Thursday, January 27, 2011

I don't want to eat alone

This is what happens when the world, oh okay, at least the country, is in peace, and all ministers and MPs decided to think before they talk. When there is not enough news to fill up the newspapers pages. This is the time when you get to read all kinds of hilarious news like some old actor refusing to pay his wife's alimony after he divorced her for a gal young enough to be his daughter, or the latest "I Dare to Eat Alone" campaign from NUS. My first thought? These university people really very free hor.

Like that also can? Like that also can be a campaign? Then what's next? "I Dare to Fight Alone" to encourage Ah Bengs with parangs to stop gang fights and be brave enough to stand up for solo fights? "I Dare to Gamble Alone" to discourage gambling uncles and aunties from bringing their friends along to the casinos? "I Dare to Contest Alone" to encourage GRC MPs to stop hiding behind high profile ministers?

And seriously, why should NUS be encouraging people to feel good about eating alone? Do these twenty-plus organisers know the meaning of eating alone?

If you eat alone in school, it means you're the kiasu loser who is always busy studying to score better than the rest of the class, prefers to do your projects alone so that you don't have to share your knowledge and you do not want to waste your time taking long lunch breaks and socialise with the other classmates.

If you eat alone in army camp, which I can't imagine how can it even be possible, it means you're the saboking loser who is either too slow and have problem keeping up with the platoon, or too quick and on to sabo the whole platoon. You are definitely the one targeted for blanket parties.

If you eat alone at work, it means you're the anti-social loser who is always on a different page from the rest of the team, and you only have enough guts to shoot arrows through emails. You may be the most hardworking worker in the team, but you're also the one they gossip about in the pantry breaks that you're never invited. If you poor bastard manage to climb up the ladder to be a manager one day, you can be sure you'll be fighting alone as well.

Actually I've got a better idea. Instead of encouraging university students to eat alone, why don't we have a "I Dare to Share Table" campaign? If you're alone, go share table with other schoolmates! Awkward? This is exactly what the Hong Kong people do! In crowded cafes and even dim sum restaurants, the Hong Kong people will opt to share tables with strangers. To the customers, they can cut the long waiting queue, and for the businesses, they can have faster turn-around-time, so this is a win-win situation. How many times in Singapore have you seen a couple taking up a table for 4 and think "Walau, what a waste of table"?

And do the Hong Kong people feel awkward about sharing table with strangers? No. Most of the time they actually ended up chatting with these strangers and share pointers on what's good or bad on the menu. I thought SM Goh has wanted us to start some "Vertical Kampong" spirit without the kampong? This is a good place to start.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Don't blame us, blame your position!

Recently, some rich and successful young chap who paid $10,000 for MM Lee's signature started a vulgarities war with a rather popular blogger who is famous for his humourous use of vulgarities. Yah I know, you can already see who is at the losing end. Like an army cook challenging Macro Pierre White to a cooking competition. But that is not the reason why this chap is famous overnight.

You've got people pissing off people on the Internet all the time. One day you have Xiaxue and Dawn virtual bitch slapping one another, another day you have Steven Lim bitching about another bitch. While we chase their blogs, tweet about it and kaypoh about it, like a Channel 8 drama series, we quickly forgot all about it. Well, at least these hu-has do not make it to the newspapers like this chap. So what's the difference this time? Because he is a YPAP chairman.

Same reason why while there are perverts and peeping toms caught and charged everyday, it raised a higher eye brow when Danny Soo Ee Hock took upskirt digital video recording of women going up escalators. Because he was the previous YPAP Chairman of Punggol South. Same reason why we remember the scholars who walked around naked in Holland Village or watched child porno in London. Because they are scholars.

So why are we so harsh on these high flyers? Are we being biased? But can you blame us? These people are from the Elite class so they are expected to behave, well, like an Elite! They're supposed to be ATAS-er, Smarter, Holier, not like us Cheaper, Better, Faster!

