Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas and relax lah!

To hell with the COE prices! The most buy second hand lah!

So what if we still can't get a good HDB flat! No flat, marry later, produce babies even later! Still got new immigrants to top up right!

Who cares who's going to win the election! Next year then say lah!

Don't you know it's Christmas NOW?

Some great man once say: When the ship comes to the wharf, automatically straight it will become! So go relax and come back next year to worry! Merry Christmas, my friends! :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Aunty, you give female drivers a bad name!

That's enough. I'm so having enough of people praising me that I park well. Whenever I managed to park my car without adjustments, one of the guys in the car could not help himself saying "Wah, your parking not bad har!". Yes sir, I've learned my parking well back in driving school and by the way I've been driving for more than 10 years, so why shouldn't I park well? And you should see their faces of admiration whenever I slotted my car neatly into a parallel parking lot.

Unfortunately, at this age of time, men can acknowledge a woman's capability to be a CEO but yet they still can't believe in a woman's driving skill, or worse, parking skill. But seriously, can I even blame them? While most of my girl friends and I have no problem when it comes to parking our cars, there are indeed some hopeless ones out there. And if I were to profile these ladies...

She is usually old enough to be called an aunty. And because this aunty is old enough, this means she has usually worked her way up her career high enough to draw a respectable pay, which means she will drive a large BMW or at least a Toyota Camry. If she happens to be married and with kids, she will drive an even larger MPV.

And how will these aunties park? Lemme illustrate those I've met...

Aunty #1 drove a SUV up a HDB multistorey car park. After she went up part of the slope to the next level, she suddenly reversed without warning or indication to park at a lot at the corner of the lower level, just before the slope. Of course the car behind her had a shock when he had expected her to go up the slope but instead saw her reversing into him. And of course she had successfully caused an accident.

Aunty #2 drove a Camry into a shopping center basement car park. After she parked into a lot, she realised the car next to her had parked on the line so she couldn't get out of her car. So she drove out of her lot again to find another lot. There was only one problem. When she drove out of her lot, she insisted on driving on the wrong direction of traffic for some reason and the whole row of cars have to watch her do multiple-points turn slowly and squeeze pass them even more slowly.

Aunty #3 drove a wide European car into a basement car park. She was quick in her parking and needed no adjustment. In fact she was so fast that I couldn't react fast enough to call her back and request her to re-park because she was parking so close to my car that my passenger had problem getting out!

Aunty #4 drove a MPV and found a parallel parking lot on a very busy road. I'm sure all of you have met Aunty #4 somewhere in your driving life at some point. She drove in and out of the lot in differences of 1 degree angle and meanwhile the whole road got so congested up that it should have been reported on the radio to warn other road users to avoid that road.

And of course we must not forget Aunty #5 who just have to reverse her car so slowly into the lot that you couldn't tell that her car was even moving.

Friday, December 17, 2010

To have 3-star toilets, have happy cleaners first

After only about 30 per cent out of the 30,000 restrooms in Singapore meet a three-star standard, must be from hotels and ATAS shopping centers like ION, the Restroom Association of Singapore (RAS) came up with some Inter-Agency Working Committee (IAWC) report, and targeted to have at least 70 per cent of the toilets meet that three-star standard by 2013.

And in order to draft a three-year blueprint sophisticated enough to justify their jobs and prove that they were working hard, the committee came up with some very out-of-the-box ideas that are totally out-of-touch with the people using and cleaning them.

Like an ERP system for toilets during peak hours. How original. I've written enough of the effectiveness of the original ERP system on the roads so I won't bore my readers here again. And anyway they are smarter than the committee to know when things won't work.

Like giving cleaners the authority to act as "inspectors" to warn or fine irresponsible users. So what will you call people that beat cleaners up in the toilets then? Toilet bullies?

And other ideas - like shared cleaning services, and better restroom lightings and brighter colours to influence improved user behaviour - are just... other rubbishes.

Enough focus on the toilet users. My suggestion to the committee is to look at the other side of the coin instead. The cleaners.

Cleaners are one of most exploited workers in Singapore, perhaps second only to construction workers and maids. One reason is that most of the cleaners are retired old folks who are less educated, and like what we have learned from robbers and con-men, they are the best candidates to cheat and not get caught. Thus cleaning companies find it difficult to resist the temptation of paying them extremely little and exploiting them further.

Unfortunately, most of my elder relatives, even my father, are cleaners, and what I'm about to reveal are real stories happening below the nose of the Restroom Association of Singapore.

When one of my uncle was working as cleaner in a office building downtown, he will always get his pay, which was about $600, at least three months late. The foreign workers were even worse. One of them had his pay delayed for more than six months.

When one of my aunties was working as cleaner in a secondary school, she did get her few hundreds dollars pay on time. But her company failed to pay for her CPF. In fact, the company did not submit CPF contribution for all of the cleaners.

When this aunty of mine resigned and joined another cleaning company, she did get her pay and CPF contribution regularly alright. But the company had a rule that all cleaners shalt not take sick leave. Meaning all sick leaves will be considered part of their 7 days annual leaves. Oh, also, when they are on sick leaves or annual leaves, they have to get a temporary cleaner to stand in for them, and get this... they have to pay for their own temporary cleaners.

My father is working as a cleaner in a NEA waste management plant in Tuas. He gets his pay on time, even his CPF contribution, though not on time. But when I last checked his CPF statement online, I discovered that his company's name has been changed from Company A to Company B. Nope, his employer is still the same and they did not change their company name. Due to the Government's tightening of the import quota for foreign workers, his company has apparently set up a new company and transferred the names of all local cleaners in Company A to Company B, so as to employ more cheaper, better, faster foreign workers. Ah... so my father has become the Phantom of the Cleaning Company.

This is common sense. If the cleaners are not treated fairly, they are not going to be happy. And when the cleaners are not happy, most probably they won't be doing their best at their work. So dear RAS president, I'll suggest that you grab a cleaner out of a toilet and ask him whether he is happy. This might put more practicality to your sophisticated three-year blueprint.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gimme back my Singlish speaking waiters and waitresses!

First of all, let me declare that I'm not xenophobic. I work in a MNC with more than half of my colleagues from the rest of the world outside Singapore, and I really have no problem working with India Indians, China Chinese and what not.

However at the same time, that doesn't mean I love to be surrounded by foreigners 24/7. And with the rate that foreigners are coming onboard, we are seeing one foreigner for every two or three Singaporeans now. Which means that I'm still surrounded by foreigners after I get out of my MNC office. I know this shouldn't bother me because gahmen said foreign talents are good for us and I should take it as a good Singaporean. But when these foreign talents start to conquer culinary positions, they start to get on my nerves.

Did you realise that when you order a kimchi soup from a Korean stall in the food court, it is most probably cooked by a China Chinese chef? Did you realise that the local delicacy chili crab that you're offering to your overseas guests might not be cooked by a Singaporean? Did you have problem understanding what the sweet counter gal at a fast food chain is saying, only to realise that she was asking whether you want to "upsize or add any dessert", in English?

When I take a coffee break at the kopitiam, my favourite kopi aunties has been replaced with some young China gals, and my kopi-C siew dai always turn up as kopi-O siew dai, kopi-C without siew dai, or simply kopi. These days I just order Milo to be safe.

When I go to a steakhouse for some good steak, I have to give my order in Mandarin. That didn't really challenge me much because I can always point at the menu when I'm too lazy to do mental translation. The only problem is she has no idea what is "medium rare" and I've got no idea medium rare equals to how many percent cooked. Luckily there is still a local floor manager who can translate my medium rare to whatever percent cooked.

Recently when I had dinner at a Japanese restaurant at Suntec City claiming to sell only authentic home-cooked Japanese food, I had the illusion that I was at Manila. All the waitresses there were Filipinos and believe me, it is not easy to understand a Filipino pronouncing Japanese dish names.

I'm really not xenophobic and I don't care that a foreign worker quarters is located just down the street from where I stay. But seriously, I just want to order my food and eat in peace. I just want my waitress to say "How you want your steak? Medium rare har. You want baked potatoes or fries?".

Friday, December 10, 2010

Second hand car market is back in business

The last COE prices are simply crazy. The price that I paid for my 1.6L car three years ago can only get me a piece of obscenely expensive invisible paper now. For the COE prices to shoot up the sky, there must be mountains of bids received for the month, which means there must be showrooms full of people buying cars. So much for the purpose of the COE is to deter people from buying cars.

Seriously, if you think that the the real purpose of the COE system is really to deter people from buying cars, then you must also believe that the $100 levy is really to deter Singaporeans from gambling. Which means you are either too pro-government, too rich, or too naive. If the COE system would have worked in keeping Singapore road traffic smooth, then why do we have the ERP system? DUH!

Firstly, why won't the COE system deter people from buying a Toyota Vios in Singapore that costs as much as an Audi A3 Cabriolet in the UK? Because people who buy new cars in Singapore are either too rich, because they have been rich all their lives, or just won 4D/Toto, or received a 2.5 months bonus; or they don't have a choice, because they work till the moon comes up in remote parts of Singapore with limited public transport, like Tuas, or have a handful of kids, parents and maids to transport around. So even if the COE price touches the million mark, they might still consider.

