Thursday, 24 November 2016

Recycling - pursuing the last grain of rice

From a TODAY article:

‘Malls, hotels must look into improving efforts to reduce waste’

SINGAPORE — From hotels throwing out leftover food to shopping malls discarding paper and plastic packaging, such large commercial premises alone churned out about 302,000 tonnes of waste last year, taking up 4 per cent of the total waste generated in Singapore...

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

How (not) to order steaks at a food court

Stories from the food court
At lunch. Western Grill at a local food court. 
Man (Customer, potential): Your Airflown Ribeye Steak from Australia or New Zealand, ah?
Hawker Stall Operator (employee): It's... frozen.
Man: Ya, but from Australia or New Zealand?
Hawker: Honestly, I don't know leh.
Man (on phone to wife): Honey, he says he don't know... Okay. (walks away).

Friday, 18 November 2016

Elected Presidency

From the last PE, there are two issues that the govt needs to address.

First is the public's understanding of the role of the EP. Until the public's understanding is aligned to the actual legal role and responsibilities, any tweaking of the qualifying criteria will be seen as rigging the rules to exclude some candidates.

Educating the public on the role of the EP would be a major campaign, and in the absence of a viable "role model" for an EP, voters will adopt Presidential "models" that they know. Like POTUS.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Democracy Trumps

When Trump refused to confirm that he would accept the outcome of the elections, he was rightly criticised for undermining the very basis and legitimacy of democratic elections.

Well, the elections are over. The people have spoken, and Trump has won. And Obama, and Clinton, has rightly accepted the will of the people. This is Democracy at work.

Similarly in 2011, when there was a 6.5 percentage point swing against the PAP, and the WP won Aljunied GRC. That was democracy at work.

Then in 2015, when PAP had a 10 percentage point swing back for them, and they regain Punggol East, and the WP were not able to take new GRCs, and barely hung onto Aljunied, That was democracy at work.

Monday, 24 October 2016

A case for pessimism

I grew up mostly during the Cold War.

I read about nuclear weapons in my impressionable youth. About how the USSR had enough nuclear missiles to destroy the world 10 times over.

But it's ok, 'cos the US had enough to destroy the world 20 times over.

(Figures not checked. ALL figures, including those to follow, are based on memories.)

Of course, we tried to comfort ourselves that Singapore would not be directly targeted in a Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) war between USSR and USA.

Until I read that the nuclear winter that followed would wipe out 98% of life on earth. Or 99%.

(With Global Warming now, a Nuclear Winter doesn't seem so bad.)

And there was the "Doomsday Clock" or something, where scientists (or some other experts) would assess the risk or chance of a MAD War, and move the clock closer to midnight of Doomsday. I think we are always about 3 seconds from doomsday.

And then the USSR collapsed. Poland broke away (or something). And the Berlin Wall came tumbling down and East and West Germany united.

And suddenly the Cold War was over.

Samuel Huntington wrote "The Clash of Civilisation" and Francis Fukuyama wrote "The End of History", and the US was the sole Superpower in the world,

And we lived happily ever after.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Singapore's Aircraft Carrier Ambition.

There is an article from 2015 that suggests that Singapore has aircraft carrier ambitions:
In early March last year, a model of what appeared to be a Landing Helicopter Dock was put on display at the Singapore Air Show. The model betrayed no other information other than the fact that it was a variant of the Endurance class Joint Multi Mission Ship (JMMS). Although the Singapore’s Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) didn’t make that big a deal out of the whole event, it doesn’t take an expert to look beyond the unpretencious fa├žade of the vessel. To look towards Singapore’s growing role in the establishment of security in the maritime domain of South East Asia.

China, the South China Sea, and UNCLOS - References and Resources

The Chinese Media - actually, just one, the Global Times - has continued their campaign of disinformation and distortion of facts to present their delusion (or illusion) of persecution by global and regional players. Their latest was to accuse SG of trying to put on record the status of the South China Sea dispute, in opposition to the views of "many"  at the Non-aligned movement (NAM) meeting.

It is interesting that the Chinese media (which in this case was just the Global Times, and apparently a mouthpiece of the Chinese Govt), felt it necessary to a) "target" SG for acting against Chinese interests, b) completely misrepresent (i.e. lie) about the proceedings, and c) fabricate from whole cloth the entirely fictitious narrative in order to do so (i.e. they didn't even try to lampshade it with some semblance of facts).

By targeting SG, they are either trying to blackmail us, get us on the defensive, put us on notice that they require us to fall in line. And in case we missed THAT point, they mentioned their disappointment as SG is the country coordinator for ASEAN-China relations.

By fabricating a lie out of whole cloth, they are basically displaying their arrogance and assumed ability to warp reality as they so dictate. If they were referencing an actual incident and putting a spin on things, or their perception of SG's actions, that's one thing. In this case, they don't even care to have any tenuous link to facts or reality.

It's almost like they are channelling Donald Trump.