t Double Yellow's Musings: July 2005

Double Yellow's Musings

The warped mind of Double Yellow craves for humor everyday. His daily dose comes from The Straits Times, The Sunday Times, Today, Channelnewsasia, etc. He also thinks that because of this preamble, this blog will never get featured in the local media. And of course, please read the Disclaimer before embarking on the journey.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Brain Helmets and UFOs

I think the Israelis are brilliant. They have designed a helmet that can make the person who wears it smarter. Not bad huh? Show off in that headdress and you can start thinking like gahmen. I also think they are exceptional because they know exactly where to test out their product…….Singapore!!! The Israelis seem to have discovered our secret. Where else will you find such a dumb population? And that is why they have probably recognized that Singapore can offer them the best test results than any other country.

Sure enough, our local media never fail to prove that we are dorks. They thought that the fact that the Israelis want to promote this product in Singapore is a compliment and so they said, “…Singapore could be one of the first countries to experience this new form of assistive technology”. They probably thought Singapore would one-day become a "helmet hub".

On cue, Singaporeans have begun seeing UFOs. As long as Singaporeans see a light in the sky that is not a plane or a star, they will like it is an alien UFO. As I have said elsewhere, these aliens are probably responsible for the poor eyesight of our kids. Maybe they are also responsible for the bad road drivers here. It has to be some psychic connection wat.... These UFO-seeing-people are actually potential subjects for the new "brain helmet'. Maybe after they wear it, they will realize that the flying objects are actually Superman, Batman and The Human Torch of Fantastic Four fame... :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Straits Times Bitch

If you thought that this post is about a ‘bitch’ who works for The Straits Times, sorry to disappoint you hor. This entry is about censorship in our esteemed local newspaper. In particular, the censorship of the word ‘bitch’. Our local media is grappling with issues of censorship for a long time (no lah, not about whether to write bad things about the gahmen or not – that one the answer is quite clear oredi :p). The media dunno whether they can use swear words in print or not. Like should they use the word “bastard” or use “bas*&%#”?

On 22 Jul 2005, The Straits Times also ran a story on Xiaxue’s blog being hacked, titled “Blocked out of their own blogs”. Writing about the message that was left on the hacked website, the article said…. “In [the original blog’s] place was a rude six-line message, which referred to her as a bitch”. Neat and straightforward use of the word. Clap, clap! Just when I thought that our beloved newspaper had progressed, I saw this….

On the same day, the editorial was titled “From India, with love”. Writing about U.S.-India relations, our darling newspaper had this to say…. “Indians are ‘treacherous’ and ‘vicious’, they said; Mrs Gandhi [the late prime minister of India] was a ‘witch’ and something else that rhymed with ‘rich’.

Hmmm…lemme see, what words rhyme with ‘rich’? twitch? kitsch? stitch? itch? switch? Sorry ah, but I almost threw up when I saw the editorial. You are reporting facts….so if someone called another a ‘bitch’ and you want to report it so badly, then just say it for Heavens sake. Gawd! Which conservative world are the editors living in? I really dunno whether the difference in the use of the word ‘bitch’ (in the same paper on the same day) has something to do with hypocrisy or just pathetic journalistic editing. One thing is clear though…our local media sure seem confused when it comes to the use of swear words.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Innocent Shooting in London

I am disappointed with the Singapore blogosphere. When the London terrorist bombings took place on July 7, there were tons of blogs that wrote about it. A few weeks later, there was an attempted repeat of the bombings in the London subway stations and again, Singapore bloggers penned their thoughts..... all condemning the act of terror, all attacking the loss of innocent lives. And for that, I think the Singapore bloggers have done well.

The British police have since increased security and launched a major manhunt for suspects. A few days ago, a man was shot – five times to the head – in a London tube because he was a suspected terrorist. And it is now apparent that he was NOT linked to the July 7 blasts at all. All in all, an innocent man was gunned down because of the overzealous efforts of the London Metropolitan efforts to thwart another attack.

Did Singapore blogosphere even care about this incident? Apparently not. A cursory check of the Singapore blogs which expressed outrage about the London bombings revealed this – NONE even cared to write about this incident…. why ah?

