t Double Yellow's Musings: August 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.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Yet Another Toilet Innovation

I had suggested previously that Singapore is planning on becoming a Waste Hub. Now it looks like we are on-track towards that goal. It has been revealed that some poly dudes have invented an automated toilet cleaning system. How come ah, they chose this topic out of everything else the world has to offer? Better still, according to the teacher,

The students came up with their own ideas and have been very motivated and engaged. The best part is, it's something practical and meaningful.

Practical I can understand. But meaningful? Is Singapore planning to write the Philosophy of Toilets or something? And seriously, are you really telling me these students were super motivated when it came to testing their toilet cleaning machine? The students elaborated even further,

In women's toilets, soiled sanitary pads can be seen lying around on the floor, while in men's toilets, some users are in such a hurry that, well, they don't aim properly.

Well, I can understand these guys could aim improperly but how exactly did they get soiled sanitary pads to test hor? And in the first place, how they know? They go into ladies toilet and check izzit? :)

Also hor, this kind of project puts the cleaning aunty out of a job. Then you will be the cause for the aunty kenna retrenched. Den how? Can you live wif the guilt?

Aiyah, all you brilliant people go and invent something useful lah. Like a machine that slaps people who enter the MRT without letting all the passengers alight first or something that sends an electric shock to the driver of a car who cuts lane.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Not Top University and Upper Echelons

I have re-trained myself today by learning two new ‘facts’.

First, NTU stands for Not Top University. I think its foray into the social sciences and design may not really be worth the $$. Hence, according to the PM, there is a need to re-examine its strategy. The best way to get your strategy evaluated is to supposedly get international experts. Why ah? The other allegedly top-20-in-the-world university that we have cannot do the review issit? Cheaper to travel from Kent Ridge to Boon Lay than from USA to Changi to Four Seasons to Boon Lay. Koray or not? Anyways, I think that the first thing that upper echelons of NTU did after listening to the PM’s speech was to call their travel agent and book tickets to Harvard, MIT, Caltech, Imperial, Cambridge and Stanford. Must get first-hand information mah...

Talking about upper echelons, the second ‘fact’ I learnt today is that one of them from a telecom company is going to head one of our media companies. Bidding farewell to the previous guy, the chairman said that in the then-newly liberalized media market, “survival was [the] main issue”. And the out-going head did an excellent job. I also say.... the best strategy to survive in a liberalized market is to de-liberalize it. Bravo! According to the new upper echelon who has taken over, the growth strategy for the future is to look to overseas markets. Hmm.... go into other country’s liberalized media market and show them why we de-liberalized ours is it? :)

Update: When I was doing my weekly wet-marketing the other day (no lah, not the one where I emerge from the swimming pool and sell some product with a powderful presentation!), I saw the long 4D queue at Singapore Pools. Since our PM said that NTU had to choose between MIT and Harvard of the East (as usual we copy the angmoh again), I think that Singapore Pools should have a betting game as to which one NTU will choose - Harvard or MIT? Its a good way to get the public primed for the future casinos :)

Monday, August 29, 2005

Singapore – A Country with a Toilet Fetish

First it was New Water – the process of transforming your waste into pure drinking water. Since water is a precious resource in Singapore, we found a way to convert what you excrete into water suitable for consumption. Heck, we even managed to make it into a tourist attraction and earn $$ from people who have a fetish for drinking their own refuse.

Then it was the revolutionary new pee-powered battery – the process of making your urine into electricity. After intensive research, Singapore researchers developed a battery that runs on urine. I am sure there are plans in the pipeline to export such technology to India and China to make sure they can meet their surging energy demands. Who knows, one day we may even have a price war among Pee-pumps :)

And now, we have built a whole island of trash. No lah, I am not talking about the Singapore mainland. Introducing .... [drumroll] .... Semakau island. It is the world’s first island that is built entirely on garbage. Not one, not two….more than 2000 tonnes of waste goes to this island everyday!! And in a uniquely Singaporean way, our gahmen has made even this place into a tourist attraction.

Tourism Brochure:
Take the Weekend Off - Visit Semakau Island

There is a lot of marine life and coral reefs on this island. We dunno how it got there, but its there lah. Feel free to swim in your shit and explore all this colorful stuff. The water may be yellow in some places but that should not stop you from feeling right in your toilet home.

Everything on the island will be brown in color, so that it can seamlessly blend with the background. The island has also been opened for recreational activities. In order to save money, there will be no toilets on the island. Visit many up-market restaurants on the island – their specialties are sausage with lime juice.

And in order to ensure that tourists get high standards of service at such islands, Singapore is going to be home for the world’s first Toilet College set up by the World Toilet Organization. There is supposedly hands-on training at this college and I will leave it to your good imagination to ponder over the details. Needless to say, the graduates of this college will power our economy into the next orbit.