And then for the rest of those who have simply given up on the cannot-make-it public transport, but cannot afford the Audi-priced Vios, the COE system will not deter them from buying a second-hand car. For some of us, this gives a sense of deja vu when the COE prices were just as high about 10 years ago and you can only see P-plates on second-hand cars. In this case, higher COE prices only means it is time for those salespeople to move out of car dealers like Borneo Motors, brush up their smoking skill and get into the booming second hard market.

So in summary, what is the effect of high COE prices? You've still got the same number of cars on the roads, but expect more traffic jams because of more old second-hand cars breaking down.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Jurong is the illegal parking heaven

Now I get it. Why is it that despite all the foreign workers quarters with their foreign workers, all the pollution from all kinds of factories, and despite it is too freaking far from anywhere else in Singapore, there are still so many people moving over to stay in Jurong. Because Jurong is the illegal parking heaven.

For the cyclist, Jurong is the illegal parking heaven to ride your bicycle to anywhere and park everywhere. Trees, railings, lamp posts, or any other vertical objects are there for you to lock your bicycle to. You just have to make sure your lock is strong enough and your bicycle old and dirty enough so that it does not get stolen. But even when it does get stolen, no worries, you can always steal another loosely locked one on the next tree.

For the motorbike rider, Jurong is the illegal parking heaven where every pavement is your parking lot. Why park at the multi-storey carpark when you can just park your bike on the pavement beneath your flat? You don't have to worry about your bike blocking the pedestrians because in Jurong, they are trained to avoid motorbikes on pavements and walk on the grass or road instead.

For the vehicle owners, Jurong is the ultimate illegal parking heaven where double yellow lines are for decorative purposes only.

On week day morning peak hours, lorries and tracks will park on the road side of Pioneer Road North to load their goods and all other cars and buses will know to avoid that lane totally.

Private buses and vans will park on Boon Lay Way while waiting for the time to pick up their passengers and the students of Jurong West Secondary School know not to bother reporting to the school about suspicious vehicles parked outside the school.

The slope leading to the entrance of the multi-storey carpark next to Pioneer Mall is constantly lined with lorries and vans unloading goods, and even more cars while their drivers have a burger at MacDonald's.

Jurong Point itself is surrounded by illegal parking all year round and all day. On Saturday mornings, lorries park themselves right before the entrance to the carpark to do their unloading. The loading bay may be empty, but apparently too far from the stores. They must be concerned that their trolleys may not make it to the stores. And anyway it is not as if these lorries are totally blocking the the cars from the carpark and buses from the bus interchange. There is still another lane.

And here comes the cream of the crop. In the illegal parking heaven of Jurong, you can park your car along the road outside all kopitiams and have your meal in peace! Nope, the kopitiams in Jurong do not have some high tech super efficient officers alarm system. In fact, these kopitiams do not even have a lookout. The reason is simply because in Jurong, there is no such thing as parking violation officer.

When traffic police used to rule, you don't see one in Jurong. When the traffic police decided they have too much on their plates and shifted the responsibility of curbing illegal parking to LTA, you still don't see a parking violation officer in Jurong. Because in Jurong, parking violation officers are like ailens. You know they exist somewhere but you will never see them.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What have they done to deserve the 2.5 months bonus?

It is a no brainer that the best job in Singapore is to be at management level of a statboard, where your daily job is to channel jobs from the big guys on top of you to the poor guys below you, then send political emails to channel the jobs your poor guys could not cope with to the other departments' poor guys, also attend meetings to present PowerPoint slides that your poor guys have created, and for the rest of the day you can just la kopi and relac one corner.

Oh don't you worry about getting too little pay for your little effort. As long as you've got the right papers, you can expect an offensively huge pay check, even more if you are a scholar, and regardless of job experience. And when the rest of the world is still struggling with economy recovery, you'll still get a generous 2.5 months bonus! Still not enough? Try siphoning some rewards for yourself from the countless contracts for external vendors. As long as you are discreet enough, nobody will notice your Lamborghini. Well, at least for quite a few years. So now who says that the best job in the world is in Australia?

Right at this point, some of you might be accusing me of stereotyping, especially when I do not work in a statboard. Yap, despite my papers and experience, all my applications to all the various statboards only ended up in shredders. Hey, I was so eager that I've even sent resume to the allegedly more boring statboards like NLB and NPB for junior positions that are held by my subordinates! Some said I must have been rejected because I was asking for the same pay as a freshly graduated scholar, which is probably too much to ask for since all I've got is more than 10 years of experience and a normal honors degree from a normal UK university. With such resume, I could only work for MNCs listed on NASDAQ.

So instead, I'll tell you real stories of some statboard managers, painfully obtained by the countless nights of grumble calls I get from my unfortunate friends who have to work under these bosses. Wonder what did they do wrong in their past lives to deserve such bad karmas.

He is the one who asks his next-in-line to do his own tasks and reports, and when the next-in-line said she have no idea how to do his job, he says "If you don't know, I lagi don't know! Can you go find out?"

He is the one who organise one-to-one interviews with the whole office to find out how critical it is for them to have a particular stationary that costs SGD12 each before signing on the procurement request.

She is the one who bought Hello Kitty pink flowery guestbook for the guests attending an industry seminar organised by her department. No, those guests are not pre-school teachers but managers from various SMEs and GLCs.

He is the one who goes into panic mood whenever there is a quarterly meeting with higher management and always ensure that his next-in-line attends the meeting with him, and when questions are asked in the meeting, he stares at his next-in-line and waits for the answers.

He is the one who traveled to China to cut a deal with the potential partner, but after days of meetings, refused to sign on the dotted line because he needed to check with his boss back home. And of course in the end someone else from a private company got the deal.

She is the one who takes annual leaves on days when there are deadlines to be met and important meetings to attend.

She is the one who was expecting an overseas VIP who was critical for a partnership deal, and she asked her PA to email their address to this CEO instead of asking someone to receive him.

He is the one who nervously had a talk with his subordinate who closed 4 deals for the financial year when the sales target was actually 2. His subordinate was advised to slow down.

There are so many more examples yet to be cited and in order to relate them all, I would need to start a new blog for this specific topic altogether. Seriously, I hope the 2.5 months bonus is enough to compensate the mental torture that my statboard friends have to go through.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Who gave these architects the license to build?

Oh yes, we have heard how the four-hundred-thousand-dollars-an-unit Pinnacle and the Helix Bridge linking to the super luxurious Marina Bay Sands have won some International architectural design awards. We have also seen how we built the magnificent and expensive ION with huge LCD screens and pretend to be Shibuya. But are we really that good in building stuffs?

Because I've noticed that our architects seem to be always aiming for the big picture but missing all the small details. Like how they built the contemporary and futuristic looking bus stops with benches that are not designed for sitting.

Or when a neighbourhood mall was launched near my place, the residents discovered one escalator going up, but none coming down. Perhaps the architect felt that was the perfect way to ensure that the residents spend more time shopping in the mall. Eventually, one or two months later, probably after some complaint letters and phone calls, the downwards escalator was built.

Some may say "Aiyah, they must have used some kuching kurap architect lah! Neighbourhood mall only mah!". Then is the Singapore Expo a huge enough project?

Recently I visited the Singapore Expo for some exhibitions and thanks to the rainy season now, I finally get to see one unique design hidden in the Expo. Do you know that the roofs outside the halls have holes? I'm referring to those roofs that extend out of the main building to provide shelter for the food court and other eating places. On a sunny day, they protect you from too much sunlight when you dine alfresco. And on a rainy day, they provide a spectacular water-fall in rain forest visual effect and the eating places can call it a day or provide rain coats for their customers.

The other sight that is more spectacular than rain drops falling on tables and chairs will be the toilet queues. While there are up to ten conference halls capable of accommodating thousands if not hundreds of visitors, the architect felt confident that not all conference halls will have an event at the same time, and not all visitors will need to go at the same time. Which is why there are only three cubicles in each of the washroom next to a conference hall.

Friday, November 19, 2010

We are grooming mafias and pedophilias

Downtown East, Bukit Panjang, Ang Mo Kio. Nope, these are not the estates where so-called affordable BTO flats are going on sale now. Your new home is still going to be in some ulu places like Punggol and Woodlands. Those are the places where you might see more policemen who miss their computers and naps in the police posts, where hardware shops might call 999 while packing your chopper, where teenagers might be hiding parangs instead of iPads in their big school bags. These are the teenage gangs war zone.

Apparently before the gahmen split the land for the election, the teenage gangs decided to that it is in their best interest to split their own jurisdiction first. Just in case they end up with a MP that their bosses don't like. I can imagine their bosses' speech to be like...

Gang big boss: Brothers! All these years we've had a good time hanging around Jurong. But this place is no longer the same! Last time the whole park is ours one, but nowadays here got too many Banglah sleeping and China people making out liao! We need to move on and progress! We need to expand our territory! To Downtown East, Bukit Panjang or Ang Mo Kio also can!

