t Double Yellow's Musings: January 2006

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.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Happy Chinese New Year!

Here’s wishing all readers a happy and prosperous Year of the Dog!

The long weekend has been a good break so far but today was off to rather somber start. Why you ask? Coz there was no The Straits Times or Today to make me laugh :)

Anyways, here are the qualities of people born in the Year of the Dog

People born in the Year of the Dog possess the best traits of human nature. They have a deep sense of loyalty, are honest, and inspire other people’s confidence because they know how to keep secrets. But Dog People are somewhat selfish, terribly stubborn, and eccentric. They care little for wealth, yet somehow always seem to have money. They can be cold emotionally and sometimes distant at parties. They can find fault with many things and are noted for their sharp tongues. Dog people make good leaders. They are compatible with those born in the Years of the Horse, Tiger, and Rabbit.

Now I'm not sure how many of those qualities are really true when you compare it to the celebrities born in the Year of the Dog.

Ava Gardner, actress
George W. Bush, President of the United States
Bill Clinton, Former President of the United States
Claudia Schiffer, supermodel
George McGovern, former presidential candidate
David Gilmour, guitarist & vocalist of Pink Floyd
Andre Agassi, professional tennis player
David Bowie, British Rock and Roll Musician
Madonna, singer, actress, author
Laura Bush, First Lady of the United States
Michael Jackson, singer, actor
Daniel Libeskind, architect
Donald Trump, Real Estate Tycoon, Host and Executive Producer of "The Apprentice"
Christopher Lee, actor
Steven Spielberg, director, producer
Sylvester Stallone, actor
Howard Shore, Canadian film musical score composer
Elvis Presley, singer
Viggo Mortensen, actor
Winston Churchill, former British prime minister
Herbert Hoover, Former President of the United States
Eric West, singer, actor
Uma Thurman, actress
Dakota Fanning, child actress born on February 23, 1994
Paul Butcher, actor from Zoey 101
Gary Oldman, actor, director, producer
Carleo Boza, voice actor
Mother Teresa, Albanian Catholic nun

Coz on one hand, you have George Bush and on the other Mother Teresa. No matter which way I look at it, I can never seem to put both of them together on any list :)

Oh and my wish for the New Year is that Singaporeans will treat their pets better… :)

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Thank You Mr. Newspaper

Today, one of our newspapers decided to make its readers happy by publishing only good news.

Such a charitable thought should be thanked. According to survey done by them, 89.5% of Singaporeans are happy. If that’s the case, the Happy Issue is probably meant for those 10% of people who dared to say said they were unhappy.

Anyways, I want to let our darling news media know that they need not try too hard to make me happy. They just have to keep doing what they do and it will put a smile on my face. Like publishing this letter which praises er, themselves :)

From here

Looking forward to Today

Weekend • January 28, 2006

Letter from Andy Heah

THANK you for being my constant companion in Australia where I am pursuing my undergraduate studies, and at home in Singapore where I am currently visiting.

Many thanks also to the everyday unsung heroes who have delivered the "hardcopy" version of Today to my doorstep in Bishan at 6.45am sharp, 6 days a week, rain or shine, since 2003.

Sometimes, some mysterious neighbour pinches my copy of Today if I wake up a little late, and leaves me frustrated for the morning. This has prompted me to set my alarm clock to ring at the delivery time so that I can get my copy before someone else does.

Still, I do not complain as I can get the afternoon edition of Today at the Shenton Way office where I am now an intern, or at the nearest 7-Eleven store.

I also avidly download your daily PDF version, forwarding it to my friends overseas to generate interest in the issues of the day, which may then be followed up by a blog or forum posting. In a way, your paper has been a catalyst in setting us thinking critically.

I have discovered a fondness for your Voices section, enjoying especially the articles presented in Focus on the Family, I Say, Face in the Crowd and Coffee With sub-sections. Other focus sections I have found valuable are Eat Out, News Comment, Succeed and CareersToday.

I am also heartened that you have chosen not to simply plagiarise blogger's entries like your competitor has, but instead have persuaded the doyens of the local blogging community — such as mr brown, Mr Miyagi and Izzy — to contribute articles.

This regard for bloggers, I reckon, is the envy of established papers elsewhere and the global blogosphere. Thank you and keep up the good work in the competition for eyeballs!