I’m not very sure yet but I suspect that our gahmen has a long-term strategy of remaking Singapore into a Waste Hub. Guess who launched the website of the World Toilet Organization - our PM !!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Womad Singapore 2005

I was at Womad Singapore 2005 on Saturday and although not my first time to Womad, it was an amazing experience! Worth every cent or to put in a uniquely Singaporean way, valew for maaney :)

When we reached there around seven, there was long snaking queue outside the entrance – one to buy tickets and another just to get in. Donch know whether VIP got another entrance, small fry like me use the normal one....

The show by Bill Cobham, the master drummer, had oredi started by the time we entered. Sorry, couldn’t get a better shot of the guy. But this dude was fantastic! The music by his dexterous fingers was awesome! Managed to also catch a puppeteer show from Sri Lanka during the break.

Next up was this terrific Algerian guy, Akim El Sikameya. His songs were filled with percussion beats. He also has a unique way of playing the violin (the head was resting on his thigh !!). The main performance was Apache Indian. They were ok – they did the usual promo of their new album and the typical stunt of coming back for one last song after saying goodnight.

But by far the best performance of the night was by this Sri Lankan group, Ravibhandu Vidyapathy and Ensemble. Using some really unique musical instruments, these guys stole the show with some astonishing percussion numbers. Nearly an hour of marvelous music.

All the performers left their mark on the thousands who turned up but the spectators also ensured that everyone knew that they were at Womad – despite bins everywhere, there was tons of litter.

Anyways, it’s a three day festival and I just managed to go there on just one day (no $$ lah). The festival closes today (Sun), so if you want to catch some good world music, this is your last chance. My full flickr set is here

P.S: Oh and there is a lot of scenery around too, if you get what I mean :)

Saturday, August 27, 2005

If you are Gay, are you an AIDS threat?

Yesterday, the gays in Singapore were back into the spotlight, for the usual reasons that they are brought into focus in Singapore – the scientifically unexplainable but allegedly very true link between homosexuality and AIDS. The headlines screamed – “Why gay factor can't be ignored” and this time they supposedly had some statistics to back them up. They said that a whopping

“93 per cent of the record 311 HIV cases diagnosed last year came from just two groups — the gay community and lower-educated single men who have casual sex with sex workers abroad”

For people like me who are mathematically challenged, the calculator tells me that we’re talking about 290 people. I was left wondering if this was the statistics for last year, why bring it up at the end of August of the NEXT year? Anyways, the gahmen changed tack today by focusing on the link between AIDS and SARS instead. The end result - big one page article on the lessons we can take back from combating SARS.

I was about to turn the page, when I noticed a small box that said “Correction”. I could not find the online version of the small box but this is what it says....

"Of the 311 HIV cases last year, 93 percent were men. The gay community and the lower educated single men were significant groups, as were other groups of individuals who indulged in casual sex. "

Bloody hell.... they used WRONG statistics to write a piece on why the gay community was a problem and then take it back with a teeny small correction box? Not the media’s practice to admit their mistakes on the front page is it? Even better, all we now know is that a SIGNIFICANT number belongs to their community – pray tell us, MOH, what is this elusive significant number? Another SIGNIFICANT number was lower-educated single men – again, dear MOH, what is this mysterious number? And what exactly is lower-educated? And how come there are no numbers on the number of AIDS cases due to blood transfusion? Say lah.... are all ears :)

Congratulations, TODAY, give yourself a pat on the back. You have again managed to confuse your readers but just vomiting whatever you were given to eat.

P.S: I am willing to bet that after this goof-up, the ministry will be giving the media the transcript of every speech. But who knows, our competent media may find a creative way to screw it up yet again.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Glamorous Media and the Powderful Gahmen Connection

It’s a funny connection between the glamorous media and powderful gahmen of many countries.

Sometimes, people from the media industry make it big in the political sphere. Ronald Reagan, the late Under.Skirt.Adventure President, was an actor before he assumed political office. The Indians swear that good Bollywood actors can make great politicians. This deep theory seems to be prevalent in California and the Philippines also.

Other times, people oredi in the gahmen like to be close ‘friends’ wif with media personalities. Look at Taiwan, Korea and even our close northern neighbor. TV3 girls are now planning to become powderful tai-tais by getting married to powderful people in the Malaysian gahmen. One is even getting married to the Sultan of Brunei liao. Even in far flung Latin America, political figures like to be associated and possibly get hitched with leggy models.

In straight-laced Singapore, none of this interesting stuff happens. This is despite the fact that both the gahmen and the media are in the same business of entertaining the people :) The glamour element has yet to seep into our political arena. Our local TV 'stars' have acquired regional popularity more for getting involved in molestation cases and drug busts than for their acting capability.

The ‘promotion’ of a local TV show (of course copy from angmoh one lah) host to NMP status is probably the first time where the media has made some inroads. But none of the people in our gahmen have expressed interest in any of our media stars. But have to give the gahmen some credit here mah – other than the fact that they are usually married by the time they make it to the top, many of our so-called media stars are in fact slimming-ad specialists.

