t Double Yellow's Musings: November 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.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Race and Education – PSLE Exam Results

The PSLE results are out after the PSLE math exam goof-up. Anyways, the top student this time round was Adil Hakim. And congratulations to him!! But as with every year, we also published the names of the top Indian student and the top Eurasian student. This is from The Straits Times, 25 Nov,

Both Ryan Anderson and Dhivian Thirunaukrarasu have done well and deserve all the accolades they got. But my point this…

Does it really matter whether one is the top student among their race? Do all Indians have comparable academic strengths? Or for that matter, do all the Malays, Chinese or Eurasians? Obviously not! So what point does it serve to compare people of a same race?

When these kids were studying for their PSLE exams, did they aim to be the top students in their race category? No! If they did, then something is seriously wrong with our education system. Their objective was to be the top student among everybody.

When these kids grow up and join the work force, will it really matter whether they were the top Indian or Eurasian students? No! Then why make it a big issue now? What does race have to do with exam results? Nothing!

It’s high time we remove race from stuff that has nothing to do with race. It’s archaic.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Maid Abuse in Singapore: What happened to Civility?

Our economy is growing. Jobs are being created. The traffic on CTE is easing or so we hear from the LTA. Amidst all this euphoria, we are reaching new levels in yet another sphere – maid abuse.

One case involved one Singaporean pimping her maid. So not only do we want help around the house, we also make some extra money out of these people who come here to make a living?

Detractors will say that the maid was a willing partner in the whole affair. But do we even think about the plight of these maids who come to Singapore drowning in debt and resort to things like prostitution? Do we even care? Or do we feel it is some other country’s problem? Is it a case of – “as long as we put these people in jail and fine them some money, we can go back to living in paradise”?

The second case involved an atrocious 10 months of maid abuse. The Singaporean abused her maid on not one, not two but a record 79 occasions. This is one of the worst cases of maid abuse in Singapore.

Really, what is with Singaporeans? Do we think these maids will become better helpers by beating them? Or do we get some sadistic pleasure? At the end of the day, why is it that we don’t see that these maids are human beings like the rest of us?

With two such extreme cases appearing in the same week, our media immediately comes to the rescue of Singapore’s image. Lest we be branded “maid abuse hub” by someone else, our local newspaper runs an article titled “Maid abuse cases declining” citing the number of maid abuse cases since 1997.

Thank you very much hor. Makes me feel much better that we are abusing less maids year on year. How this kind of statistics magically appears at the end of a week filled with extreme cases of maid abuses totally baffles me. While the report acknowledged that many cases are unreported, the issue of brutality level is totally left out of the analysis.

Some people with whom I have discussed this with say that some of the maids are really bodoh. They dun understand basic instructions and end up messing up things instead of helping. Some intentionally slack in their work and some others steal money. Surely, all these are problems that need to be addressed but nothing, and i mean NOTHING, gives us the right to abuse our domestic helper.

What happened to civility?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

3rd Racist Blogger Sentenced....

.... to immerse himself with the Malay community. Whew! We are actually able to think of sentences that do not involve jail terms, caning and fines :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

How to Debate the Death Penalty Issue in Singapore

The death penalty debate engulfed us the last week. The Australian media seemed to have started it all when one Australian was found with drugs transiting through Changi Airport. Unlike Singapore, Australia dun have the death penalty. Some zealous Aussie figures went to the extent of calling for a boycott of Singaporean goods!

The media in Singapore, as usual, tried to keep out of this debate as much as possible. I mean, Singaporeans have better things to do than to question our death penalty laws right? :) But once it became obvious that somehow our economy could be affected the issue somehow had to be dealt with, this is what we did....

Look for a country which is looking to maintain their death penalty and run it as a front page article... tada!

Then refer to it in every other article you write about the death penalty – “while countries like Britain are grappling to reinstate their death penalty, the Australians are asking us to get rid of ours”. You know, make the Aussies look er, not very good.

The problem becomes more complicated when an appeal of another death penalty case comes up. Anyways, the much publicized murder trial of Took Leng How came up for appeal last week and well, the decision was deferred. Obviously, this has nothing to do with the previous case.... just a coincidence ok? :)

The problem becomes really thorny when one of our opposition non-ruling party politicians goes and comprains to the Australian media about Singapore. Now that is BIG no-no. You will immediately be branded as ‘undermining’ Singapore.

