used to be fat and furry, but just before his death, there were patches of fur loss, especially behind his ears. He had also shrunk in size, with skin barely covering his bones. Though he still had a good appetite (he managed to finish his bowl), he never put on any weight.

Not only, he had a broken right leg for quite a while (see the right leg on pix). I don't know how it happened but I think Rachel closed the cage door on his leg while putting him back. Rachel liked to carry him around and pat him. Funny thing was Hammie actually survived and it was still actively running on his leg, er stump. His defunct leg was perpendicular to its body, attached only by the skin.

Now that's my feisty little hamster.

I had been contemplating the deed for the past 1 month. I hesitated for a number of reasons:

  1. Hammie had been with the family for close to 2 years. I had nurtured him since he was just a little baby hamster - washing his cage, cleaning him after his sand bath. I do take him out from the cage frequently to let him run around the house for exercise.

    When I stay up late at night to watch soccer (hamsters are most active at nights), I would bring him out and stroke his fur while watching the TV. He always liked me massaging his back with two fingers and tickling his underside/tummy.

    After a year, whenever I open his cage door and drum my fingers on the cage, he would run out into my waiting hand. He actually recognized my voice. Once he actually managed to push open the cage door and roamed the house at night. Talk about guard dog.

    So you can imagine the closeness I have with him.
  2. Being the ever prudent wife, missus was little concern about the vet cost of fixing the leg and/or putting Hammie to sleep. The truth is the cost is actually quite high. Approx $30 -$45 consultation fee, excluding medication/injection, whatever.

    She said that Hammie would not last long too. So I decided to wait for it to die a natural death.

    But it didn't. I actually prolonged its suffering.
  3. Rachel was still attached to Hammie. Okie, okie, I admit it. I couldn't bear to do it myself. It's quite scary to think of ways to 'dispose' the hamster.

Some suggestions/advice/ideas from friends:

  1. Flush into toilet bowl
  2. Drown it
  3. Put into plastic bag and let it suffocate
  4. Bury it alive

I did the clinical and swift way. I whacked it with the flat of a small stool.

First, I put Hammie in a small plastic bag and flattened it, making sure there is little air to act as cushion. Then I put it in another plastic bag, just in case the first one might burst.

I said goodbye and bham!

I thought I heard it squeal a bit. Perhaps it was saying goodbye too. Perhaps it was my imagination. Following up with an additional 4 strokes, I made sure it didn't. I opened up the second bag just to check. Yeah didn't think it could live through that.

I felt like crying when I threw it into the rubbish chute.

I could not bear to see you suffering silently
mom did when she had cancer, in pain
Three months, thank God, of suffering, agony
Final comfort, relief when He came
Goodbye Mom.

I can understand the agonizing pain daily.

Goodbye Hammie, dear friend, farewell...

PS. We have another baby hamster now, courtesy of missus' colleague. We named him Furrie. He's growing well and fat.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Now this is REALLY a sad day...

It's not that I support any party, but what can one person like Chee Siok Chin (Chee Soon Juan's sister) do? I just don't understand: Is the government afraid of something?

Read here (must scroll down to see picture).

Do we Singaporeans really need 7 policemen/women to surround her? Aww... incredulous! Video taping too! Why? To showcase on TV and .gov websites? I wonder who is more of a moron.

There is hardly any need actually! I find it so condescending and downright abusive! The truth is I could hardly believe it until I saw the picture. Isn't it close to restricting a person's rights and freedom of movement, let alone speech?

Wow the ruling party just lost a big chuck of respect! Big time too. It can't get worse, can it?

Interesting to discover the vast contrast on the glowing reviews on Singapore the Straits Times want Singaporeans to read about vs what the reporter (Philip Thornton) actually filed for The Independent. Read here.

The Straits Times censored the latter. Unbelieveable! This must be the #1 for bitter aftertaste.

I'm all for hosting world events. I'm all for caning, even capital punishments. I say again - I support caning of those rapists, vandalizing idiots, molesters, etc. I'm all for hanging because you deal in drugs. Good for you!