While the Secondary School/Poly/ITE teenage gangsters are stealing the headlines, that doesn't mean our scholars are just going to sit down there and watch their not-as-good countrymen grab all the attention. And because they are scholars, they are supposed to be more intelligent (they have to be right? After all the money that are spent on them!). Merely one scholar is adequate to snatch back all the limelight from the gangs of teenagers. Enters Jonathan Wong, a MOE scholar studying at the University of York in Britain.

So how did Jonathan become famous overnight and give the Home Team a break from getting blamed by Singaporeans for MIA when parangs and choppers fly in the air? Break a million dollars bond? Nah, too common. Such trivial news are only found in free newspapers distributed at MRT stations. Walk around Holland Village naked with a boyfriend? Nah, somebody had been there and done that. And anyway that will only put him on the evening newspapers next to the 4D results. Jonathan did better than that. This MOE scholar who could have a straight petals-filled path to the principal office of a top elite school was caught with the possession of 50 videos of hardcore child pornography.

Now this has really triggered the rage and panic buttons on most if not all Singaporeans. What is wrong with the young Singaporeans? The stupid ones join teenage gangs and go to courtroom to support their brothers who have just killed someone, the smart ones are busy downloading child porno, and the others are obese.

Is this happening due to our education system where Maths and Science are more important than Moral Education? Is it because their parents are too busy working than to teach them the right from wrong? Or is this the side effect of the great divide of rich vs poor or elites vs normal streams?

Whichever reason it is, it is clear that our young Singaporeans are out of control. Maybe someone of higher power should go tell them not to waste their life this way. Even if they do not know what are they defending anymore, they should not play with life. If they want to, do it on PS3 or XBox.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Oh just get rid of these annual fees, for goodness sake!

Seriously, I really don't understand the point of doing this. For the banks to charge us annual subscription fees for our credit cards.

Firstly, you bank people bug us from your roadshows in shopping centers and from your out-of-place booths in PC shows. Or call us up during our meetings and lunch dates. Or sms us at 8am on a weekend morning or 11pm on a weekday night. Offering us your credit cards for free without subscription fees and free gifts that can only be collected during our office hours.

When we finally succumb and added yet another credit card in our wallets, we have to be extremely vigilant to ensure that we pay at least the minimum amount in every month's bill. Else we will have to pay a late payment charge of $50 plus interest if we forgot to pay the $10 bill.

And because we greedy people took up the credit card to get you people off our backs, when the free subscription finally expires when we are not keeping track, you happily sneak in the hefty subscription fee in our monthly bill.

I understand that there is no free lunch in this world. At least not in this country. Since your credit card has provided us with the convenience in shopping more and eating more, we should be bowing gratefully and sending our offering to you promptly. But the fact is, your credit card can be free! So why not?

If we bother to scrutinise the long list of items in our bill, we can find the annual fee (and GST on the annual fee!) hidden somewhere. Then if we bother, we can spend one morning calling up the hotline, listen to music and complex instructions on what the numbers 0 to 9 stands for, then hang on for the next operator who is free because our calls matter to you. And when your operator finally answers the call, she will check up our account and (1) if we have been actively using the credit card, she will waive the annual fee because we have been loyal, (2) if we have not used the credit card even once, she will waive the annual fee so that we can try using the card for the year. So what is the point here? Why can't you just get rid of that stupid annual fee so that we can all go for tea-break instead of talking to your phone operators and jam up the hotline?

Oh yes, I know that we can use our points to redeem another year of subscription. But I have just used the few thousands points that I have accumulated by spending a few thousands dollars on a pair of movie tickets.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mata not enough?

When I was driving on the expressway this evening, I was pondering. Did I miss the news that Singapore is changing to left hand driving? Or have the cunning car manufacturers grown tired of building mini-buses and putting on a "MPV" label so that they can sell them at car price, so now they are building van-looking cars?

Because I saw three vans cruising on the right most lane on the expressway. One even went all the way to overtake a taxi, and judging from my speedo showing 90km/h, he was easily going at 100km/h. The last that I heard, the speed limit for vans is still at 60km/h. But I suppose we can't really blame these drivers for ignoring the limit when their vans have the necessary power to go beyond 60km/h. Especially when nobody is watching. Seriously, when was the last time that you see a traffic police?

During a car accident? Not necessary. If nobody is badly hurt or dying, the traffic police will not be there. As a rule of thumb, if the ambulance is not there, the traffic police will not be there. At places where people park like their grandfathers bought the road? Nope. It is no longer the responsibility of the traffic police to book illegal parking as this job has been handed over to the LTA. Which means you can now park your car on the double zig-zag yellow lines in front of a traffic police and all he can do is call LTA. Which means you can still park there for the next 2 hours and run your errands.

So what are all the traffic police doing then? Even YOG is way over and they don't have to go around the island fining drivers $130 anymore. So what is keeping them so busy that they don't have the time to catch taxis/vans/buses/lorries/long vehicles speeding at 120km/h on the expressways? I don't suppose traffic police are involved in NDP rehearsals?

In fact, even the patrol officers are not patrolling on the streets anymore. These days, in order to see a man in blue, you have to either wait for the next NDP or career fair, or visit a neighbourhood police post near you. Actually I can't really remember how a policeman uniform looks like anymore. For all I know, they could have reverted back to wearing shorts, especially with all the flood warnings these days.

Some people on the street are now blaming the police for not watching the streets, and thus leading to case after case of parangs gang fights. Oh yes, gang fight are back in fashion again, just like floods and prostitutes. These days you have to be careful about staring at the wrong person, especially when in Downtown East and Bukit Panjang. If not, the next thing you know, a gang of young men will run after you with their parangs, shouting some number codes on the way.

I really find it amazing that these people can just bring a parang along wherever they go. I mean, isn't that kind of heavy? And how do you hide it and not attract attention? Everybody knows that if you are holding a roll of newspapers, there must be a parang in it. We are trained this way by all the Hong Kong gangster movies. So how does one big group of young men carry their portable parangs up the MRT train or bus without someone calling the cops? Ahh. Now I know why all those vans were in a hurry.

So where are the policemen again? Well, I know. They are busy parking cars with fake bombs and smoke to test the public's vigilance against terrorism. But judging from how the fake bomb was planted, with smoke, wires peeking out from the car door, LPG cylinders wired to a device visible on the passenger seat, and ticking sounds that could be heard from the car, I suggest that they watch some of the CSI and Criminal Minds to find out how fake car bombs should look like. Because if I were one of the passerbies, I would have expected a bear to jump out of the car.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

千里之外改版之做工到死 Work Till You Die


千里之外改版之做工到死 Work Till You Die

本来六十二 后来六十五 现在六十八
我问了老板 是不是可以 留到六十八
老板笑一笑 拍我肩膀问 我在说笑吧
别说六十八 就算四十八 也给我滚吧

梦醒来 那天已到来 公司门大开
那薄如蝉翼的未来 经不起谁来拆

我送你离开 千里之外 加一声bye bye
这把年纪 或许应该 找些别的来做
我送你离开 天涯之外 去快餐try try
food court收盘 洗洗厕所 用一生 去工作

本来六十二 后来六十五 现在六十八
什么叫退休 什么享清福 我会看到吗?
现在没有leave 也没有money 只能去Sabah
到了六十八 膝盖没办法 长城无法爬

梦醒来 那天已到来 公司门大开
那薄如蝉翼的未来 经不起谁来拆

我做清洁工 赚那几百 还不够还债
CPF里 几十万块 可是拿不出来
我没六十八 不能退休 不可以问why
food court收盘 洗洗厕所 用一生

我送你离开 千里之外 加一声bye bye
这把年纪 或许应该 找些别的来做
我送你离开 天涯之外 去快餐try try
food court收盘 洗洗厕所 用一生 去工作

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Are you the one who's not working good better best?

One minister said that Singaporeans are not doing exceptionally well in their job. In fact, he feels that Singaporeans are only doing 75% of their best effort. Not 90%, not 60%, but a precise 75%. I wonder how he gets 75%. Guts feelings? But he is not a race driver leh. Sixth sense? But he is not psychic leh. Then it must be from some statistic calculation from some complicated surveys that involve only some specific clusters of the population. But if a surveyor asks you how hard you work, will you say "I only put in my 75% best lah, rest of the time I relac one corner one!"?

But most importantly, are we Singaporeans really only working at our 75% best? Not my colleagues and me who work in a MNC when we even volunteer to attend night conference calls just to ensure that our projects can be launched successfully. Not my friends working in SMEs who have to multitask on their multiroles to ensure that their small companies survive. So who are those Singaporeans who are only doing their 75% best?

Mr Minister must be referring to some of the waiters and waitresses at some small restaurants who don't serve their customers fast enough and when they do they serve the wrong order. But wait. Mr Minister won't be dining at these cheapo places. I'm sure he receives 110% best service at those five-star Michelin-rated restaurants.

Or Mr Minister must be referring to the nurses in polyclinics who make their patients wait 75% of the day or till they drop dead, whichever that comes first. But wait. When Mr Minister is sick, he won't be queuing at these polyclinics. I'm sure at one call, his house doctor will rush to his house to check on his pulse.