I was watching BBC when the news filtered in about a ‘suspected terrorist’ being killed in London. Eyewitnesses were asked to describe what they saw and the conversation went something like this….

Reporter: Can you tell us what you saw down there?
Eyewitness: I was in the north-bound train heading towards …… I saw police officers chasing a man into the tube. He was carrying a haversack……
Reporter (cutting the eyewitness short): Can you describe the man for us?
Eyewitness: Well, he was short, wearing a sweatshirt, baseball cap…
Reporter (interrupting the eyewitness again): Did he have dark skin?
Eyewitness: yes, he had dark skin. He was Asian....

It turns out that the man was NOT even carrying a firearm, let alone a bomb. He was shot five times in the head without warning. And surprise, surprise….the victim turned out to be a Brazilian. His mistake – he wore a coat on a hot summer day and ran when he saw the police. But dude, if someone runs when he sees the cops does NOT mean he is a terrorist. And of course, as you can see from the BBC news report, his ‘mistake’ was also that he had dark skin. So today, if you have dark skin, wear an overcoat and run in the London subway stations, you are bound to get shot in the head without warning.

The Londoners only have their Metropolitan police to thank that this rash act will spawn more terrorists. All the London police commissioner could say was that he "regretted" the incident and was sorry that it happened. I mean like, wtf??!! I thought regretting the ‘peanut comments’ was bad enough. The Brazilian man's family is in mourning and all the police commissioner can say is sorry?

And to the Singapore blogosphere, it is indeed disheartening that while we are concerned with the lives of innocent Londoners, the life of an innocent Brazilian hardly disturbs us. Its time we realize that an innocent human life is equal irrespective of whether its lost through a terrorist bomb or a police assassination.

P.S: I can’t seem to find any travel warning issued for London by all the major superpowers in the world, unlike what they did when a terrorist bomb went off in Bali. Why ah?

Friday, July 22, 2005

Pinnacle of Creativity in Singapore

I thought we had reached the zenith of creativity with the poster encouraging undergrads to opt for minor electives. But our gahmen never fails to amaze me.

They are leading the way in showcasing to the world how creative Singaporeans are. The task was to find a name for the Marina Bay area. In true Singapore style, the gahmen brought together all stakeholders – developers, retailers, restaurateurs etc. To ensure that we achieve international christening standards, we also roped in a ‘global branding expert’. And $400,000 later, the new name for the Marina Bay area is.......drumroll......... Marina Bay!

Thank you gahmen for making Singaporeans look like insipid dorks in front of the whole world.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Singapore in International Affairs

Singapore is a major player in international affairs – at least that is what the local media would like you to believe. If a country has more clout than any other nation in international politics, it has to be our very own Singapore. That is why Japan (the country with the second largest economy in the world and the country which contributes most to the UN budget after the United States) looks to Singapore for assistance when it wants a permanent seat in the UN Security Council. Dude, we should be proud….

Not very surprisingly, Singapore’s influence does not seem to go the distance. But our darling media had this to say – “Despite S'pore's backing, Japan's Security Council bid faces hurdles”. Can you believe that? How dare any country in the world oppose a choice made by Singapore? Our gahmen must be outraged that despite their support of Japan, there are obstacles along the way. How can? Patriotic Singaporeans should petition for an International Security Act (ISA) on the world stage. Any such defamation of Singapore will automatically result in the bankruptcy of the offending country.

Our local media seems to have won a lot of awards. How about one for ‘talking cock’?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The West can breed terrorists too

It’s almost a coupla weeks since the London bombings. The British authorities have identified the perpetrators – four young guys who were born in Britain, raised in Britain and hold British nationality. Of course, media reports (both local and foreign) all identify these traits. BUT almost all news reports say that the London bombers were “of Pakistani descent”. Bloody hell!! Why in the world does it matter what their ancestry is?

Somehow people are not prepared to accept that fact that a British born and bred national can commit an act of terror. There is this perpetual search about what sets these terrorists apart from the rest of the British population. There must be something unique about them – and hence, the news reports always say “they are British citizens of Pakistani descent” or “British Muslims of Pakistani origin”. Seriously, when businessmen like Sir Anwar Pervaiz make it big in Britain, the credit almost always goes to the British way of life, democracy, capitalism etc etc. None of the news reports even talk about him being of Pakistani descent.

