Friday, November 22, 2013

Inconcrete libel suit shouldn't be feared by tabloid papers

What's with accusing a person/organization of suppressing press freedom (and preventing "exposure of corruption") by libel suit?

If YOUR reporting is concrete, without bias, no wild accusation, no contempt, and no sensationalism, THEN YOU shouldn't have to fear anything.

If you hack into a victim's handphone and alter her text message to create sensational news, then BE really afraid of libel suits. If you belittle and attack a person's achievement as mere Nepotism without any evidence (and without studying that person's academic and personal achievement), then be prepared for libel suit.

Press Freedom is a situation where you can print whatever f*** YOU want, but for Responsible Press safeguard, you will need to face legal repercussion for any of your irresponsible and illegal/criminal action. In conclusion, libel suit doesn't suppress Press Freedom, but is necessary to uphold Responsible Press.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

M1 service disruption due to fire at Singtel Bukit Batok exchange

I have been getting this message on my browser, "you have set the wrong dynamic or static IP address for your router". When I accessed the router settings, all was ok except internet connection.

A check in M1 Facebook page found a message informing customers about service disruption due to fire.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Rega ceiling fan life-time warranty with CAVEATS

A good product has longer guarantee without need for warranty. A bad product will give limited lifetime-warranty. As a prudent shopper, we must choose wisely.

Going to buy any ceiling fan in Singapore, or especially Rega brand? You have to realise that warranty for Rega is context-dependent with fine-lines that penalize customers. Its motor has lifetime-long warranty, but other parts are not. What we don't realise is that motor is just copper-coil with magnet and of course they are durable. Often, things that break are those 'other parts'.... and even if motor is intact, fan won't work.
Refer to this article on Rega life-long warranty with caveats.

Friendly security worth twice as much than security

Security in any establishment is a must. It ensure safety to visitors and people who work there. A good security firm (or in-house security) ensures security, and on top of that it ensures a conducive environment for both visitors (customers) and other workers. The best security would be those that provide the highest security with less interference to the norm. This is especially considering that most countries are not under emergency (or curfew), and surely not Singapore. We as customers and visitors don't really need machine gun toting personnel, or fierce-looking muscles to make us feel "safe", and "welcomed".

Having said that, I have been to supermarkets, condominiums, government buildings, private and public companies, club houses etc. and I got to learn one good example from all this. Companies (esp. customer-oriented ones) need to invest more in the establishment of "efficient" security in their premises. Efficient in the sense that the security personnel are trained to be vigilant at all time but friendly none-the-less (without compromising the former quality). Just remember that giving out a smile doesn't lessen the "deadly power" of these muscles at work. Conversely, being fierce-looking all the time doesn't work in enhancing security because crooks/terrorists don't buy it (only amateurs might fall for it). Sure enough, regular customers/visitors HATE IT when unreasonable SECURITY hamper their daily norms.

Imagine I'M LOVING IT quality in McD when one day McD decides to hire bouncers to greet customers.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Cab nearly ran me down at pedestrian crossing

SHD2066G from prime taxi nearly knocked my wife and I at a pedestrian crossing near Lot 1 CCK from 9.50am to 10am on 10 Sept 2013. The driver saw us and drove by nonchalantly. No courtesy, and didn't acknowledge our presence. Moreover, he drove by even though I raised my hand as gesture to indicate that I'm about to cross as well as a thank you note. I guess that meant nothing to him.

I tried calling the Prime taxi customer number and the person at the other end asked me to hold. Unfortunately, she couldn't place my call to the complaint line and referred me to a handphone number. I chose to write in from the feedback form on Prime Taxi website relating my worry about this driver and asked them to advice the driver to adhere to road regulation. There was no reply/acknowledgement after more than a month. I assumed my message got sent to junk mail.

To those using the pedestrian crossing, just be careful. Remind loved ones to always walk cautiously even when on pedestrian crossing. I have always thought that raising your hand would be indicative to drivers to stop, but it's not fool-proof either.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Friends getting married, happiness with no 5Cs

A condition of sort he gave his girlfriend before they decide to tie the knot, "no 5 Cs in our pursuit for happy married life".