Mr Minister will also be too busy to go on factories visit to check on the operators. He also won't be able to tell how people work in SMEs because he won't know where to find them. So how does he know that Singaporeans are happy with 75% best and do not have the urge to want to go much further and to be exceptional?

People tend to relate to things they see or hear in their natural environment. So if Mr Minister feels that way, he must be surrounded by such colleagues or subordinates in the place that he works in. Now it makes sense. Because Mr Minister works in a statboard.

Actually I get it now. He must be referring to those people who thought that the train graffiti was some kind of advertisements. Or those people who failed to do anything about flooding in Singapore until Orchard Road flooded N times. Or those people who failed to check that the real YOG certificates have real signatures. The only argument is that they were also not doing their 75% best. They were doing their 25% best.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

No sponsor? No support for the Singapore teams getting lost and losing weight

The Amazing Race Asia is showing tonight, and I just can't wait to see the teams struggle with unbelievable tasks in even more unbelievable countries. And most importantly, I must remember to record the show for my cousin because he has not subscribed to the cable TV. Yap, The Amazing Race show is shown on our free-to-air TV, but not the Asia version. Perhaps because we have always been told that we aim to be a global city, but never an Asian city. Oh, and also perhaps Mediacorp didn't get a sponsor.

You see, because the free-to-air Mediacorp is supposed to be not making too much money out of the people, so all TV programs have to be sponsored. Even those low cost drama series produced by themselves. And since no company has offered to sponsor The Amazing Race Asia, sorry fellow countrymen, you can't cheer for the Singapore team for free.

When Claire and Michelle were sabotaged by those two stupid Indian women, it were the Starhub TV AXN Channel Subscribers who held their breath and hoped that they did not get eliminated. Hell, when Collin and Adrian won The Amazing Race Asia season 2, only the Starhub TV AXN Channel Subscribers could cheer for them!

Same for The Biggest Loser Asia. With as many as 4 Singaporeans trying to get healthy in this season, only the Starhub TV Diva Channel Subscribers are there to support them. Mediacorp may argue that they have already given us our very own Lose To Win (of course sponsored by the HPB!) so we don't need to watch The Biggest Loser Asia. Right. Michelle Chia and Gurmit Singh can definitely give better fitness advices than professional trainers Dave Nuku and Kristy Curtis.

Now I know why is it that I can see the season 1 Filipinos showing off their flag proudly wherever they go, but not the season 2 Singaporeans. Because they know no Singaporean is going to see the flag anyway! Oh, except for the Starhub TV Diva Channel Subscribers.

You know what, I think the Starhub TV AXN Channel Subscribers and Starhub TV Diva Channel Subscribers deserved a National Award for cheering the Singapore teams getting lost in Sri Lanka or losing weight in Kuala Lumpur, when other Singaporeans are not there for them. And our subscriptions are not cheap.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's up up and away for the ERP charges!

I always believe that our public transport system is designed by people who drive and the ERP system is designed by people who drive Audis and BMWs. That is why our public transport system does not work and the ERP system is sucking us dry. "Oh come on, it's just $4! The Pain de Campagne that I take for breakfast cost more than that!". Oh yes. If the people pricing the ERP system get another pay raise, we can anticipate a $10 ERP charge.

Of course the gahmen is constantly trying to convince the people that the purpose of the ERP system is to lessen the congestion on our roads and not to earn money. Just like how the $100 levy for locals is meant to discourage them from getting into the casinos. All for the good of the people.

But in the very first place, does increasing the ERP charges work in releasing congestion? Perhaps we should first look at why are the roads congested during peak hours. Er... because everybody is on the road at the same time? But why? Because all offices and schools start at the same time! DUH! So will increasing the ERP charges lessen the congestion any way?

If increasing the ERP charges will indeed deter people from using the roads during the peak hours, does that mean we should change our life style so that we don't inconsiderately congest the roads at the same time everyday? So we should send our kids to school early so that they can squat outside locked school gates at 5am? And we should stagger our working hours to start work at 11am/2pm/3pm and go home at 8pm/9pm/10pm?

According to those people living in their little cubicles in LTA, the ERP rates are raised when speeds on a particular road fall below the optimal range, and are lowered when they fall back within optimal range. According to me, I think they should put on their sunblock lotions and take a field trip to these speeds-below-optimal-range roads.

See that whole lane occupied by roadwork for the last decade? See the other two left lanes occupied by heavy vehicles? See that left over lane occupied by slow moving aunties/uncles/P-plates?

Seriously, the gahmen has to stop thinking that money solves everything. COEs do not stop people from having cars because our public transport system cannot make it. ERP charges do not stop people from using the only roads to take them to their kids' schools and to work.

But increasing night parking charges at over 1,300 carparks from $2 to $4 does work to solve the overnight parking crunch. Because I can imagine people starting to call up their parents, "Ma, we won't be coming over for dinner anymore. Parking too expensive lah. So you take a bus over to my place, can?"

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My insurance agent is too hardworking

My new insurance agent has been so getting on my nerves. My previous favourite agent, who will ignore me for 364 days in a year except for one when she will call to ask whether I want a free desktop calender, has left and thus the insurance company has assigned me this new agent. We met up to do the transfer documents and she looked like a nice and understanding aunty to me. But I didn't know then that "persistent" is a more suitable adjective to describe her.

I should have known. When we were going through my financial profile, she tried very hard to find any extra hard cash or CPF money lying around. She wanted to know exactly how much I am paying for my house loan, car loan and whatever installments for my latest gadgets. When she realised that I am cash poor, she turned to my CPF money, but I disappointed her that there is a financial adviser guy managing the investment of my CPF money.

"But you should not put all your eggs into one basket, you know?"
"But we're investing in different funds of different natures and he has been growing money for me."
"But how can you trust all your CPF money to him?"

Right. I should not trust all my CPF money to a guy who I have known for five years and has been making profit for me all these while. I should trust you who I've known for only one hour.

The day after we met, I immediately regretted leaving her with my business card. She called me at 10am in the morning at my office phone and asked whether I could introduce my HR Manager to her, so that she could sell her company's medical insurance to the whole company. I gave her the email address of our Global HR Manager somewhere in US. "Oh... so your HR department is not in Singapore?". Aunty, of course I've got a local HR Manager, but what makes you think that I'm willing to embarrass myself for your sake? What makes you think that someone at the lower end of the food chain like me can convince my HR Manager to terminate our current medical insurance deal with an established International insurance company and start a new contract with a little agent like you?

Then she had another idea. She wanted me to introduce my colleagues to her. Well that was more reasonable. I told her to hand me some of her business cards when we meet up next time so that I could distribute them. But whether the cards end up in their wallets or the rubbish bin is out of my control.

Eventually I also realised that I'll definitely receive a call from her whenever the insurance company launches a new policy.

"Hey, we've got this new Smart Lady rider which is very good for you! It pays out a lump sum upon diagnosis of major female illnesses and even covers treatment expenses for a variety of female related procedures! You can even get free female medical checkup every two years!"

Great. So after having bought all sorts of critical illness riders that promise to cover almost all sorts of critical illness known to mankind and unknown to me, now the insurance company is telling me that they've actually missed out on some critical illness that only affect women, and I need to get another rider? What's next? White Collar Workers Critical Illness Rider that insures me against illness caused by too much computer usage? Singapore Drivers Critical Illness Rider that insures me against stupid drivers on the road? Movie Goers Critical Illness Rider that insures me against watching too much 3D movies and spoiling my eyesight?

A couple of weeks later, she called again because the company has launched another new rider that offers financial support right from the early stages of critical illnesses. I'm pretty sure the insurance company will soon launch another Last Stage Crisis Cover that offers financial support right at the last stage of critical illnesses to cover a luxurious last travel trip to Europe and a luxurious last meal of Wagyu steak at the Morton’s made by the chief chef.

Anyway, to save her from all the calling and me from coming up with all the excuses to not meet up with her, I suggested to her that she could email me in future because I can be easily reached by email and I check it everyday. What I forgot to mention is that it'll also be easier for me to mark her emails as spam.

Dear Insurance Aunty, I know that you're just trying to make a living, but I'm not your new whale. I'm just a poor ikan bili.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It's the "Haze gets in your eyes" time again

Imagine this. You're staying in a landed property with a beautiful house. As a successful businessman, you furnish your house with all the latest and fanciest. Some guys have a playroom for their kids? You made a bigger one and filled it with all the latest and expensive toys, regardless whether your kids play them. Some guys have a little poker card room for socialising? You made space for two.

You run your family meticulously and you pride yourself in keeping your house sparkling clean. You deduct your kids' pocket money if they throw rubbish around the house, and you employ maids to clean up if they do.

However your authority only stops at your house's gate. The neighbourhood bully is staying just next to you. They have a big house and lots of kids and relatives. You know they are into some murky business, but you dare not poke. When people ask about your relationship with your neighbour, you just smile and say you are friends. You even lent him a huge sum of money when he got into financial trouble during the last crisis in 1997. When he didn't bother to pay back, you don't dare to ask.