I never quite realized that one of our newspapers was now “the envy of established papers elsewhere and the global blogosphere”… oh well, today was meant to be a Happy Issue afterall :)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Introducing the Soccer Pitch GRC

Continuing the Uniquely Singaporean tradition of handling neighbor troubles, someone wrote to the newspaper yesterday about noise from soccer courts....

This letter is also a typical case of Singapore’s national hobby – compraining. He is a witness to teenagers hanging around everywhere – “sheltered walkway, playground, void deck, badminton court, pavilion, event hall etc”. He has supposedly also seen these teenagers “vandalise the facilities, shout vulgarities, misbehave with their female friends”.

And did this letter writer attempt to talk (and I don’t mean yell) to these teenagers? No! He instead decides to write to the newspaper and tells the gahmen – “I’ve done my part. Now it’s your problem”.

And his solution? Have the soccer pitch relocated!!!!

Yeah, let’s relocate soccer pitches from around the island to one area. And so that this locality accurately reflects Singapore culture, let’s call it…. [drumroll] …. Soccer Pitch!! Hey, we have done it before – calling Marina Bay as er, Marina Bay and more recently, Budget Terminal as ahem, Budget Terminal. Let all the vandalizing, vulgarity shouting and misbehaving teenagers go to this area allowing their fellow countrymen (like the letter writer) to live in paradise.

During election time, Soccer Pitch can be magically transformed into Soccer Pitch GRC. The winner can be chosen through a competition, possibly one of the very few in coming GE – who can shout Hokkien expletives, spray paint, frolic with his girlfriend and bend the ball like David Beckham all at the same time. Interesting, no? :)

P.S: I think some people need to be dropped off deep in the Borneo jungles. But then, they might just find access to the internet and write to the newspapers from there - and comprain on the lack of toilet paper or cable television.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Mr. Bomb-astic comes to Singapore

Ever since I read this interesting piece of news....

(The Sunday Times, 22 Jan 2006)

.... for some reason, I can’t seem to get this song out of my head....

Mr. Low-er Low-er
they call me Mr. Bomb-astic
say me fantastic
touch me in my back
they say bomb

Mr. Low-er Low-er
they call me Mr. Bomb-astic
say me fantastic
touch me in my back
they say bomb

Only in Singapore can you build a time-bomb with no chemicals whatsoever :)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Uniquely Singapore Guide for Neighbor Quarrels

Going by letters to the newspaper over the last week,

From here

And here

…. it looks like Singaporeans have neighbor problems. In order to resolve this issue, Singaporeans follow a distinctive guide.

- make louder noise than your neighbor
- close all doors and windows and make your flat sound-proof
- comprain to the police
- comprain to your town council
- comprain to your MP
- write a letter to the newspaper

Everything except talking to the neighbor and attempting to resolve the problem.

Somehow, if a neighbor thinks he is Nelly till wee hours of the morning or Wayne Rooney in the soccer court below your block, it’s the gahmen’s problem. They need to do something about this menace. The law-abiding Singaporean will inform the gahmen of the problem, maybe even offer some ‘uniquely Singaporean’ suggestions like fining noisy neighbors… once done, its not his/her problem anymore.

Maybe hor, Singaporeans need to start a petition to ban neighbors :)

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Did Race really matter? – Part III

For some reason, our media lurves to identify a person’s race for the fun of it. This is not the first time. This time, a man drowned near the Asian Civilization Museum a few days ago...

The deceased, a 27-year-old Indian man, was swimming wearing only a pair of boxer shorts early yesterday morning when he disappeared into the water.

Now, now... how exactly did the fact he was ‘Indian’ matter? Can only an Indian man drown in the Singapore River?

Well, here’s another one last week... a freak accident where a fridge fell three stories and hit a woman on a scooter.

The mini fridge, measuring 1m by 30cm by 30cm, rolled off a coffeeshop awning before hitting a Malay woman riding pillion on her husband's scooter in the carpark.

Again, does it matter that a Malay woman was riding pillion on the scooter? Would the fridge have not hit her if she was of some other race?

The identification with race only seeks to distinguish the victim as belonging to a certain community. This is ok if race does have something to do with the whole issue. The unnecessary use only seeks to deepen stereotypes about a particular community, something we can all do without.

Detractors will tell you that the use of race is only for description purposes. Really? How is this description attained? By the color of the skin? By the fact that someone wears a tudung, cheongsam or sari? How shallow is that? Racial identity is something that goes beyond physical descriptions. In a world of so many mixed marriages, the pigeon-holing of people into racial categories is passé.

