Thursday, October 30, 2014

Re: 4-year-old's death from eating tainted food a misadventure, says coroner

As any readers, I was surprised when I read this news 4-year-old's death from eating tainted food a misadventure, says coroner (The Straits Times; 30 Oct 2014). What was more surprising was reading it in The real Singapore, CORONER: DEATH OF 4YR OLD THAT ATE TAINTED FOOD FROM FOODCOURT WAS JUST A "MISADVENTURE". Do take note of the quotation marks in the latter.

I asked myself, "Surely, I must be reading this wrongly?".

So began my quest to understand the terminology used in coroner's language. Sure enough, the terminology used, e.g. misadventure was used in a proper context, and in line with the coroner's work. That is because, terms such as these: Misadventure, accidental death or an open verdict only meant to be used to describe a death that was not due to deliberate action by someone/oneself.

In the above case, the boy did not intentionally poison himself, and similarly the food stall operator did not intentionally (nor premeditated to) poison the child. That's the coroner's language...

Having said that, it does not mean that Kopitiam (or the stall owner) is free from liability. Civil liability or negligent cases can still be heard by the court and compensation can still be meted out. In addition, Singapore authority can proceed with additional charges and include punitive measures to curb a recurrence.

Let's just hope that the parent will proceed with a civil suit against the stall owner (and/or Kopitiam) to get justice. There is a pro bono legal services in Singapore for help. Having said that, we as readers shouldn't be too shocked with the term "misadventure" used in the reported news. The verdict do not preclude/omit a civil liability of Kopitiam/stall owners (nor did it free them from any wrong). With sufficient circumstantial evidence provided by investigators/authorities, and if the evidence is strong (e.g. presence of Salmonella in the stall/operator), it would make a strong case to get justice and mete out a deterrent sentence.

Just a thought.

  1. Inquests in England & Wales (Wikipedia)
  2. Civil liability/Legal liability (Wikipedia)
  3. Negligence and negligence suits (Wikipedia)
  4. The Law of Negligence (SingaporeLaw dot Sg) - Note that it's too technical for me...
  5. Pro bono legal services in Singapore (by the Law Society of Singapore that provides free legal service for public).

Sim Lim Square under a bad light again (this time involving coins)

Sim Lim Square is under bad press once again. It is due to a bad shop at Sim Lim Square that caused bad publicity for other shop owners operating under the same complex/building. According to The Real Singapore, the shop mentioned was Mobile Air Pte Ltd (Reg. number 201327396H; ACRA). What happened was that a woman shopper was tricked into opting-in for in-house warranty for iPhone product, which cost SGD2400 (for a two year warranty) whereas her phone only cost SGD1600. She wanted a refund and failed to get it. She went to Small Claims tribunal for help and the shop was supposed to refund her the money owed. To her surprise, the shop employee handed her a bag full of coins of different values. The customer had to spend hours counting the coins and all the time enduring harassment by the staffs.

A snapshot taken from The real Singapore. For more pictures, visit the New Paper too.

A check at Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority Singapore (ACRA) Bizfile showed that there are two shops with "Mobile Air" business name, e.g.
  1. MOBILE AIR PRODUCTS (SINGAPORE ) PTE. LTD (Reg number 197200673H) at Penang Rd that was no longer active
  2. MOBILE AIR PTE. LTD. (Reg number 201327396H) at 1, ROCHOR CANAL ROAD, #01-41, S188504 (at Sim Lim Square) which was active

 There are two entities with "Mobile Air" business name.

To find out the business owner, you have to fork out minimal SGD5.50.

To find out who is the owner of the business, one has to pay SGD5.50 (which is not expensive but not cheap if consumers need to check multiple companies belonging to the same owner). The information (or business profile) is not sufficiently informative and relevant. I'm saying this because, although the name of business owner is available in the business profile, there is no mention of other business names registered under that particular/same person (or am I wrong?). Furthermore, the online search form does not allow search by individual/owner's name. The only option is to search by business name or registration number.

There is no search option to find out how many other business names a particular business owner owned/registered.