All compraints about Singapore have to be done through the local media. I mean, this is our favorite pastime. We dun want people teaching the Australian media how to comprain about their country. Then how to retain our number 1 position as ‘comprain hub’ of the region?

For now, I think SIA can say goodbye to its hopes of flying the transatlantic route.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Singapore Media - the Funniest in the Wurl

Not being able to read the local newspapers and listen to the local news for a week has made me an unhappy person. Really!! Except for their comic sections, other country newspapers are so serious. They discuss all those sober things that liberal democracies talk about. The letters to their forum is about topics like the tax structure, world trade issues and foreign policy of their country.

No fun right?

It’s only after my staple diet of Today and The Straits Times that I laugh until I cannot get up from the fllor liao. Singapore media is definitely the funniest in the wurl. Right from the editorials to the forum letters, we can claim to have the most hilarious broadsheets. People talking about traffic on the CTE, how people cut the queues and the misplaced debate on the death penalty issue. Welcome to Singapore!!

I think hor, to counter the bad ranking we had for press freedom, we need to have a funniest newspaper ranking. And of course, we will soon find ourselves where we belong – on top of the list, at the very top. The Singapore media companies need to get together and write a book titled “How to make your reader die with laughter” and sell it for $49.99 at all leading bookstores. Do I see a ‘hub’ strategy right there? :)

Now its time to catch on lost news...

Monday, November 21, 2005

Weekend Sex, Annabel Chong and Roger Federer

Can someone please explain to me what is it with our media and sex on the weekend? I know The New Paper has an article on sex every other day. But since The Sunday Times and Weekend Today are more reputable, credible weekly papers, they can only do it on the weekend.

First on Nov 13, The Sunday Times runs an article about Singaporean’s favourite p0rnstar, Annabel Chong. Almost as if in retaliation, Weekend Today runs a piece called “Sex and the Singaporean” on Nov 19. Way to go! This is what media competition is all about. With media support like this, Singapore sure become sex hub one.

On cue, Singaporeans wrote to the newspaper compraining yet again about how the media should not glorify Annabel Chong. But, but, like that how can? Here we are talking about a Singaporean who made it to the world stage. I mean, we don’t have an abundance of Singaporeans who have made it this far right? And hey, she didn’t require the gahmen or any Goal 2010 campaign to get there.

The usual complaints go along the lines that she is not a good role model for youth. Oops, sorry I forgot.... all our role models MUST be people who made a million dollars even before they can read the alphabet. One letter writer who tried to write in support of the Annabel Chong article couldn’t go very far. He comes up with this ‘brilliant’ proposal....

I propose that harmless ‘deviants’ like Ms Chong be welcomed back with open arms should they return and be celebrated for their guts. We should not deny her a second chance just because of one indiscretion.

Hang on a sec, did Ms Chong ask for a second chance? Does she even care? And what she did was an indiscretion? Oh puhleez, since when did we claim moral higher ground? I think Singaporeans need to stop looking for role models based on how much money they earn or what country passport they hold. It’s about time we pay tribute to passion, strength, grit and that fighting spirit. All hail Roger Federer!

If anyone of you saw the Federer-Nalabandian clash at the Shangai Masters yesterday, you can see what it means to fight to the finish. First, Nalabandian loses the first two sets and then claws his way back to win the next two. In the final set, Nalabandian races to a 4-0 lead and then Federer begins to fight back. Clearly tired, Federer equals at 4-4 and then the game moves into the set break. Nalabandian finds a last burst of energy and wins the finals! Yes, Federer lost.... but you see, that’s not the point. It’s the ability to fight to the very end. When you are tired, down and nothing is going right for you, you don’t concede defeat and give it your best shot. Whether you win or not is secondary.

And the best part is that the prize money has nothing to do with this :)

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Too Much of a Good Thing

Letter writers to the newspaper are getting really bold these days. Days after the “I would like to challenge the gahmen” letter, comes this person who says….

Too much of something, no matter how good, can end up being a turn off.