They are, complaining, critical, competitive, comparing, and controlling.
Examples of these are:

  • Complain: The weather's too hot
  • Critical: It's hot and you stinks
  • Competitive: I will be stinkier than you, just you wait
  • Comparing: Australia has four seasons and here is hot, we should move
  • Controlling: Go take a shower. I don't care if you had taken it few hours ago.

The above is definitely unique and differs from the 5Cs making happy Singaporeans reported not long ago.
I guess everyone should look for their 5Cs that make them happy and contented. I'll definitely look for my 5Cs in future career.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Firefly update - post flight impression

First time we took MAS Firefly and unbelievably, the staffs are very friendly and easily approachable. The cabin staffs were helpful and courteous. Felt very comfortable traveling with Firefly.

The only bad experience would be the pre-flight booking procedure and the rigid policy not allowing change of name on the ticket. I am not apt in the security procedures involving passenger travels by flight -especially after post9-11, so I'm guessing that the difficulty in asking for simple name change could be due to security procedure. Otherwise would be unacceptable to me.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Firefly updates - amendment to flight information

Tried the ticketing office again to inquire about amendment to flight information. Our helper no longer work for us and we had to change name for a replacement helper on the ticket.

The staff informed us that name change on the ticket is no longer permitted. When pressed for suggestion or alternative, there is none - suggesting that the ticket we are holding is as good as garbage.

I called CASE Singapore to ask about protection under Lemon law. Unfortunately, Lemon law covers only goods but not services.

All in all, consumers are left handicapped in a lopsided airline vs consumer deal.

M'sia airline Firefly, "your call is important to us", that is why...

I'm being put on hold for > 30 min with constant advertisement announcement on the background with firefly music to deal with. It sort of adding fuel to fire for being made to wait that long.

In comparison to calling other ticketing numbers, the latter's call went through faster. Unfortunately, to make amendments to your booking, they directed us to call the "important" call center (+60378454543).

Your call is important to us, our agent is unavailable being repeated several times and adverts announcement being included in the waiting tone fumes me...

If indeed customer's calls are important, the company should have placed more emphasis on receiving these calls. Failure to do so only reflect how important these calls are to them.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Re: 5 reason to avoid Singapore?
Come on. You should have written a more believable piece. Then it would have been commendable.
2 days for someone who admitted never been to Singapore is sufficient to form such elaborate perception? Unbelievable....

In my opinion, you had a bias to begin with. You knew about the political scene in Singapore, you knew about the author who is being charged in court, you knew about all things else (very likely, from your reads about Singapore).

You are being unfair to your readers who assumed that you had a good piece to share about what genuine 5 reasons that made you didn't want to visit Singapore in a short time as 2 days.
Only after reading the whole piece that it occurred to me that you were unfair, partial and subjective in this writing.

Wasted my time looking to find an interesting story here... What you did was regurgitating other people's perception about Singapore with a bit of "genuine" first time visit to the country.

I hope you will improve on your next piece for the sake of preserving your integrity as a writer.
If you wish to stick to your biased view on Singapore, do the courtesy to change the title to, "5 reasons I dislike Singapore".

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Overpopulation: super long queues at NTUC (and others)

It's time. Adopt technology to alleviate long queues at check outs. Allow existing counters to cater for certain shoppers, but instal automated checkout booths for tech savvy shoppers.

When you have more people adopting the tech, then slowly decrease the old fashioned counters.
Although I still prefer person-to-person interaction, it's just not doable in a megacity. We hardly have time to say hello at check out counters here, due to long queues and exhausted cashiers (who dealt with God-knows-how-many customers per day).

So, when will NTUC (or other shopping malls) implement more self checkout booths all over the country to alleviate long queues?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

If government wants to impose on maid (domestic helper) industry...

Just consider overtaking (or get involved) in the industry. Don't just throw policies at it and sit back waiting for another opportunity to introduce additional policies (only when something goes awry).