But when you go global (eg. hosting IMF), don't expect the world to think like you do. All your efforts and investments ( I think is $135m) to organize the IMF seem to have backfired! Instead of having glowing reviews on our economic and financial stability, we were portrayed as a 'backward' developed nation.

Is the government in denial? Hello?

The sad truth is when I discuss politics during lunchtime with my colleagues, most of them don't have opinions (or choose not to have any). When I provide another point of view, I am sometimes told that I don't know what I am talking about and what's best for Singapore, or shrugged off, or more like a sudden quietness descends in the group and then they change topics altogether, ignoring what was said.

What the...?

With such a picture and high-handedness approach to politics, how does the government expect our younger generations to be open or even actively discuss their views?

Sad. Really sad.

You know, there is this funny coldness in my heart that I can't place when I saw the picture of Miss Chee.

Pity? Nah. Perhaps I am slowly losing my identity.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Celebrating our belated anniversary

Missus and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary on 15 Sep at North Border Bar & Grill in Rochester Park.

Now I am very impressed with the exclusive colonial houses-turned-restaurants with lush green, rustic environment (we are suckers for those black-and-white houses). The ambiance was fantastic with elegant heritage-typed infrastructure, tree-lined pathways and swaying canopies; the air was cool after a nice shower in the late evening.

We had buffulo-wings for appetizers, a seafood platter and the pork ribs. We called for a bottle of sparkling wine - Rustico too.

The wings were excellent, though the seafood and ribs were so-so. The waiter Stefan was very pleasant and hospitable, making us feel at ease with him.

Selene had too much of a drink and the stomach decided that the food didn't fit in there. She threw all up, except for the bufflo wings. How she knew what came out beats me. Anyway, I didn't bother to check the contents of the plastic bag.

Here is my rating:
Ambiance: 8.5/10
Food: 6/10
Service: 8/10

Overall, it was a pretty nice evening and anniversary. This was in spite of a petty argument we had in the car on the way there.

After 7 years, we still have disagreements. Someone told me to enjoy the differences in the relationship. It is the differences that makes it tick; not the similarities.

All is forgotten - tiff and disagreements. The ambiance just took our breaths away.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The funny little clown

A poetic satire titled Bloodflowers caught my heart. It's about the wilting flowers around Suntec City (read here). Reminds us about ourselves as Singaporeans, eh?

Smile because you have been told to, smile because you have to. The world is watching. It's all for show till they bring the curtains down. Then you can cry all you want to - nobody cares. As long as you don't do it in front of the audience.

The Funny Little Clown by Bobby Goldsboro

See the funny little clown
See him laughing as you walk by
Everybody thinks he's happy
'Cause you never see a tear in his eye
No one knows he's crying
No one knows he's dying on the inside
'Cause he's laughing on the outside
No one knows, no one knows
See the funny little clown
He's hiding behind a smile
They all think he's laughing
But I know he's really crying all the while
How his heart is aching
How his heart is breaking on the inside
But he keeps laughing on the outside
No one knows, no one knows

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Happy 7th Anniversary!

Har, I got married on 9/11. Actually it was two years before the disastrous event in 2001. Sep 11, 1999 to be exact.

I can still remember dining out with my wife and enjoying ourselves that fateful night. You know the feeling of a second-year anniversary couple. Lovey-dovey. It was until we had reached home that we heard about the Twin Towers collapse on the news. Stunned, jaws dropping.

Time flies. 7 years. 7 blessed years!

Can you you believe it? Just a few blogs down, I was just commenting on how Rachel had grown into a lovely 'princess'.

To be truthful, getting hitched is the easy part. Getting married is slightly harder. Keeping the marriage healthy needs commitment. Having kids requires sacrifices. Plenty of sacrifices but worth every single minute.

We had lots of quarrels, arguments and personal opinions. In the beginning, at least. Nowadays, it hardly matters to me anymore. We've learnt to disagree in love. Keeps the sanity, I'd say. Hear that, dear?

