Thursday, 2 November 2017

Wedding wishes

Wedding wishes from a married man to his younger... let's call them "friends"... who were about to get married.
Congratulations on this monumental (emphasis on “mental”) decision and change in your life! Anyone who decides to get married must be crazy. But anyone who doesn’t must be stupid. So what would you rather be? Crazy or stupid?

(Spoiler alert: I went with crazy)

Friday, 13 October 2017

A Reserved Election for a Reserved President for Reserved Singaporeans

According to hyperbole, Singaporeans are feeling "muzzled and angry" over the outcome of the Presidential Selection.

Much like how HKers were angry about China's proposal to "pre-approve" candidates for their Chief Executive election (selection?)

And HKers protested that proposal which they saw as instituting a false democracy.

Singapore and Singaporeans? How would we respond if this happened in Singapore? Would we also take to the streets in protest?

From this opinion piece from Oct 2014:
What determines if Singaporeans will march on the streets?
I think it depends ultimately on whether there are fair rules, and whether government and people play by those rules.
If a society has fair rules to govern elections, there’s no need for people to take to the streets. The vote gives people voice and power.
If people think rules for elections are  too unfair, that’s a trigger point, because they will lose faith in the democratic process and decide that street politics is better than ballot box politics.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Walk. Over. The Conspiracy Theories.

So Chan Chun Sing was either prescient when he called her "Madam President", or he let the cat out of the bag - that PAP was going to stage manage Halimah into the Istana. (Or Walk her over to the Istana, except that she's staying put in Yishun.)

The conspiracy theory is that this election was declared a Reserved Election to shut out Tan Cheng Bock.

Let's just say that like all good conspiracy theory, there is no way to disprove that.

So I won't even try. But I'll get back to that later.

The second conspiracy theory concerns the stage management of this Presidential "(S)Election".

Maybe it was planned as far back as 2012, when Halimah took over as Speaker when Michael Palmer had to quit because of "personal indiscretions". As Speaker, Halimah automatically meets the eligibility criteria.

Then the criteria for "private sector" candidates was raised to managing a $500m company. To shut out any other candidates. Not just by raising the bar, but also raising the opportunity costs to the potential candidate:
an eligible private sector candidate would, in all likelihood, be someone running a “very successful and sizeable enterprise” and there would be personal trade-offs involved to “assume a role which essentially has very limited responsibilities”.
In other words, you run a $500m company, you have a job with challenges, you have important and strategic decisions to make, you have deals to close, and you probably have a remuneration considerably more than the $1.6m that POTROS is paid.

Why would you want to "retire"? Because that's what the Presidency is equivalent to - retirement.

Friday, 8 September 2017

What would Tan Chuan Jin do now?

I can't quite pin down how I feel about his nomination as Speaker of Parliament.

Firstly, there are ample comments about how this is a "demotion" for him. From a minister with a million dollar salary, to Speaker of Parliament with about half that salary/allowance.

From a contender as a future PM, to an also-ran, an early drop out. This was a consolation prize at best.

I feel for him because these comments could hurt.

The views of people who see him as a failure can be disheartening.

If one allows oneself to be disheartened.

Monday, 28 August 2017

CPF for those who need it (Update)

This is an update of a post from Jan 2015.

Firstly, everyone thinks they can improve the CPF scheme. I am sure you have a grand idea for improving the CPF scheme.

So take this with a grain of salt, and if you think you can improve on these ideas, feel free to suggest tweaks. Or write your own blog and post your own suggestion. You could be the next CPF Blogger!

This update considers changes to the CPF scheme and the CPF Life projections.

And this hopes to address two issues: "CPF is my money", and the original intent of CPF (to finance our retirement).

Friday, 25 August 2017

Conversation: The Big Selection (or why we don't care, or should care)

"Now sure will have Elections next month one!"

"Just because the two other candidates submit their credentials for certification doesn't mean that they will qualify. They might not meet the criteria and may not qualify to run."

"No lah! The gumment already know the people buay song, buay kum guan that Tan Cheng Bock is being cheated of his chance to run for President, if the two kena disqualified and the Makcik gets to jalan into the Istana, everybody will shout 'Kelong!" so loudly, the fish will swim away!"

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

FB comments - Past. Assorted. Random.

[I often jot down my thoughts in response to things I read, but I try to flesh out my initial thoughts and elucidate the larger principle. And things move on and my thoughts on the matter are no longer relevant or contemporary. So it sits in my drafts. Until I re-read them, and sometimes I delete them because my thoughts were not really that great. And sometimes I inflict them on random readers. Like these:]

[Circa Mar 2016]
" turns out that, shockingly, completely unfiltered democracy has downsides. Take the charming saga of r/rape, which started as a subreddit for rape fetish porn before being turned into a support group for sexual assault survivors ... but it still gets lewd visits from people interested in the original function."

