Sunday, July 27, 2014

Order of importance to let seat to the needy in MRT

In my opinion, letting a seating to someone else will be in this order of importance: frail elderly (who stood wobbly and holding grab-pole for support), last trimester expectant moms (who seriously have backaches and swollen feet), parents holding babies (less than a year old who obviously can't stand on their own; but without a baby pram on sight), someone holding a clutch (or walking with a limp, but could still hold steadily on a grab-pole), elders especially grandmas (with grey hair, but still sturdy, 55 to 65 years old), and grandpa (55 - 65 years old).

I will not let a seat to children (who are 5 to 12 years old) because they have the lowest center-of-gravity and unlimited power. Furthermore, they need to be beefed up and not whine for being "forced" to stand too long (especially when they did not complain about running like crazy around children playground while refusing to go home). Aunties and uncles in their early 50s who could still run into the MRT to grab seats and stood up early (while the train was still moving) so that they could inch nearer to the exit door for speedy exit. I have seen rare incidence (not common but it happened) where aunties/uncles competed (like athletes) with expectant moms (slow-mo and bulky) for seats without guilt. Probably such incidents molded my perspective towards the need for prioritizing my offer for seat to the needy in MRT.

Doddle about Singapore

Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (MRT).
Male and female passenger on board the MRT. Long queue for boarding MRT (safety barriers on platforms). Tuna-ed inside MRT, and others.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Types of baby's cough

There are two main types, such as dry and wet coughs. Dry cough is usually caused by a cold (viral infection) or allergies, whereas wet cough is due to bacterial infection which causes phlegm/mucus.

Coughing in baby (< 4 months old) shouldn't be taken lightly and hence decoding baby's cough is important. Refer to this website by for detail.

Common cold/flu (viral): Cough sounds like "hacking" (not the literal meaning, but rather the "hacking" sound) sound. For discerning different types of coughing sound and the term used such as "whooping" (sound ending in the each coughing), dry/"hacking", productive(with phlegm)/wet, and "wheezing" coughs can be referred to in site. Cold (viral origin) normally requires the immune system to beat, and there are several ways to alleviate the symptoms such as more fluid, rest, regulating fever (by damp cloth), humidifier (to alleviate blocked or irritated nose/airway), honey (make sure baby has no allergy to pollen; Asian has less problem), Luo Han Guo (or monk fruit, or scientifically Siraitia grosvenorii) which has been known to have no reported toxicity, among others.

Croup (viral origin is common): common in countries with winter season. The cough sounds like barking. Refer to site.

For other illness such as pneumonia (productive/wet cough), bronchitis/asthma (cough with "wheezing"), whooping cough (pertussis), you can refer to site.

About sextortion in crime watch Singapore

Most will say that the victims were gullible. My opinion is that they were brave. Their moves to report helped others from ending with the same fate.

The perpetrator struck by providing very narrow time window for his victims to response. Most of his victims were under distress at the time and whatever decision they made was of poor judgement. That's how con-men normally operate. In this case, the perpetrator was also a rapist. Unfortunately,  he (Mani Velmurugan , 28) was not charged and convicted of the crime, except for a conviction on criminal intimidation (sentenced to 32 months behind bar). To me, a rape is when victims didn't have a choice and the "consented sex" was under duress. But legally,  it's difficult to determine this type of rape. It's not like statutory rape in which by clear definition, the act is punishable.

The next question is why would victims still be unaware of the risk of sextortion? Were they unaware of the technological capability of webcams to record (and not just for real time viewing)? Did they think that they have found their trustworthy soul mates (and hence sending compromising pictures of themselves was safe)? But how could you be sure without even meeting the person in flesh? I hope public awareness on this subject will help highlight this risk. 

One thing we need to bear in mind,  the victims were given very narrow time window to act. Victims acted under extreme duress. The prospective damages to the victims were usually too great that they would be willing to do anything. 

One thing we have learnt, the more the victims give in and suffer in silence, the more the motivation for this crime to thrive. When a crime idea works, it will be copied and used extensively. However, when victims start reporting to the police and the action is translated to convictions (as well as providing the public an awareness of such crime), they helped to prevent the crime. I respect that. 

Update: Mani Velmurugan was not charged with rape because his victims did not file them. Would they have succeeded in getting justice if they did? "Consented sex" under duress is no consent.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

"Never mind, boy", said you?