You figured out that you will have a better life by staying clear of that family's path and mind your own business. But once every year or two during the school vacation, the bully's kids will invite their friends over for BBQs in their big garden. Because they have the biggest garden in the neighbourhood, they have lots of BBQ pits in their big garden. During these times, the bully's kids will party non-stop and BBQ endlessly, lighting up pit after pit. As a result, it gets so smokey that even their house is hardly visible among all the smoke, and when the direction of the wind changes, you have a share of the smoke as well.

All these smoke from the bully is affecting your family. You have to warn your grandma who has asthma about going out to the garden, and you have to stop your kids from playing outdoor sports. You are living in an air of choking BBQ smoke and it is driving you crazy. Each time, you tried to talk to the bully about the smoke, all he said is "Oh, I already told them not to light up so many BBQ pits, but you know kids will be kids right? I can't control so many of them 24/7 right? There's not much that I can do! I'm sure you can understand right? Hahaha!"

When the other neighbour come over to play Monopoly, you'll try to get him to talk to the bully too.

"You're also affected by the smoke right?"
"Yah! Alamak! The wind is blowing the smoke all over the place! Everyone around the area kena lah!"
"Then you still allow your kids to run around outside?"
"Ah doi! Brudder, they old enough to take care of themselves lah! Actually sometimes you too protective over your kids already lah!"
"But still, don't you think we should go talk to him again?"
"Can also lah! Wait I see when I free, okay? Hey you want to exchange that piece of land with my railway station?"

This neighbour does work with you to advise the bully at times, but you two know very well that the most that the bully does in return is to put out one or two pits, but his kids will light them all up again some time later. But hey, what can you do? Just suck it all up and wish for the the smoke to go away soon lor!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How many more?

The other side of Your Singapore that foreign visitors didn't get to see.

Spread the video for good social cause.

More details coming from Alvinology.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The name of your website has been trademarked by the big boys!

Recently Apple has been awarded the trademark for "There's an app for that." Which means that moving forward, Android have to use other taglines when promoting their applications like "This one also got app."

Back home, big investment firm Temasek Holdings has advised little website Temasek Review to change their website name. While the website adopted the name in July last year, Temasek Holdings have registered Temasek Review as a trademark for their annual performance report started since 2004, but only last November.

Some might be quick to think that it is reasonable for Temasek Review to change their website name since Temasek Holdings has been awarded trademark. But hang on. The website was established in July, but the trademark was only registered in November. Can someone trademark something that someone else has already been using it? Which means that if I decided to start up a Hainanese Chicken Rice stall and I were to register "Hainanese Chicken Rice" as my stall's trademark, all the other Hainanese Chicken Rice stalls in Singapore have to rename their dishes to something else like "Cantonese Chicken Rice"? How cool is that!

But why is Temasek Holdings registering a trademark that is used only for their annual performance report which is read only by their investors and themselves? Because they own the word "Temasek"? But the word "Temasek" simply refers to the ancient Singapore, so it has the same meaning as... Singapore! So I don't suppose they can actually own "Temasek" right?

We are from a country which renames Marina Bay as Marina Bay and a budget terminal as Budget Terminal. That's why our petrol company is named Singapore Petroleum Company, our shopping center is named Plaza Singapura and we have a Singapore Polytechnic and a Temasek Polytechnic. With our country names so widely and loosely used, does it even makes sense to let one company owns it?

And if Temasek Holdings has managed to get the editors of Temasek Review website to change their site name, are they going to trademark "Temasek" totally so that no other website can ever be remotely briefly associated with them? If yes, then we've got a problem.

Temasek Polytechnic will need to be renamed to That Third One After SP And NP Polytechnic. Temasek Secondary School will be Upper East Coast Road Secondary School. Temasek Club will be SAF Officers Only Club, and Temasek Tower might have to be renamed as Opposite MAS Tower.

My guess is that little Temasek Review will give in to the big Temasek Holdings and rename themselves and re-register another domain. Maybe And I don't think that will affect their readership much. Like the loyal customers to a good Hainanese Chicken Rice stall, no matter how the stall has shifted and renamed, they'll be lost and found and their customers will follow.

Meanwhile, I'm more worried about receiving a letter from NEA that I can't name my blog "Today's Mostly Cloudy" anymore because they've registered "Today is Mostly Cloudy" for their weather forecast report.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The five taxi uncles you meet on earth (in Singapore actually)

While there have been more taxi companies and clearly more taxis on the road, getting one when you need it is another story. And when you do finally get one, the ride itself is yet another story.

This time, I'm not going to talk about the street full of On Call taxis because I've already done that previously. I'm also not going to complain about the list of surcharges that is longer than a Secondary school student's school reopening shopping list, nor will I analyse the mystery of the disappearing taxis at 11:30pm.

I'm just going to share with you a story of the five taxi uncles that I've met in the past months.

I met Taxi Uncle #1 when I was driving on the expressway. It was a warm or cool night (I won't know because I had the air-con in my car), and I was just cruising with the flow of traffic on lane 1 (rightmost lane for those who don't drive). Taxi Uncle #1 in a vacant taxi picked up his speed from behind me and started to tailgate me real close. The lane on my left was rather busy so it was not really possible for me to change lane, and so I accelerated to 110km/h (shhhhh...). However that didn't satisfy Taxi Uncle #1 and he continued to tailgate me.

Eventually, he found some gap on the left and sped up, filtering all the way to the leftmost lane. Just when I thought he was exiting, he filtered all the way back to the rightmost lane again and ended up right in front of me. I anticipated the usual hard brake sabotage coming my way so I filtered to the left lane to avoid trouble. Surprisingly, just after I filtered to the left, he swiftly filtered all the way to the leftmost lane again and... exited. Huh? So the sheer dangerous speeding stunt was just an attempt to spite me? Like that also happy?

Another day, I needed to rush to the airport to catch a plane and so I dialed a cab. Despite the automated robotic voice promising the taxi will arrive in three to five minutes, Taxi Uncle #2 was nowhere in sight after I waited ten minutes below my flat. Finally I sighted him driving in, but he drove right pass my flat and went all the way to the other side of anther flat! I desperately dragged my luggage towards his location and shouted and waved my hands frantically every now and then but he didn't see me at all. Finally, he called my handphone and realised that he went to the wrong flat. After I got into the taxi and after he apologised for being late and lost, he asked if there was any toilet nearby because he needed to go! Are you kidding me?!?

Last week when a foreign friend and I took a taxi from Marina Bay Sands to Ang Mo Kio (I didn't drive because I couldn't talk myself into paying the $8/hr parking fee), we met the extremely rude Taxi Uncle #3. After we exited the expressway to Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3, I told Taxi Uncle #3 that we wished to go to block 232.

"Where is it?", he asked
"Er... I don't know.", I replied.

Taxi Uncle #3 then followed with a very loud "TSK" and started pressing his GPS fast and furious. Luckily his GPS gave in to his torture and disclosed the location of block 232. When we were paying, my friend asked if he could pay using his credit card.

"No! Cash only!"

To avoid making Taxi Uncle #3 even more unhappy, my friend paid in cash obediently and I held back asking Taxi Uncle #3 whether the credit card machine in his taxi was for display only.

We met Taxi Uncle #4 immediately on the ride back to my friend's hotel. We took just about fifteen minutes to get from Ang Mo Kio to Marina Bay. Throughout the whole journey, he drove like Vin Diesel in his modified Chevrolet Chevelle SS and "Warning: Drive Carefully!" kept popping up on his GPS screen. Whenever I managed to take a peep at his speedo while rolling over, it was showing me 120km/h. Fortunately for both my friend and me, we managed to hold our dinner in our stomachs.

Last but not least, I met Taxi Uncle #5 when I was back from an overseas trip and took his taxi at the airport. And this was how the conversation went after I told him my destination...

"Go by which way? PIE or ECP?"
"Er... any way with less traffic lor."
"Now peak hours, everywhere also traffic jam one."
"Er... then the shorter way bah."
"Both about the same lah!"
"Then whichever way that is easier lah!" (I didn't know what I meant by "easier". Must be the jet lag.)
"It's about the same lah..."

I then had such a bad headache after a sleepless flight and having to decide which expressway that I almost told him that I would pay him to decide for me.

Friday, October 15, 2010

To Kill a Mocking Bear

Advertising in Singapore has always been boring. It's always the roadshows, sale events and Zoe Tay (Fann Wong if it is abalone). So these days the young Marketing Managers try to come up with something creative, like where's-the-point flash mobs and vandalising postboxes. Recently, they decided to use the bear and received more publicity than they have imagined.

This marketing stunt could have worked for Phillips. Bear vs Shaver. To imagine a bear without fur might be a bit too gross, but at least it was a creative thought. The only problem was the venue. If this "bear" have emerged in the middle of Raffles Place on a sunny afternoon, that crowd who is already used to all sorts of pointless marketing flash mobs would immediately know that the bear is just another marketing stunt. But "it" has to appear at some Ulu Pandan place. In the middle of the night.