It is no longer important who wins in an argument/quarrel. Now, it usually ends with me saying 'sorry', even if I am right. Even when she doesn't see the grey matter between my eyes and acknowledges that there is actually intelligence in it. Even when she knows she's outrightly, absolutely, without a doubt wrong.

For the sake of the marriage, the family and Rachel. And sanity, peace.

Even if I did win the argument (I rarely do), I cannot imagine sleeping together in our shared queen-sized bed. It's akin to sleeping with a bear having a sore head. You'll never know when it would turn around and bite your head off!

Funny thing is:
I actually love her for her guts and stubborn-ness. And usually wise advice. I said usually. I remember praying for a gal who loves the Lord, one who complements the weaknesses I have and one who can mentally and spiritually challenge me. That's right, a girl who voices her opinions truthfully.

You know how the Lord blesses - always in abundance. Boat-sinking, net-breaking, more than enough blessings. I got more than what I had bargained for.

*ahem* back to the topic. Our wedding rings have these verses engraved:
  1. Proverbs 18:22
    He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.
  2. Psalms 32:8
    I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.

7 years... wow! Do I feel itchy?


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Had a good laugh

...reading the newest entries in Parking Idiots in Singapore. Unbelievable but true.

Questions that have always bugged me:
  1. Why do able-bodied drivers park in handicap lots? Don't they have any social grace or respect that these lots ARE for the handicap? I'd bet my bottom dollar that these inconsiderate morons of a driver are educated. I mean they aren't called handicap lots for nothing, right?

    Read the sign: FOR HANDICAPS ONLY!

    I will break your arm or leg if you wish to be a handicap. And gladly too.

    FYI, whenever I see cars without the handicap signs parking in the handicap lots, I always report them. So sue me, if you have the guts.

    And please don't tell me about 'elite' society if we cannot even get the basics right.
  2. Why can't people park properly? How long does it take to drive out and reverse back in again? 8 sec? 10 sec? Wind down the windscreen, look at lines, reverse. Is it so hard?

    I don't care what your reasons are. If you take longer than 1 min for a second/third drive out and reverse back in, perhaps you shouldn't be driving at all.
  3. Speaking about impatience. Why do people horn when you are slow to drive off at the traffic juntions? Just take 2 secs slower and you have someone letting you know his frustrations.

    I'm not talking about the guy behind horning at you while you are driving 80km/h on the extreme right lane of the expressway. It is supposed to be 90km/h. So if you are such a culprit, smack yourself in the head. Or I will do it myself.

    I've seen people queuing up for hours to buy 4Ds, Totos, etc. Worse, you see them under the hot Sat afternoon sun outside those NTUC betting outlets. Funny, I don't hear them complaining.
  4. And now about NTUC. I have no idea why NTUC branched off to GP clinics, car insurance, supermarkets, dentals, what-have-yous...

    Can someone explain to me what NTUC stands for again? It is called National Trades Union Congress. The objectives?

    - To help Singapore stay competitive, and workers to remain employable for life.
    - To enhance the social status and well-being of workers.
    - To build a strong, responsible and caring labour movement.

    So tell me, which part of NTUC delving into the other business benefit Singapore workers to remain employable for life? Or enhance their social status and well-being?

    Unless NTUC tells me that Singaporean workers will get a subsidy when using the services or they get to share in the NTUC profits...

    And all these while I thought it is going to challenge Walmart, Carrefour or something.

Unbelievable but true.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Princess Diaries

Got Rachel a Cinderalla princess kit from Toys R' Us. Worth every cent spent to capture this moment of her posing!

The kit consisted of:

1. A pair of earrings
2. Ring
3. Bracelet
4. A pair of 'glass' slippers

She was totally thrilled and couldn't wait to wear them. The first thing she said when she woke up from bed was:

"Mummy, where is my princess kit?"

Here is another shot of her posing.