You could be forgiven if you thought for a moment the above statement was somehow related to our gahmen. But only for a moment ok? Anything longer than that and you will be held in contempt :)

Hey, I told you to stop thinking of that sentence as directed at our gahmen right? Erase it from your memory….. now!!! :)

Because hor, the letter writer was actually referring to Singapore Idol. This is the show that we copied from America – the format, the music, the stage, the colors, everything expect the singers. Well, the letter writer now adds one more to the exception list....

Singapore should not follow in the footsteps of America in the sense that there should be a string of auditions every year.

Hell yeah, why should we? We are uniquely Singaporean right? When we copy America, we are right. When we don’t, we are also right. *Clap*Clap*

Also hor, The American Idol could create a new star in the form of its host, Ryan Seacrest. And who did we choose? The possibly botoxed Phua Chu Kang without yellow boots – Gurmit Singh. We could never leave the success of the first voting exercise show for many Singaporeans to chance, could we? :)

Friday, November 18, 2005

Apology to Australia

Our media surely knows how to downplay a story. We do it with such art - needless to say, we should become the new 'downplay' hub of the world. As you probably oredi know, we have had to apologise to Australia for the goof-up over the release of the hanging date for the OZ drug trafficker.

The Today newspaper although highlighted the apology but on page 3. And whats on page 1?.... [drumroll].... "Blair admits: The wife's been making money off my job". Since when were Singaporeans interested in the wife of Tony Blair siphoning $$?? :)

The Straits Times did it even more succintly. In an article titled, "PM: 2 reasons for S'pore's firm stand on drugs", the apology was somewhere mixed into the report. Moreover, this report appeared on page 4 - they dunno it's unlucky meh? :)

I think our newspapers forgot to add the important positive spin, a skill that they have mastered. This incident has boosted the Singapore economy. A new job opening has been created in the civil service. Yay, everyone hail the Spore Express :)

Monday, November 14, 2005

I would like to challenge the gahmen

Not me lah! You think what? I crazy issit? These were the choice of words by a letter writer to The Sunday Times yesterday. After agreeing with another letter writer that Singaporeans are crass, brash and uncouth, he ends with this....

“I would like to challenge the Government to make our country a gracious society by the middle of the next decade.”

First time I see hor, letter writer giving deadline to gahmen. In Singapore, never have like this before. But hor, this kind of thing is stupid one. Every single simple problem also run to gahmen.
My son so young have to wear glasses. I would like to challenge the gahmen to make sure that myopia is eradicated from our society by the next decade

I stepped on dog poo in my HDB void deck. I would like to challenge the gahmen to make sure that void decks are free of dog poo by end of the month

I got itchy backside. I would like to challenge the gahmen to make sure nobody in Singapore has got itchy backside my next year

Goodness, when will Singaporeans ever learn to be self-reliant? And try to think of solutions that does not involve the gahmen? About building a gracious society, it’s time Singaporeans move beyond accepting the fact that there ill-mannered people in the country. Surely we can do better than simply writing a letter to newspaper, no? :)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Responding to Petty Criticism

The good thing about the internet is that you get to read criticisms from people who do not agree with your opinions. The bad thing about the internet is that such critique is sometimes so funny that they are petty petty that they are funny :) I do not usually reply to such pieces unless they write something in one of the comments. But this one was too good not to respond :) The writer takes issue with my post on removing race from racism. [Ed: Looks like the entry and possibly the whole blog has been taken down. If only I had got a screenshot :( ]

According to her, my ‘comparison’ of race with people wearing red shirts is problematic. I mean, gee .... of course it is, because it was not meant to a be comparison at all in the first place. It was just to offer an alternative way of giving an identity to a human being. If you want to identify a person by more serious identities like religion or nationality, sure go ahead. If you want to distinguish a person by something as shallow as his/her yellow color shoes/hair, you have my blessings :)

This leads me to the point where the writer claims I ‘trivialize a concept such as race that is so central to one's identity”. Pray tell me, just because you say race is central to one’s identity, it doesn’t become so, now does it? :) I do not become Chinese, Malay, Indian or Eurasian just because someone else identifies me so. I could have just one national identity, Singaporean and nothing else (example only ah, not comparison ok).