I’ve also pointed out an earlier instance where our media have unnecessarily used race when reporting on PSLE results. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – removing race is a first step towards removing racism.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Uniquely Singaporean law for Bloggers

Wif all these stoopid bloggers getting into trouble for defamation and sedition and in the process keeping the Singapore authorities busy, there is a need to discuss the nexus between law and blogosphere.

This one not very simppel ok. We must be creative and come up with a uniquely Singaporean way of helping deviant bloggers. Here goes...

I think the courts in Singapore need to set up what can be creatively called Bloggers Court. In this court, all kings of blogger related cases can be heard – defamation lah, sedition lah, bloggers who attempt impersonate other bloggers, bloggers who anyhowly revoke votes etc etc. As a rule, all these bloggers need to given access to a lawyer whose ONLY aim is to expose the annual salaries of the person suing them :) This will put a lot of bloggers at ease....

Even if the blogger is convicted of the online crime, I think the blog should not be shut down. Instead, in a uniquely Singaporean manner, we should allow the blog to continue by adding the prefix ‘New’ to the blog name. You know, 'DoubleYellow' becomes ‘The New DoubleYellow’ :)

Surely, this is a win-win situation, no? :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Rain or Shine, Singapore grows

No matter what nature throws at us, our economy goes well. Shining sun, we do well. Pouring rain, we also do well. We is the Singapore!

Out of the gazillion things happening in our country, our media found this extremely ‘important’ piece of news. One of the taxi companies here, Comfort Delgro experienced a record number of calls for booking their taxis in a single day. 75,000 calls on 12 Jan 2006.

Wow! Am sure this is a world record. No? At least an Asian record. No? At least a Southeast Asian record. No? I mean, this has to be an achievement in some sense, correct or not? If not, it’s very unlike our media to even bother reporting such stuff :)

I think our journalists are very busy. When reporting the above article, they must not have had the time to enquire about

- the average number of calls Comfort gets in a day
- whether all the 75,000 calls came from different people
And most importantly,
- the number of those 75,000 calls who actually got cabs

Maybe our media thinks such questions are not important. I mean, the only thing that matters when elections are round the corner is that our gahmen-linked companies are doing well, rain or shine. Correct or not? :)

Friday, January 13, 2006

Say Hello to Media Astrology

Our media has acquired a new skill – astrology. On Tuesday, 10 Jan 2006, the TODAY newspaper, which is run by Mediacorp, reported that the most likely candidate as the co-host for Singapore Idol 2006 is Daniel Ong.

And guess what, a couple of days later, the new co-host of the show is … [drumroll] … Daniel Ong!! The TODAY newspaper then reported (12 Jan 2006) that they had "predicted" that Daniel Ong would be the co-host.

I wouldn’t have give much thought about this forecast coz Singapore Idol sucks if it were not for the fact that Singapore Idol is shown on Channel 5, which is run by ... [drumroll] ... Mediacorp!!.

Interesting. Very interesting. Maybe we intend to become Astrology Hub soon?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

How we can become World Beaters

In a HDB flat not so far away....

Father: Son, come here. I bought something for you.
Son: Yes Dad
Father: Here, this is for you

Father gives son a globe

Son: Thanks Dad. I’ll put it on my desk.
Father: No son. I want you to hit, punch and bang it.
Son: What?
Father: Yes. That’s about the only way you are going to be a world beater!

As if it were not enough that our local media keeps comparing us with other countries, Newsweek man Fareed Zakaria has done it too. The only difference in the latter analysis is that we are not the bestest in the world. He compares Singaporean and American students and asks why despite us doing so well in exams, we fare poorly in the ‘real world’.

The ‘real world’ according to Zakaria seems to be narrowly (and implicitly) defined as the world of ‘science’ and ‘business’. I don’t even want to dwell on the vast fields he has left out, not that Singaporeans have excelled any better in those. But what is lacking in Zakaria's assessment is causality - academic excellence in school does not necessarily translate into success in the world of 'science' or 'business', at least in Singapore's context.

In order to succeed in the world of science, there needs to be a passion for blue-sky research and a Phd is a must. The ‘problem’ with getting a Phd is that it takes a lot of time, commitment, money and passion to achieve. There are many Singaporeans with Phds and the zeal for science but once these people come back to Singapore, there is not much scope for blue-sky research. Why? Because getting the Nobel Prize is not one of our objectives. Read the following comment carefully and no prizes for guessing who made them....