P.S: The fact that the American people voted for Bush not once but twice, is probably an indication that both brain and brawn does not really matter in politics.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Bodoh West

It’s amazing to see how the ang mohs are getting all scared of Islam ever since the September 11 terrorist attacks. Somehow those bodoh’s cannot seem to understand that Islam has very little to do with terrorism.

The thinking in the West that jihad (and by an extension Islam) being the primary cause of terrorism is pathetic. Just because a terrorist says he is fighting in the name of jihad, does NOT make jihad THE problem. Jihad is something that is historically used in Muslim societies to weed out what they consider evil. Hence for many Muslims, jihad is a tool for doing greater good or at least what they percieve as the greater good. It may just be a motivating factor, something that you cannot ask Muslims to give up – its part and parcel of their religion.

Similarly, the notion of Shariah strikes fear into the hearts of ang mohs. Somehow, the notion of Shariah is now linked to 'radical' Islam. Wah lau, where got this kind of thing one? The Australian Treasurer, Peter Costello, instead of worrying about the AU$ exchange rate, told Muslims in the country to leave if they wanted to live under Islamic Shariah law. For some reason, there is a perception that Shariah law is NOT compatible with democracy. What the bodoh’s don’t get is that Shariah law is man-made.... get it Peter? Man-made!!! Just because Iran has got Shariah law does not mean all its tenets are applicable in Australia. Congratulations Peter, you have just managed alienate a big bunch of Australian Muslims.

It is precisely because of such myopic views that the terrorists are winning the war!!

I must admit that Singapore is one of the few countries that has understood that Islam has very little to do with terrorism and is one of the few countries that is taking a more holistic approach is combating the problem. That is why I hope when our good minister says that the security meetings between Singapore and Australia is a “meeting of the minds”, its more rhetoric than substance.

Monday, August 22, 2005

One Singapore Minute

I have never taken part in a meme before (actually, I did not know what a meme was until recently). Anyways, mrbrown issued a meme decree for National Day – to take pictures of Singapore all within one minute.

I was going through the pics and most of them highlighted various places and people doing an assortment of things in Singapore. I decided to take a few snaps of a façade of Singapore rarely seen in the brochures.

My onesingaporeminute contribution includes pictures taken in Serangoon Road, Little India where locals, tourists and foreign workers all mingle at the same time. In particular, I want to highlight the latter group, the foreign workers, whose contribution to Singapore society we so easily forget.

My onesingaporeminute set is here. The full collection of photos to the meme is here.

Technorati tag: onesingaporeminute

PM’s National Day Rally Speech – Impressive

Unlike the speech given by the PM on the eve of National Day, the National Day Rally speech yesterday had a lot more substance. While there were no out-of-the-blue goodies like 5-day working week, his address covered a whole host of issues.

The focus on R&D to drive the economy is a good step forward and instead of saying that the gahmen knows best, he admitted that the venture into R&D was a risk; but that it was worth-taking. Healthcare again came into the limelight and there was also help for the lower income families to buy flats. While these may be election goodies, I think the emphasis placed on education is remarkable. The push for everyone to get post-secondary education is notable. The gahmen is also advancing the employability of older workers in a big way and I hope the public education drive will bear fruit. And a big thank you to the gahmen for bringing up the issue of service culture. Given the sad state of service here, I think it is an opportune moment to raise service standards as a national initiative. Although I hope there is more than just a another campaign.

Another notable point in his speech was the acknowledgement of the issue of drugs as well as the rate of divorces in the Malay community. While I am not sure if the best way to manage this problem is along racial lines, the disclosure of this issue is a necessary first step in tackling it. For the Chinese community, the PM called them more self-confident – a point that may be true. No special mention about the Indian community but I think they can take back quite a bit from the speech in general.

The speech of course, did not cover every section of society and one can probably sieve out who are going to be part of the so-called “inclusive” society and who are not.

But overall, an impressive speech delivered in the usual eloquent manner.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The 8 Types of Official Replies to Forum Letters

All official replies (both gahmen and others) to letters in the forum pages of our print media start off with.... I refer to Ya Da Blah’s letter about “Ya Da Blah”. But after that there is a variety of different kinds of replies. Here is a sample....

Type 1: Hush-Hush

We have contacted Ya Da Blah and resolved the matter. Now I will not give you any details of what transpired. We will not let you read all the vulgarities that we had to hear from Ya Da Blah for the screw up. Please accept our apologies for the same. We will also not let you know about the free gift that we had to give Ya Da Blah in order to resolve this matter.

We wish to inform all readers that they can call us on 1800-W.H.A.T.E.V.E.R hotline for further feedback.

Type 2: All Hail Me

We provide world-class service. Out systems are super secure and extremely robust. We carry out constant checks and we meet the highest international standards set. We do performance testing like no other. So far, we have found no evidence of anything going wrong.