Look how much she has grown. It had been only 3+ years when she first cried in the delivery room. Daddy was so overjoyed. Mummy too. Heh, she was glad the 9 months was finally over.

Well, actually it was just the beginning.

I can barely imagine or recollect how she looked like 3 years ago without referring to the photos I had taken. Wrinkled skin, clenched tiny fingers and toes, closed eyes and a small mouth that made big noises. What's a big daddy going to do with her. I was thinking, er... what's next now?

Life just smacked my head and answered me. Next thing I knew, I had to change her diapers. I wondered aloud how anyone could have done it without fussing over this little thing. Yeah I took a good 15mins (don't laugh, I'm sure you wouldn't have faired better).

And then I took another 10 mins to figure out how to wrap her in her blanket or 'whachacallitcloth'. Ended up quarrelling with missus, because she thought she was smarter. Yeah right. In the end, the nurse bundled her up for us.

Trying. Very.

Since then, there is no turning back. She has grown from glory to glory (by the grace of God), beauty to beauty. I can only stand amazed how God has blessed her with such good looks. Not that her Daddy is handsome or has nice features. I am also in awed at the rate she is growing and changing all the time.

Just the other day, I was so surprised she was speaking in complete sentences. She had also been using words like 'disgusting', 'delicious' and 'crazy'.

Ok, this is Daddy's fault. He likes to use this 'crazy' word while driving. Especially on motorists who are basically... crazy. And stupid too. Mummy told her 'stupid' isn't a nice word to use and Rachel promptly reminds me each time I use that word on idiotic moronic motorists.

Oh sorry :P

The only advice I have is:
Working too hard and spending (selling?) your life in the office for the sake of money aren't going to make the kids understand your contributions to the family.

Your presence does. Make it count.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


I've been so busy that by the time I come home, I just want to log on to WoW and play till I'm totally 'zonked-out'. Then I'll plonk myself into bed sleeping like a log, only to wake up for early morning conference calls. And then more calls/meetings throughout the day.

People wonder why we don't have babies...

PS. WoW has changed the Battlegrounds queue and it's nothing but BG-Madness I call it. Woot!

Couple of things to rant:
  1. Birthrates
    I have absolutely no idea why Singapore has this issue. Just look at the recent article on the successful birthrates in Japan. Or take a look at countries like Norway, Sweden, etc.

    Title goes like this:
    "No. of January-June births in Japan increases for 1st time in 6 yrs"

    "The government has started special projects to make raising children easier and less expensive, while improving child-care facilities for working parents. But Japan has rejected large-scale immigration."

    The Singapore government needs to be radical in its policies if the birthrates are to be higher. It doesn't take a rocket scientist or PhD-holder to analyze that. You can't have both ways, either you are pro-employer or pro-employee. So if your issue is low birthrates, you have to sacrifice a bit.

    Be radical. Protect the expecting mothers with job securities, provide 1-year maternal and paternal leave for rotation.

    Money doesn't buy everything.
  2. Foreign Talents
    I'm all for it. Really. A couple of my good friends are foreigners. They do contribute to the ecnomony and bring in new ideas.

    The thing that p*sses me off, however, is the way the government handled it. It's like these foreigners are the answers to everything that includes low birthrates, shrinking population, need for globalization, etc.

    It's so... uncreative. Just like the IR (Integrated Resort) issue. Need to boost economy? Let's have a casino. Duh.

    In my opinion, Singapore seems to be the only country who does not protect its citizens. All other developed countries I know of have laws to protect its citizens, especially in labour and job securities.
  3. IMF
    I am all for Singapore to host IMF. But donations from organizations? Aw, c'mon. It leaves a bitter aftertaste.

    The 4 million smiles? Why not employ your so-called foreign talents to fulfill your policies and campaigns? Also, why not have people lining along Changi Airport ECP highway to 'moon' at the delegates driving by? It's still a smile alright, albeit a vertical one :).