So the typical Singaporean who saw the "bear" immediately proceeded with the Kaypoh-Singaporean SOP. Take picture > call Wanbao hotline > Stomp it > put on Facebook > announce on Twitter. The next thing you know, all the task forces from zoo, nature group and police stomped into Ulu Pandan to begin a bear hunt.

I'll imagine that when they finally found the "bear", these were the three words they said:
"A doi?"
"Apa Ini?!?"

Anyway when I read the bear-on-loose news on Twitter, I was skeptical. I know it's common to have monkeys, pythons and monitor lizards running away from their homes in the forest to have a holiday in the housing estates. But bear? Some more a sun bear? Look, we've got no salmon in our long-gangs and no beehive on our Angsana trees, so it is basically impossible for a bear to survive in a Singapore forest!

Unless the bear has swam all the way from Malaysia to Singapore. Which might then be reasonable, since Mas Selamat can swim the same distance using a floating device.

And there is no way that the bear has escaped from the zoo. Even for a bear, it is still too far to walk from Mandai to Ulu Pandan. Unless it took the MRT. Oh wait! It is possible for a bear to take the MRT train without causing any commotion! The SMRT staff will treat any abnormality to be a Marketing stunt by default. Vandalism on train? Must be advertising. Bollywood dancing in the train? Must be advertising. Man jumping onto the track? Must be advertising. Oh wait. He seems to be bleeding profusely. He looks dead. Oh... it's not advertising.

But still, why Ulu Pandan? Hmm... maybe it was not the actual venue. Maybe the guy in bear costume was on his way to work.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

No tourist? Blame it on those ATAS hotels

We are constantly promoting Singapore to the world. From one Grand Prix to two casinos, no matter how big and expensive the project, STB will squeeze anything and everything into the little red dot for the sake of more tourists. However I'm not sure if they are looking at the number of visitors revisiting Singapore.

I've never seen any statistics on the number of returning visitors, but at least all my foreign friends who have visited Singapore once are definitely not keen in coming back for the second time. Well, excluding those that have to come for business. And the common reason? They felt being ripped off by the Singapore hotels.

One friend from Hong Kong visited during the first F1 Grand Prix and while he felt that the ticket was expensive, it was still acceptable because it was the first night race experience. What was not acceptable was having to pay through his nose to stay in some budget hotel in some dodgy place. This year, he chased after the race in Japan.

One friend from France came for a short break and paid five hundreds over dollars for a room in a five-star hotel along Scotts Road. All thanks to the hotel's minibar, she did not dare to drink another can of soft drink in Singapore during the whole trip. That one and only can of Coke she drank from the minibar cost her a painful and memorable five dollars.

One colleague from Canada was here on business last quarter. The first time that he stayed at this five-star hotel near Marina Bay, he paid forty over dollars for a plate of Hainanese Chicken Rice, only to find out during lunch that we paid the same price for one whole chicken, some side dishes and a plate of rice for all eight of us. And this Lost-and-Found stall's chicken rice tasted better.

The same Canadian colleague was here again on business recently. This time, he stayed at the same five-star hotel with its name started with "C", and having learned his lesson that the hotel's very presentable chicken rice was a total rip-off, he ordered Fish and Chips. It cost him fifty over dollars. And no, that fish was not an endangered Queensland grouper.

Seriously, STB, besides spending so much money renovating Your Orchard Road, getting rid of maids picnics and replacing them with butterflies, and spending so much effort coming up with yet another catchy tag line for Your campaign, you should go have a talk with Your five-star hotels and tell them that nobody is visiting Your Singapore because Your hotels are too damn expensive!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How do you lose something as huge as a time capsule?

Can someone tell me where do I apply to be a construction worker? Yes, you didn't hear me wrong. I want to work alongside the Bangladesh workers under the hot sun and freak storms. But I only want to work at the National Stadium. Why? Because I wish it'll be a patriotic Singaporean like me who discovers the long lost time capsule and not some foreign workers who thought they struck gold, or a metal casing. Oh, and partly because there is a $50,000 reward.

Yap, the gahmen is offering a huge $50,000 reward to get someone to help find something they lost. But don't rush to your nearby Home-Fix store to get a shovel yet. According to a director involved in the project, the $50,000 bounty is part of the contract agreement with Beng Soon Machinery Services, the sub-contractor taking part in the demolition. Ah... that's why not much people has heard about this $50,000 reward! Because just like other good stuff in Singapore, this reward is only reserved for the foreigners.

But in the very first place, how did we lose the time capsule? A six-year old will know that after he hide his precious gaming cards in the playground for his friends to search for, he draw a very rough map of the playground and mark a big X so that he can locate it later if his stupid friends fail to find it in the treasure hunt game. And our meticulous gahmen, who makes sure you sign a book of agreement as thick as a dictionary before you can purchase a HDB flat, failed to keep documentation of where the time capsule was buried? Yes, it was long long time ago in 1970 when the time capsule was buried. But the ball-point pen was invented in 1938.

And is it the best use of taxpayers' money to give away a $50,000 reward? Why can't they purchase one of those sci-fic looking dead-body detector that all the actors and actresses in CSI Las Vegas, CSI New York and CSI Miami have used? I'm sure that thing won't cost as much as $50,000.

Actually there might still be a cheaper way. Can't we ask the sub-contractor to get more Bangladesh workers to work OT and dig out the whole place and turn every rock to find that time capsule? Judging from how much those Bangladesh workers are paid, I'm sure even getting one to dig at every 1 meter square won't cost us $50,000.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Too many selfish bastards, too little space

There is always some International survey going on to analyse people around the world. Like which country has the most billionaires, divorced people, old people, happy people or unhappy people. Surprisingly Singapore never turn up first on the "Country with highest number of unhappy people" though gahmen always complain that we complain too much. Anyway, Singapore is never number one in any of these surveys. We lost to Japan and Finland to be the cleanest, we lost to Hong Kong and Switzerland to have the most expensive homes, we even lost to Cambodia and China for ignoring human rights. But guess what? I think I might have found one category which we can win these big guys. We can be the country with the highest number of selfish bastards.

No, I'm not talking about those selfish bastards who climb over people and volunteers below his feet to build a perfect portfolio for his political career even if he has to overspend three times the budget. This is not a political blog and I don't think I'll like the taste of those free kopis at ISD.

I'm also not talking about those selfish bastards who pretend to run a public service but refuse to increase the frequency of that very public transport because earning more money and showing a perfect report to her shareholders is more important. There are more than enough blogs cursing and swearing at her and I don't take the public transport so often anyway.

I'm talking about those selfish bastards who lurk around where you stay, study and work. Those selfish bastards that you meet everyday, whether you like it or not.

He is the one who knows that it is an offense to smoke in the lift, but he'll still light it up anyway on the way down, so that he can start smoking the moment he steps out of the lift. Apparently even a few minutes matter on his race towards the destination of lung cancer.

He is the one who knows that it is an offense to litter, but since he didn't ask for those real estate and other leaflets in his letterbox, he thinks he can't be blamed for throwing them on the floor. Even if the rubbish bin is only 2m away.

He is the young one who feels that Rihanna or Jay Chow has to be listened while sitting and some standing is a good form of exercise for the old man or pregnant lady in front of him.

He is the one who thought that he can buy a shopping trolley for a dollar and he can bring it all the way from the supermarket to his house. And when he is done, he is generous enough to give it away by abandoning it on some open field.

He is the one who feels that parking his motorbike in a proper carpark is too expensive and too troublesome, and the pavement looks like a better parking space, even if it means blocking the way for the pedestrians, who are the real users.

He is the one who parks his car at the multi-storey carpark washing bay on weekdays to save parking fee, and on Sundays to save walking up the multi-storey carpark, even if he needs to occupy one out of the two lots for people who really need to wash their cars.

He is the one who parks his lorry/van/pick-up right outside the carpark entrance to unload the goods, instead of going into the loading bay, for the sake of his own convenience even if it means blocking the whole world who are trying to get into the carpark to do some real parking.

She is the one who thinks that filming her fellow schoolmates making out in the toilet and loading that video on Youtube is fun, even if it means destroying the future and life of two human beings.

And the selfish bastard of all selfish bastards is the one who stuck his chewing gum all over the place and thereby causing it to be totally banned in Singapore.

Actually you know what? While we're at importing more foreign talents and untalented into the country, can we send away one selfish bastard for every ten foreign talent/untalented that we bring in? No, tempted as I am to suggest, we can't do a one-to-one exchange. We'll run out of Singaporeans.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Rich, the Poor and the Corrupted

It seems like after 2 senior officers were found cheating the SLA of $12 million dollars, 2 more men have been hauled to court for their alleged involvement. This shouldn't come as a surprise.

I mean, while corruption is nothing new in Singapore, the usual gifts were just a few hundreds to a couple of thousands, and some will settle for just sexual favors. It'll definitely take more cooks to pull off such a big case of $12 million dollars fraud. In fact, 4 men might still be a stretch.

Some may wonder, is it worth it? The most senior of the four, Koh Seah Wee was already a deputy director with SLA's Technology and Infrastructure Department, holding on to a golden rice bowl with super high pay till he retires, so why the corruption? Because he wants to be the Rich and be able to play with a Lamborghini, some Mercedes Benz cars, a property at Axis@Siglap and some unit trusts.