So the glitch that you have pointed out is a delusion. If there is anything wrong, it has to be your side. So dun waste my time and write to the newspaper ok. Better pay up your outstanding bill before I kenna sue.

We would like assure all readers that we are committed to the affordable world-class service that we provide anyway.

Type 3: Bags full of Empathy

We empathize with his situation. But sorry hor, you see this fund is meant specifically for dis purpose. I know, it’s your money that I am not giving you but too bad, we cannot make exception for you. If I give you, den I have to give everybody else, then what about me?

We will continue to monitor the number of people complaining like you and if it becomes unbearable, den we will change the law. Meanwhile, you can take all the empathy that I have.

Type 4: Mystifying Statistics

You take this number. Then you multiply it by the GDP of Singapore. Then add the ERP on the CTE. We now had a choice of either to add the reserves of the NKF or the number of fare stages between two interchanges. After some deep regression analysis which you won’t understand anyway, we instead chose the number of babies born in the first half of this year. Hence you can see from these complicated calculations that your suggestion is flawed and will not work in the next hundred years.

If you really want to understand all the numbers, call us on 1800-W.H.A.T.E.V.E.R hotline so that we can refer you to the Institute of Mental Health.

Type 5: Me and Wrong?

Ya Da Blah applied for dis on dis date. Then on dat date, we processed dat and got back to him promptly. We did not do anything wrong. All the people who work for us are super-polite. Then when Ya Da Blah called us the other day, the person who was working on his case was on leave. So that’s why none of this is a mistake on our part. Everything is a big misunderstanding. We have called Ya Da Blah and resolved the matter with him and he is satisfied with our explanation.

We will ensure we optimize resources so that we make a profit. Our customers are very important to us. Please call our 1800-W.H.A.T.E.V.E.R hotline for further feedback. Please do not write to the newspaper and kill my rice bowl.

Type 6: Love the Law

Look here, this is the law. We take all violations of this law seriously. Anyone found in offence will be prosecuted severely. The maximum punishments include jail, fine, cane and if necessary, we will even send IRAS and CAD behind them. But you see hor, we cannot be everywhere at the same time. We only make the law; you Singaporeans are supposed to be deterred and not break the law.

If the public see anyone breaking this law, please call us at 1800-W.H.A.T.E.V.E.R hotline

Type 7: Market Friendly

I understand your problem. But you see hor, there is nothing that I can do. Blame it on this thing call the market. It works on this notion of supply and demand. If there is no demand, then there is no supply. It’s not my fault. Too bad you are a minority. Get more people to buy our services and obviously because of the demand (and the profit), we might just decide to consider your suggestion.

If you really have nothing better to do and really wish to talk to us, call us on 1800-W.H.A.T.E.V.E.R hotline.

Type 8: Busy Bee

Listen, I am really busy ok. I have to juggle family and career life. You think I so free ah? We conduct a review every so many months and we will take into consideration you suggestion then. If I implement your suggestion now, I will have no life you know.

So until the review is over (by which time I would have quit), don’t write to the newspaper and give me more work.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Lets Talk about Countries Worse off than Us

In a previous post, I wrote about how our balanced media had a propensity to report good news about Singapore and bad news when it came to other countries. Our darling media has done it yet again, although is slightly different manner....

The title screamed that “Immigration laws [in Singapore] are among the world’s friendliest”. Well, I have to admit that this is true. No doubt that Singapore has a welcoming (but am not sure how transparent) immigration policy that benefits it in many ways. But our beloved media have a rather distinctive way of portraying it....

The article talks at length about how U.S., China and France are among the worst in the rankings. It highlights that China and India have the most awful immigration policies among Asian countries. And of course only a measly three percent of companies found Singapore’s immigration law not so friendly. It be backed up with a quote from some dude who will say that Singapore is the “regional headquarter hub”.

Look more closely and you will see that among the countries that beat Singapore were South Korea, Hong Kong, Canada and Taiwan. We were trounced by three Asian countries. Even better.... a country which achieved the same rating as Singapore was Thailand, which the last time I checked, lies in Southeast Asia.

But no, these countries are not worth discussing. There is no point in us discussing why these countries fared better. We only want to compare with countries that we oredi know are worse than us and think of ourselves as being the first and best in everything we do.

Sigh, when will our media ever grow up?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Great Singapore Sex Show Exhibition

It looks we are poised for a ‘big’ leap in the giant project of opening up Singapore. We are going to have a uniquely Singapore sex show exhibition. According to one of the organizers

“we got the idea from the sex exhibitions in Australia....”

Aah, so that is what being uniquely Singaporean means :) Do any of you remember the time when you felt squeamish about discussing “computer” and “furniture” stuff with your chewren? Maybe it was before my time but according to the organizer of the sex show exhibition,

“Just like how we have computer and furniture shows every year, a sex exhibition can be held to de-stigmatise sex.”