    Anyway, there is a tradition called the Annual Mooning of Amtrak, Laguna Niguel, (Orange County) California, U.S.A. And nobody's throwing nobody in jail.

    If you really want the delegates to know Singapore as she really is, drop all these fake fronts. We are already unique in our own way, and we are definitely not called the Land of Smiles. So stop selling Singapore what she is not. It may just backfire. Some smiling streaker could have just run across the road near Suntec City, waving a 'Welcome' banner.

    When I smile in a crowded lift on a Monday morning, I get weird stares. When I have to deal with smelling people's hair/shirt/newspapers/breath/armpits in a crowded bus or MRT packed like sardine, I don't want to smile. When I face traffic jams in the morning and I feel like it's the end of the day when actually it has just begun, I don't want to smile. When the government breathes down on my neck asking me to make babies, to be the best employee, to be the best Dad, to be the best citizen, to be charitable, to be global, to accept their polices and to accept the increasing cost of living, to smile alot especially to IMF delegates..

    ...I don't want to smile. A smile should come along when you feel good or happy about something. A smile is natural. Not because I have to.

    I swear the campaign would have been more successful if it had been the 1-million smiles campaign. Singapore is already small - I don't need 4 million people.

    Anyway, a nation who smiles alot don't need a courtesy campaign. Think about it.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

How to make an orange bunny costume

Alright, for those folks out there wondering why the cute girl Rachel was wearing a bunny costume (see here)? Answer: Rachel was going for a birthday party.


*groan* I confess - I was a 'cheapo'. I didn't want to spend money to buy her a princess or angel costume just for a birthday party. I mean they outgrow the clothes so fast! I also did not have a nice white poster paper to work on (more like I couldn't find a clean white paper without Rachel's imprints on it). And since she was wearing an orange dress, I thought why not an orange bunny.

Hey it could have been worse. I could have used the blue-coloured paper... or purple one? Hmmm Barney the dinosaur costume didn't sound too bad. But I had to find pillows. Lots of them. Barney's fat, by the way.

We were going for Megan's birthday party (courtesy of Grace and Sheldon). The theme was Safari (or was it zoo?). The children were supposed to dress up in an animal costume. The good thing was that Rachel thoroughly enjoyed herself there. The bad? We got played out. She was the only 'animal' there, albeit an orange one.

One thing I had noticed in the party was that the children didn't care if someone wore a princess, angel, lion, monkey or even a Barney costume. They were only concerned if there were:
  1. Lots of kids around their age to play with.
  2. Toys, drawing, sing-along, kiddy activities.
  3. Birthday cake.
  4. Candles. Everyone will want to blow the candles. This is indeed a mystery.
  5. Screaming. And crying.

Back to the bunny costume. Ok, orange bunny costume. For me, the most fun thing was doing it with her. She had this pair of scissors in hand and she was all eager to cut the ears out. She also gladly provided her face as the canvas for my 'bunny-face' masterpiece.

To top it, she was giggling while I crowned the 'hairband-with-bunny-ear-antenna' on her head. She simply loved it!

Recipe for successful orange bunny costume makeover:

  1. 1x Victim
  2. 1x Hairband.
  3. 1x Orange-coloured big poster paper.
  4. 2x Long oval ears. Need to draw and colour them, if necessary.
  5. 1x Scissors to cut ears. Tape ears to hairband.
  6. Facial crayons. Draw red nose, red circles around eyes and black whiskers.
  7. Lots of creativity, imagination and fun.
  8. 1x Mirror.
  9. No laughing. I repeat, do not laugh at your victim.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

What a week, what a week!

It's not that I have stopped blogging. The past week had been a nightmare for my missus and me. Too tired and drained to blog or even play World of Warcraft.

Our lovely daughter, Rachel, was admitted to hospital A&E twice. First was on 8 - 10 Aug with viral fever and , the other on 11 Aug with mild pneumonia (caused by the viral fever).

8 Aug
The first happened kind of a sudden. Rachel was well for the whole day and we had just come back from dinner at around 9pm. Rachel mentioned that she suddenly felt cold.