For example, if a "Wong Ah Kiew" registered ten business names, and one of them, e.g. "Mobile Shitty Service Pte Ltd" was currently under bad press, consumers would be unable to shun (or avoid) the nine other businesses under the same "BAD" MANAGEMENT. Also, if the owner can swiftly change multiple business names at ease, it would be difficult for consumers to keep track, esp. considering that updating such information would require frequent purchasing of business profiles (from ACRA) that lacked information regarding other business names the same owner registered. If I'm Wong Ah Kiew, I would register several backups (if it's not too hassle). If that's easy, no wonder business owners can afford to be shitty, no?

I believe, if ACRA helps to list down businesses owned by an individual, that person will have to think extra hard before smearing his/her business with shitty services (because it would be easy to find out all other businesses he registered). Alas, for the time being, owners are able to change names whenever they fancy and consumers have difficulty keeping track of these changes. Probably that's a major motivation for businesses at Sim Lim Square having the audacity to roll out shitty services.

Just a thought.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Foreigners are rude; Singaporeans are...

Whenever a customer is being ill-treated, Singaporeans will form a quick thought about the whole affair, e.g. "How freaking rude, was he/she Singaporean?".
If the service staff, e.g. Bus captain shouted, "Ooii... Knn, tap the card", when a passenger forget to tap his/her Ezlink card upon boarding the bus, the Singaporean passenger will form a thought, "either he's Singaporean or Malaysian".
Lately, a KOI staff was rude to a customer, and the customer subsequently posted her complain on social media that got viral. Therealsingapore picked it up and posted the story with the first paragraph "KOI Café announced on Monday that they have now fired the foreign staff member who was involved in the incident resulting in a customer complaining about her treatment in a viral video".
The description "foreign staff" seemed to suggest that, "oh, no wonder la.... It's a foreigner. It's not surprising then.... That's our foreign talent (FT) at work. We should thank the garment".
Wait a minute.
Don't we see something wrong here?
Rude staff is a rude person. To give them a benefit of the doubt, their behaviour could have been attributed to bad management. OR it could be the reciprocal/reaction towards an unruly customer, or it could be the late salary, among others. However, as customer service staff, there shouldn't be an excuse for being rude to customers. Similarly, there shouldn't be an excuse that since he/she is a Singaporean or foreigner, hence is alright/expected.
Most of the time, bad service stem from bad management. A management that constantly take into account staffs' input about status quo of business operation will alleviate staffs' stress and improve service operation. Alas, in Singapore, it's easy to fire a staff rather than put the blame on management. Employers here are lucky that Workers Union in Singapore is not strong, so it's easier to blame everything on a single staff (and fire her) rather than itself.
An example would be on our SBS/SMRT buses. The bus captains are "pressured" by management to ensure that each customer is tapping their Ezlink card upon boarding. In addition, captains need to ensure that no passenger is standing on the upper deck of a double-decker bus. One problem though. There is no internal communication system for bus captains to communicate with passengers. As a result, they have to shout most of the time. If a passenger is standing on the upper deck, the bus captain had to stop the bus, move up the deck and ask the passenger to move down. Imagine the repetitive action everyday and the stress on the throat and mind! Surely someone must have highlighted the problem to the management? Or is there lack of communication with management too?
Even if bus captains are rude and can't communicate with passengers in decent way, as a management, surely is not costly to implement a buzzer/warning tune to remind passengers to tap their cards rather than asking bus captains to shout their lungs out, or worst, shouting vulgarity.
Last, it's UGLY that some Singaporeans and especially Singapore alternative online news, are inculcating bad values to people of multi-ethnicity and culturally and religiously diverse Singapore. There is the good of being nationalist, but a great risk of being plain Xenophobic pain-in-butt if left unchecked. Don't blame everything bad on "someone else" (them/their kind) without thinking out of the box (e.g. figuring out the real issue at hand). Bad management/staff is just that and doesn't involve skin colour, culture, religion, sex, and others. 
Just a thought.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Sim Lim Square, scams, contracts, consumer protection, misrepresentation and lack of help

Malaysian diver who performed badly during a game blamed his bad experience at Sim Lim Square while buying two iPhone 6s at doubled the price (> SGD4,500; that included exorbitant, misrepresented, ill-informed, contracted in-house warranty). The Commonwealth gold medalist Ooi Tze Liang was so much affected by the experience that he lacked concentration for the dive afterwards.

