t Double Yellow's Musings: October 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.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Triathlon Preparations – What Not to do

Triathlons are not my thing. If you have heard of anyone taking 10 hrs to climb Bukit Timah Hill (with a gazillion stops in between), chances are that I am the athlete in question. But some of my kaakis are avid triathlon participants and I have deep respect for them.

Recently, the case of a seasoned triathlon competitor drowning during the swimming leg has made the triathlon community buzzing with questions. Our local newspapers strive to keep abreast of happenings in our city and The Sunday Times splashed an ad on its front page today screaming “Endurance Races: What not to do”

And in true gahmen-style, went on to write an article on what to do :)

And the suggestions given....

Step 1: Get a thorough health check
Step 2: Train progressively
Step 3: Prepare a race plan
Step 4: Practise race transitions
Step 5: Check your equipment
Step 6: Rest for a few days
Step 7: D-day preparations

.... are hilarious!! Pls lah, any bird-brained triathlon athlete will surely know about these so-called steps. And it doesn’t answer the key question that prompted this article. The triathlon participant who died was a seasoned athlete. One can reasonably assume that he did all the above steps. It would be interesting to listen to what my triathlon kaakis would have to say about such an ‘informed’ article.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Removing Race from Racism

The third person has been charged for making racist comments on his blog. The accused, a 17-year old guy, put up a defence that it was the death of his baby brother was what caused his racist outbursts. I do not want to delve into whether the guy should have been charged or the details of the case. But what struck me the most from the newspaper article was this comment....

It was 1995 and Gan was seven years old. He was at home in Marsiling with his baby brother who started having breathing problems. Their panic-stricken mother Madam Koh Ah Luan decided to rush the child to the hospital and asked Gan to hail a taxi. They saw a Malay couple board a taxi nearby and though they pleaded to be allowed to take the taxi first, the couple ignored them. By the time they arrived at the hospital, the child was pronounced dead.

First, the accused may have generalized the incident that it was because of the Malay couple that his brother died. Even if he was angry at the people who did not give up the cab, to make callous comments against the race of those people is to put it simply, wrong. But the human mind always tends to oversimplify the situation. It tends to attribute human behavior to one main trait of the person in question.

This leads me to the second and more important point. Why is it that when the accused saw this couple not giving way to his mother, the first identity that he gave the couple was based on their race? He could have given the couple any other identity. For instance, if the couple were wearing a red shirt, then he could have directed his anger against all people who wear red shirts. But because of the way Singapore society is managed, the first identity we tend to give people is based on their race. Of course, identifying people by their race is not written in stone. Change that, and we could do away with a lot of people whom we call racists today.

Is this so hard to do? No! The next time you use race as an adjective, i.e. use terms like [insert race] man/woman, think twice about whether the substance of what you are trying to say has a causal link with race at all. So the next time a car cuts into your lane, think twice before blurting .... ‘bloody hell, that [insert race] driver never signal and cut into my lane’.

Removing race is a first step towards eradicating racism.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Global Voices Online

Thanks to Jose Manuel Tesoro, two of my posts are featured on Global Voices Online. The ones featured are the ones on 'press freedom index' and the 'compraining Singaporeans'. They can be found here and here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Favorite Pastime of Singaporeans – Compraining

The favorite pastime of Singaporeans used to be shopping. Not anymore. With the economy just picking up and jobs still hard to come by, Singaporeans have stayed away from shopping malls. In between all those retraining programs, they have decided to maximize their existing skills. Their current leisurely pursuit is commonly known as .... compraining!

Singaporeans comprain about everything. Right from accommodating physically challenged to dog poo in their HDB void deck. They comprain about teens who grope each other on public transport and when their kids get myopia.

But here is the best part – they expect the gahmen to do something about all this compraining. The general practice is to go to the nearest coffee shop and comprain to everyone within earshot. But since the internet revolution has caught on here, Singaporeans at best will email the forum page in the local newspaper and comprain about anything they see/hear/smell.

Just a few days ago, one dude wrote to the local paper compraining about allegedly ‘nasty messages’ that he saw some people wear on their T-shirts. One said, “I am surrounded by idiots” and the other displayed the classic “middle finger”. The letter writer took offence to such T-shirts and with a ‘Uniquely Singaporean’ display of civic responsibility decided to write to the newspaper and comprained.

