t Double Yellow's Musings: May 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.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Auditing your blog

Last week, I decided to do a check on the number of visitors to my blog. I was pleasantly surprised that I had over 10000 visitors in a week!! That’s correct ten thousand visitors in seven days!! Needless to say, I was elated. I told every Tom, Dick and Harry that the number of people reading the stuff I write had reached five-digits a week. One of my kaki’s in advertising even told me that he would advertise his products on my website and I could begin to earn $$$$. I knew I was going to be famous and soon the mainstream media will begin to feature me and I would be the poster boy for entrepreneur bloggers.

I don’t know why but I decided to get another kaki of mine to do an audit on my blog. Similar to some listed local companies here, he said that there were gross irregularities in my weekly results. According to him, I had overstated the number of visitors to my website by……..ten thousand times! Poof!!! My dream of owning that red Ferrari went up in smoke.

I realized that I was a neighborhood shop compared to the Temasek, GIC, SIA, Singtel of the Singapore blogging world (mrbrown, miyagi, xiaxue, sarongpartygirl - not necessarily in that order). Given my existing financial conditions, I cannot afford a blogging consultant who can tell me how to come out of the red. For now, I can only hire someone who can go to my blog and click the Refresh button a thousand times a day.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Bad Service In Singapore

Lately, there have been a lot of complaints about bad service in Singapore. I’ve decided to start building a list of the dates and places where retail service in Singapore has been pathetic (not sure if anyboody else has done this). Well, you can consider this list sort of an anti-thesis to the Bouquets section in The Straits Times Forum.

Basic customer service should not be denied because of your body structure (thin, fat, tall, short, bald etc), skin color, nationality (Singaporean, PR, foreign talent etc), presentation (you dressed too formally, you dressed like ah beng/ah lian, you dressed like foreign worker). Well, whatever the reason, if you have any such incidents to highlight, lemme know.

You can mail me at dbl_yell at yahoo dot com and give me the following info.

Date:

Place:

Description: Describe as objectively as you can….cannot defame one hor :p

Your details (optional): Name, URL and/or email address. If you leave your details blank, will use Anonymous Coward from tomorrow.sg fame!

I will put up the updated list every weekend. But of course, if you want the list anytime, just email me….its FREE!

P.S: For sure, right of reply/clarification is given...heheh

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Cows do not GIVE us milk...

I was traveling in our world class public transport bus today. As usual, I comfortably couched myself in the upper berth away from the crowd who always occupy the lower level. (strange why they can’t wait to get off our world class public transport bus - but thats for another story)

Before long, a mother and child (about 8 years old) took the seat in front of me. The kid was reading from a primary school text book…..

Cows give us milk
Hens give us eggs


The child sounded cute but what struck me was what she was saying. Cows do not give us milk…..we take milk from the cows. Hens do not give us eggs….we take eggs from the hens.

Agreed that man is the at top of the animal food chain but let us not be under any illusions that the animals are very happy giving us their meat. Nature gives us nothing. We humans just take it from nature because we can. I think its time we stop teaching our young that the cows offer us milk and that the hens provide us with eggs.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Hubba, Bubba, Hubba, Bubba….

It looks like we are desperately seeking the next big hubba bubba thing. In our rather over-zealous effort, we are now the next New Age hub (see The Straits Times, “Singapore: A New Age hub too?”, 21 May 2005, p.S26). Wonder who came up with that name? But hey, do we Singaporeans care what the name of the hub is?….. we only ask ourselves some very simple questions:

- Does it make money? Will it give me jobs? Will it add to the GDP? Will it maintain political stability?

If the answer to ALL of them is an yes, then we are a HUB. But sometimes our hub status can be in danger. Yeah, I’ve also just come to know that we were once a sex-change hub (see The Sunday Times, “Singapore was a sex-change hub”, 22 May 2005, p.L5), before we lost out to Bangkok.

Maybe hor, we should try and get the hub status back. Did you say no demand in Singapore? Think again… in Singapore, we can always generate demand. For instance, you know all those gays here who the gahmen are really concerned about….. how about we change one of the gay partners into women? Then we can all go back to be being the straight-laced society we are.

Here we go again…..