Monday, 21 August 2017

The Kiasu Guide to Spotting (possible) Terrorists

Our Minister for Law and Home Affairs has said that it is a matter of "When", not "If" Singapore has a terrorist attack.

You could of course try to run, but where? The recent bombing in Belgium shows us that there is no safe place really. Well, ok. Maybe Inner Mongolia. No one wants to bomb that place, but then again, unless you are born there, do you really want to go there? For good?

If you don't want to run or can't run, then how do you spot a Terrorist?

Well just the other day, there was an elderly man on a mobility scooter on the MRT. I thought, he's just an old man with mobility issues. He had an air tube running to his nose, and there were two air tanks behind him (strapped to the scooter). Then I noticed he had another tank in front of him.

Man, he has some breathing difficulties!

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Dogs, Cats, and People.

A response to Sumiko Tan's column on how it is easier to love a dog than a person

[From an article some time in early 2016, I believe.]

I agree. It is much easier to love a dog than a person. And we should always choose the easy way. Because that is the way to build character. And to grow as a person.

Cats are a little more difficult. Choose cats if you don't want too much character. Cats have enough character for both of you.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Conversation: The Three Conditions

"What happen to Tan Cheng Bock's appeal, ah?"

"Still no decision."

"That means, what?"

"That means, no decision yet lah! Are you trying to get me into trouble by speculating about possible conspiracy theories that might impugn the reputation and independence of our judiciary?"

"You so clever I am sure you can find a way to... "imp pune" the reputation of our courts without getting into trouble, lah!"

"Don't have. But I heard a joke - Tan Cheng Bock can run in this election if he fulfills three conditions."

"What conditions?"

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Conversation: Nasi Lemak Burger Challenge? What Tokking You?

"Wat tokking you? Challenge, your head lah!"

"What you reading?"

"The stupid paper lah! Got no news or what? Some Malaysian burger place want to challenge Singapore's McDonald Nasi Lemak Burger!"

"Oh yes. I heard about that. Or read about it. What about it?"

"OK, first, McDonald (SG) comes out with the Nasi Lemak Burger. So now this MyBurgerlab (MY) "invented" the The Nasi Lemak Ayam Rendang Burger." 

Monday, 7 August 2017

The Rise of the Machines...

When autonomous vehicles become the norm, drivers will lose their jobs.

Taxi drivers.

Truck/lorry drivers.

There are about 26,000 taxis in SG. Assuming each taxi has a main driver and a full-time relief driver (as opposed to part-time reserve drivers who has another job), that's 50,000 drivers who will be severely affected by the loss of their (only) job.

Assuming there are an equal number of full-time lorry/truck drivers, we may have 100,000 drivers out of a job.

How will Singapore deal with the MASS unemployment of tens of thousands of low-skilled (or limited skills) workers?

Hawkers and hawking.

The hawker phenomenon occurred in Singapore because of a "unique convergence" of circumstances.
The social and economic circumstances that brought about the hawker culture in Singapore was a unique convergence in history. The very success of Singapore has move our circumstances beyond the economic need for hawkers to ply their trade.
What "unique convergence" of factors?

Thousand of people unemployed, needing a job and turning to hawking as a last resort, flooding SG with an abundance of hawker food, cheaply offered, and competing on taste and value for money. In the past.

Would the mass unemployment of tens of thousands of drivers lead to a repeat of that "unique convergence in history"?

Maybe we will see the Second Golden Age of Hawker Food in SG

Or maybe a Silver Age.

---- End of "Short & Sweet" segment ----

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Conversation: Lee & Lee vs Lee

"Wah liao eh. If  the Old Man is still alive, he must be dem disappointed in his children, man!"

"I also say."

"And say until like that - that they have no confidence in their brother. I dunno what that even means! So they have no confidence in him as their brother, or they have no confidence in him as the PM?"

"Aiyah, this is just a family argument made bigger because the brother is the PM, and the father is LKY. And of course in a family fight, everything becomes bigger, and more important. So, the brother is not just trying to challenge the father's last will, he is betraying the values of the father. It is the exaggeration of a soap opera."

"I read also dunno what to believe. Can say until like that, meh? Then say that he can use the house for politics? How? If the grandson want to go into politics, all he has to say is that he is grandson of LKY. Whether the old house is standing or demolished will not make him not LKY's grandson, what!"

Friday, 28 April 2017

Who knew?

On Wed (April 26, Washington DC), US Senators were brought to the White House to be briefed on the North Korean situation,
Although the briefing was sobering, it was not revelatory, some of the participants said.

“There was very little, if anything new,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). “I remain mystified about why the entire Senate had to be taken over to the White House rather than conducting it here.”

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Conversation: State-Assisted Funeral for Othman Wok

"Another Old Guard pass away." *sigh*

"Encik Othman Wok. He was a good man."