This morning, the NTUC queue at my place was very long. It's a Sunday. Everyone was looking for the shortest queue. I was in line waiting to pay for my bread and several can-food items. When it was my turn, a boy in school uniform (8 to 9 years old) tried to cut queue by pretending to be unaware of the long queue behind me. He was holding just a bread. I told him that, "the queue is at the back". He moved to the other counter and came back. The old couple behind me told the boy,  "Never mind, boy. You just got a bread". They made way for the boy to cut queue,  without the having the courtesy to ask the next six or seven people who were queuing. 

I was flabbergasted. 

First,  the old couple failed to inculcate and impart good value to the boy. A queue is a queue,  regardless of number of item (unless he is disabled or frail). There was a 7-11 shop nearby and there is bread and no long queue. Obviously,  the boy didn't want Gardinia bread (at 7-11) and took the bread at NTUC.
The old couple failed to acknowledge the people queuing behind them.  The slot was not theirs to give the boy,  unless they wanted to forgo (or surrender) their spot and start queuing behind the 6 to 7 people. They didn't. 

A lot of parents inadvertently (or purposely) teach their children (above 7 years old) to cut queues,  grab seats in MRT like vultures, rudely move through crowds,  impatiently waiting for their turn to view books at bookstores by repeatedly saying, "excuse me,  excuse me, excuse me...." to drive the person in front to move away,  and many more. 

When these kids become adults. I hope the old couple will not complain if they can't find a seat on MRT (when these young adults pretend to sleep), or seeing their queues being cut frequently.
If you allow children to do the things you wouldn't want adults to do, don't be surprised when these children will grow up being inconsiderate. That's called karma.

There was no good deed the old couple did today. Just like giving handouts to beggars (the easy way out). You might feel good about it,  but the aftermath will bite you back one day, e.g. More people cutting queues or more "beggars" on the street.

How to test if an electrical cable/wire is live

If you hired a professional electrician, your wiring will be properly colour-coded. If not, it can be dangerous to assume which wire colour is live, neutral or ground. In Singapore the colour code for electrical wires can be found in energy market authority site (; whereas for colour codes used in other countries, you can refer to wikipedia ( In Singapore, the older code is as follows, i.e. the live wire is red, neutral is black, and protective conductor (ground/earth). The newer code is as follows, i.e. live (brown), neutral (blue) and ground (yellow-green). My HDB flat uses the older wiring code, whereas new appliances uses new ones.

To test which is live, there are two methods that I know. First is by using a test pen, and the second one is by using a VOM (volt-ohm-meter; or multimeter/multitester). The easiest would be to use philip test pen. There are other safer alternatives, e.g. multimeter, and non-contact test light, among others (wikipedia;

FYI, while using my water heater, a loud pop sound and a foul burnt smell were detected. Next thing I knew, my water heater was not working. I bought a new one (with exact brand and model) and installed it myself. The water heater was not working. I tried to change the wall switch (dual pole switch), it didn't work either. In the end, called an electrician. He checked the whole thing and found out that the thing that burnt was the electrical cable. It was a 240-440 volt-ampere (1.8A) type. The load must have been too much and this caused the neutral wire to explode leaving black stain. He switched the cable to higher load type with thicker copper gauge.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Abandoned bicycles an eye-sore

The title explains it. It's not a hazard or anything to pedestrians,  but it's a breeding ground for mosquitos if people start throwing rubbish, such as soft drink containers or cups. The tyres could also trap water. But frankly,  picture of abandoned bikes is an eye-sore. They clutter walkways. 

These bikes are locked mostly beside poles, hand rails, trees, and some at bicycle stands. I'm curious as why owners abandon their bikes. Have they moved? Did they upgraded to a car or motorcycle? Did they forget where they parked their bikes? Were they victim of pranks? 

Some of the bikes/bicycles have been abandoned for more than a year. I'm clueless as how to inform the relevant authorities. If these bikes were to be recycled and distributed to the needy,  it would be more helpful than to see these bikes idly rotting away.
Just a thought.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Good Samaritans: Grab a seat in MRT

To the people who won't hesitate to let their seats to those in need (good Samaritans), I know most of you would prefer to stand rather than grab a seat during MRT ride so that others in need will have a chance to sit.  However, there are those who for their convenience sake will take up these seats. The latter won't let their seats for anyone. 