*Click*, *Click*, *Click*…..I was channel surfing this afternoon waiting for the Formula 1 Grand Prix qualifying session to begin. Next thing I know, I am watching this movie and a scene where one guy admits to his friend (who is also his housemate) that he is a homosexual……well, what if something like that happened here? How would we react? *Shudder*… Thanks to the ‘impeccable’ reporting of our newspapers (see for instance, The Straits Times, “Worrying increase in teen HIV cases”, 21 May 2005, p.1), there now exists a stereotype about homosexuals and AIDS.

“You not straight ah? Wahliao, how lydat? You kenna AIDS, then how?...... kano, kano, I tell you oredi what…how can you stay here? My gahmen say, people like you hor, need to get tested. What? You don’t have HIV? Kano bee….you sure you test properly or not? Maybe hor, the doctor arso gay like you….you go other hospital and test again ok? You sure have one…

In the movie, the housemate said… “hey, you don’t have to be so apologetic….we’re still friends and you can still stay here”. We have a loooooooong way to go before we get there.

Talking about stereotyping, I was enlightened when I read about the con men from China (see The Sunday Times, “Teen girls targeted in ATM, phone scam”, 22 May 2005, p.3). Last week, it was the wicked China wife. This week, it’s the China man. The ‘brilliantly’ written article says that the con men were “believed to be Chinese nationals”. So you don’t know whether they really are Chinese nationals. You just make out from the country they are supposedly calling to con their victims and probably from their accent. But really, how in the world does the nationality of these conmen matter? Even if they are from Singapore, conmen are conmen are conmen.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Self-Praise and Gender Equality

Until now, I thought that the Singapore newspapers are my daily dose of humor. But today, I realized that they are capable of a lot more. The Straits Times Forum has a letter in response to recent piece on the controversy over Japanese textbooks. The title of the letter is “Quality article sets ST apart as opinion leader” (see letter to The Straits Times forum, 19 May 2005, p.H9). When I read the letter, I almost choked on my breakfast this morning. This kind of letter how can publish? I know self-criticism is hard to come by but how can a newspaper publish self-praise? Opinion leader? ROFWL…. next time I must remember never to eat and read the papers at the same time.

Before the choking incident, I also read that we are going to bring a steamy French cabaret to town. It looks like Singapore is getting more and more ‘socially open’. First, there was the Neptune Theatre where topless acts are allowed. Next, bar-top dancing was permitted and touted as a sign that Singapore was ‘opening up’. Soon after, the ban on the Cosmopolitan magazine was lifted. Thanks to its cover, FHM is also probably doing brisk sales. Now, a cabaret from Paris will be coming to town. No lah, I’m not complaining….. am all for more such nude shows and magazines...heheh!

But all these cases involve a degree of nudity … of women. Funny hor, but we seem to be gauging our social openness depending on how much we accept the nudity of the female form. But talk about the same nudity in men…kenna ban, kenna AIDS, kenna bad influence, kenna conservative society (for the record, I’m straight). But I wonder whether we are being sexist? Are we really socially open if we ban gay parties on Sentosa giving the very same nudity factor as the reason? Yes, we have been a patriarchic society….but is that the way we want to continue to be in future?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Settling for 2nd Best and Naive Civil Servants

Oh my God !! Oh my God !! It can’t be happening…. It looks like we are actually settling for 2nd best. We supposedly missed out the chance to host the Formula 1 race and now we seem to be ok with holding some A1 race (see The Straits Times, “No F1? A1 may be ok”, 18 May 2005, p.3).

I can’t believe it. We are actually accepting that Malaysia beat us. We are actually admitting that our neighbors up north were able to capture a big slice of the F1 money spinner - and all that remains for us are the leftovers. But...but... isn't our reputation built on taking competition head on. Look at how we are lobbying the Oz government to grant us flying rights across the Pacific. Somehow we seem a spent force when it comes to lobbying the FIA to have a F1 race here.

Well, it looks like we have been brought down to Earth….finally!

Talking about getting people back to Earth, it also looks like some casino tycoon is calling our civil servants unsophisticated. How can? This is happening at a time when we are thinking of setting up a consultancy to tap on the expertise of retired civil servants (see The Straits Times, “Govt may set up advisory body to sell S’pore know-how”, 18 May 2005). This kind of thing can sue or not hor? heheh

Monday, May 16, 2005

Who am I ?