So I guess there was a time when you felt prudish when your chewren went…

“Dad, how do I cup the mouse?”
“Mom, why does the monitor need to have a protector every time we use it?”
“Dad, can I insert the USB stick into the socket now?”
“Mom, I promise not to spill anything on the sofa. Can we do away with the protector?”
“Dad, I’m bored with the current position of the tables and chairs. Can we rearrange them so that they fit the contours of the room better?"

Apparently, it was because of all those computer and furniture shows, you are today able to talk freely to your chewren about monitors, keyboards, sofas and tables. It’s because of such de-stigmatizing shows that today Sim Lim Square is the hub all of all computer activity in Singapore. I wonder where we will locate the hub of all sex activity in Singapore. Sorry hor, as much as would like it, cannot be your house :)

And since this sex show exhibition is being held in the Singapore Expo, the creative juices flowed and the name of the event is now....[drumroll]....Sexpo. It is supposed to be pronounced like the MRT announcement....Sex....[pause]....Po. I want to volunteer with the organization of this sex show exhibition leh. So if someone asks me where I work, I can say, “I work for sex.... [pause] ....po” :)

After intense deliberation and surprisingly no SMS vote from the public, the organizers have decided to include youth as part of the sex show exhibition. But they will promote abstinence.

Instructor: “You see dis…..dis the male sex organ. You take dis and insert it into the female sex organ. Ok? Very important to remember hor, cannot insert into male sex organ ok. If you do, you will ostracized by Singapore society, you cannot party, you might get AIDS and most importantly, give the impression that our gahmen is not doing its job in managing the AIDS problem. Everyone understand? Ok good. But dun try this wif your girlfriend ah. Must wait till you get married ok?"

Youth: But until den how?....sometimes cannot tahan you know....

Instructor: No probrem. You see dis…. dis is a blow up toy. Now you take dat and insert it into dis. Easy right? Better dan the lotion you use today right. $100 only…

Youth: But about us girls?

Instructor: No probrem. You see dis….dis is the dildo. You take dis and insert it into dat. Until you married, you can use dis. Who knows, after you married you may also need. Heheh, Only $75....

Looks like there is $$ to be made in promoting abstinence :)

A ‘Normal’ Singaporean

Yesterday Andrew Kuan, the disqualified Presidential candidate, made a statement that I think meets the strict criteria set by me to be the quote of the week.

“I think it's good for me to leave the PAP and be a normal Singaporean again”

For an instant, I thought he was suggesting that PAP members are errr…abnormal. Ok lah, to give the dude some leeway, mebbe he meant that PAP members are elite. Hang on, that word is taboo also. Oh, mebbe he meant that PAP members were special. Aaah, that must be it…..so the next time you are feeling down and you want to feel special, you know what to do… :)

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Serving You wif Pride

Welkum Sir, please come in. How may I helpch you?
Good evening Ma’am, we gaw a new collection of shoes. Would you like to see them?

The articulation aside, such statements from retail sales staff are rare in Singapore. The gahmen and the big shopping malls in Singapore realize this shortcoming and seem to have put in place an extensive training program for their sales assistants. But in our drive to be super-duper efficient and to quickly reap the benefits (read $$) of the extra effort, we may have created a ‘plastic’ culture among the service personnel.

In true National Education style, businesses which provide public services have tried drum the notion of customer service in their shops. How? By blatantly telling the customer that their customer service assistants are doing their job with delight. I found this sign on a public bus....

.... the driver is supposedly serving me with PRIDE. But to put a plastic sign like that smacks of arrogance. If there is any kind of pride in the customer service staff, it is for me, the customer, to determine that and if necessary make it known. You don’t become a world-class service company by putting up a sign like that when the actual service leaves much to be desired.

I’m still scratching my head as to how we can call our services world class when we still have stuff like this around….

Saturday, August 13, 2005

How to get a Personality Test done in Singapore

Nowadays, there are so many types of personality tests that one can take online. One that is circulating recently in chain mails is the Face Analyzer. By submitting a photograph of yourself, the program can tell you about your honour, income, ambition, promiscuity and even gay factor. Not bad huh? Sadly, these tests do not give you detailed explanations on how they arrived at the answers. This especially happens when they tell you that your promiscuity is ‘high’ but you never seem to get laid no matter how hard you try :)

In Singapore, we have devised a rather unique way to find out about your personality – all you have to do is to run for political office. Once you announce your intention, its almost as if you have clicked the “Submit” button. The machinery is set in motion and immediately, you will begin to see and hear things about yourself that you have forgotten or sometimes never known before.

If you want to hear good things about your personality, run as a mainstream candidate and overnight you will see what a good person you are at heart, how you helped the poor by raising more than five peanuts, how you keep fit by jogging, how you can make friends with ease and how you live a frugal life.... all this stuff is especially good when you want to write memoirs about yourself and make some more $ before you pop :)

If you want to hear not-do-good things about your personality, run as a non-mainstream candidate and without delay you will see all your deepest and darkest secrets out in the open. You may hear about

- how you dumped your first girlfriend
- how you left your coffee cup unwashed in the office pantry
- why your boss in your first job didn’t like you that much
- about your first visit to a strip club overseas.