His duty seems finished by just highlighting such an occurrence. Now it’s supposedly up to the gahmen to investigate the incident, run a check on the number of people wearing ‘offensive’ T-shirts, pass legislation and of course, enforce the rules. Singaporeans seriously think the gahmen has no other better work to do.

Rarely do Singaporeans decide to stand up and say,

Now that is something I don’t agree wif. Let me do something about it. Let me get together with other like-minded people and brainstorm on possible ways to resolve the issue (if it is a problem in the first place)”

The classic case of compraining has to do with littering. Whenever Singaporeans see a strewn piece of paper, they will comprain to the management, town council, office admin, whoever. The more clever ones will try to fill their quota by sending in a staff suggestion. But they will rarely pick up the piece of paper and put it in the bin. But Singaporeans of course hold the final trump card against the gahmen. They can just tell the gahmen,

Gahmen! yes you, gahmen! in primary school, you teach me engrrish, mathematis, physik, kemistree but you never teach me civic responsibility. How I supposed to know har? Gahmen, I prove to you that I very creative. I suggest to you hor, to put in place a program in civic responsibility’ for all Singaporeans. Must have certificate one. Enrolling into course must come wif travel and handphone discount vouchers Employers must give us increment after completing course.

Satisfied with their effort, Singaporeans will then go back and think creatively about what else to comprain about.

P.S: yeah, I know it’s ironical that I am compraining about comprainers. Anyone interested in joining my “Zap the Comprainers into Outer Space” society, please email me.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Press Freedom Index – Achieving the Impossible

From 147th to 140th! Yeah baby, we have achieved the near impossible. We managed to jump seven places in the press freedom index put out by Reporters Sans Frontieres. Well, the local media can now blow their trumpet because that they surpassed analysts’ expectations. Yeah, everyone thought that North Korea would surely get ahead of us :)

We should also be very proud that we are still probably the only first world country to rub shoulders with third world giants like China and show regional solidarity with Philippines, Vietnam and Myanmar. But for those of you who fear that we might be left behind, don’t you worry. Because hor, at this rate (7 places every year) we will be numero uno, number 1, pertama in .... [drumroll] .... 20 years time!!! Don’t be surprised if our gahmen initiates a Goal 2025 campaign so that everyone will forget Goal 2010 very soon :)

Our local media supposedly “have quite different style”. How like dat? Ask the media in North Korea and Myanmar, they also say they got different style one. Also, the newspaper report was probably a bit too quick to point out that the rankings “should in no way be taken as an indication of the quality of the press in the countries concerned”. Yeah, why should it? Just because North Korea and Myanmar are behind us in the rankings does not mean their press standards are worse than ours, koray or not? :)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Singaporean Lolitas – Only Parents to Blame?

Other than terrorism, aids, dengue, birdflu, tsunami, hurricane and racist bloggers, Singaporeans have something new to worry about. Introducing, Singapore’s Lolitas!! (The Sunday Times, 23 Oct 2005). According the ‘informed’ article, Singaporean schoolgirls (usually underage) are offering sex in return for money.

The consensus, according to the article, is that parents and consumerism are the main cause for underage lolitas in Singapore. Of course, our world-class super-duper highest ranking education system where these kids spent a lot of their time ‘learning’ has nothing to do with it. Our schools only equip our kids with skills to get them jobs. Sex education is the job of parents and parents alone.

Oh and the media is just an ‘objective’ reporter in all of this. Consumerism of course, is something built into capitalist society. So if our media shows skimpy models wearing next-to-nothing in the newspapers and on TV, they are just informing the public. When they run advertisements on slimming bust enhancement that go great lengths to commoditize women, they are just earning revenue. And if the media gets a flurry of letters to their forum page for the next week because of this article, it is just an unintended consequence.

Schoolgirls offering sex for money is a problem. But I’m not sure if one can just blame parents outright. I am not sure if this is just a case where parents concentrate a lot of their careers and ignore the activities of their kid. In fact, I will not be surprised if many of these girls are raised by single parents or come from broken homes. When parents are struggling to provide for two-square meals a day, the kid is then usually raised by society in general and the school in particular.

A more in-depth study is probably needed before a conclusive answer. To blame the parents up front is at best, simplistic.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Milestones in Singapore’s Quest to be the Region’s Sex Hub

You will not read this in our local newspapers because there has been to official press release on this subject. But Singapore is aiming to be the sex hub of the region. Significant milestones in its quest....