I strike fear deep into your heart. I am amidst all of you but you cannot recognize me. I have no respect for your society, your government or your way of life. I can force you to mobilize all state resources towards fighting me. I can make you panic, collapse your economy and make your life a living hell. Oh yes, I can kill if I want to.

I also disregard your sovereign borders. Your immigration can do nothing to stop me from traveling in and out of your country. In fact, I have traveled far and wide and seen places you can only imagine. Don't you even for a moment think that you can stop me by putting security cameras everywhere. Your efforts to fortify key buildings and institutions are futile. I can penetrate any security arrangement you put in place.


I may be lying low for a while but I can come back anytime I want. Mwwaaaahhhhaaa!!!

Who am I ?

Anonymous, you are right - it is indeed the SARS virus!But for those you who guessed terrorism first, nothing wrong either.

But isn't it weird? Why does something like this invoke the threat of terrorism in us instead of the threat of sars or avian bird flu? What about poverty? What about environment? Why is it that the first and foremost threat that we face is terrorism and not anything else? What makes terrorism so special? SARS, bird flu, poverty and environment directly affect human lives unlike terrorism that has a political connotation. Why cant we put more effort in dealing with problems other than terrorism but equally potent?Thats a lot of questions there...I dont have all the answers....maybe you could help me....

Treating Foreign Workers

You cannot be more wrong if you think that foreign workers in Singapore work round the clock (save for their time-off on Sun evenings). At least once a year, we pay tribute to them as part of May Day celebrations. And this year was no exception. We took around 14000 workers to the ……………[drumroll]…….ZOO !! That’s right….for all the hard work they put in at the construction sites, we take them to see animal shows, live bands and acrobatic stunts. This is really a Uniquely Singaporean way of treating its foreign workers. I wonder if we checked with the foreign workers whether they REALLY want to go the zoo. I would rather think that they would prefer getting a day off with free meals and extra $.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Speak Good English Movement = Don’t Speak Singlish Movement

Lah, Lah, Lah, Lah…….Lah Lah…..
Lah, Lah, Lah, Lah…….Lah Lah…..


Before you even think that I am defying the new Speak Good English Movement, let me clarify that the lah’s only signify how I sing songs for which I don’t know the lyrics.

The Speak Good English Movement is a bit of a misnomer…. it should rightly be called the Don’t Speak Singlish Movement. Think about it….the majority of the suggestions on how we can speak good English comes from examples of how we speak ‘bad’ English or Singlish. Drop the lah’s, Leh’s, hor’s, kiasu’s. Don’t say things like ‘wair gaw?’ and ‘oow caaayn?’. Watch the Singlish accent, Singlish pronunciation, Singlish this, Singlish that…

I can imagine a one-sided conversation that we might be having once we correct our English (still struggling with some words) and talk to an angmoh…oops sorry, a westerner.

Yo mate….how are you doing? Can you sense the difference in my pronunciation and accent? Yeah…it does sound better, does it not? My gahmen said that if I talk like this, I can communicate with you better. That’s correct, they said that you will now understand me better. I thought since we now understand each other better, we could hang out and go for a beer?

[At the pub when they are having beer] - You know what, when my gahmen pushed the Speak Good English Movement, I was a bit skeptical. But then I saw the rationale. We are having the Olympic Council Meeting as well as IMF and World Bank meetings here…so when you come up to me and ask where you can get pirated CDs and fake watches, I should reply in a manner you will understand. And that’s not all….we are not the only ones doing it. China, South Korea and Thailand also have similar campaigns. So I feel good about not being the only one out there where the gahmen wants their people to speak better English.

Sadly, we assume that the West owns English. For some weird reason, we believe that the way they speak English is ‘correct’ and ours in ‘wrong’. Before you perfect English evangelists get agitated, I hope you realize that the Scotts, Welsh, Londoners, Americans and Australians all don’t understand each other perfectly. That is because their accents are different and have much local slang. How are we to make ourselves understandable to the Scotts AND Welsh AND Londoners AND Americans AND Australians all the same time.