Sim Lim Square is a place full of vultures. That's the ugly side of an actually wonderful place to hunt for electronics (but the best is still IT Fairs, Electronic Fairs, and the likes). We are more careful and smart (after several past lessons) when dealing with Sim Lim Square salespersons. Alas, for the visitors to Singapore, they are more susceptible to being conned. They should have consulted TripAdvisor before heading to Sim Lim Square (but unfortunately, some was directed there by hotel staffs instinctively upon being asked, especially Sim Lim Square is known by many as a place for electronics minus its bad reputation). Also note that Lucky plaza is another retail place known to "con" tourists (read reviews before visiting any place). If you are a tourist and need internet access, you can access Wireless@Sg for free with one-time registration (for more information about registration and the hotspots available, visit Singtel Wireless@Sg page). With an internet access, study the review of any place before visiting them.

Next, to deal with the salesperson at Sim Lim square, one important attribute buyers/visitors should NOT have is to be FRIENDLY and SMILEY. Wipe that look away from your face. You don't have to be rude, but you must not be too friendly and smiley (which will be your Achilles' heel). Be serious with your buy and let the other person know that "I'm here for a bargain and everything is about PRICE". Ask about the NETT price (inclusive of 7% GST [tax]) constantly.

What to look out for:
  1. STARetailer is a label to identify shops at Sim Lim Square that are less risky. For more information, visit Sim Lim Square Star Retailer.
  2. Behaviour of salesperson in a shop. If they are persistent, aggressive, unfriendly, and act in a pack (like wolves), say "bye bye".
  3. If you spot that most of the items are not price-tagged, say"bye bye". It is really sad to know that in Singapore, tagging items with price is not mandatory. In Malaysia, if any product is found to be untagged with a price, the business entity will be FINED. At times, I wanted to report to the authority about the lack of price tag in certain shops, but I'm clueless as to where to make such report. I haven't consulted CASE for advice. Probably someday.

How you are tricked:
  1. Price or lack of. When you parted your credit card without asking to see the itemized bill (or receipt) first, what comes later in credit card bill can be scary sometimes... that's when you ask, "what happened to the price we were talking about?". Even if the darn salesperson printed the credit card bill for your signature, you can ALWAYS say NO. Just say "I want to cancel the deal, the price is not right". Note that the final bill can be bloated with "sale taxes" that is not itemized on the bill. In Singapore, Goods & Services tax (GST) is only 7% and will be printed clearly as such. If the final bill lacked itemized bill for price of item (negotiated) and GST at 7%, just refuse to pay! Note that for tourists, the GST is refundable in Changi Airport. For more information, visit Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) for GST refund.
  2. Contract signing, in Ooi Tze Liang's case. If the contract didn't state the price or coverage for the services provided (e.g. in-house warranty) and the price came out too much for you, you have the right to void the contract and SCREAM, MISREPRESENTATION!!!!! FRAUD!!!! That will grab attention... but seriously, if the contract was pushed to you and they did a lousy explanation about the price and the coverage (due to non-disclosure, or deliberate omission of facts), you have the rights to void the contract. Call for help, e.g. police or Sim Lim management, especially when they refuse to return your credit card or hold you hostage. BUT NEVER PAY THEM FOR "DAMAGES"/BREACH OF CONTRACT. It's better that the police come to the shop and "arrest" (I prefer to see it as rescue) you rather than to let the police inform you later that, "this scam has happened to two tourists before you" suggesting that it's normal thing to happen in Singapore.
  3. Cooling off period and rights to cancel a contract. Don't let unscrupulous salespersons scaring you off by saying that contract cancellation on the spot will subject consumers to paying for compensation for breach of contract. Recently, with amendments to Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) (Cancellation of Contracts) Regulations 2014, consumers are more protected and there is a cooling off period to cancel contracts. Refer to Ministry of Trade & Industry Singapore (MTI) Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act for detail.
  4. Selling consumers defective, used or refurbished (resold), mismatched (e.g. items sold is different from advertised), reduced (e.g. removal of some parts to compensate for price reduction without informing buyers), Frankensteined (e.g. mixing old components or cheaper generic alternatives into products) goods, and other unacceptable practices. We tend to find out about the problem after some time and by then, the salesperson or shop will not entertain us for refund. However, Singapore Lemon Law provides a protection to consumers against such deceptive practices by business owners. However, Lemon Law only covers products. It does not cover services (I called CASE to find that out). Refer to CASE for FAQ on Lemon law. Refer to CASE for Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (CPFTA) & Lemon Law.
  5. Selling buyers items at exorbitant price.
  6. Selling fakes. Note that Kingston now has an genuine labels using Phantom and Colour-shift technology. Alas, there are other products that can be easily imitated and sold as genuine. Some provide product validation online, but most still lacked this security measure to protect consumers.
  7. Charging items with additional "service fees", e.g. "unlocking fees" for game consoles, hence increasing the amount of the final bill.
  8. Huckster behaviour, e.g. harassment, aggressive sale tactic, throwing "freebies", begging, insulting, etc. to pressurize customers into buying. We don't have to feel pressurized to buy anything (even if there are three to four salesperson hogging to talk to us at one time). Don't feel bad about wasting anyone's time or effort. Just say, "I will consider". Never be FRIENDLY! We are not going to Sim Lim to make friends! Don't let our friendliness be our Achilles' heel.
  9. Upon inspection of the item and deemed satisfactory by the potential buyer, this item is then swapped/switched during transit from customer's hand to the cashier. When the buyer realize this, some might have already boarded their flight and heading back to their country. An easy prey would be those buyers who disclosed to the salesperson that the item purchase is "actually a gift for someone" (which will only be opened by that person).
  10. Misled buyers into buying "cheaper alternatives" that ends up useless, below par, defective product. For example, buyers being misled into buying "generic" camera lenses (instead of original) that end up having super blurry effect. Worst, the alternative is way cheaper than a factor of five elsewhere, e.g. sold SGD500 when it could be bought at SGD100.
  11. Overpriced in-house warranty being hard sold to buyers. Sometimes, buyers are tricked into signing a contract for this useless item (without proper consent). It is akin to installing freeware in which the installer tricks user into opting-in for all the bloatwares.