Just like when you choose your magician in your RPG team, you will choose an elf and you expect him to be intelligent enough to remember all spells overnight, but for your warrior who is a dwarf and only knows how to fight, you can still close one eye if he is stupid enough to fall into traps all the time.

So when we overheard some Ah Beng mechanic who earns just above the minimum wage... oh wait, I forgot we still don't have a minimum wage. Okay let's do this again. When we overheard some poorly paid Ah Beng mechanic swearing or caught some Ah Seng gangsters street fighting, we don't really care. But no, we cannot tolerate any YPAP chairman throwing vulgarities on the Internet. Especially when one day he might become a MP, or worse a minister, and we are paying for his highest-in-the-world pay check.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Why so many book taxis and not enough babies?

The press said that more book taxis in stronger economy, but in actual fact, this has nothing to do with economy. These are the real reasons why more book taxis...

  • Because all the taxis are either at the airport or IRs.

  • Because more taxis taking part in Operation Shadow where they hid in the bushes (or kopitiam) and wait.

  • Because it is too easy to book a taxi by dial-a-cab, sms-a-cab, iPhone-a-cab, online-book-a-cab...

  • Because more people are getting more impatient.

  • Because more people saw that more people are booking taxis, so they also book.

  • Because more people have given up on over-crowded MRT trains.

  • Because more people have given up on over-crowded buses.

  • Because more people cannot afford a COE.

The press also said that Singapore’s total fertility rate has plunged to a record low. So here are the reasons why less babies...

  • Because more married couples are put off by the idea that they have to queue up over-night for their kids' place in a kindergarten.

  • Because more married couples are still saving up for the medical costs to give birth.

  • Because more married women want to keep their promotions.

  • Because more married women want to keep their jobs.

  • Because more married couples are busy working OT to be Cheaper, Better, Faster.

  • Because more unmarried couples could not find a reasonable flat that is affordable.

  • Because more singles could not find a Singapore-born Singaporean boyfriend/girlfriend.

  • I wanted to state the last reason as because there are more gays, but I'm worried that MDA might rate my post as NC16.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Yui Live - Feel my Soul

Is Singapore arrogant or what?

Recently I saw a TV commercial of one bank claiming that it is "Asia's safest. Singapore best". I was astonished.

This is that one bank which previously had 21 Internet banking accounts being hacked into by a Chinese national, who then made a USD62,000 fortune and ran away to Malaysia happily. How Asia's safest.

This is also the one and only bank in Singapore which not only had their Internet banking, but also all of its ATM machines suddenly gone down for one whole morning one fine day. How Singapore best.

Like some Great Man once said "This was a lapse, what to do, it’s happened", that one bank had definitely heed the advice and moved on. In fact, moved very far away. But it seems that besides one arrogant bank, we have one arrogant politician as well.

One politician said Singapore should not be shy about having one of the highest paid civil services in the world because Singapore's civil service is the world's best and most effective. And coincidentally, that one politician is the same politician who told us to work "Cheaper, Better, Faster". You know, it will really be helpful if that one politician could cite some example of how good and effective our civil services are, for example...

  • How the YOG volunteers' food were effectively improved only after a horrific lunch picture was posted online, or how the volunteers' free Formula One tickets were effectively sent to them after the event.

  • How floods in Singapore are effectively taken seriously only after Bukit Timah was flooded X number of times and Lucky Plaza Y number of times.

  • How the police had effectively searched for Mas Selamat who effectively escaped from the toilet and swam to Malaysia even more effectively on his floating device, and how in the end the Malaysia police had to effectively catch him and return to us. With a price.

  • How the MOE had effectively attempted to play down the importance of second language in PSLE, only to enrage the people and then effectively blamed them for mis-interpretation.

  • How more BTO flats were effectively built and pushed out in hurry only after the problem in getting affordable flat has been taunting the people long enough.

  • How the number of immigrants flooding Singapore is effectively controlled only after there are already too many of them here.