In my opinion, most of the policies in place protects helpers rather than both parties. This could have been a direct consequence of few cases of mistreatment (if not abuse) of helpers by irresponsible employers; but the blanket policies affects all employers (to the extent of being seen as skewed towards more protection to helpers than employers).

Not all households with maids are rich. Most of them have both working parents (with kids). It is a need, rather than want. So please don't assume households with maids are spoilt (and hence a tendency by government to wean this habit).

Cost of living in Singapore is high. It needs both parents working to lead a comparable comfortable lives as Singapore's neighbours. To own a home of two bedrooms (2+1) is not an easy task. To care for a kid is not an easy task. To care for elders are not easy task (considering the ripple effect of previous single child policy leaving most older generations with just a kid or two).

Is it possible for a household earning sgd 3k or less to break away from being at the lower rung of society? There is no saving (how can this household invest other than via cpf?), no free medical care etc... if even a single member of this household is afflicted by cancer or accident (needing surgery), the whole of the family's bank savings would be exhausted (hence there is mentality that if you are sick here, it's better to just die fast). Talk about insurance, the premium for whole household cost how much? How encompassing is the coverage (or how efficient is the buffer to prevent depleting a household's saving comes disaster)? How many households with sgd 3k or less have all their family members covered? Can a single medisave (from a single parent working) covers four or more family members (being considered here are older gen, spouse, and next gen)?

If there is kiasu mentality in Singapore, it is due to environmental factor triggering to the innate mechanism for survival and hence a behavioural changes catered for "fighting for survival". To propel next gen to leave the lower rung of society, both parents need to work in order to achieve this. That is a sacrifice from a family unit who planned for having kids and who planned ahead for their children's education. We are this type of family unit (although I realise there are other types who are more laid back).

Now, when we lament that less families nowadays are having kids, what are the problems or circumstances leading to this? Are they spoilt because these households only want handouts from national coffer? Could dangling more carrots help?

In my perspective, if you subject family units to a less conducive environment to have kids - you get just that... less kids. No matter how much extrinsic factors (e.g. viagra, good mood music, delicious food, or carrots etc.), you just get a short-term placebo effect. Once these subjects realise it's not working, they revert (or remit) to original state.

It's just too darn stressful to have kids. Who in their right mind would want to subject innocent children to stressful environment?

More returning to maid (aka domestic helper). Governments of countries catering domestic helpers are doing the right thing to protect their maids from being taken advantage by middlemen (aka agency). Not all agencies are bad, but some are and measures are taken to help prevent helpers from exploitation. Good for them.

In comparison, Singapore is not helping protect employers (aka households) from being victimized. To as salt to injury, why are we being imposed levy when the cost of having maid is getting higher and higher due to measures taken to protect helpers. Shouldn't Singapore be protecting needy households as well? Don't be misled by sensational news about the NS brat being pampered to the extent that his NS bag was carried by his maid. Instead, act on information based on statistics. I dare you to disprove that majority of households took maid for wants rather than needs.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Changi airport, beware... no printer

Don't go to the airport leaving behind (or missing) printouts important for departure or else you will be stuck.
My maid had a printout for ICA clearance for her flight home. She handed the document along with her e-ticket. After check in, the document was no where to be found. Asked the staff at the desk for help as we had the pdf copy in our email. The only suggestion was go to service counter on the lower floor for printing because there is no service at Silk Air counters.
At the customer service centre, the staff needed the pdf on a thumbdrive for printing. We told her it's accessible in our email account and asked if there is any computer terminal with printer. There is none.
Asked for alternative; the staff suggested business centre at Crowne Plaza. Went for it and that didn't work.
We ended up missing the flight and had to pay penalty for no-show at ~SGD150. The next available flight is next day at 7.50am. Good, that mean we'll have to travel from far west to far east early in the morning with a year old baby just to send of our maid....
It's our mistake to have lost the printed document, but what irks me about the whole thing afterwards were the following:
  1. Can't the customer service help us with this simple request as to print a document? We are more than happy to pay nominal fee for the service...
  2. I can't believe that the whole of Changi airport is lacking a simple computer terminal with printer. Are you kidding us? At least provide a service counter with such access! What a disappointment.