'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.'

From here....

Let me clarify. I am not criticizing the person who made the above comments (scared, kenna sue). I am merely stating that there is no ambiguity as far as Singapore's objectives in science research is concerned.

So the main area for research here is when it can be converted to $$ and this leads us to the ‘business world’. Doing well in Math, Physics and Chemistry Olympiads have NOTHING to do with creating a product to sell in the market place. Succeeding in business requires a totally different skill-set. Journalists thrive on correlation but when causality is brought into the picture, they dont have a story.

Anyways, I’m probably gonna buy a globe this evening :)

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Wazzup with Cheapo Ads?

Looks like it’s that time of the year. Lotsa cheap ads on TV. Courts has this ad where they apologize for low budget ads and supposedly offer high quality deals.

I don’t understand this marketing strategy. They are saving on ad costs to offer better value on their products? Right, and I was born yesterday :) Coming to think about it, this might backfire in the future. Coz if their logic is right, a non-low budget ad from Courts anytime in the coming years will not be offering the bestest value :)

One of the worst ads ever..ever..ever made with a celebrity has to go to Tiger Beer with Jessica Alba. You can watch it here. Don’t ask me why, but I decided to pay a visit to Tiger Beer’s website and chanced upon an online poll.

The choices are hilarious! Maybe they took a cue from the options that Singaporeans have during election time :)

Talking about cheap beer ads, have you seen the new Carlsberg ad featuring Adrian Pang? Yuck! I know it’s for Chinese New Year and all, but does it really have to be that repugnant?

Saturday, January 07, 2006

I Lurve my Gahmen Campaign

Lotsa ppl say that when the gahmen calls for the updating the electoral register and the electoral boundaries are redrawn released, elections are round the corner. These so-called Singapore politics experts are missing an important piece in the puzzle.

The National Library Board has launched a campaign (yet another testament to our campaign hub status) called the I Love My Library.

This is not an ordinary campaign. It has come about because Singaporeans have this hobby of ripping book pages, napping in the afternoons and screaming loudly on their mobile phones. But this movement needs to be seen as part of a bigger picture. Come Election Day, we do not want Singaporeans oversleeping, tearing up their voting papers and shouting inside the election booths, do we?

I suspect that the timing of this campaign is part of the larger I lurve my Gahmen strategy :)

Update: If you thought I was kidding about voter antics on election day, check this out. The Elections Canada website informs its citizens that the ballot is not a McDonalds burger :) Found via Boing Boing

Friday, January 06, 2006

Singaporeans are a Resilient Blind Lot

As most of you know by now, we are going to have a mock terrorist attack on our MRT trains and bus interchanges. I think this is a good exercise to ensure that all our operating systems are in place. It is also to make certain that Singaporeans are resilient to such incidents. We need Singaporeans to go about their normal lives unaffected by such events.

The latter part I think we dun have to worry…

For one, when there is a dead body a foot away from us, we just continue to eat. More recently, there was a violent man on a bus with a pair of shears (The Straits Times, 5 Jan). A passenger confronted this man and wrote this letter to the newspaper…

When I asked the driver to call the police, he did nothing and went back to his seat. When I made the same request to the passengers around me, no one responded.

I am also dismayed that the passengers ignored my plight.

Even if King Kong came to Singapore, we would be oblivious to its existence until such time the gorilla decides to have an ad campaign and our local newspapers run a front page story.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

MP for Vote-For-Me GRC

Off late, I think our local newspaper anyhowly publishes stories. Take this for instance (The Straits Times, 5 Jan 2006)....

About dunnowhat lucky draw which I will never win. The article not just mentions where, when and what the lucky draw is about but also about what it was 'framed' in – well, it was a Chinese couplet. Not just that, also about who composed the couplet – a Member of Parliament (MP). Not just that, also which Group Representative Constituency (GRC) he/she belongs to.

Hmmm... maybe these news reports not so anyhowly anymore :)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Belated New Year Wishes

I know this is late. But hey, I make no excuses for having a life! :)

My first wish for 2006 was that the general elections will be held this year. Then I was like, thats gonna come true anyway. My second wish was that the incumbent government wins again. Then I was like, thats gonna come true also. So the ONLY wish I have for 2006 is that the local media continues to entertain me every morning as they have been doing so for the past few years! Brownie points everytime I spill coffee on the newspaper :)

If the first 4 days of the year are anything to go by, I think my wish will be more than fulfilled :)