In short, my identity is mine to define. But if someone does distinguish themselves through race (and nothing wrong with that), then sure – go ahead and categorize them in whatever race grouping you want.

Seriously, given your definition of race, what is the race of a person who comes from mixed racial backgrounds? How will you find a category for him/her? From the color of his/her skin? From the way he/she dresses? How shallow and inaccurate is that? :)

The writer also alludes to the point that I may be living in an ideal world. Boy, isn’t that ironic? I am dying of curiosity here – why is your version of the world called reality whereas people like us live in a utopian universe? Ask yourself – is there really a causal connection between the race of a person and the actions that they do?

I think the difference of opinion between the writer and me lies in the fact that for her, race is something that is written in stone. For me, it is not. It is nothing but a category that society has created to distinguish people and if you society wants to change it, it can be done. But this writer probably thinks it’s too unrealistic to even think along those lines. I mean, talk about living in a shell....

Lastly, the writer is supposedly researching on “racial considerations in Singapore's educational policies”. There you go – you already assume the existential nature of race in the topic. Anyways, hope your journal note or seminar paper comes with better analysis than your blog entry :)

Saturday, November 12, 2005

NeWater and Objectivity in Singapore History Project

Some clever dude out there found a gaffe in our esteemed local paper. It was posted on dunno what forum but I saw this first on tomorrow.sg. Its related to a new Singapore history project by the Discovery Networks and here is pic in question....

Sir Raffles giving the local Sultan Newater for his drinking pleasure!!! With slip-up’s like this, sometimes I think the gahmen is right not to give too much freedom to our press :) Now let’s wait and see if a correction is in the papers tomm....

Since we are on the Singapore history project, the other esteemed newspaper also ran an article on it. First, why is it that the history of Singapore always starts from Sir Raffles? You mean nobody lived here before that worth mentioning issit?

Another thing I noticed in the article is the stress on the objectivity of documentary. More than half the article was spent on convincing readers that the documentary is impartial. I wonder why they went through such trouble – it’s a gahmen initiated and approved project, it must be unbiased right? Have you ever, and I mean ever, come across a gahmen accepted project to be prejudiced, skewed and one-sided? If your answer to that question is a ‘yes’, then I suggest you go and hide in the toilet and drink all the Newater you can :)

Friday, November 11, 2005

Laws Guidelines over Bus Ads

A while ago, I wrote about the various types of gahmen replies that come to the forum. One such response was the reply by LTA over ads on buses.

This is definitely not the first time but many people have been writing in about how the bus ads cover view of the outside and it’s proving to be really difficult to figure when to get off. One such typical letter....

And the reply by LTA is hilarious! Titled “Public bus ads must follow guidelines”, the letter outlines the policy governing bus ads.

Perforated stickers that allow at least 40 per cent to be seen through can be used on the side and rear windows of the bus. When used on the bus' side windows, the perforated stickers should not cover more than 25 per cent of the glass panel. The advertisements on the side windows must not block the view of commuters, who must be able to see what is outside the bus day and night. For the rear window, advertisements are allowed to fully cover the glass panel, provided that all the number plates, signs and mandatory information display (eg. speed-limit sign) are not concealed.

*Yawn* If you read the above technical details in full, I don’t blame you for feeling sleepy :) The point is this… has it every occurred to our scholarship holding officers at LTA that the problem could lie with the guidelines rather than public bus companies not following them? Oh well, I guess such dumb thoughts are beyond them :)

Oh ya, how come such things are only guidelines hor? Cannot make into legislation one issit? Can fine the bus companies if they flout the law right? Oh sorry, I forgot that by fining the transport companies their share prices will be affected and indirectly impact Singaporeans. So Singaporeans have a choice.... (1) suffer a decrease in your investment in the transport companies or (2) suffer from getting off at the wrong bus stop :)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

How the Media Misleads

The media is a very powderful vehicle and how it frames each headline and sentence will reflect its bias. Our local is no different. Yesterday, there was a report on some key personnel having left a financial dispute resolution centre barely two months after it was instituted. Nothing wrong with the topic but look at the way the opening paragraph goes....