Monday, April 22, 2013

BO (aka body odour) forgivable but cigarette smoke not

Having a BO is not really a choice (although maintaining hygiene and utility of deodorant alleviates the problem), because genetic (pmid 20081888) , occupation and environment (e.g. high humidity) plays a role.
However, smoking is not! Smoking in public is an act of apathy and selfish self-indulgence. I can forgive people with body odour, but I tend to hate senseless smokers.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Childish misuse of "Excuse me" ...

Kids, what can I say. They are adorable, but a pain too at times because they can be rude. As a parent, teacher or adult, it is challenging to show them proper conduct when in public. 

One example is the proper usage of "excuse me". To them, the term can be properly used, or misused. Some used it as a tool to "drive off" people, e.g. when there are a lot of people in a place and the kid wants quick and easy access, he just has to say "excuse me" repeatedly like a machine gun and sieve out from the crowd.
Other occasion for misusing "excuse me":

  1. In an exhibition, if a kid wants quick access to one of the exhibits/displays, but impatient to wait for the people in front to finish first, he just say "excuse me" and wedge to the front.
  2. In MRT platform, while people are queuing to board, a kid just has to say "excuse me" and sieve into the crowd to position himself at the front line.

I wonder if the above kids know that such behaviour is rude. If they are my kids, I would explain to them why it is improper... Same goes for being a tutor, teacher etc.

However, as an adult and stranger, it is difficult to "lecture" especially when the kid's parent(s) is around.
So, to these kids, let us just reply to them.... "You are excused (forgiven). Now go back to the line." if they misuse "Excuse me".

Sunday, March 24, 2013

It's so easy to step on someone's foot in Singapore

Talk about overcrowding. In Singapore, it's very frequent that you will be stepping onto someone's foot while you are out. Be it in public places or transport. Probably you have said your apology numerous times, or for some not more than the digits on your right hand. People of the latter perplexes me. It's as if, apology is a difficult word (or incriminating). Are we all lawyers nowadays?

I have the feeling that, there are some people out there in Singapore street purposely stepping on people's feet. They are doing it intentionally, just to bring a message across... "out of my way!". If you are stationery, the "foot-steppers" would intentionally assault your foot with, "you are on my spot!". That should be an explanation for the reluctance of people to say their courtesy sorry, whenever they accidentally step onto someone.

How do we as society guide these lost sheep back into the flock? The next time someone steps onto you, don't hesitate and wait for an apology. Just say "ouch, you stepped onto my foot". If without response, add in, "aren't you going to say sorry?". If that didn't evoke any response too, just step onto his/her foot and say, "I'm sorry".

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Bus - Door hoggers

I believe daily commuters should have realised that there are bus doors hoggers. How do we classify them? Well, they hog the exit door and very reluctant to move further back into the bus (thus preventing other commuters from entering).

What are the reason for their hogging? I can only think of easy and quick access to exit door.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Good intention, bad presentation

Today, boarded a bus. The bus captain (aka driver) could be inexperience and was not comfortable with all the buttons he has to operate before, during, and after each stop. In one stop, he forgot to close one of the bus doors and one teen commuter tried to highlight this. The commuter's intention was good, he cared and worried that someone might be flung out of the moving bus. The commuter said to the captain, "close the door".

However, the above three words were uttered as if the speaker was really irritated (similar to a parent saying something to the kid for the upteepth time). So I wondered. How true it is that kids learn/emulate parents. We sometimes forget that by shouting or speaking in an angry/irritated tone, we aren't actually increasing the efficiency of passing a message. It is rather, diluting the message with distraction (loudness, tone, emotion) for the person on the receiving end. This I'm afraid is contagious, and kids will follow.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

SBS BUS upper deck uncomfortable seat near window

My left (or right) sole is killing me. It's so uncomfortable resting your feet when you are seated near the window on the upper deck.

The reason is due to the uneven, and awkward surface/floor at the side of the upper deck (see pic). I would have preferred that the uneven surface could have been modified into elevated flat surface.