Another common theme across initial news reports is that the London bombers visited Pakistan in the last couple of years. Sorry but how exactly does this matter? Since when was visiting Pakistan made a crime? These half-baked news reports paint a picture that jihadi terrorist groups have set up stalls on the airport runways of Pakistan, hiring anyone who gets off the plane. Who knows…maybe Al Qaeda offers them the highest discount? :) Later media reports talk about the London terrorists as having gone to Pakistan for religious education. Errr…so what? Just because they go there to learn Islam doesn’t prove a thing. Maybe it’s time that the West accepts that they can breed terrorists too.

It is because of this kind of pathetic journalism that the terrorists are winning the war!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Top Ten Reasons you did not attend the Bloggers.SG meet

It sure seems like the Bloggers.SG 2005 convention was a success. The local media called it a “yawn” (The Sunday Times, 17 July 2005, p.4) but I’m sure all of you know whom to believe. Not all local bloggers could make it to the meet. I was thinking of what excuse one could give and here is a small list from which you can choose….:p

10. You wanted to keep your online identity secret

9. You were scared that ISD officers would swoop down of the convention and arrest everyone

8. You followed the gahmen’s advice to “look forward” from the NKF saga that you forgot about the meet.

7. You were scared that you would not be able to resist the temptation to hug mrbrown and kiss Xiaxue

7. You decided to watch the National Day Parade rehearsal instead

6. You were put on hold when you called NKF and asked for refund of your donations for the last 30 years

5. The only unwashed clothes you had were a pair of pants and shirt in plain white or trousers and top in golden color.

4. You were busy eating all the peanuts you could find

3. You were busy bragging to your coffee shop mates about the number of peanuts you ate

2. You were regretting making the ‘peanut comments’

and the number 1 reason why you could not make it to the Bloggers.SG 2005 meet is….

1. You look like T.T.Durai!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Why I donch care abt the NKF saga...

Really, I just don’t care about the NKF saga. Many many years ago, I heard some not so good things (things that will not be repeated here, no transparency lah) about the NKF and its CEO. Suffices to say that I was not very convinced that my $ would have really helped people in need. Anyways, since that time, I’ve never donated to the NKF and don’t think I ever will unless I am convinced otherwise.

While many people are now calling for the NKF CEO to resign, get charitable organizations to be more transparent etc etc, I think many of them are missing the basic point. It basically gets down to the kind of dirt that can be hidden from public view when there is no transparency. Seriously, why should NKF apologize to Singaporeans? Some of us have been so foolish, stupid, trusting, naive and donate our $ to an organization that is totally opaque about the way it conducts its operations.

Sorry, but we have only ourselves to blame.

1. Looks like the NKF patron, board and CEO are going to step down. Thank you God!
2. The gahmen has also decided to intervene and appoint a new board and CEO. God, looks like you decided not to grant everything I asked for.
3. God, for the love of God, please let ppl realize that this isnt abt the NKF or charities. Its about transparency in a public organization. Thank you in advance, God.
4. Damn(sorry God), looks like I do care about the NKF thingy.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

What's in a (sur)name?

Fill up any form and you can be rest assured that they will ask you for either your first and surname or full name (usually with the surname underlined). This of course, is not something uniquely Singaporean but it is nevertheless….ummm…..irritating. Seriously, what is a surname? Why do any of us need one? What purpose does it exactly serve?

Surnames are very interesting. The Chinese use family names for generations – Tan, Lee, Chong etc. The angmohs also have a family name or sometimes use the father’s name as the surname – Robert Brown, John Doe etc. At times, I have seen them use Jr – Robert Brown Jr. The Indians in Singapore prefer to the fathers name as their surnames – s/o and d/o Letchumannan. I’ve met Indians who use their grandfather’s names, their family occupations (although they are not in that occupation anymore) or places they were born. I don’t think the angmohs can have the latter because their names will look like - Robert Arizona, John New York or Jack Sydney :) The Chinese in Singapore also cannot – Bukit Batok Jack, Tampines Seng – sounds more like gang member names :) Interestingly, the Malays (or for that matter Muslims) don’t have surnames!