What you can do:
  1. Don't go down silently, file a complaint with Sim Lim Square and Consumers Association of Singapore. Write a review on TripAdvisor, Google, Straits Times newspaper, Stomp, Singapore Tourism Board (hotline from 9am to 6 pm 1800-736 2000), or blog it. You will need the receipt and other necessary information for the above action.
  2. If you have not parted money or signed your credit card bill, because you are surprised by the amount stated on the bill, you have the right to void the deal. That is when your lack of FRIENDLINESS and SMILE comes into play. You don't have to explain, but if you want to, just say "the price is not right".
  3. Visit the place with someone. Let the other person be the "bad guy" who will spoil the deal by saying, "I don't like it, let us go elsewhere". You will be the person who will ask about the product, the price, the promotion, the freebies etc. while your friend will pull you out from the deal if you give the right signal to abort. If the salesperson insist on knowing why, just say that the item is a gift for someone and my friend knows best! Just leave the place if the salesperson is still persistent.
  4. Don't pay in cash. Allow all transactions to be paid by credit card. If the salesperson take your money, it will be very difficult to get it back if the deal turn bad. At least by credit card, you are well protected.
  5. Get the product first with warranty before making payment. Trust goes both ways, and the shopper should ready the item and place them in front for you to inspect and ready to take away before you part your money. Allow the time you part your money/make payment the very last step of the deal/transaction, just right before the "thank you and bye bye". If there is any "activation" or "messaging" craps, just withhold the payment until that is settled. Keep your card/money until the "activities" stop and your product is finalized and ready-to-go before making payment.
  6. Don't sign any paper/invoices/contracts until you get the final bill. Even after getting the final bill, always be very reluctant to sign anything, except for the credit card bill. There is no logic in signing anything extra.
  7. If you can't find any review about a shop on TripAdvisor, tread with caution because name changing by shoppers is as easy as paying SGD 26.75. This suggest that the bad press associated with the shop name can be removed by changing to a new name for the shop. Refer to Asiaone news on "Shamed Sim Lim Square retailers change signboards".
  8. If you refused to pay and being held hostage, CALL THE POLICE (999). Don't pay, just get "arrested" (or rather, rescued) for "failure to purchase at Sim Lim Square".
  9. Ask for refund if you felt that the item was not what you wanted (or defective). Shops that carried the Staretailer are obligated to refund buyers if they are not satisfied with the purchase (or the price sold to them are higher than it is supposed to be). See Staretailer pledges.