Aug 2003 – Ban on bar top dancing lifted
Sep 2004 – Ban on Cosmopolitan magazine lifted
May 2005 – Crazy Horse cabaret to be shown
Aug 2005 – The Great Singapore Sex Show Exhibition
Oct 2005 – Big Boyz Toyz Sex Show Exhibition

Just as Bangkok has opened a spanking new airport to compete with Changi, we are taking on Patpong head on. This strategy will draw tourists with loads of money here and put Singapore on the world sex map. If you though that we are copying Bangkok outright, you are very wrong. Remember hor, in Singapore we do everything the Uniquely Singaporean way. In Bangkok, all the sleaze takes place one floor above… in Singapore, we do it in the .... [drumroll] .... dungeon!

“.... the grapevine has it that bondage and sado-machochistic paraphernalia may well be on the menu in the dungeon

Oooh.... kinky! Maybe they can get ex-Changi Prison inmates to give some expertise on how to build the dungeon. I mean with the décor :)

Of course, locals will be shielded from all this sleaze in their own backyard. Not because the rear door is closed (well, it is if you have an alternative sexual lifestyle in Singapore), but because of a ‘hefty’ fee to enter the immoral world. I wont be surprised if Singaporeans sell their HDB flat to get a taste of gahmen-approved sin.

The authorities will be lurking outside these sleaze venues. Not only to catch the criminals but also people who begin humping the lamppost as soon as they exit the place. In Singapore as you know, such gyrations are reserved only for the bedroom, the washroom and in front of the computer screen :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

On Scripts and the new James Bond

Sometime last week....

Someone: Do you know how to write a script?
Me: Er, never written one in my life but I can try lor
Someone: This one very big project noe....
Me: Like the gahmen say, I am committed to retraining myself so as to keep myself employed
Someone: Whatever.... in what language can you write the script?
Me: Er, English I suppose. My French vocabulary is limited to "Voulez vous cousher avec moi? Ce soir!"
Someone: *incredulous look*
Me: What?
Someone: Er, I’m talking about writing a script in Java.
Me: Hey sure, I can go to Indonesia and write a script.
Someone: Ok, you are now officially certified to be a non-geek.
Me: Ah, didn’t realize I would give up my previous incarnation this soon.

Talking about scripts, the new James Bond has been announced. Some blue-eyed dork called Daniel Craig. Someone decided to ask Singapore media personalities on what they think about the new James Bond. Probably they could not get an interview with the new guy

Vernon A, true to his voice, is an ardent James Bond fan. But I like Royston Tan's take the best....

I have always hated the Bond movies. They are outdated, sexist films that try very, very hard. If I were to suggest an actor to play the new James Bond, I would nominate Stephen Chow. I think he would give a new twist to a very tired genre.

Stephen Chow noe. Dun pray pray ok....

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Demystifying the flawed PSLE Math Question

The super intelligent people who set the PSLE math exam paper messed up a question this year. The infamous problem was to find out the area of a small rectangle given the dimensions of two triangles and a bigger rectangle.

Simple enough you say? Well, it turns out the multiple choice question did list a ‘correct’ answer but the question was er, flawed. How so? At a glance, the problem is easily solvable. But when you try to actually try to construct a rectangle based on the dimensions given, cannot leh (see pitcher taken from The Straits Times)

But Singaporeans are not giving in so easily. They say, only chewren who got the ‘correct’ answer should be given marks for that question. Only these chewren should have a better chance of getting through a secondary school of their choice. If there was an apparent ‘correct’ answer, who gives a shit whether the rectangle can be constructed or not? Secondary school more important than drawing a rectangle, koray or not?

The people who set the exam paper use a very deep logic when setting the problems. I dreamt last night about how they went set this question....

Step 1: Draw the rectangle on a large piece of paper
Step 2: Throw darts and pick the areas to shade
Step 3: The winner gets to choose the ‘unknown’ area

Question Setter 1: Last week, you got attend annual dinner party or not?
Question Setter 2: Of course, got free food what....
Question Setter 1: How many lobsters did you eat?
Question Setter 2: Fifteen
Question Setter 1: Ta da, we have the length of the rectangle
Question Setter 2: And how many beers did you have?
Question Setter 1: Six
Question Setter 2: Ta da, breadth of the rectangle
Question Setter 1: How old is your son?
Question Setter 2: Four. How old is your daughter?
Question Setter 1: Eight
Question Setter 2: Brilliant, the areas of the two shaded areas settle oredi

That’s not all....