BARELY two months after it was launched with great fanfare and lauded as a "one-stop" shop for dispute resolutions in the finance industry, the Financial Industry Disputes Resolution Centre (FIDReC) has suffered a setback.

What they don’t tell you is that the media itself had a hand in the “great fanfare” two months ago. This was supposed to make us financial hub of the universe. But now the media behaves like its just reporting news....

If that doesn’t convince you, check out this amazing forum letter in today’s paper. The heading screamed…. Press freedom? I would choose Singapore anytime

To the casual reader, it would seem that press freedom and Singapore are on opposite banks of the river. And to support press freedom would mean not to support Singapore and hence would make such a person unpatriotic.

On a side note, our media lurves to praise itself coz nobody else seems to do the same. I hope they realize that just because people read the local paper doesn’t mean they like or support whatever is spewed out. Sometimes I wish our media will grow up but until then I know where I can get my daily laughs :)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The new DARE Campaign

I dare you to slap the referee of the match for a controversial decision

I dare you to lose 4-0 to our arch rivals Malaysia

Although the Singapore soccer team and some S-League teams have been accomplishing these dares, I think these are not the kind of things our gahmen had in mind when they launched the new campaign to support the Singapore team at the upcoming SEA Games. The new crusade initiated by the Football Association of Singapore is ‘creatively’ called …. [drumroll] …. DARE!!

In other countries, people throng to their local stadiums or stay glued to the TV when their national soccer team is in action. In Singapore, you need a campaign to get the attention of Singaporeans. Singaporeans are generally free when they are not engrossed in their favourite pastime of compraining. Oh my God, what if they use this free time to read blog sites? Worse still, what if they use this free time to read opposition party manifesto? Better nip the problem in the bud – let’s have the DARE campaign.

According to the article, aiming for gold will not be easy for the Singapore team as they need the support of the entire nation. So DARE actually refers to Desperately Asking Reinforcement Exercise. Even before the competition has begun, our local media have made it clear that we have roped into the so-called ‘Group of Death’ along with Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar. Does that mean we give them death or the other way round? :)

Some 5,000 T-shirts are being printed as part of the DARE campaign. Here is the best part.... if Singapore reaches the finals, you get your money back. That’s about $25. We should not be scared right? We are the best right? Right? Right? Why don’t you answer? I mean, if we are the best, then why charge for the T-shirts at all? Why not give out the T-shirts free and in case God decides to intervene and snatch gold away from us, ask Singaporeans to pay for the T-shirt? Those bad citizens who do refuse to pay up for the T-shirt will be taught what it means to run after the ball, except that the ball in this case will be their CPF money :)

Monday, November 07, 2005

What in the world is RSS?

In response to a comment by one reader, I have made the herculean effort of finding out what in the world this RSS thingy is :) To a bodoh like me, it's like studying secondary-school physics rocket science. Anyways, after two jugs of Jessica Alba's Tiger beer, clarity began to appear in the horizon.

During my druken stupor research, I finally figured out what RSS stood for. For all of you geeks out there who think it stands for Rich Site Summary, RDF Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication, you are all wrong. RSS originated from the eternal need for guys to recall the address of his preferred pr0n site and know when it is updated. Hence, RSS stands for Remember Sex Site.

But Singapore dun have such websites. So in our uniquely Singaporean context, RSS stands for "Read and Save Singapore" !! :)

Anyways, I've included a feedburner link on my site. Click on and you can subscribe to a feed of my site. Don't ask me what a "feed" is.... by the time I figure that out, I will be the longest inmate at the Institute of Mental Health.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Accused access to Lawyers - A Win-Win situation

Singapore does not follow the Western model is many ways. One of course is the role of the media. Second is the role of the union. And the third which has been making the rounds recently is the immediate access to an accused by his/her lawyer.

Our gahmen has used the tried and tested rationale of "dont tweak what is not broken". For them, lawyers can subvert the police investigations. Why ah? Our lawyers not honest one issit? Or is it the case where our police not efficient one issit? Giving the accused access to his/her lawyer immediately might increase the workload on the police but hey, it will only make them more efficient, no?