Safety nets:
  1. Contact Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) at +6561000315 (hotline) for assistance and enquiry.
  2. Call Sim Lim Square office at +6563383859 for assistance if you are in a predicament at one of the stores
  3. Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (CPFTA) & Lemon Law.
  4. Call the police @ 999. Police are not authorized to force business owners to refund money paid by buyers. However, the police surely is able to help customers to leave the shop without being forced to pay (especially if customers are being held hostage). Hence, buyers should not part their money easily except until they received their items in good order and receiving the final itemized bill for the payment.
Just a thought.

 Great references

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ezlink card expiration a nuisance especially when the renewal is cumbersome

Consumers are left without a say in this matter. The Ezlink cards that they possess have expiration dates and when these cards are expired, they will have to renew them. The renewal process is very cumbersome. Consumers have to locate the nearest ticketing offices to have these cards renewed. The control stations or customer service counters at MRT stations can't renew your cards.

Here are the points that get on my nerve
  1. The ticketing office is available at certain hours and locations (Transit Link ticket office & working hours). So, it means that for those who travel to work and home at odd hours will not be able to renew their cards.
  2. There is no alternative means but to renew expired Ezlink cards at ticket counters. How inconvenient is that?
  3. Expired cards can't be top up at the top up machines. The only way that consumers are able to top up the card value is via the control stations/customer service centers.
Now, wouldn't it be more convenient if
  1. Renewal machines/kiosks are setup at MRT stations for consumers to transfer the remaining credit value from their expired card to the new card issued by the machine. The expired cards can be discarded in the bin provided (if there is a need for recycling). Wouldn't that be more convenient, especially considering that Ezlink card expiration is inevitable (or continuous event) and involves large amount of people?
  2. Allow top up function for expired cards at top up machines. I guess the reason for causing inconvenience to consumers is motivation to renew their cards sooner? That's not really fair considering that the renewal process can be cumbersome. For example, what if I travel at 6.30 am to office and at 7.30 pm back to home? When and where is convenient for me to renew my cards?
To me, there is no real motivation to renew my Ezlink card. I guess the only motivation is actually attributed to compelling prospect of inconveniences for not renewing these cards. Well, at least add machines to help the renewal process!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Bicycle pump that doesn't work

Bicycle pump designed without much thought about function is doomed to fail. The valve made of plastic is the culprit. Anyone deciding to get a bicycle pump, be advised not to choose this type of plastic valve because it won't work. This pump can't even pump a balloon! What a pathetic pump. 
Note that the valve is the pump's "nozzle" for fastening to tyre's valve stem. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Proper way to solicit donation from public for the less fortunate

There should be a proper way to solicit donation for the less fortunate, but going to people's home at dinner time to ask for help in buying a merchandise in which only a portion of the profit goes to the handicapped (or less fortunate) is not proper.

The manufacturer, if indeed sincere in helping the less fortunate or disabled should think of a socially acceptable means to sell their products and at the same time channel portion of the profit to the right people, without having to ask these less fortunate people to knock/ring bells of homes to solicit a purchase. That is the most despicable act of manipulation! For all I know, there could be a syndicate involved in misusing the less fortunate for their own profit.

Recently, a partially blind (or visually handicapped) "salesman" came to my home at late evening and asked for my help in buying a collection of watches from him, starting from SGD 10. I was shocked and certainly not impressed.

You see, I have firm believe that the proper way to contribute help or donation is by
  1. Directly visit a centre and make a contribution on the spot, in terms of money, pledge, or groceries and other necessities.
  2. Alternatively, you can write a cheque payable to the targeted centres, e.g. animal shelter SPCA, Salvation Army Singapore, Alzheimer's Disease Association (ADA)Singapore Association of visually handicapped (SAVH), Nature Society Singapore (NSS), among others.
Never in my mind would I want to part my money for something which I don't really know closely, such as having a "handicapped salesman" knocking on my door asking for help. The company or organization involved in the above mentioned case is lucky to escape because I wasn't able to catch the name, or else...