But fret not, we are Singaporeans….we WILL correct our English well before the Olympic Council Meeting in July and don’t be surprised if our paper runs a report on how the visitors were so impressed with our impeccable English.

I put up this post in a hardwarezone forum and from the responses there, I had a few more additional thoughts...

I am not advocating that the Speak Good English Movement is a bad thing. For sure, to speak good and clear English has its advantages. All I'm saying is that Singlish is NOT unimportant. In other words, speak good English by all means.....just that it need not come at the expense of Singlish. Why has it come to a point where we are ashamed of Singlish? We seem to very content in keeping it private discourse. Among the economic imperatives of learning good English, there has been a mention that local sitcoms like Phua Chu Kang would have made it big in overseas markets if they had used good English. But what is usually forgotten is that the very reason why these sitcoms are popular is because of Singlish...PCK would not have been half as funny if it were made in 'good' English.

The response by looking around in the forum was particularly instructive...thought i should reproduce it here.

...I think the government confronts a dilemma here. As much as they would like to retain Singlish for its cultural value, there are many people who have only mastered Singlish, necessarily at the expense of proper English usage. I think there in no issue with individuals who can interchange between the two with ease, for eg. you could say "how can you lydat" to your singaporean friend, but appropriately switch to "how could you do this" if speaking to someone conversant only in standard english. The unfortunate thing is that many Singaporeans are attached to Singlish usage that they are unable to make such a switch, either by habit or inability. If there is a choice to be made here, i think the government is choosing for the people to be understood by the outside world instead of fostering closer bonds among singaporeans.
based on the choice the govt has made (where they seem to have decided to slaughter Singlish as the sacrificial lamb), I think they view the application of proper English as a matter of economic imperative. However, this may not necessarily mean that they do not cherish the value of Singlish, but perhaps are willing to put it on the backburner where it could later be revived at a more suitable time (where circumstances permit, ie when ppl start speaking proper english, and singlish could be inducted as a national dialect). Of course detractors may argue it may be too late by then.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Apologies, Kindness, Working Life and Retail Malls

Let me begin by unreservedly apologizing for my blog entry. Why am I saying sorry? Not sure exactly but just in case.

The Today forum is very instructive today! See for instance the letter on page 26. No lah, I’m talking about the one regarding political visions for Singapore. If I were so powderful so as to change the political landscape in Singapore (my apologies again….unreservedly of course), I don’t think I will be here blogging stuff like this. I’m talking about the letter next to that…the one where we can learn about kindness from…. ….. Amazing Race! Maybe hor, we should make the race winners (who according to the letter writer were really kind and a “joy to watch”) ambassadors to promote kindness in Singapore – yes, you guessed right…don't be surprised if another campaign comes our way.

There is also a new contest to promote work-life harmony. The problem you see is that these days, work and life are in conflict. In our desperate goal of trying to have a life with no work, we are working like we have no life. So there needs to be a balance. As soon as the 'problem' has been identified, we know what to do like well-oiled Singaporeans. (1) maybe a committee to look into the matter. (2) ...that will come up with a recommendation that public participation is necessary for this important work-life issue. (3) How best engage the public engaged into the decision-making process?...have a contest. Here is a tip if you want to win the contest...don't send in your entry at 10 PM from your office PC.

Did you hear about the retail mall in the UK, partly owned by GIC has banned swearing and hooded tops? That is really amazing…maybe they should also (1) ban chewing gum (2) ban littering (3) ban spitting and (4) ban eating and drinking for the convenience of all shoppers (5) stand behind the yellow line. All these measures are necessary so that the shopping centre can get the much sought after X factor.

By the way, have I apologized unreservedly oredi?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Ministry of Pop Culture

I also read a report about giving the rock ‘n’ roll industry a jumpstart and that it would add to the buzz that is supposedly lacking in Singapore. There is one quote that is hilarious…

“…I believe that society has to recognize that decision-makers in Singapore frequently lack the knowledge, vocabulary or awareness to properly deal with pop culture in a way conducive to its growth and development.”