Question Setter 1: You know what, we now have the numbers 15, 6, 4, 8
Question Setter 2: In order to get to the answer, they have to find out the area of half the rectangle. That’s 45.
Question Setter 1: And the answer to the question is 25.
Question Setter 2: Awesome, 15, 6, 4, 8, 45, 25 – now can go and buy TOTO hor....

In order to determine whether this dream is true or not, I decided to travel to ulu National Institute of Education. Guess what I found.... they have a centre of Singapore Centre for Teaching Thinking. I dunno whether it was (1) to teach the teachers on how to teach students how to think or (2) to teach the teachers themselves how to think :) Anyways, the board was blank.... go figure :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Singapore Creativity Reaches New Heights

Singapore’s creativity was at its best when there was a sign that encouraged students to pick up minors (minor subjects that is). Creativity in Singapore reached its pinnacle with the masterful naming of Marina Bay as er, Marina Bay. I thought I had seen it all but alas, it was not to be.

In our overdrive to brand ourselves as a Fine City, we go around putting up signs like this….

Probably in our attempt to be super-duper efficient, we decided not to waste space and put the “By Law” and “Fine: $1000” texts inside the “no smoking” circle. Congratulations, I wont be surprised if the man who made this poster for a promotion :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Introducing Singapore’s Unattended-Bags-Threat Police

A brilliant person out there has discovered a casual causal connection between a Singaporean bad habit and the fear of terrorist bombings. We are really more susceptible that we thought.... *shiver*

This esteemed person, whose intentions I am sure is good, went to a KFC outlet and saw that people were chopping seats with their bags. Chances are that he/she did not get a place to sit. At that very instant, all the education imparted to him/her comes together and generates an out-of-the-box brainwave. Terrorists, not thieves but terrorists, can take advantage of this bad habit by Singaporeans.

He/she then makes a bold move to write to our well-respected local newspaper about this idea and the forum editor makes an even bolder move by publishing it.

So similar to Singapore’s public nuisance police, let us introduce the spanking new Singapore’s unattended-bags-threat police. These highly trained personnel will hang out in hawker centers, food courts and fast food outlets and keep a lookout for people who leave their bags unattended. If you leave your bag on a seat and walk to the stall even 5m away to get your food, you can be charged. The bags with all its contents will be confiscated. And the seat will be given to the well deserving bags-free patron. Yay, Singapore plugs yet another loophole in its anti-terrorism strategy thanks to a concerned citizen and of course, our local broadsheet that published the letter... *clap*clap*

Oh ya, the next time you want to chop seat, use a tissue packet ... until someone else writes to the local newspaper about how the packet of tissue could actually be a terrorist bomb in disguise.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Being Physically Challenged in Singapore

Singaporeans are an efficient bunch. They try to maximize all resources at least cost. Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and David Ricardo will be proud.

For instance, when they see an empty parking lot that is meant for the physically challenged, the train of thought that has been drilled into them since primary school goes something like this....

Empty parking lot => Waste of space => waste of resources => cost with no benefit => economy is affected => jobs will be lost => Singapore will sink

A similar thinking process is triggered when a suggestion to modify public buses to accommodate the physically challenged is raised. One response says that the “disabled are too demanding”. And the letter writer has this to say….

Like it or not, any delay has a cost in terms of longer travel times. Wheelchair users would need more time to board and alight from buses and this would hold up other passengers. Being patient and understanding is one thing. Being late for work because of it is another.

Oh ya, I forgot that able-bodied Singaporeans have a very important job to do every morning and if some physically challenged people get up in the public buses delaying them by a few minutes, the world will come to an end. When able-bodied Singaporeans see that they have to circle around the car park trying to find a lot, their fellow physically challenged citizens have it easy. “Where is the meritocracy?” they ask.

The Singaporean motto: we can show compassion but it has to be efficiently executed

For the people who really want to know what it means to be in a wheelchair and move around Singapore, read this from a blogger who “is thankful to be alive”.

South Asia Earthquake and The Sunday Times

On Saturday evening, the news channels of BBC, CNN (and some say even Channelnewsia) were full of reports on the catastrophic South Asia earthquake. BBC and CNN even had live reports from the disaster site with heaps on information on how relief efforts were going on.

I was hoping to get more information from the newspaper on Sunday. But when I saw the headlines that said....