"Yeah. I remember when... That time... aiyah! Si lah. I must be getting old. I don't remember why he was a good man."

"Don't look at me. I too young to remember. I HEARD he was important in helping Lee Kuan Yew get the support of the Malay community in the early years. "

"Ah! Yah! Something like that. I remember something like that. That time there were quite a few riots and trouble about race. We needed strong people to hold Singapore together. Yeah. Mr Othman Wok was very important. It is right that we give him a State Funeral."

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Conversation: A Reserved Presidential Election

"Oi, you heard or not? Tan Cheng Bock asked the govt to make the next Presidential Election an "Open" election so he can run. He said they count salah already lah, it is not time to reserve the Election for Malay candidate. He says the govt is just trying to keep him from being president!"

"But we have not had a Malay President since Yusoff Ishak in 1970. That's more than 40 years... Almost 50 years."

"Cannot count like that, lah! The rule is supposed to count the last 30 years of Elected Presidents. But Presidents were elected only from Ong Teng Cheong. But they count from Wee Kim Wee! Who is not an elected president! How can liddat?"

"But still, we haven't had a Malay President since our first President. And our country is 52 years old already. Surely it is time to reserve... you know? You are right. If the rule is 30 years or 5 Presidential terms, then we should follow the rules. Anyway, I don't think our "racial harmony" is enhanced by 'Reserved Presidential Elections' for minorities, every now and then."

"Wah? You agree with me then?"

"Yes... but while I don't think it is a good idea to have a Reserved Election for minorities, it is better than what we had the last PE."

"What did we have the last election?"

"A de facto reserved PE for 'Tans'."

Monday, 13 March 2017

Seeking Asylum elsewhere

So apparently his 15 minutes of fame has not run out.

Or the media continues to give Attention-Seeking, Banana Boy more "15 minutes of fame".

His latest stunt is to seek asylum in the US.

I grew up understanding "Asylum" to mean "mental institution" (See "Arkham Asylum"). So my first thought was, "this is appropriate". :-)

Friday, 10 March 2017

Lady Liberty and the Merlion

So the US has the Statue of Liberty, with the Torch, and the words,

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Image result for “Give me your tired your poor your huddled masses

Singapore has the Merlion. Spitting water.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Juvenile Speculations - War in the South China Sea?

On Monday [23 Jan 2017], new White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the United States would prevent China from taking over territory in international waters in the South China Sea.
His comments were widely interpreted as doubling down on remarks by Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, on Jan. 11 that the United States would not allow China access to islands it has built in the South China Sea, and upon which it has installed weapons systems and built military-length airstrips.
The adult in you should be horrified at the prospects of another war. With the two largest economies. And so close to home. To be clear, China doesn't want a war. Does the US want a war? With Trump, who knows?

The juvenile in you (and me) may just want to speculate: Can China successfully defend those islands they reclaimed and the facilities they built on it? Will the US (under Trump) be able to take the fight to China?

How will this impact the rest of the world, and specifically Singapore? More importantly, who will win such a war or any lesser confrontation? Or if not "win", prevail?

(The juvenile in you is the one who still thinks questions like "Superman vs  Green Lantern - who will win?" is a deep important philosophical question.)

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Nothing to crow about

And so it was that within the first week of the Year of the Rooster, the AVA acted to put down "wild" chickens roaming Sin Ming Ave because of complaints from about 20 residents that the birds' crowing were annoyances.

And the irony was not lost on readers who commented mercilessly on a) the pettiness of the residents, and b) the draconian measure of culling the chickens by AVA instead of say, relocating them to the Botanic Garden, Ubin, Central Catchment area, etc.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Is the plural of Terrex, "Terrexes", "Terrexs", or "Terrice"?

In November 2016, nine "Terrexes", SAF's Infantry Carrier Vehicles (ICV) or troop carriers, or armoured personnel carrier (APC, the carrier is armoured, not the personnel) or "battle taxis" were seized in HK by the Chinese authorities claiming non-compliance with HK Custom laws. 

And the internet went wild. Or "wow!"

While there were some hand-wringing, sabre-rattling, self-recrimination (or recrimination of the govt), and the usual blame-storming and pretentious armchair analysis (of which, this might be one), the official response has been more low-key (which allows the more vociferous of the armchair analysts free range with their over-the-top theories and recriminations.)

The problem of course is that China has no legal reason to seize those vehicles. So how to return those vehicles, without losing face and seeming to be quite silly?

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Good Old Days (and Bad New Days)

Is it me or does the old days seem better and the new ones just suck like an Electrolux?

A few minutes ago, my neighbourhood's usual midnight serenity was interrupted by primal yells into the darkness of the night.

I could not make out the grievances that the various yellers were trying to convey.

Perhaps I was not the intended recipient of the message.

Perhaps they were not even grievances (though they were shouted out with considerable angst, but I could be mistaken).