Anyways, our ST Interactive decided to run a poll on this and guess what.... out of a total of 536 votes polled, an overwhelming 91 percent said yes to access to a lawyer and a measly 9 percent said no. Hello, gahmen, you there? I think hor, the only way for gahmen to get around this 'problem' is to get the lawyer to sign a document that says that,

.... according to the police, if you are found impeding the investigation, you can be fined a gazillion dollars, thrown in jail for a gazillion years, caned a gazillion times and publicly shamed in a gazillion newspapers. You will also not be allowed to enter the casino and get a subsidised HDB flat. You will not be entitled to any baby bonus and senior citizen concessions on public transport. Oh, and you wont have immediate access to a lawyer....

This situation is what we call in Singapore, win-win.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Gahmen to Media: Don’t Parrot our Position

While I was away, an interesting development occurred. In reaction to the super-duper low ranking on press freedom, the gahmen told our media not to parrot their position. The irony is making me roll down Bukit Timah hill with laughter.

Funny hor, other people have been telling the media not to mimic the gahmen stance but the media dun care. Now the gahmen tell the media and they run a page 3 article on it. Even funny hor, is that if the media now stops aping the gahmen’s posture, then aren’t they exactly following what the gahmen is telling them to do? Hahahaha… sorry hor, cannot stop laughing :)

Our local media seem to have taken up the challenge of opposing discussing the gahmen’s assessment of the media and ran a piece today titled “To be responsible, the media must now be credible”. I also say but then hor, our media has loooooooooooong way to go before it can be responsible :)

Some of the examples given of responsible media are hilarious. First, BBC after London bombings – while they seem to have restored calm in London, one conveniently forgets all the anti-Pakistani attacks in Britain soon after. These incidents were in part caused by the BBC itself because they decided to isolate the perpetrators as being of Pakistani origin. Second, our local media after the JI arrests and SARS. While our media did a good job in maintaining the usual tranquil, it was not because of these incidents that we got such a super-duper low ranking in press freedom index now, did we? :)

Lastly, the gahmen say that we must not mimic the West. This is totally agree wif. But I cannot help wondering hor, how or who decides what has ‘worked’ for Singapore. And if something has ‘worked’ for Singapore, is it only measured in terms of how it has contributed to the GDP? Also, I'm sure our gahmen can still be clean and efficient with a freer press.

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Uniquely Singaporean gift to spot Foreign Workers

Singaporeans have a unique ability. They are able to accurately identify a foreign worker when they see one. They seem to have this psychic connection with the foreign worker. The latter does not need not fish out their passports or work permits to prove their employment status. The short-sighted Singaporean (pun intended) seems to be able to make out just from the looks.
Such a distinctive skill can be seen in one of the letters to the forum this week.

Although the letter was about red tape in our gahmen, it began like this….

About four months ago I went to Yew Tee Industrial Park. Two foreign workers approached me with a large pink plastic bag and asked me if I wanted to buy cigarettes....

The letter is so sure that the two people who approached him were foreign workers. Is it because the incident happened in an industrial park? Or is it because of the way the people were dressed? Or is it because of their er, skin color? Why couldn’t they have been Singaporeans?

It’s high time we stop spoiling the image of foreign workers here.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Seamlessfull Travel

Like all good Singaporeans, I decided to contribute to our neighbour's economy and driving myself towards bankruptcy by holidaying there this week. Given my financial situation, my favourite mode of transport to travel up north is the bus.

Holiday aside, our trip both ways was via the much acclaimed second link. It's a huge place but sorry to say hor, there were hardly any people there. Now I can understand why the gahmen didn't open Buangkok station.... skali become like Second Link. If you are looking for the first local white elephant, this is it. I suspect that our first international white elephant was the industrial park we built in Suzhou.

Anyways, on the trip back, I wanted to take a cab from the Second Link but cannot leh. Unlike the JB checkpoint, we have to continue our trip on the tourist bus all the way to Beach Road and then find our way home. I just can't understand such idiosyncracies. We are supposed to have seamless travel everywhere but how come Second Link so special? They think what, everyone lives within walking distance of Golden Mile issit?

I never read our 'balanced' newspaper for a few days leh. I miss it oredi. Must try not to spill my coffee when I read the forum letters. Heheh.... :)