For a moment, I was not sure if he was talking about pop culture or something else! But still, how can he say things like that? Our gahmen very on the ball you know. Don’t be surprised if we have a new Ministry of Pop Culture. We will become a hub for rock ‘n’ roll in the region and many pop bands will relocate their headquarters here. It will create many jobs for budding singers and musicians here. Speaking about budding singers, maybe the Minister for Pop Culture should be the next Singapore Idol. Mebbe we should also have a rule that nobody above the age of 30 can qualify to work for the ministry. Somehow the moment you cross 30, you will lose the knowledge, awareness or vocabulary to deal with pop culture. All staff at the Ministry will also be required to learn all Eminem’s song by heart. They can bring their electric guitars to office in line with the Ministry’s goal of making Singapore a pop culture hub. In order to encourage the heartlands to take to the arts, pop bands may also be allowed to play in HDB void-decks. Think about it...Linkin Park in the void-deck of Blk 6313, Toa Payoh St 43! Before you know it, all the aunties in your neighborhood will be rocking to pop tunes. Trust me, this will add more buzz to Singapore than you can ever imagine.

Gahmen Catch Phrases

There is an interesting letter to The Straits Times Forum today(11 May 2005). Film-makers here want to know what is considered a political film that may be banned because of the Films Act. I was a bit taken aback that ST would act actually publish a letter that addresses the OB markers so directly. I was thinking about what a response from the gahmen might be and I could think of a few catch phrases…

Multi-racial society
Multi-religious society
Multi-religious society
Political stability
Foreign investment
Social cohesion
And last but not the least….SURVIVAL!

Can you think of anymore that might come up in the reply?

On a side note, kudos to the author who actually penned the letter and was brave enuf to send it in…impressive!

Smoking in Nature Reserves

Today, the trees in Singapore are grateful to our gahmen for banning smoking in nature reserves (see The Straits Times, “Smoking banned in nature reserves”, 11 May 2005, p.5). While we again resort to more statistics about bushfires (400 out of the 637 bush fires from Jan-Mar 2005 were set off by smokers) being the reason of the ban, I am sure nature is forever indebted that we are taking measures to protect them. Surprising, don’t you think? The nature here does nothing to contribute to our economy and yet we take steps to save them from harm. Must be a first…

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

PRs in Singapore: Getting the best of both worlds?

In my book, Today scored a brownie point by publishing an article on PRs in Singapore (See Today, “Time to raise the bar for PRs here?”, 10 May 2005, p.3). Before I go on to address the concerns raised, there were a couple of things that struck me while reading the piece.

Every time we want to address any problem here, the comparison with other countries happens without fail. For instance, the author mentions Qatar and Dubai in the article. Somehow the fact that other countries have put in place policies similar to the one we want to suggest, makes us want to give them prominence.

Another noticeable feature of the article is the emphasis on the economic aspect of permanent residency. Sadly, this is a clear reflection of how our brain is trained to function. Is there economic benefit for me by having PRs in my neighborhood? If yes, let them be. If not, what’s the point of them being here?

After that preamble, onto the main body…

First, there is a common misconception that PRs have all the benefits of a citizen without the responsibilities. I have come across many Singaporeans who do NOT know that PRs cannot buy subsidized flats from HDB. Even if they do buy property (as opposed to renting one), they have do so from the resale market. In addition, PRs cannot vote – a privilege (or responsibility as the gahmen might say) that only Singaporeans have.

Second, the author makes a reference to our ambitions of being a global city with a lot of buzz (whatever that means!). He admits that we are not at the stage where Singapore can be called a “truly global city”. But hey… his suggestion of getting PRs to but private property here does nothing towards this goal.

Third, there is another fallacy that PRs in Singapore are very rich. They can afford to buy private property but they still go for cheaper housing with subsidies. The author’s disdain for a hawker’s assistant being a PR is distressing. If the official line was that only rich people can become PRs, trust me, many of our ancestors would not have qualified.

Having said that all this, the author does raise an important point about the immigration system in countries like Australia. It is indeed true that the immigration system here although efficient, leaves much to be desired when it comes to issues of transparency. Publicly releasing the criteria to become a PR is a first step in this direction although I am skeptical about whether this might actually be put in place – who knows, it may a national security issue!