It's not that door-to-door sales are bad, but due to some abuse of the practice, they are not welcomed anymore. Most of residents will try to dissuade the practice by not striking a purchase with them. With less sale, there will be no risk of seeing this trend of door-to-door solicitation which can be a nuisance in HDB (but not at private properties where they can't gain access). Unfortunately, if residents start falling into the gimmick by salespersons visiting their flats at inconvenient hours (e.g. dinner time, where most working adults would be home), the door-to-door sales/solicitation/scam will make a come-back. It is all up to residents and the general public to either put a stop or motivate such trend. I for one don't encourage this type of sales/solicitation.

Just a thought.

  1. Teen vendors using sob stories to sell overpriced ice cream
  2. Guard Against Contractors On Door-to-Door Sales
  3. 'Fund-raising' scams creating confusion 
  4. "Ex-convict" going door-to-door sales (Hardwarezone forum)
  5. Mendaki donation scam alert (13 Oct 2014)
  6. Two youths sentenced to probation, community service for charity scam (31 July 2013)

Alzheimer's diease association (ADA) Singapore

Alzheimer's disease association (ADA) Singapore was formed in 1990, and a member of National Council of Social Service (NCSS) and Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI; refer to Wikipedia and official site based in the UK).

ADA is a voluntary welfare organization (VWO; the list of VWO in Singapore by Wikipedia) manned by caregivers (family members with affected member), professionals, and anyone who is interested in dementia.

ADA provides following services & programmes:
  • Dementia Day Care (New Horizon Centres)
  • Caregiver (by family members) Support Services - the centres are located in Bukit Timah (204, Bukit Timah Rd, #04-00 Boon Liew Building S229863, Tel 67379971, Fax 68367925) and Tiong Bahru (298 Tiong Bahru Rd, #03-01, Central Plaza S168730, Tel 65936440, Fax 65936444). The opening hours are Mon-Fri from 9.00 am until 6.00 pm.
  • Research & Publications
  • Public Education
  • Resource Library
  • Safe Return Card
  • Volunteering Opportunities
New Horizon Centres (website)

Centres that provide relief for caregivers (family members), increase families' abilities to cope with and continue caring for people with dementia and/or physical disabilities, provide nursing care, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and social activities, and maintain/increase the well being of clients.

At the centre, there is a personalized care (or Individualized Care Plan) as according to individual physical, cognitive and social functioning.

Activities at the centre are occupational therapy & physiotherapy, group and individual exercises & games, reality orientation, sing-along & dancing sessions, reminiscence activities, outings & excursions, and leisure & hobbies.

To apply
Application depends on eligibility, and can be made through the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC), hospitals, or general practitioners (GPs). Application forms for referral can be obtained from any of the New Horizon Centres or via ADA website (admission).

Criteria for admission are
  • Diagnosis of dementia/related disorders (by qualified doctors)
  • Medical condition must be stable & non-infectious
  • Mobile/semi-mobile
  • Clients with unmanageable disruptive behaviours may be excluded (ineligibility)
Government subsidy
Refer to Ministry of Health (refer to Subsidies for Government-funded Intermediate Long-Term Care Services).

Subsidy for Intermediate and long term care (ILTC) services depends on result of means-testing, which is important to access the amount of subsidy based on gross income and number of family members (for more accurate information, please refer to MOH).

Opening hours for all centres
Mon-Fri from 7.30 am until 6.30 pm

Location of centres and contact details
Bukit Batok
Blk 511 Bukit Batok Street 52,
#01-211 S650511
Tel 65659958
Fax 65652257

Jurong Point
1 Jurong West Central 2,
#04-04 Jurong Point Shopping Centre
Tel 67901650
Fax 67901521

Toa Payoh
Blk 157, Toa Payoh Lorong 1,
Tel 63538734
Fax 63538518

Blk 362, Tampines Street 34,
Tel 67865373
Fax 67849587

For volunteers
To register or get more information, please contact ADA Volunteering Coordinator by
Tel 67379971

To donate
Write a cheque payable to
Alzheimer's Disease Association
Mailing address: Blk 157, Toa Payoh Lorong 1,
#01-1195, S310157

You can also donate essential items to Day Care Centres, such as groceries, toiletries, or sponsorship for outings, festive celebrations etc.