$160m plan to transform Aljunied

.... I flinched. The article on the earthquake was on page 14 or 15.

Oh well, I guess Singaporeans are not interested in reading about thousands dead and suffering in some far flung Northwest Frontier province when there is an election to prepare for.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Because God told me so

Usually, the U.S. President George Bush gives the world something to laugh about. When he becomes vigilant about what he says, then it’s the media who come up with gaffes about him. But I reckon that George sees the need to show earthlings like us why he is the most powderful man in the world.

In a BBC series called Elusive Peace focusing on the Arab-Palestinian issue, a senior Palestinian negotiator quoted Bush as saying,

President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq …" And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.’

And all this while we thought the invasion of Iraq was about the oil, democracy and getting revenge on Saddam. I wonder what else God is going to ask him to do.

The White House realizing the humungous damage this comment can cause, has come out to deny it and even got the Palestinians to issue a clarification of sorts.

Overheard: God, please tell George Bush to get rid of dengue mosquitoes and bus fare cheats in Singapore. Thanks in advance.

Friday, October 07, 2005

BBC is Objective meh?

Whenever anyone stands up and says there are objective, fair and balanced, you can be rest assured that they are not. Its one of those ironical statements in life. A senior BBC staff has just made this claim.

In my previous incarnation, I used to think that CNN was the best thing that happened to mankind since the discovery of the atom. Then came the second Iraq war. Judging the pathetic way of how CNN handled that event, I swore that CNN was helluva partial TV channel. In my rather utopian quest for some 'objective' news, I turned to the BBC. I was initially impressed and then the London bombings took place. When there was a crisis at 'home', they flinched from the so-called fair-and-balanced reporting of the terrorist atacks.

Every single news media has a bias. On one hand, it could favor the state, nation-building or a particular poltical party. On the other hand, it could support a particular form of democracy, freedom of speech and human rights. Whichever the case, it is a bias. Whether it is trusted or not depends on the position of YOU, the viewer. Whether you support nation-building, a particular political party, an individual form of democracy, a specific notion of human rights or a unique conception of freedom of speech will determine on whether you think a particular news media is prejudiced or not.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Singapore ranked 54th on Livability Rankings

We are supposed to be best in everything we do. Or are we? I read the news article over and over again but it looked like there was no error. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EUI) came out with its livability rankings and we were ranked …. [drumroll] …. a whopping 54th out of 127 countries !!!!

The top 10 countries on the list were Vancouver, Melbourne, Vienna, Geneva, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Zurich, Toronto and Calgary in that order. Tokyo was 16th and Auckland, Osaka and Wellington were 20th. Surprise, Surprise, Hong Kong, our arch rivals, was 41st.

According the EUI survey, the livability ranking,

part of the Worldwide Cost of Living Survey, assesses living conditions in 127 cities around the world by looking at nearly 40 individual indicators grouped into five categories: stability; healthcare; culture and environment; education; and infrastructure.

If these are the markers used, how come we are 54th?

Stability in Singapore is surely the best in the world. We reprimand students for posting bad but possibly accurate things about teachers on their blogs – for fear that if such things are not contained, they will snowball out of control. With all the high-tech equipment and rising hospital prices, healthcare in Singapore must also be the best in the world.

Our environment is the greenest in the world. For heavens sake, we even paint some HDB blocks green. We are the best when it comes to racing on train platforms and cutting lanes on the expressway. So we should have scored really high on culture.

Going simply by the weight of our school kid’s bag, we should be in the top 5 on the education scale. Include all the overseas expertise we use to build our universities, we should be numero uno. We have the best airport, transportation system, information technology stuff – surely one of the best in the world.

I think we should dispute these rankings by EUI. We should give the staff of EUI a free subscription to our local newspapers. That way, they will know that we live in paradise and most of us have already attained nirvana.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Singapore’s Amazing Race: The 50m Dash

I think Singaporeans are the world’s best when it comes to the 50m dash. No kidding, there is race that takes place every weekday.

Venue: Jurong, City Hall, Raffles Place and Tanah Merah MRT stations
Time: 6AM – midnight
Cost: FREE!

The race starts when there one train just enters the station and there happens to be another train in the adjacent platform.

On your marks
Get Set
Go, go, go !!!

As soon as your carriage door opens, you make a dash to any open train door on the other side. If you manage to get in, you have qualified for the Premiership League. If you manage to get in and find a place to sit down, you can participate in the Champions League.