  • How the guys in SLA had effectively siphoned enough money to buy a couple of Lamborghini's to crush.

And while we are at this topic, I do wish that we could stop claiming that we have a world-class public transport system. That will mean that Japan's public transport system must be universe-class, best in the whole universe, including the Death Star.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Restaurants need to do more than just banning the kids

Finally some restaurants are putting down their feet to ban kids once and for all. No matter how unfair it may sound to parents, this is actually a very good news for those of us who are not parents. Especially to the couples who have decided not to have any noisy runabout kids in their houses and yet have to go to restaurants full of them.

But then again, some may find this as another case of what the Chinese says "bringing down the whole boat of refugees with a bamboo stick". While most kids are expected to run around the floor in top speed at the top of their voices, there are also kids that will sit down and shut up and eat. For example those who are brought up by drill sergeant dads and discipline mistress moms, and taught to put up their hands before speaking at a dining table. So I agree it'll be rather unfair to these disciplined kids.

So perhaps the restaurants should not reject the kids right at the door, but give them a chance to prove their innocence? Perhaps they could adopt the soccer penalty system where the servers are authorised to present a kid with a yellow card upon inappropriate behavior, and if the kid receives two yellow cards, he or she would be asked to leave the restaurant. And of course that will mean the whole family has to go. Too harsh? What are you expecting? Even for the Singapore Lions, the whole team has to go! Oh... except for the coach in this case...

Actually I reckon the restaurants have more items on their To-do list other than just banning the kids if they really want to make our dining experience enjoyable, or at least bearable. After getting rid of our kids, the restaurants should make these changes themselves as well:

  • Ban the handphones. A yelling kid will eventually stop yelling when he or she is tired, but a uncle or aunty can go on and on and on...

  • Put up partitions to divide up large tables from the smaller tables. We are actually not interested in the gossips and catch-ups among a table of ex-classmates/ex-colleagues/ex-whatever. And we really don't have to join in their birthday songs.

  • Widen the space between tables. Before we can start ordering and eating, we do need to get to our tables. And some restaurants seem to be hinting to us that we need to go on a diet before we can get to our tables. And when we finally managed to squeeze through the gaps, it can be really uncomfortable listening to a chap trying to hook up with a gal or watching the other one all over his gal's hands.

  • Give us some water. We have already got desalination plants, Marina Barrage and floods so we have got more than enough water to go around and the price of water is going to remain cheap. So give us our iced or warm tap water! If we really like to have a glass of wine or juice, we will still order it on top of the free iced water, you moron!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

MBS Sky Park - our $20 night scene

There's no way that I'm going to pay for the $6 parking fee at Marina Bay Sands, so I parked my car at Marina Square instead. And this gives us the opportunity to walk along the Helix Bridge.

Singapore CBD Night Scene

After crossing the Helix Bridge, we were greeted by a land of construction and road blocks. We were so confused that we had to ask a passer-by for the way...

Me: Aunty, which way do we go to the Marina Bay Sands?
Aunty: Har? Don't know.
Me: Er... Aunty, how to go to casino?
Aunty: Oh! Casino har! In front turn left!

Marina Bay Sands - Helix Bridge

Finally we reached the Marina Bay Sands lobby, which is pretty huge with lotsa lifts, with even more security guards standing sternly in front of the lifts. But no sign of the sign to the Sky Park lift. So we've got no choice but to check with one of the security with no expression, only to find out that the Sky Park lift is outside the hotel.

Marina Bay Sands - Hotel Lobby

For some reason that must be too chim for us commoners to understand, tripods are not allowed on the Sky Park. So with my ISO set as high as possible and my hands as steady, these are the only photographs that are really acceptable...

Marina Bay Sands - Night scene from Sky Park

Marina Bay Sands - Night scene from Sky Park

Marina Bay Sands - Night scene from Sky Park

Marina Bay Sands - Infinity Pool