Most importantly, this article demonstrates how little we know about PRs in Singapore. Are they really here to milk Singapore of all its wealth? Do they indeed have the best of both words as the author would have us believe? Maybe we should hear from the PRs themselves…

Some people have asked me whether I am Singaporean or a PR. Does it matter? As Foucault said, it’s not the author that matters but the author function.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Shopping, Painting, Discriminating and Studying

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw today’s headlines that we are still a shopping paradise (see The Straits Times, “S’pore still shines as a shopping paradise”, 9 May 2005, p.1). Were they talking about the pasar malam near my flat? No, it was all about high-end branded goods. They had photos of an Apple iBook, a Christian Dior bag and a Omega watch and compared prices between Singapore and different cities.

Hey, wait a minute….the Omega watch was cheaper in Bangkok by nearly $300, the Christian Dior bag was cheaper in Hong Kong by $50 and the only listed product where we beat the rest was the Apple iBook by….[drumroll]….$5. That’s right, please come to Singapore if you want to save five bucks off your $1300+ laptop!

I called a local shop here to check the price of the iBook and was surprised that the listed price does not match the one in our newspaper? I knew our dear national paper can never make such factual errors, so I decided to actually read the article in full. Lo and behold, the survey on which the article was based was actually commissioned by ….[drumroll]…. Singapore Tourism Board !! No lah, don’t get me wrong….I am NOT suggesting that the study was fixed. I’m just skeptical that the report would have made the front page if we had not been FIRST.

And finally I found what I was looking for…. the survey compared prices when tax refunds were applicable! Since we locals do not get GST refunds, we have to pay more than the richie rich tourists who come to Singapore. Well, if we are prepared to pay an entrance fee of $100 to a casino, anything’s possible.

By the way, I also read that officer cadets now get to use paintball guns (see The Straits Times, “Officer Cadets take aim with paintball guns”, 9 May 2005, p.H1). Am sure that out of all the colors they use, brown will be excluded coz none of them will want to get browned. For the uninitiated, the phrase ‘to get browned’ comes from a popular local blog mrbrown after he ran an April Fools joke about transparent laptop screens.

Just when the forum pages of our newspaper is filled with issues of racism (like the recent case of a condo not hiring Indian guards), we have to enlighten Singaporeans that things are not so rosy outside this little red dot island. See for instance, the article on page 3 on why good-looking Pakistani men need not apply for jobs in the country up north (see The Straits Times, “Handsome Pakistanis need not apply”, 9 May 2005, p.3).

At a time when our kids are struggling with homework that reaches the roof, I am glad to note that the Singapore syllabus is being spread around the region (see The Straits Times, “More of Asia learning the Singaporean way”. 9 May 2005, p.3). And the reason why our education seems to be so attractive is because our schools have “discipline, good behavior, imaginative and effective programs”. Discipline – maybe. Good behavior? How come we forget about the teen sex report just a couple of days ago? Imagination? I think the less said the better.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Beware of the China Woman

There seems to be a lot of in-house competition in the Singapore media. The Sunday Times is taking on The New Paper head on. Last week, The Sunday Times featured Exotic Dancing at the CCs and this time it is the Wicked China Wife.

I think this week’s main story (see The Sunday Times, “Beware of my wicked wife”, 8 May 2005, p.3) is about how a woman from China cheated her Singaporean husband of $100,000. It is written for the sole purpose of scaring people away from the ‘China woman’. Isn’t it funny how the report conjures a picture of women from China as scheming and bent on relieving you of your hard-earned wealth? If even for a moment you think (and I am sure that you don’t) that men/women from other countries would never cheat their spouses of their entire family savings….then God help you.

C’mon Sunday Times….tell us, is this case any special? Does it really matter whether the wife was from China, Batam or Latin America? Please……grow up.

Friday, May 06, 2005

The New Drug Abuse and Statistics

Did you hear about the new drug in Singapore? No, it’s not the new medicine in your doctor’s prescription. Neither is it ecstasy, heroin or cannabis. Introducing……serial teen sex !! That’s right….according to The Straits Times, serial teen sex is the new drug to hit town (see The Straits Times, “Serial sex: The new teen drug”, 7 May 2005, pp.S1-7). The articles include how a girl who is just 18 has had sex with 19 men oredi, the hazard of the internet, the ascent of the abstinence advocate and why it’s difficult to be a virgin today.