Fig shows the uneven flooring that is uncomfortable and awkward to rest your foot there.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

SBS bus #179 love to overtake "slower" NTU shuttle buses

Waiting for SBS 179 bus can test patience. Sometimes, you wait for >10 min just to find two of these buses tailgating one another, with seats (or occupancy) half empty. This scenario of course, happens off peak. That is why you get to wait longer for a bus at NTU. I wonder why there isn't strict enforcement of standardized timing for buses to start and end at a station. It seemed that there are some drivers eager to finish his shift faster, hence the haste to finish the journey, and resulting in two to three buses tailgating one another.

Back to the topic, some drivers of SBS 179 seemed eager to overtake "slower" NTU shuttles. This poses few concerns, mainly safety as the road around NTU is not meant for overtaking. Second, by overtaking shuttle, especially at bus stops (while the shuttle is stationery), SBS drivers often miss out few patrons waiting at these stops. For the drivers convenience (i.e. driving in front of slower vehicles), they are causing inconveniences to patrons who might have waited for the bus for ages.

Is fuel price getting low these days? Why the waste of dispensing buses just to get them back to base half/quarter utilized? How to change drivers mentality? How to implement/enforce simple rule?

I'm not paid to solve this problem. Get someone under SBS payroll to do it. My opinion is, SBS service is not getting any better.

Friday, March 1, 2013

System flawed at Public Library Singapore

I love our National Library of Singapore. The book collection is superb. The atmosphere in most places are conducive for reading, meeting, and working on assignments.

I can renew books and check catalogue online. I can keep tab of my borrowings, set reminders for impending overdue etc.

However, there is one flaw in the system. If I forget to renew my books on time, the system will prevent me from renewing them (even though I was allowed to do so a day before overdue). The penalty system kicks in by commencing charging of overdue cost and at the same time penalises users from renewing, which is very unfair. IMHO, renewal option should be given to user to prevent further overdue charges (esp. considering that the book is still needed by user).

I believe it could be a computer bug. If user has unpaid overdue, he/she will be prevented from both borrowing and renewal, hence the only way is to physically be at the library to return the book(s) or request renewal of book(s) at the counter after overdue payment.

So for now, if you forget to renew on time, you have to return the book ASAP and pay $0.15 per book per day. That is the penalty for not renewing on time. Bummer.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Meritocracy ensures "possibility to achieve", but doesn't necessarily mean equal opportunity

Quoted from NUS sociology don Tan Ern Ser .

I agree with the statement, but with caution. Not all inequality stem from circumstances, as many are due to personal choices or choices made on behalf of the person in question (e.g. family, peers etc.).

Meritocracy don't work on equal terms and this inequality could stem from:

  1. Financial status. Rich will have the resources to propel themselves to success (or failure due to complacency) as compared to poor (although the poor can achieve equal footing by determination and hardwork).
  2. Genetic makeup. People are different by genetic makeup. Some people have the capacity to learn at faster rate than others. The disadvantaged need determination and handwork to achieve equal success.
  3. Family background. Families who emphasize education as prerequisite to live better lives will allow their next gen to achieve better in life as compared to those families that don't care. Families will sacrifice for the sake of their children future. Most to the extent of depriving themselves luxury (e.g. Home remortgage, savings, debts, prudent spending etc.)
  4. Countries' economy. In developed countries, cheap labours don't come from citizen as the governments tend to emphasize the need for skilled workers, and hence invest on the education system to produce brains rather than muscles.
  5. Personal choices. Meritocracy waits for no one. People who are determined and willing to put effort and focus will succeed, while those who don't care, get left behind.
  6. Others, e.g. serendipity, friends, mentors, character (pleasant character attracts right people and friends).
It will be difficult to design meritocracy catered for everyone with equal footing. However, it is not impossible to provide the right circumstance for positive people to succeed. It is just impossible to give advantage to lazy bums, that's all.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Singapore in need of bird bath, please

It's a hot season in Singapore and the demand for water will increase. There isn't any problem for the people, but it creates a big problem for other cohabitants. In any modernized and big cities, water source is never sufficient for the wild (e.g. Birds, squirrel, insects) and semi-wild (e.g. strays) cohabitants because of inaccessibility to (or danger of) the drainage system for water, particularly birds.

