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