Singaporeans take this race very seriously. Their determination to reach their destination is amazing. They get very annoyed when anyone comes in their way during the way. Even if it happens to be pregnant lady, a disabled person or a school kid.

As we all know, Singaporeans don’t like losing, the kiasu syndrome as it is commonly known. So if the train doors close before they get in, they wait on the platform for the next train to roll in. As soon as the doors open, they block the way of other fellow Singaporeans taking part in the race. It's all about survival of the fittest....

So as you can see, there is a lot of dynamics and uncertainty in these races. Can probably make a reality show out of this – Singapore’s Amazing Race: The 50m Dash. This running practice by Singaporeans will be paying off in the near future. Very soon we will be able to call ourselves the 50m hub.

I think the sports authorities need to sit up and take notice of this nascent talent. It needs to be nourished. We sure win the SEA Games gold.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Scientific Research in Singapore

Singapore is pumping huge amounts of money into R&D. The standard cliché that the new economy will be powered by innovation and research is played across all news channels in the country. Does this mean Singapore is going to become the hub of scientific research in the world? (well, we have to be the hub of something).

Singapore’s primary focus is less on doing basic research and more on generating jobs. Nothing wrong with this approach at all. In fact, I think it has served Singapore well. I am glad that this view has now been made crystal clear (by none other than the controversial chairman of an important public sector company). He said....

'In Singapore, we have a small population, we have no such luxury to do basic science. The key is to be practical. We cannot have everything. By nature, I want to see some outcome...I want something I can feel and touch, and knock.'

'My job is to create jobs. It's not just to create great science and great things. Don't forget Nobel Prizes don't create jobs. Research, to me, is a means to an end. The end, to me, is to attract and encourage local companies and MNCs and create jobs for all Singaporeans, from the CEO down to the cleaning lady.'

(The Straits Times, 3 October 2005)

So if you plan to do research on questions like....

- Is there a positively charged matter smaller than a proton (not the car lah)?
- Are there places in the universe where Einstein’s and Newton’s laws do not apply? (no, its not the dengue mosquito breeding area)
- With what frequency do prime numbers occur? (no, its not every month)
- Any other question that whose main objective is to advance knowledge

.... then you can go fly kite. Despite the many news reports you read about the number of patents filed in the various fields, it matters only when it translates into jobs. An invention that can employ fellow Singaporeans is what we are looking for.

So the real goal we are striving towards is not scientific research, but to be the job hub of the region. And I am not exactly sure where this toilet innovation fits into the bigger picture :)

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Living Life as a Worst Case Scenario

Dear Editor,

This morning when I was at home, the newspaper vendor gave me the local paper. As I was flipping though the pages, I got a rude shock – there was this incredible letter. Shouldn’t the newspaper staff have noticed the letter and stopped it from being published? What if the letter writer was not in the right state of mind when he/she had written the piece to the newspaper?

The letter in question was this....

Yesterday morning, when I was in an MRT train a man with a haversack and a red hand carrier walked in.

As he put his carrier on the floor, I got a rude shock – he was holding a 50cm-long saw. Shouldn't the MRT staff have noticed the saw and asked him to at least wrap it up in newspapers and put it in a carrier?

What if he was not in a right state of mind and had started attacking people on the train at the peak hour?

Maybe we should ban knives so that no mentally deranged person steals them from shops and goes around killing everyone. No wait, we should ban alcohol so that any person not in the right state of mind would drink too much and swim in his own puke. While we are at it, let’s ban cars so that people of unsound mind do not drive and run over people standing at a bus stop. To top it all off let’s ban bloggers so that a mentally unstable person would not go around writing racist articles.

The series of ‘what if’ questions can range from bad to morbid. But for how long will we want to the authorities to check on every single minute thing? The letter writer does not enlighten us of what he/she did when he/she saw the man with the saw (pun unintended). And how exactly does putting the saw in a carrier or newspaper prevent a person of unsound mind? Did he/she get off at the next train stop or travel the whole journey in fear?

Speaking of fear, there does seem to be lots of fear in Singapore. Fear of dengue, fear of bloggers. For how long are we planning to live life as a worst case scenario? But despite all this fear, we have NOT become the Fear Hub of the region. The Asian version of the Fear Factor series is being launched in Malaysia.

Be very afraid, this blog entry is going to eat you in 5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1