All this will be revealed by

- your first girlfriend
- your office cleaning aunty to whom you forgot to give red packet during CNY
- your ex-boss whose feet you refused to lick
- the stripper whom you did not tip when she gave you a lap dance

In short, you will get a very clear picture of how you pretty much screwed up everything you did in your life.

Really, its that simple and fool-proof. I think our gahmen needs to patent this kind of stuff and work towards converting Singapore into a “personality test” hub before other countries think of this idea.

[Scene change - Singaporean in prayer]
God, I have only one request this week. Please make my boss run in the next GE as an opposition candidate. No wait, my mother-in-law too. Hang on, even my neighbour. I have so many things to say about them; things that I will never have chance to say otherwise. You can bring down the COE and petrol prices down next week.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Introducing Singapore’s “Public Nuisance” Police

[phone rings]
Me: wei?
Kaaki: there are a few ppl protesting outside the CPF building.
Me: really ah? Got this kind of thing here meh? How many?
Kaaki: four
Me: how many? Four hundred?
Kaaki: no lah, four!
Me: you mean forty?
Kaaki: bodoh, its FOUR!!
Me: what? four people where got protest? they prob lunch time crowd who want to wish the CPF head a personal “happy national day”
Kaaki: no, they are holding up placards with the words “transparency” and “CPF” and “HDB”.
Me: oh, they want to say that the CPF and HDB are all very transparent issit? Not like NKF right?
Kaaki: errr…. They are saying just the opposite. They want the CPF and HDB to be more transparent. They believe that we may have another NKF on our hands.
Me: aiyah… ask them to join the “Speak Good Engrrish” campaign lah. How am I supposed to make out all this from a few words?
Kaaki: the riot police asked them to disperse.
Me: riot police? How many?
Kaaki: Dozen
Me: four?
Kaaki: Bodoh, twelve lah…
Me: really ah? Cool ! Did they have masks? leather gear? stun gun?
Kaaki: errr…
Me: What about snipers? tanks? commandos?
Kaaki: errr…
Me: Bodoh lah you… you never pay attention to all this meh? Anyways, thanks for the heads up. I watch tonight’s news for more info…

I spent my whole evening rummaging through our open, transparent, objective and balanced local media for the news report but nothing… not one word… zilch… zero. Meanwhile, I was totally bewildered that we needed twelve armed-to-the-teeth riot police personnel to disperse four people holding posters :) I finally had to rely on Yahoo to get some local news.

Then finally I saw the article this morning in Today. But wait a sec, where was the riot? That’s right, the Today article does NOT make even ONE mention of the word ‘riot’!!!! Clever ah…:) So the police who arrived with shields and batons were not riot police meh? Then who were they? Robocop? Steven Seagal?

Introducing….[drumroll]….our new “Public Nuisance Police”. No, the name does not imply that the police are causing public nuisance. It signifies a group of highly trained personnel that asks people to disband when they think that these people are a pain-in-the-ass. They said that they got a call for a “member of the public” informing them of the protest at the CPF building. I also want to call leh.... tell them about the group of motorcyclists who cut into my lane, the people who always read newspaper in front of my face in the MRT, like people who never move to the back of the bus, like people who chop seats at hawker centres. Seriously, all these people are public nuisance what....

By the way, I just learnt that the law supposedly says that any gathering of 5 ppl or more requires a permit and so the protestors have carefully chosen 4 ppl for the protest outside the CPF building. No wonder they didn't publicize this 'historic' event. Coz if they did and more ppl turn up, then kenna everyone in Queenstown Remand :) One of them is supposedly an opposition politician’s sista… waah, I dunno whether this kind of thing can be called nepotism or not? Heheh. I am not sure how effective these protests are – they dunno 4 is an unlucky number meh? :)

P.S: I still haven’t found a photo of the riot "public nuisance" police :(

Thursday, August 11, 2005

TT Durai for President - Top Ten Reasons

Someone emailed this to me.... the top ten reasons why TT Durai should be President :)

10. Unlike Nathan, he doesn't have diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidaemia, and ischaemic heart disease

9. Unlike Nair, he doesn't have a known drinking problem.

8. He already knows the judges and ministers.

7. He is familiar with handling millions of dollars that do not belong to him.

6. He is used to being chauffeured around and flying first class.

5. A gold-plated tap won't look out of place in the Istana bathroom.

4. At least when you give to the President's Star Charity, you know it will go to the president.

3. He may be able to make the National Day Parade a profit-generating event.

2. There are guards outside the Istana to stop the walls from being vandalised.

and the number 1 reason why TT Durai should be President is......