Everybody thought that in Singapore, there are 3 classes. The Poor, the Middle-class and the Rich. Unknown to most, there are actually 2 now. The Middle-class species is already extinct long long time ago. Some of them have evolved into the Rich, but majority of them have become the Poor.

It was purely environmental factors that have driven the Middle-class down the route of extinction and becoming the Poor. Loss of jobs due to companies restructuring/employing foreign talents, ever increasing daily expenses like education for the kids, expensive public and private flats and high house loans, car loans and ERP charges.

So we can't really blame the 4 men in SLA. They're merely going down the course of nature, trying to evolve into the Rich, in a shorter time. Something that I've secretly wanted to do since I was a kid.

I remember watching a Hong Kong film of how a poor police inspector becomes real rich simply by being corrupted, starring Andy Lau and based on a real story. It really inspired the young me and I immediately rewrote my composition "What do I want to be when I grow up", changing from astronaut to policeman.

But when I finally grew up and graduated, I didn't join the Home Team. Because I then realised that becoming a policeman means sitting in a little neighbourhood police post and doing paperworks of children or dogs running away from home. There is just not enough big mafias and Yakuzas in Singapore to earn corruption money from.

However I was not smart enough to foresee that in the new Singapore, every outsource opportunity is a corruption waiting to be discovered.

Well, I blame it on Singapore's film industry! Why didn't any film maker thought of making the film "Corruption Not Enough" about the hero working in a statboard, or some charity organisation or some religious hospital? We don't even have to pay Andy Lau big bucks to be the leading male because we can use Jet Li who is Singaporean now!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Let's just make the taxi booking charge mandatory

45 minutes. That was how long I've waited for a taxi at the Harbourfront taxi stand during a weekend. I went to Batam for a short trip and unfortunately unlike Batman, I was unable to remote control my car to pick me up at Harbourfront. And dragging my luggage up a crowded weekend evening bus or MRT did not really sound appealing to me.

There were taxis coming into the taxi stand alright, countless supply in fact. But the queue was not exactly moving as quickly. Because out of every 10 taxis driving into the taxi stand, almost 8 of them were on call. In fact, most of the time when the queue moved, it was because someone had given up and paid the additional $2.50 booking charge.

The Ang Mor behind me asked his Singaporean-sounding friend why weren't those On Call taxis picking up any passenger from the queue, and she replied with how the dial-a-cab system works. Then he asked a more difficult question. What about those taxis that are not on call? Where are they?

Of course the Ang Mor's friend replied with some touristically-correct answer like how it was weekend and some were in the city/IRs/airport/changing shift etc. And of course we the locals know the real answer. The rest of the taxis that were not on call were stopped somewhere near some kopitiams waiting to be on call.

Hey, an additional $2.50 to the $20-30 taxi fare is like a 10% increase in income, you know? If you were a taxi driver will you prefer to drive to a taxi stand to look for customer or sit in your taxi and read wanbao while waiting for your customer to call you and pay you 10% extra?

My kindhearted and understanding friend was saying how it is not the taxi drivers' fault, because when there is supply only when there is demand, and there are just too many impatient Singaporeans who prefer to call than wait for taxis.

Alright then. Since most people don't mind the additional $2.50, why don't we just make the taxi booking charge mandatory, make it part of long list of surcharges like ERP surcharge, city surcharge, public holiday surcharge, peak hours surcharge, IR surcharge, airport surcharge, and all others who-ask-you-to-take-a-cab surcharges! Then there will be no more vacant taxis roaming the roads and all taxis have to be called. Taxi drivers can spend more time at kopitiams and we can spend less time of our life waiting.

As for the taxi stands around the country that are then useless, LTA can convert them into Taxis Viewing Cafes, for people with time to spare to watch On Call taxis go by, just like how the French watch people walk pass while sipping their lattes in alfresco cafes. All LTA have to do is to enclose the taxi stands, put in some air-con, pipe in some jazz music, install a little counter with coffee machines and we are good to go.

But is there a market? Of course there will be! Why will someone want to watch On Call taxis roaming pass? Well, I've just done that for 45 minutes.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Why are there so many cock ups in the YOG?

It is really amazing that even after the YOG is over and out, new screw-ups continue to surface on the newspapers. My foreign friends could not understand how can a country which is so well-known for its efficiency and effectiveness and most importantly, productivity, gets so screwed-up in such a large scale international event. But we the locals? Oh, we knew there'll be some cock ups here and there for sure, even before the game started. Why? Because it is run by the statboards.

In a typical statboard, decisions are made and orders are given top-down, and what's left for the last in the food-chain will just be actions. This should work well if the orders are precise and logical, but unfortunately there are always smart alecks somewhere in the middle to mess things up.

It's kinda like, the guy at the top envisioned a cup of espresso, then somewhere along the way, one guy in the middle management thinks some hazelnut syrup will add some flavor, then another guy likes some cocoa powder, another guy adds some rum, another guy adds in some milk, and by the time the order reaches the ground, 10 kinds of syrup and 20 kinds of topping have been added to it. To make matter worse, now this last guy on the ground has to brew and deliver this cup of messed-up coffee ASAP/EOD/NOW!

So there you have, prisoner food and food poisoning for the volunteers, sold-out empty stadiums, wrong spelling on souvenir pins, bogus signatures on certificates, F1 tickets sent to volunteers one day after the race... all simple jobs but all went wrong. Heads are definitely going to roll (or have rolled by now), but whose?

The caterers shouldn't have provided the prisoner food and attempted to poison the volunteers, but did someone paid them too little for the catering? And did someone tell them to deliver the food earlier, so early that they turned back under the hot sun?

The printer shouldn't have printed the sample signatures on the certificates, but did someone review the certificates before accepting the print-outs? Did someone tell someone to use sample signatures when designing the certificates and then someone forgot to tell someone that those signatures are bogus?

Dispatch shouldn't send out the F1 tickets so yesterday, but exactly when did someone tell them to purchase and send out the tickets?

My friend is always complaining about how his boss, a top scholar who dived right into the statboard right after she graduated, is always making over-optimistic and unrealistic decisions that have to be corrected by her team who have actually done real work before entering the statboard. But because she is the boss, she has the right to refuse to listen to her team. And when that happens? My friend said,"Oh, then we just do whatever she said lor, and then when it cocks up and people ask, we just say she said one lor!".

And that, is the answer to why there are so many cock ups in the YOG.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Utada Hikaru - Final Distance

Ohh... white peacock? That's a first...

Who takes Chicken Briyani Rice for supper?!?

I've just flown from Singapore to India recently on Singapore Airline's Cinderella-step-sister SilkAir. Though it was a 4.5hrs flight and there was no personal entertainment system (that little LCD TV behind someone's headrest), I survived with a book and a media player.

There was one meal provided too, though not a sensible one. It was a midnight flight and we were offered the choice of vegetarian or chicken. Both done in Indian style. Hello? The last time I checked, in my culture, the only Indian food we take for supper is Roti Prata! Why will I want to eat some very spicy Indian rice in the middle of the night?

Maybe the CEO of SilkAir should go check out kopitiams and 7-elevens in the middle of the night to find out the perfect supper. I'm sure most people, like me, will happily opt for a cup of Nissin instant noodles or hot Milo, which is at the same time cheaper than the fancy spicy Chicken Briyani Rice. Mr CEO, this is a win-win way to make your customers happy and cut cost at the same time!

Also, I can understand the need to provide Indian vegetarian to the majority of their customers who are Indians and probably vegetarian as well, but do I really have to start my Indian feast before I reach India? I mean, can't we have a India-Singapore leg serving Chicken Briyani Rice, but the Singapore-India leg serving Hainanese Chicken Rice? Fair right?

To be fair, perhaps the total of me added up with the rest of the Ang Mors/Chinese/Japanese/Koreans on the flight might actually turn out to be a very small minority on the flight. So in that case, why don't we have the Special Meal option for flights out to India?

Like, on flights to other places, customers could choose Muslim or Vegetarian or any other Special Meal to be served, while the default is Western. So on a flight to India, can we have the Special Meal option of Western or Chinese, while the default is Indian Vegetarian? Fair right?

Friday, September 24, 2010

This post has been rated Satirical Comedy

It seems like the Hossen Leong Show that I'm looking forward to watching soon has been rated as "Satirical Comedy (Recommended for audiences 16 years and over)" by MDA. Thank god for MDA! If they didn't inform me, I'll never guess that I'm going to be watching a satirical comedy! I thought I was going to watch a cooking show!

So why is the show not safe for audiences below 16? Too satirical for these young kids to handle? But Miyaki said he has already taken out the bit about PM's pink wardrobe, so that our kids won't go home haunted with the image of our PM dressed in pink in front of a pink background and loose sleep, so why is it still too satirical? Perhaps there are still other content that are too much for our kids. I mean, what if Hossen is going to make satirical remarks about the YOG screw-ups, Freak flood screw-ups, or worse, public transport screw-ups! Yah, I also think it's too much for them to understand.