In other countries, bird baths are made available for birds (who are most affected by heat as they are most exposed to direct sunlight). The accessibility to water source is crucial for their survival, especially in hot weather.

In Singapore, bird bath is close to nil. The reason being, stagnant water breeds mosquitoes and among them are pathogen carriers, e.g. dengue or malaria. To instal water source, an innovative means of filtering and killing off mosquitoes larvae will be needed, but lacking. That is why, sadly, there isn't any available water source for birds, squirrels, butterflies, bees, strays etc. over here.

Surely it isn't difficult to design a way to provide water to the wild or semi-wild without the mozzies.
I wonder when will the day come when we can see birds, butterflies, dragonflies, bees, squirrel, perching onto baths for water, surrounded by gardens? It would be beautiful.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Gullibility with a heart misplaced...

Beggars. They are global problem. In some countries, begging is a lucrative business and to be successful, sometimes innovative measures are employed to gain more sympathies. Some to the extreme of abduction and mutilation of victims for that purpose. In Pavlov's theory, the practise of giving money will encourage more begging, which have been proven to be true and a problem in some countries. If we want to help, stop giving money (easy way) and start helping (e.g. write to government, seek social welfare on behalf of beggars, give necessary items like clothes, water and food).

In Singapore, it is illegal to beg. However, there is a loophole and unsurprisingly, people are clever in manoeuvring loopholes for benefit; hence those who beg are seen holding tissue papers for sale. There isn't any price tag to the item. Sometimes I wonder, if this is charity or poison-in-disguise. In my opinion, it is always better to teach a person to fish rather than handing them the fish. Animals in zoos are result of unsolicited "charity" and they are not doing any good. What makes us think we are doing good to people by giving. The proper way should be to facilitate their independence on handouts.

In Singapore, guilt, sympathy and gullibility (and a sense of helplessness, i.e. our inability to better their lives) clouds our perception/judgement of this problem and hence the easy way would be to give without thinking about the implication of such action (e.g. reliance and grown dependency of beggars to handouts rather than thriving for independence and self-reliance).

If we really want to give, give money to street performers as appreciation and shun away from those who use kids (or disability as an excuse not to do anything) to gain sympathy.

Am I heartless to only help those who want to help themselves? Who are more deserving help, those who want to improve or those who rely on (or misuse) sympathy and charity?

Ruling supporter with opposition mindset

For efficient government, 2/3 majority is a must or else nothing will ever happen (or it happens at snail speed). That would be detriment to a country's competitive edge as more "bureaucratic traps (or stalemates), means delays.

For a good ruling (or government), it should have a healthy set of members of dissenting views. These members should be team players, i.e. for the good of the team, discord should be settled behind closed door. Frequent deliberation of plan, policy or implementation within party will prepare ruling for whatever salvo that comes from opposition (who in my opinion, is out there to see ruling trip and fall rather than help). In politics, opposition is more of a competitor rather than friend. The instinct to see to it that ruling fail is a survival instinct. Balance and check is just euphemism for waged war to win seats at the expense of other party. No ruling party in power wants their majority less for the sake of balance-and-check; not even when opposition becomes the ruling party. To me, it's bigotry to idealise balance-and-check while both parties are constantly fighting for majority.

Now, it all depends on ruling (or coalition) party. Is there means to voice dissenting views from within, and deliberation afterwards to gain consensus (or compromise)? A healthy ruling party should have critics within and healthy dissent, while simultaneously giving the enemy the impression of formidability.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Opposition, opposing for name sake?

Democracy. A country with this system of governance will have ruling and opposition. The latter designation is improper and counter-productive. The term "oppose" suggest that the loser in general election is destined to blindly oppose whatever implementation or plan by ruling party, regardless of fact or rationale. Unfortunately, it is true that opposition often drum up "bad results" by ruling while keeping quiet when "good results" occur, which is unfair, but a must for opposition's survival in a democratic society. There is constant competition between ruling and opposition, which its really unhealthy and detriment to a country's growth. Why oppose for the sake of opposing?