According to Merriam-Webster, a surname is “the name borne in common by members of a family”. Ancestral lineage seems to be important. If your family heritage is something to be proud of and hence you want to showcase your roots to the whole world. Practically speaking, you want to make use of all the clout you can from your surname. But how many of us are from clans what wield a lot of influence today? Also, many of the family names that do exert power have very common surnames. Take Singapore for instance….if your name is Lee Tok Kok, do you think you would exercise any kind of authority? :)

From a very practical perspective, having surnames helps distinguish between two people with the same first name. In school, if there are two people with the same first name, it can lead to the wrong person doing the extra homework. In the army, you could be the wrong person being dunked under water. This reason of insisting people to have surnames to differentiate them is in my opinion, really pathetic. Surely, we can be more creative….

I also think surnames are sexist. I mean, why should one always take on the surname from the paternal side? Indeed, in almost all societies, when women get married they usually take on the surname of the husband. This I’m afraid is the most pitiable situation when it comes to surnames today. It’s easy for detractors to say that if you don’t like your surname, get your name changed. But that is not what I am talking about. Why does society need to have the norm of a surname in the first place?

In short, my point is this…every individual should not only have a choice of what surname he/she wants but also a choice whether to have one in the first place.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Bad News in SG ==> Bad News Elsewhere

When bad things happen in other countries, our on-the-ball gahmen will never allow it to enter Singapore. Racial riots, military coups, street protests…..you name it, such things are so taboo that they will never come anywhere near our shores to corrupt the naive minds of Singaporeans. But when awful things happen in Singapore (which I’m sure you all know, is very very very rare!), you can be rest assured that such events are exported to other countries.

Take the Nicoll highway collapse. It was one of the dreadful rare things that happened here. Take a look at today’s headlines (The Straits Times, 11 July 2005, page 1) – Malaysian flyover collapsed!! Our local media, which is renowned for highlighting bad news in other countries, will ensure that such exporting (not explicitly of course :p) of Singapore’s bad things are highlighted prominently. Let me elaborate further....

The Straits Times, 11 July 2005

Page 3 – 200 feared dead in ferry sinking, DEAD = 200 (approx)
Page 8 – 65 killed in Sichuan storms, DEAD = 65
Page 8 – Beijing sacks officials over brutal attack on village, DEAD = 6
Page 13 – Two shot dead in southern Thailand, DEAD = 2
Page 15 – Taleban behead six Afghan cops, DEAD = 6

and guess what our esteemed newspaper runs on page 1…..

Page 1 – Workers hurt as Malaysian flyover collapses, DEAD = 0

Hundreds of people could have died in an accident overseas but a flyover collapse in our beloved neighbor’s home that killed ZERO is more important.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Changing Face of the Singapore Pasar Malam

I strolled into a pasar malam the other day. They had the usual clothes, dresses, accessories and VCDs. And of course, the famous Ramly burger stall. The stall was packed and going by the slab of butter these guys use, you could get a heart-attack the next day. I'm sorry but who said Singaporeans are not risk takers :p

The rides were packed with kids and eager fathers who could kill to make sure their kids got onto the next ride. I'm sorry but who said Singapore dads fare very poorly? :p

And just when I thought I had seen it all...I saw the new "no-frills" car showroom. No swanky stuff. No reflective glass mirrors. No balloons for chewren. No freebies for adults and no free makan. The heartland market that usually sells clothes, accessories and toys has now began to sell cars! To use a gahmen catchphrase, the Singapore pasar malam has undergone a mindset change.

And that’s not all….the dudes who run the pasar malam stores are also aware of the 'suing culture' in Singapore and hence have put up large disclaimers. For instance, there were 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles selling at 3 for $10. And the disclaimer – "not responsible for any missing part" !!!!

Can you imagine doing a 1000 piece jigsaw only to figure out that there is a piece or two missing? Now I know why people throw killer litter out of their windows :)

I'm sorry but who said the Singapore pasar malam is dying?

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Gas Attack at the IOC Meet?