In the next 5 mins, she had a temperature of 38.5C. Within the next 5-10mins, the fever shot to 40.7C. Her fingers and lips were turning bluish, and her skin became fairly mottled, especially on her hands. We tried to rushed her to the hospital but during the trip to the car, she started convulsing in my arms.

I freaked out! My wife was screaming and shouting her name. Rachel's eyes rolled back and she was shaking uncontrollably.

I was screaming Jesus, God, Rachel, 911, Police, Ambulance, Help... whatever 'words' that sprung to mind. She was losing consciousness. God, I was hysterical! The thought of losing her gripped my heart. You can't imagine the choking feeling of despair and the sense of helplessness. Though she came around after 5 mins, she had that blank look on her face.

I drove like a madman, hitting 120-130km/h on a normal Singapore road and arrived at the A&E in 10 mins (I live pretty near the hospital). The doctor diagnosed the seizures as febrile convulsions. After calming down and reading the medical article provided, we were assured that the convulsions were not harmful to her nor did it cause any brain damage.

Made me think life can be so unpredictable and vulnerable. I felt so helpless when she was shaking in my arms. What can I do? Without God, I would never have the peace that He is in control of every situation. What is money when you don't have the health to enjoy it? So says Ecclesiastes 5:19-20
"19 Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God. 20 He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart."

11 Aug
Her fever returned on Fri night, hitting a high of 40.1C. We took no chances and drove straight to the hospital. After a blood test and x-ray, she was diagnosed to have early pneumonia, probably the virus had infected her lungs. She was given anti-biotics and sent home. Rachel still had fever of 39+C and she had difficulty sleeping - laboured breathing sound and phelgmy cough.

We prayed. We worshipped. We gave thanks for all that the Lord had done for this family. As the head of the household, I claimed His word to be true. Jesus is faithful. His name is Jehovah Raphe, my daughter's healer.

Then there was this awesome presence of the Lord in the room. My left hand was on her forehead and the right was on her chest while praying. I felt power going forth from me into her. Power to heal. Images of Jesus at the well with the Samaritan woman came to mind - "...whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst". Cool, refreshing water to soothe the fever. I was also reminded of the bronze serpent that was raised in the desert. Whomsoever looked at the snake on the pole (symbolic meaning of Christ on the cross lifted bearing our sins) shall live.

The fever immediately broke! Rachel started to perspire and her breathing became easier. She slept peacefully too. The sense of comfort and triumphant joy washed over me.

Today, Rachel is recovering very well. In fact, just this morning, she went cycling for a bit of fresh air. She is looking radiant and her bubbly, chittering and joyful self is returning.

However there are some things that I need to get off my chest.

Apparently she had caught the virus from the childcare centre. And why wouldn't she? Some inconsiderate parents had been sending their sickly kids to the childcare. Reason? So that they won't have to waste a day's leave or two to care for them at home. To make matters worse, the childcare centre is fully air-conditioned. All it takes is for a kid to sneeze and the whole world will enjoy his aerosol... and air-borne viruses.

Thanks to you that Rachel's mum had to take at least 1 month of NO-FRIGGIN'-PAY leave to look after Rachel. Missus said she had noticed on numerous occasions some kids with coughs and runny noses attending the childcare centre.

To those culprits: #$%* $#*!!!! Yeah, I ain't finished. %$#&*(*&^#$@!!!

Pisses me off when people selfishly inconvenience others at the expense of my family, time and money.

Reminds me of the incident when there were a number of SARS cases in Singapore. The government, trying hard to control the virus, issued a form for school children to declare if they had gone to countries infected with SARS during the school holidays. What did the d*ckheads of the parents do? Told their kids to lie in the form.

Classic. I'm just speechless.

PS. I have already taken Rachel out of the childcare centre. Darn, she really enjoyed the interaction and teaching there. She was learning so well, her teacher said. Thanks to you, bloody inconsiderate morons!