There is always risk involved in whatever plan or venture by ruling (aka government). In Singapore, the Youth Olympic Game (YOG) was a risk worth taking as it could boost both Singapore's brand as well as increase tourists arrival. In addition, the improvement on sport facilities and other infrastructure will prove useful post-YOG, as these facilities/infrastructure will benefit Singaporeans. They could also be reused for other games in the future. Moreover, the rights for broadcasting the Game was expected to increase revenue from advertisement etc... All these benefits are not factored in when Opposition drummed up the fact that (1) there were glitches, (2) overspending due to underestimation of cost etc. which is really unfair.

Another venture the government risked for the betterment of economy was the development of integrated resort, with casino as one of the attractions. Opposition again highlighted the negative implication without looking at the whole picture. Opposition suggested that casino will increase gambling problem, without considering that (1) measures were taken by authority to monitor and stop problem gamblers, (2) illegal gambling dens have been there in Singapore, e.g. Geylang etc with its associated Ah Long (loan shark) before integrated resort was mooted, (3) benefit of integrated resort far outweighed the cons, e.g. increasing jobs and tourist arrival.

Next, F1 in Singapore. Some complained about this as well. What a success it proved. The revenue from tourist arrival was amazing. The revenue from advertisement brought about by broadcasting the event was super. F1 will definitely stay and it will surely contribute to Singapore's economy.

Now, if the government don't do anything, there will not be anything worth looking forward to. "No venture no gain" as we all know it, and if the government listen to Opposition most of the time, there will be nothing to implement, nothing to venture, nothing to develop and nothing for nothing.

So please, in a democratic society, please please.... Opposition need to grow more mature in dealing with matters pertaining to Singapore. Sometimes, give ruling some slack if there is failure in ventures (as risk is always there no matter how well the plan had been) and do pat ruling's back if they did well. After all, when Singapore prospers Singaporeans prosper as well. As for now, that ideal is an impossible task because no one wants to be the loser for long and politics is a dirty game. That is why, shit is everywhere, even in Opposition.

Take for example, the Opposition tried to please the populace by promises of giving "handouts" when Opposition is in power. We must understand where the money will be coming from, from this promised handouts by Opposition. It will surely be the national coffer (from ventures and risks taken by ruling in generating this saving). That money is not Opposition's to promise as handouts! What shameless and irresponsible audacity. I could promise each Singaporean a palace too by spending the coffer if I'm in power, but that would make me deceitful!

Are we going to end up as the US in spending national coffer? Over there, it's always a race to dry up the national coffer before the end of next term and after which wait for the other party to clean up a shitload of debts. I worry Singapore will sink if that happens.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Cyclists in Singapore

Cycling to work and back (or for leisure or errands) is a healthy and eco-friendly alternative. However, in Singapore there isn't enough designated and proper path for cyclists and hence they encroach (not that it's illegal) pedestrians walkways.

If we understand the common rule (or sense) on road safety, we should know that vehicles at the rear should be extra caution of the one in front and in-coming vehicle should not encroach on the wrong side of the road. But there isn't any common sense for this rule for most cyclists. Most of them are akin to road hogs, they sound their bell and assumed that people in front of them will move away in time. Some of them sound their bell at a distance away while travelling at full speed assuming that if there are people, they will be able to pin-point where the cyclist is and move out of the way on time. But how about the elderly, pregnant ladies, kids etc? Will they be able to move out of harm's way or would they be knocked down by irresponsible and senseless cyclists?

I am a cyclist and no matter how pressed for time I am, I will never jeopardise other peoples' safety, especially pregnant ladies and the elderly. It is because of other irresponsible cyclists that gives the perception that all cyclists are bad.