1. He needs a job.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Dissecting the PM’s National Day Message

On 8 Aug 2005, our PM gave his National Day Message. In true political style, the speech was filled with a lot of “we” and very less of “I”. Where “I” was used, it was in the phrases… “I know…”, “I believe…” and “I am confident….” There was obviously emphasis on the economy and allegedly some nice numbers about the GDP and jobs were mentioned. These numbers are very important you know….4D sure strike wan… :)

Needless to say, old buzzwords like “hub” were present and there seems to be a new gahmen catchphrase – X-factor. London, Paris, New York and Shanghai all seem to have some sort of X-factor without they knowing about it. Only our gahmen can see it and somehow this mysterious X-factor eludes us. I think X-factor is one of those powderful things that means er… nothing. It’s because of X-factor that the gahmen is allowing bar top dancing, building casinos, rebranding Marina Bay as Marina Bay, introducing evening ERP on CTE and maybe also redrawing electoral boundaries shortly :)

Anyways, back to the National Day message. It seems like a lot is expected from Singaporeans in the coming years. I counted a whopping 12 uses of the word “MUST”….

we MUST remain vigilant
we MUST be psychologically prepared
we MUST continue to reinvent ourselves
we MUST also continue growing our external wing
we MUST equip ourselves
we MUST receive the best education
we MUST remake ourselves
we MUST do even better on future occasions
we MUST keep active
we MUST tap [the elder generations’] collective experience
we MUST continue to look after the health
we MUST do our part

I am glad to announce that Singaporeans have risen to the challenge. They were vigilant, psychologically prepared, they kept active and finally did their part for their country when the SMS came that all petrol stations will be offering a 40 percent discount on National Day. They decided to sacrifice watching the fireworks and head for the petrol kiosks. They grew their external wing by spreading the SMS to all their contacts. They equipped themselves with queue-cutting driving skills and even tapped their ah kong’s experience on how to get to the petrol station faster than others. Sadly, the SMS was a hoax but Singaporeans have not given up hope. They will do even better on future occasions and set up a commitee to make sure that the next such incident does not clash with the National Day fireworks.

P.S: Before you walk on the streets of New York and ask someone, “yo brudder…do you think your city has X-factor?”, just make sure you practice your kungfu moves :)

Update 1: Looks like some ppl are taking my comments on the use of "we" instead of "I" as criticism of the gahmen. Aiyoh... its NOT lah, just an observation. Relak....

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Birthday Wishes for from Singapore

These are not birthday wishes for Singapore but a sample of wishes from Singapore.

I would like to thank all of you for coming together today to celebrate my birthday. Some of you may be here for the fireworks, others for the parade and several others for the goodie bags. Some of you may not have been able to make it – you are probably enjoying your public holiday or holidaying on a beach. Whichever way you chose to remember and commemorate my birthday, I thank you....

.... for what matters to me most is the pride that you feel when you call yourself Singaporean. This pride is NOT about the economic success that you have had. It’s NOT about the skyscrapers, cars or landed properties. And neither is it about the Singapore passport. It is about the intangibles – the smells, tastes and the bonds. It is about the feeling in your heart when you say you are Singaporean.

I know some of you may choose to move to my siblings’ abode like Australia, United States or Canada. I hope you did not leave because you did not like my home. If you did, I would rather that you come back and help me fix up my place for you. If you left for other reasons, I just hope that you found the time that you spent here a good one. Oh yes, do say hi to my siblings as I don’t exactly get a chance to meet them.

I turn forty today and when all of you think back on the history of my life, I hope you will see beyond the economic growth, beyond the GDP, beyond the jobs and beyond the cash, car, condos, credit cards and country club membership. I hope you will look back on the community that you created in my house and value your social achievements as much as your economic successes.

Looking forward, I hope that all of you will break free from the bane of ‘racial harmony’. Don’t get me wrong… I hope that you will strive towards a day when terms like ‘racial harmony’ need not even be used because all of you will consider each other birds of a same feather – Singaporeans.

Lastly, I hope all your dreams come true for it is in your happiness, lies mine.

9 Aug 2005

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Save $$ the Uniquely Singaporean Way

The per capita income of Singaporeans is super-duper high- I dunno the exact number lah. Trust me, most Singaporeans dunno. Then how I know its so high? Because the gahmen tells us so :) Anyways, its enuf for most of us to have a roof over our heads. Most people stay in HDB’s and a small fraction in landed property. But the people who stay in condos - they have facilities like pool lah, gym lah, tennis court lah.

The other day I was at my friend’s condo and we were by the pool. One mid 30’s chappy, (clad in shorts, T-shirt and had a towel thrown on his shoulder and was carrying a basket full of soap, shampoo, conditioner etc) walked past and decided to chat with an ah kong who was sitting a coupla places from us. Here is an excerpt of the loud conversation that transpired….