Knowing this fact, it is a more proactive way if we take up empty seats firsthand so that in case of someone who need them later, we have the chance to offer these seats rather than relying on other people to do so.
Doing that is more helpful.

Friday, July 11, 2014

ATM deposit scary affair

In Singapore,  making a deposit via ATM is a scary affair. First,  there isn't any identifier other than account numbers. As you know,  numbers are meaningless and prone to error in input;  transferring fund to other peoples' accounts is more challenging. Without names to refer to in the ATM screen during transfer (or deposit) is daunting and scary. 

Why isn't there any info about the account holder's name on ATM? I can think of only one important reason,  i.e. privacy. Anyone can randomly access an account to see the account holder's name,  and keep this info or sell it to third party. How is it going to be misused is out of my guess. 

Well,  I'm not asking the banks to provide full names of account holders on ATM screen. The least they could do is to provide another layer of identifier (e.g. acronyms,  or pet name) so that we can confirm that the numbers punched are the correct ones. Isn't that easy to implement?  

For example an account with these numbers 999-9999-99-9 would be given another identifier "Mr Rabbit K. T. O.", which refers to Mr Rabbit King Tut Orange.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Too bad, first experience using Acer notebook left a lasting impression

My first experience buying Acer Travel Mate 6292 notebook at IT Fair gave a bad impression. The notebook was loud, with the CPU fan churning too much distraction. The keyboard felt hot to touch especially around the CPU area suggesting that it was over-heating. The usage of external cooler to dissipate heat was useless. After a while, I couldn't start the machine. The power button was useless and had to bring it to the Service Center. Got it fixed.

Then, after several month, the notebook wasn't powering up again. Luckily it was still under warranty (thanks to the extended warranty I paid during the IT Fair). The Service Center said the motherboard got burnt. They suggested that they could offer a buy back and upgrade option, e.g. I just have to pay extra money to get a brand new and better model notebook. I felt it was unneccesary wastage of money and decided to go through the revamp. A new motherboard was fixed to the machine.

The same loud fan and hot keyboard was still a nuisance. Anyway, got to use the machine for several months before the screen went black. It seemed that the backlight (inverter problem) or LED screen could be causing this problem, because as I plug my LCD monitor via VGA cable, I could use my notebook. Right now, the only way I can use my notebook is to take it as a desktop plugged to an LCD monitor. What a bummer. I could invest in an inverter or LED screen but have no idea how to test which is not working. The inverter costs sgd 19.00, while the LED screen sgd170.

I have Samsung machine which I have used for > 7 years. An NEC notebook which I have used for >5 years. Another Samsung notebook which I have used >4 years and another Samsung netbook >3 years. Having an Acer that broke down around 1 year sort of shunned me from ever trying Acer notebook again. I would try desktop, or home theater PC (HTPC) from Acer, but with caution. That is an unfortunate long lasting impression from first experience.

Wishlist @ Popular bookstore

Loved the popclub magazine. Very informative and in it,  there is a section on stationery and electronics for sale. Here is my wishlist:

  • Aurora LM3233H A3 laminator @sgd 58.00 (up sgd69.00)
  • HP K2500 wireless keyboard @ sgd 19.70 (after additional 10% members discount)
  • Brother HL-2270DW wireless mono laser printer @sgd 168 (up sgd228)
However,  couldn't find the wireless keyboard at my local bookstore and didn't know where to look. Wish that the catalog could have provided bookstore branches that carried the items displayed.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Watami at Star Vista

Food was ok. Service was good. Pricey. For three people,  chalked up a bill of sgd78++ (inclusive GST and service tax). 

Loved the souped noodle. Tried the tempura set. Tried the hot bowl rice set. Drinks were ok. Got iced lemon tea and mango-orange juice.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Escalators in Singapore malls inconsistent

Today it's on the left side elevating and tomorrow it is descending. That is how escalators work in Singapore malls. Initially, I would get into trouble especially when I was inattentive. Several times,  nearly meet with accident going the wrong side of the escalator. 

Now,  the reason for such changes could be strategic rather than random. By alternating the direction,  the management of the mall will be able to regulate human traffic flow through the shops in the mall. Hence, no shop will be at a "dead end" with less traffic.