8 months of preparation…..2000 security personnel….. random checks on shoppers…..all cars will be checked….bodyguards for VIPs…. one of the biggest security operations in Singapore…..'Fortress Singapore' they called it. Although the threat of a terrorist attack in Singapore is ‘low’, the security preparations for the upcoming IOC meet have been tremendous. When Singapore wants to impress, it goes all the way.

I did not think much of this until I went to buy potatoes a coupla days later. They were sold out at the NTUC. It was the same situation at the Shop n Save as well as at the wet market near my place. Something was not right....it was only after a dozen glasses of Absolut and Chivas did I finally get it. The authorities may have overlooked something. I fear that there might be an attack at the IOC meet at Raffles City. Here is a possible modus operandi

All the goons involved will be wearing power suits. They plan to enter via the Raffles City shopping centre and make their way to the place where the IOC convention is taking place [pink panther tune will be playing in the background]. They will clear all the security checks and hang around in the waiting area. Once all the delegates are seated and just the ‘Singapore showcase’ video begins, they will drop their pants, bend over and FART!! And while all the VIPs cover their nostrils from the unbearable stench, all the assailants make their way out to Chijmes and have a beer…:p

The attackers avoid being overwhelmed from the stink coz they are used to it. In fact, they have been practicing the art for many years now. In NS camps, there are competitions held as to who can release the most noxious gas from their behind. In HDB and office lifts, they release gas and then go, “eeewww…so smelly wan, sum people gaw no manners”. The biggest playground for these hoodlums is the MRT and buses. They are usually the first ones to cover their noses and give disapproving glances at people around them for unleashing toxic vapor into the atmosphere.

My advice for the security personnel – one of the many layers of security checks at the convention should be to carry out a safety inspection of everyone’s butts. After each delegate or visitor drop their bottoms, their bums will need to be examined for any suspicious odor. If necessary, deodorant will need to be sprayed on their behinds before allowing them to enter the main meeting arena. In order to entice the security chaps to take up this very important task, they can hold a small contest - anyone who can correctly guess what the delegates had for their last meal from their butt odor will be given a prize.

This is Singapore mah….must make sure all holes are probed angles are covered wat….;-)

P.S: I think the prize for the contest should be spa vacation but a more pragmatic choice would be a bucket to puke into...:p

P.P.S: Another suggestion for the authorities – while you’re at this, pls ensure that the potato stock at the supermarkets is back at the earliest….:p

Friday, July 01, 2005

Fishing for Compliments

So it’s official. After weeks of annoyingly repeating how our foreign badminton import, Ronald Susilo beat World No.1 Lin Dan of China at the last Olympic Games, our local media have finally woken up to the reality that there is a reason why Lin is World No.1 while Susilo is no. 34. At the Singapore Aviva Open, Lin beat thrashed Susilo 15-6, 15-7. But in our gahmen’s desperate attempt to prove the “foreign-talent scheme” right, they have made Susilo into a demigod. Even when reporting on how Lin beat pounded Susilo in two straight games, the papers never fail to highlight that the Olympic loss for Lin was a “harrowing memory that has remained with him to this day”.

Lin Dan seems to have realized the ‘status’ of Susilo in Singapore. Lin’s reply to the press began....

“It was very important to beat Ronald as I had to show I’m better than him”

This of course, Lin Dan did extremely well. And then the masterstroke followed….

“Although I proved I was better than Ronald, he played at a very high level. Even if I’d lost today, it wouldn’t have mattered as I would have lost to a worthy opponent”

You have just whipped the ass of your opponent and at the end you say that he played at a very high level, what does it show? It just proves that you are really good coz you just beat trounced your challenger. Well, Lin is almost boasting that he won not because Susilo played badly, but because he played a lot lot better - the scoreline speaks for itself! Our local media, who are forever fishing for compliments about their idol, construed this comment as an accolade for Susilo! They preceded Lin’s latter comment with this….

“Using disguised drop shots, cross-court pushes and smashes, Susilo earned the respect of the world’s top-ranked player”

Incidentally, disguised drop shots, cross-court pushes and smashes happen in every other top-level game. And of course, the media also HAD to mention that there were two ministers in the audience, who surprisingly did not shed tears (unlike the semifinal loss of our yet another foreign import table-tennis player at the Olympics)…I wonder why ah…:)