Ah Kong: Hello, how you doing?
Chappy: Ok uncle… vely busy
Ah Kong: But naw bad huh? You still gaw time to swim....
Chappy: Me swim? [laughs] Where gaw uncle? Where gaw time....?
Ah Kong: I see you carry that basket everyday and walk towards the shower, so I thought....you jog right? tennis?
Chappy: uncle, I come down here to shower only….
Ah Kong: For what? Your house cannot shower issit?
Chappy: Shower down here can save water what....

I almost choked on my drink when I head this....

Ah Kong: like dat can huh?
Chappy [sermon begins]: Uncle, we stay here wat. We must make use of the common facilities right? So I shower here lor… other ppl also do one what. I not the only one. You got go to the study room or not? So many chewren doing homework there. Because there gaw free aircon, can save on light some more. The TV room gaw free TV also.
Ah Kong: the condo management how?
Chappy: aiyah uncle, how they know? I do this from the time I moved here what…. they know also no problem wat?

My friend later commented that maintenance costs have been going up and now I can see why. Give the chappy a plug point and he might prob move his whole kitchen there. Introducing.......[drumroll]........ the uniquely Singaporean way of saving $$ ....... "How to Save on your PUB bill so that you can afford your next Slimming Session" or "How to Save on your PUB bill so that you can afford some extra 4D tickets"

Friday, August 05, 2005

(Re)making Singapore into an Elections Hub

Competition in Singapore is a funny thing hor. In the economic realm, Singapore is known to be one of the more open economies of the world. Yet in some sectors (which the gahmen determines as key), competition is....umm....limited. Whatever nature the competition takes, it will ensure Singapore remains a hub – from traditional Chinese medicine to bar-top dancing. I think hor, we should aim to achieve this ‘hub’ status in the political sphere too. No lah…not by having draconian laws like the media should give similar coverage to all political parties. Such ‘unhealthy’ competition will lead to your house breaking down, your CPF breaking down, your car breaking down, your family breaking down, communities breaking down, the whole society breaking down and eventually Singapore breaking down – similar to the communist domino effect :)

To turn Singapore into an elections hub, I think we need to leverage on the upcoming Presidential election. First, we need to set up a charity so that Singaporeans can donate towards setting up a company with a paid-up capital of over…say, $100 million. This is not as daunting as it seems… just get a big bag of kachang puteh from a mama shop and that should suffice. :) Then we need to choose a person who can head this company (no, not Phua Chu Kang!). Then get this dude to run for President.

Second, I think Singapore’s credibility and prestige as an Elections hub will be boosted if we can hold the General Elections on the same day as the Presidential election. Think about it… instead of having two public holidays (which would greatly reduce Singapore’s productivity, hence reduce efficiency, hence reduce GDP, hence reduce economy, hence leading to your house breaking down, your CPF breaking down, your car breaking down, your family breaking down etc etc), we should hold both elections on the same day. This will be a first for Singapore, first for the region, first for Asia…heck, even first for the world. And as you oredi know, Singapore likes firsts :)

In time to come, we could even hold elections of other countries in Singapore. Think about the increased number of air travelers coming to Singapore to vote for their leaders. Think about the hotel stays of these people. SIA flights will be fully booked. Hotel 81 will be packed. We could even give our expert political advice to these novice voters – for a fee, of course. Trust me, this hub strategy has the potential to put Singapore on the world electoral map.

P.S: Our beloved local media initially thought they had had a scoop by telling everyone that the fact that one good minister was retiring around this time, he would run for President. But the moment our existing President announced that he would run for another term, the good minister’s name was never brought up in the media again? Why har? :p

P.P.S: On a more serious note, I think our current President is a good man and hope that he will remain as President for the next term.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Why our Gahmen is like a Vending Machine – Top Ten Reasons

Our gahmen is a well-oiled, powderful and efficient machine. So much so that the gahmen repeatedly tells us that political stability is of paramount importance and if the existing political order is unsettled in any way, then it will mean the destruction of Singapore. I’m not saying all this is not true (it may very well be).

But when I found a sign on a vending machine that said “IT’s DANGEROUS to Rock or Tilt machine. Can fall over and cause injury or death”, I could not help but think of the similarities between our gahmen and a vending machine.

Here are the Top Ten Reasons....

10. The vending machine runs on power.

9. We have to pay the vending machine in order to get what we want.

8. The vending machine will accept only Singapore coins.

7. The choices available in the vending machine are varied so that every category of sweetmeats and drinks are well represented.

6. You can only select from the choices that the vending machine thinks is good for you.

5. Sometimes the vending machine may decide not to give you what you want even after you have paid for it.

4. If you abuse the vending machine, it will be like talking to a wall.

3. If you kick the vending machine when you don’t get what you want, it’s only your leg that will hurt.

2. Only someone who works for the vending machine can fix any problems with it.

And the Number 1 reason why our gahmen is like a vending machine is....

1. You have to bow before the vending machine everytime before you can take something that you have paid for!