Now I am not sure if this kind of article may actually be flouting the law. Yeah…. according to me, such articles come under the rubric of solicitation. By running such a report, the paper is basically craving for responses from both conservatives and liberals. Good strategy this – write a special report on a vice in squeaky clean Singapore and you will have no problem filling your Forum pages for the next week, may be longer.

There will be one strand of ‘debate’ on whether it should be a school or the parents who should be educating the kids. There will be another on the need for law enforcement – like setting up a government agency like Central Teen Sex Bureau similar to the existing Central Narcotics Bureau. There will be more letters to the editor on how the gahmen should take into consideration public views. Probably even a committee. True Singaporeans know what works in this small island of ours – lobby urge the government to do something anything to stop the problem. As long as our national paper does not run such a story again, we can be rest assured that the problem has been adequately handled.

Although there does not seen to be accurate numbers of the number of teen sex offenders, but I cannot help but laugh at our obsession with numbers. Hands up if you have noticed how statistics get thrown at us to justify anything something. Take the case of anorexia in Singapore (see The Straits Times, “Eating disorder up sharply”, 7 May 2005, p.2). According to the article, the number of people with eating disorders has increased from 20-30 a year to 5 a week. In addition, “society has moved the BMI several notches downwards, to between 17 and 21”. In 1993, 1 percent of teenage girls suffered from anorexia but no up-to-date figures as yet. Moreover, 11 percent of patients were from the Trim and Fit program in schools. Whew! Enough oredi. I get the point the article is trying to make. But I am sure they can do better with less numbers.

Before I forget, The Straits Times finally ran the story today on the A*Star blogging saga, but I am sure it could have done better than page H14 of the Home section.

Today 2 Straits Times 0

Today beat the Straits Times 2-0 in a one-off match played on 6 May 2005. Today ran a report on an open forum with our Prime Minister that was featured on Channelnewsasia the previous day (see Today, “Dealing with the political Singaporean, 6 May 2005, p.1). Albeit late, it also featured a report on A*Star threatening to sue a blogger (who uses the pseudonym Acid Flask) after the dude disparaged the agency’s scholarship system and policies (see Today, "Student shuts blog after A*Star threatens to sue", 6 May 2005, p.4).

The Straits Times on the other hand, didn’t even mention these two reports. Yes, I know that Channelnewasia and Today both belong to the same family, Mediacorp but hey, if that is going to stop The Straits Times from running the former story, it’s a sad state of affairs.

By the way, here is today’s thought of the day from the first report in Today – “…if you don’t agree with the government and you think the government is wrong, then the way to do it is to go into the arena and say: I believe this, he’s mistaken, lets argue it out”. Remember hor, it does NOT say you should vote the Government out. You argue your case by giving feedback and the elected body will make the final decision. I thought you would appreciate the clarification :p

And if you are interested, read the other side of the blogger story

Thursday, May 05, 2005

The X-factor Air Terminal and Enviable UK Schools

The Straits Times reports that there is a contest to name the new airport terminal (see The Straits Times, “Low Cost Air Travel Booms in Singapore”, 5 May 2005, p.1). They want to give it some kinda X-factor….

Now we can be rest assured that with this contest there will a rush a letters to the forum with each one explaining why the new name should reflect Singapore or the Uniquely Singapore tagline. The Feedback Unit will be flooded with calls and before you know it, there will a new committee to shortlist the candidates for the new name. Of course, there will also be a SMS voting system similar to Singapore Idol. And last but not the least, there will be a referendum to decide the final name for the terminal because it is an issue related to national security – can you imagine how Singapore will survive without an x-factor name for our new low cost terminal?

Funny how fast people ‘move on’ from the casino ‘debate’.