If only we can educate these clueless cyclists about the above golden rules, we will be able to minimise risk to our loved ones while they are on the walkways:

  1. Ringing of bells doesn't mean you can pass a narrow path, or in crowded area swiftly. You should allow ample time for response, and decrease your speed. If necessary, walk with your bicycle until you are clear and safe to commence with cycling. Say, "thank you" always regardless of response or lack of.
  2. Never startle people by ringing of bells (or repeatedly), especially to the elderly or pregnant women. You might even get bashed up for startling some guys.
  3. The rights for using the walkway will always be of pedestrians. Cyclists are encroaching their space and should respect this. Ringing of bells for clear access is obnoxious and disrespectful and should not be practised. If you try this on the main road while driving, you will land yourself in deep shit. However, pedestrians do tolerate the above if it is done properly without risking their safety, and followed by gratitude.
  4. Never cycle pass people at high speed (or zig zag zoom) because their startled response could end up in a collision or fall. The elderly and pregnant ladies are more susceptible to being startled and can injure themselves badly. If you are this type of cyclist, beware!

Sorry, there is no taxi available in your location

Staying in a dead-end loop makes fetching a taxi impossible in Singapore. Calling for one comes out dry most of the time when taxi is needed. Now, what is wrong here?

First, where are the alternatives? I wouldn't really mind if we have more alternatives. If there is sheltered walkway (with ramps and wheel-chair/pram accessible) all the way to place of destination (even if it's 2 to 5 km walk), I WOULDN'T MIND. Unfortunately, this is rare (almost none).

Talk about buses, I favour buses more than taxi. Buses ply almost all strategic places in Singapore, BUT travelling from home to stops is very inconvenient, unless these stops are just outside your block. I'm saying this because, there just isn't enough sheltered walkway (and wheelchair/pram friendly). Carrying an umbrella isn't a problem for most individuals, but try travelling in a pack with some members requiring wheels to move and you have a big problem.

Owning a car is a luxury in Singapore especially considering that a "permit" (aka COE) to own one is so exorbitant in cat-eats-dog auction system, whereby theoretically a person rich enough can own more than one car. So forget about it.

Due to COE and cost of owning a car, those services requiring transportation (or car) will reflect this cost. Hence, car rental in Singapore is expensive in terms of dollar per day, rendering this alternative as expensive and inaccessible to most households (assuming that most have driving license to begin with, because cost of getting one is high as well).

To cycle to a destination poses the same problem as walking. There isn't a strategic (as well as designated) stretch of path that is sheltered and wheel friendly. Cyclists share same walkway as pedestrian and this poses danger to the latter. From the look of things, it's encouraging to see that there is significant number of people travelling by bicycle where they park their wheels at MRTs to take public transport to work, thereby alleviating road jams.

This brings me to MRTs. I love MRTs, they are the most convenient and fast means of travelling (without factoring recent breakdowns). However, it still share the same problem as walking and cycling, i.e. NO SHELTERED PATH from home-to-MRT-to-destination and vice versa.

So, are there any other alternatives? I guess whatever the alternatives, they all boils down to the common need for the proper walkway/path that are sheltered, wheel friendly, safe, well lit, ubiquitous (or strategically linked) etc. which is really lacking.

Placing more vehicles on the road won't really help and increasing taxi on the road won't do either. The reason is, we don't really need taxi most of the time; however, when we do need them, they are never enough or it willl be too jam (e.g. infrastructure limitation). So just forget about increasing vehicles on the road and start focusing on making travelling by foot or wheels a much more accessible and convenient alternative (as this will encourage more people opting for public transport).

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Poor leading the poor? Are we nuts?

Singapore Punggol by-election is looming. News are aplenty on this event. Few caught my attention, as well as the comments. The sentiment that most perplexed me is "only the poor will understand and fight for the poor, whereas rich are bad".

What? Are you serious? Isn't it akin to the poor leading the poor?

Mind you, rich and successful people comes from poor family background too, and the hurdles and hardship they scaled in order to reach that state is worth emulating. I believe Dr Koh is such people.

For me, I'm sure I want a leader who can guide me to success rather than someone who "understand" my hardship but clueless of what to do about it.