Anyway, I think MDA shouldn't be worried too much about under-16 kids watching the show even without the rating. After all, it is an art performance, so it is not going to be cheap. I can't imagine why a Sec 3 guy will date his Sec 2 girlfriend to watch the show that will cost him more than seventy dollars for a cheapest pair of tickets, instead of a normal pair of movie tickets costing less than twenty dollars. Seriously? They'll choose the Hossen Leong Show over other shows like... Resident Evil Afterlife?

While rating an art performance is not hurting me as I'm way over 16, taking so-called sensitive content out of it does. It is a known fact that producers themselves remove some content from their scripts (so that the show can go on), and the choppers at MDA remove even more. But hey, I'm still paying 100% of the ticket price! In fact, adding in GST and booking fees etc, it's even more than 100%, and yet they're going to show me 80-90% of the performance? It's like after paying for an expensive sure-eat Cat-Mountain-King durian, you open it up and throw away some fruits to the dogs!

Perhaps in future, art performances in Singapore can be charged according to how much content has been censored? Maybe like a $10 discount per 10mins cut? Then it's more fair to the viewers right?

So now, what is the feedback email address of SISTIC...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

More traffic lights please, we're Singaporeans!

When driving to work this morning, I've noticed that between traffic light A and traffic light B which are about 200m apart, a new traffic light is under construction. Yes, for some elite reasons, the higher power at LTA has decided that 200m is too far and having one traffic light every 100m is definitely more appropriate and vehicle-friendly.

Another reason for this new traffic light could be due to its location. It is built right outside a primary school. This could make sense. I can totally understand how tiring and frustrating it is to walk up to 100m to the nearest traffic light just to cross the road, especially with a super heavy school bag on the back and a yelling restless kid holding your hand. Of course I'm talking about the maids.

I'm so sure that this new traffic light is the result of letters from concerned parents to the LTA, fearing that their kids are jaywalking the road dangerously. Never underestimate the power of parents. Even if they might have never fetched their kids from school before, their sixth-sense-of-a-parent will tell them their kids have not been using the traffic light 100m away.

So as a responsive and responsible statboard that cares for the people, the honorable LTA builds a new traffic light. Kind of reminds me of the incident when there were some residents at some estate complaining about some old uncles and aunties gambling at the stone tables at the void deck, and the authority responded by removing the stone chairs from the stone tables.

Anyway, I suppose the manual car owners should be receiving the gift of this new traffic light happily. Now they can drive their cars like auto cars without the hassle of constantly changing gears.

First gear, accelerate, brake, first gear, accelerate, brake, first gear...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Love your ride! Love the Singlish!

Delighted that LTA has invited the Dimsum Dollies to sing a song about being a considerate public transport passenger. Love their good voices, love their cheerfulness, and most importantly, love their Singlish! "Move inside, can?"

With election suspected to be around the corner, luckily no smart elite suggest some horrific MPs/Ministers to do the song, like...

Also very luckily, the LTA or PTC didn't decide to be too creative and ask their senior management to sing and dance, like...

So, heng heng we've finally got a nice public transport song! Screw Speak Good English Movement lah!

Pokemon gone way wrong

Just when we thought the US English translation of the Pokemon anime is most disgusting.

Blasphemy to Pokemon. Totally.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mehly anticipates more fireworks in next year's NDP


Singapore has collected some S$29.9 billion in taxes in the last financial year, which is 0.2% more than FY 2008/2009, all thanks to the buoyant property market. Oh, and more tax has been collected from individuals as well while less was collected from Corporates.

So what does it mean to the man on the street? How's the government going to make use of these money? For one, I do hope these money can be used to offset the cost of improving our public transport, and the expected fare increase next year will not be too much for us to handle!

But one thing for sure, I know there'll be more fireworks in next year's NDP!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mehly will volunteer for NS to get her $9000!


Suddenly, Singapore has recognised the contribution done by Singaporean NSman, and so is giving each of them a monetary award of between S$9,000 and S$10,500. But this will only benefit full time and operationally-ready NSmen in service from August 29, so if you ORD on August 28, and though you still have to return to camp for reservist training and report for IPPT every year, sorry bro, count your bad luck!

Of course, if the gahmen can't trust the 65-years olds with their own CPF money, how can they trust 18-years old young chaps with $9,000? So for your own good, this money will be given to you in 3 installments and even part of it is going to be put into your CPF account, so that you can take it out when you're... 65-years old.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mehly reminds Nyo that It's the "Forget your Singlish, speak English NOW" movement again


Yap, it's that time of the year again. The "Speak Good English Movement" time. The 10-years old campaign that is as successful as the campaign that urges you to speak good Mandarin.

To show our support for the campaign, please remember to order "coffee with evaporated mile and less sugar", and not "kopi-C siu dai", and when the Taxi Uncle ask "Go where?", remember to reply "It'll be great if you could take me to Orchard Road"!

Get it Right, man!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mehly auditions for the Singapore Spirit mascot


So now we now there is such a thing called the Singapore Spirit. It is said to be anchored on "deeper things which we share" like multiracialism, meritocracy and respect for every talent, about shared loyalty and commitment to Singapore, shared responsibility for one another and pride in what Singapore has built together, shared memories, shared dreams, shared aspirations, the determination that makes us press on in the face of tough times, the trust that keeps us together when forces try to pull us apart, the competence, quiet pride and discipline that makes sure that things go right.

Okay, we really need a chim mascot to spread this chim Singapore Spirit.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Nyo and Mehly after YOG

Are these two poor things only good for a couple of months?

What if the trains are still crowded one year later?

Visit the Masjid Sultan Mosque this Hari Raya Puasa

Long long time ago, Sultan Hussein Shah signed the Treaty to hand Singapore over to the East India Company. In return, he was given a sum of $3,000 by the Company to build a mosque. With additional financial help from local Muslims, the Masjid Sultan Mosque was built. While the Masjid Sultan Mosque we see at Kampong Glam has been rebuilt, it is still one of the oldest mosque in Singapore.

With Hari Raya Puasa just around the corner, it is a good idea to tour around Kampong Glam and give the mosque a visit. All you need to do is to take off your shoes, put down any prejudice, and a guide will introduce you to the mosque and let you learn a little about Muslims.

Masjid Sultan Mosque, Singapore

Masjid Sultan Mosque, Singapore

Masjid Sultan Mosque, Singapore

Pigeons outside Masjid Sultan Mosque, Singapore

Masjid Sultan Mosque, Singapore

Masjid Sultan Mosque, Singapore

Scooter outside Masjid Sultan Mosque, Singapore

Masjid Sultan Mosque, Singapore

Masjid Sultan Mosque, Singapore

Masjid Sultan Mosque, Singapore

Masjid Sultan Mosque, Singapore

Kampung Glam, Singapore

Kampung Glam, Singapore

Kampung Glam, Singapore

Saturday, August 28, 2010

There are some that only employ words for the purpose of disguising their thoughts

"An American has no sense of privacy. He does not know what it means. There is no such thing in the country." -- George Bernard Shaw, an Irish playwright, who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925
NSman grilled over blog (
An NSman with the Singapore Police Force has been called up for questioning by his reservist unit over comments he made on his blog on the handcuffing of a photojournalist in July. Mr Abdillah Zamzuri, 26, disagreed with how the police handled the cuffing of Lianhe Wanbao photojournalist Shafie Goh, which took place during a flash flood on July 16. He also said that the officer 'acted stupidly' and that they should be sued.

"Oh! what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!" -- Walter Scott (1771-1832), a prolific Scottish historical novelist and poet popular throughout Europe
'I didn't lose sleep' (
Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Vivian Balakrishnan said yesterday that negative online comments about the Youth Olympic Games did not affect him - a day after news broke that a 27-year-old man had been arrested for posting comments on Facebook that the police said 'incited violence'.

'Even the newspaper report, I didn't even know about it until I read about it in the papers,' said Dr Balakrishnan, who addressed reporters at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel during a round-up session on the Games.

'It shows that I almost didn't care. I had more important things to do, I had good feedback and good suggestions from so many people, and I focused on that.

"Better to write for yourself and have no public than to write for the public and have no self." -- Cyril Connolly, an English author, editor and critic

Everybody hates Bloggers (Xiaxue)

I was already pissed off when it first exploded, but I believed that after Lady Iron Chef clarified himself, everything will be resolved. In short, I believed that Singaporeans are smart, logical, and rational as a whole. Who am I kidding? They are not.

"There is no refuge from confession but suicide; and suicide is confession." -- Daniel Webster (1782-1852), United States Senator and Secretary of State
Embassy to help in probe (
In the early hours of Thursday morning, a car bearing the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) diplomatic plates and the North Korean flag hit a parked car along Geylang Lorong 21.

"The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary. Men alone are quite capable of every wickedness." -- Joseph Conrad, Polish-born English writer
8 HK tourists killed in hijack (
The Philippines security forces stormed a bus packed with Hong Kong tourists to end a dramatic hostage crisis that unfolded live on global television, leaving eight people and the gunman dead.