The Straits Times also reports that school children in the UK watch pornography when their teacher is right behind them (see The Straits Times, “Shocking behavior ‘normal’ in UK schools, 5 May 2005, p.1). They also run around the classroom, talk on their handphones and hide under tables and even suggest sex to the teacher. I can bet that almost all school-going Singaporean boys will hate themselves for not going to these UK schools. Here they are, struggling to finish their homework and mugging for yet another exam, while their counterparts in the UK are having an awesome time.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Welfare States, Lovely Jobs, Fare Adjustments and Lost Maid

Singapore will never be a welfare state. This is because once welfare policies are in place....drumroll....the economy will spiral downwards, the whole society will be sent backward, the much-loved foreign talent and investments will flock to our neighbours and we will drown in failure. (see The Straits Times, 02 May 2005, “Improving workers’ lives remains top priority”, p.1). Don't you think welfare states like Australia and Denmark have a thing or two to learn from Singapore?

Speaking about jobs, if you had an offer to have your smiling photo on page 2 of the national newspaper along with an article on the company you worked for and were asked whether you found your job boring, would you dare to say YES ??!! (see The Straits Times, 02 May 2005, “Shipyard firms salutes its unsung heroes”, p.2) If you answered that question in the affirmative, you can be rest assured that your photo will not appear even in the classifieds.

Our local newspaper also reports that transport operators are planning to increase transport fares (see The Straits Times, 02 May 2005, “SMRT applies to raise fares”, p.3). I think there is now a new code of conduct for transport operators: Every time you use the word ‘fare’, the word ‘increase’ should never follow. If really necessary, use the word ‘adjustment’.

Still on our esteemed national newspaper, if you are looking for a person with whom you have not had contact with for over 35 years, what do you do? Put an ad on TV? Nope. Put an ad in the newspaper? Naah. Write to the forum editor and in a stroke of genius, your letter will get published under the ‘This & That’ complaints column. (see The Straits Times, 02 May 2005, “Looking for one-time domestic help”, p.H7)

Singapore creativity at its best !!

In conjunction with the new gahmen initiative, Singaporeans are using all avenues to show off their creativity.

A local tertiary institution launched a campaign to get their students to pick 'minor' modules. They had huge posters all around campus. Well, it looks like the person in charge of the ad campaign is an MJ fan.

P.S: The photo has been edited to keep the name of the tertiary institution in suspense.

Disagreements, Statistics and Exotic Dancing

This Labor Day in Singapore has at least two firsts.

Other than it being my first official blog entry, it also happens to be to the first time where an official has disagreed with Prime Minister in the same news article….yeah, you read right! The Sunday Times (01 May 2005, p.3) quotes the PM as saying “NTUC Club would close shop” without the millions earned in revenue from jackpot machines. A few sentences after, it quotes the chief executive of NTUC Club as saying “if these machines were taken away abruptly, I wouldn’t say we would have close, but the whole business model will have to change”. Ooooh…..not bad huh? Just to be on the safe side, I would make sure I have filed my taxes for this year…..and also run a check for all previous years!

The same article also goes on to say that Singaporeans spent $600 million on slot machines – something that is equal to 1/3rd of the health budget or the cost of 800 Ferrari cars. Now that is the kind of statistics that means….ummmm, nothing. Does it mean the amount of money I pay at hospitals will decrease? No. Does it mean that I will get at least Ferrari car or even a test drive in one? No. One lesson to be learnt though….statistics are useful if you want to fill up space.

All those who have also noticed that The Sunday Times is of late competing with The New Paper, hands up! Yeah, the picture accompanying the “Look at what they are teaching at your CC” headline (01 May 2005, p.1) is so....New Paper!! For the benefit of those who never got to read the article because of the drool, it’s about the teaching of exotic dancing at Kreta Ayer and Bishan CCs. The dance instructor is quoted as saying “exotic dancing is not sleazy. The moves accentuate a woman’s curves and are an expression of a woman’s femininity and confidence. It’s also about fitness training”(p.8). I totally agree !! Anyone who says exotic dancing is sleazy needs to have his brain checked. Can anyone please tell me whether these CCs have a viewing gallery?

DISCLAIMER

As a "mature and responsible" blog, I obviously have to start with a disclaimer. Before you even think about it, let me make it extremely clear that the intention of this blog is NOT to defame anybody with the exception of one person - ME ! This blog is just a random collection of thoughts that cross through my warped mind when I see life around me. It is not intended to offend anyone. And before I forget, this is a personal blog. It has nothing to do with my professional life (assuming of course that I have one!) and vice-versa. Now re-read this disclaimer till you can say it by heart.