Purchases that support ADA funding
There are resource books (in different languages), CD on memory games, and handicrafts items available for purchase that will add fund to the ADA coffer. For e-purchases, visit

The information here was procured from a brochure sent by ADA. For more updated information, please visit their official site at

Community Mediation Centre (CMC) Singapore

CMC is under the Community Mediation Unit of Ministry of Law Singapore. CMC provides community mediation services to minimize conflict and promote a more harmonious, civil and gracious society.

100 High Street, #03-02, The Treasury, S179434
Tel: 63251600
Fax: 62279201

Opening hours
Mon-Thu 8.30 am until 6 pm
Fri 8.30 am until 5.30 pm
Sat 8.30 am until 1 pm

An administrative fee of SGD 5.00 is applicable for complainant.
To register your case, you can either:
  • call hotline at 63251600
  • register online at, or
  • email at
When the case is reviewed by CMC staff and deemed suitable for mediation, a notification letter will be sent to the other party (respondent to the complaint) for mediation. When the respondent accepts, a date will be arranged for mediation. If the respondent refuse, the complainant will be notified (and the case closed). That means alternative course of action by complainant.

For more information, visit CMC site or contact CMC staff.

Clinics near you - Health Promotion Board (HPB) Singapore

To identify case of emergency or non-emergency, there is an App that can help, which is the MOH iHealth Sg (downloaded in App Store & Google Play). To locate nearest neighbourhood clinics, refer to this site (

For emergency cases, go to Hospital Accident and Emergency (A&E), which can also be searched using HCIDirectory and determine the nearest by radius (relative to the postcode input) in kilometer.

The following map is just for Western region (shown are the selected extended [in red coloured dots] and 24 hours [in yellow] clinics)

List of clinics
28 - Prohealth Medical Group at Blk 399 Yung Sheng Rd, #01-56 S610399 Tel 62682628 Open Mon-Fri until 10 pm, Sat-Sun-PH until 10 pm

43 - Acumed Medical Group at 71 Pioneer Rd, #01-06 S639591 Tel 68615996 Open Mon, Tue until 9pm Wed-Fri until 5 pm, Sat-Sun until 1 pm

48 - Acumed Medical Group at 1 Jurong West Central 2, Jurong Point Shopping Centre, #B1A-19E S648886 Tel 67923822 Open Mon-Fri until 10 pm, Sat-Sun-PH until 9 pm

123 - Shenton Family Medical Clinic at Blk 372 Bukit Batok St 31, #01-378 S650372 Tel 65665671 Open Mon-Fri until 11 pm, Sat-Sun-PH until 11 pm

131 - Northeast (Bukit Batok) 24 hrs family clinic at Blk 633 Bukit Batok Central, #01-128 S650633 Tel 68755911

134 - Cashew Medical & Surgery at 445 Fajar Rd, Fajar Shopping Centre, #02-522 S670445 Tel 67634255 Open Mon-Fri until 9.30 pm, Sat-Sun until 9.30 pm

149 - Prohealth 24 hrs Medical Clinic at Blk 259 Bukit Panjang Ring Rd, #01-18 S671259 Tel 67652115

172 - Raffles Medical at 21 Choa Chu Kang Ave 4, Lot 1 Shoppers' Mall, #B1-7A S689812 Tel 67653363 Open Mon-Fri until 9.30 pm, Sat-Sun-PH until 9.30 pm

173 - River of Life Family Clinic at Blk 26 Teck Whye Lane, #01-190 S680026 Tel 67600501 Open Mon-Fri until 9.30 pm, Sat-Sun until 9.30 pm

In order not to be disappointed in the time of need of clinics, it is best to call them first to ensure that the clinic is operational. If it is an A&E, go to the nearest hospital. The contact shown above was procured from the HPB booklet. For more updated contacts, it is best to refer to the HPB website or HCIDirectory.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Re: U.S. Calls for Probe Into Beating of Political Activist by Hong Kong Police; DITTO

US calls for probe into beating of political activist Ken Tsang by Hong Kong police (Time magazine). Well, that is the best course of action to protect the innocent victim (or lack of, considering that the protesters are at fault and aggressively committing a "crime"). What is more important is for the probe to also study the problems faced by police officers in doing their duty in maintaining order and also recommend amendments to existing laws and mechanisms so that this kind of protest will not reoccur. The protest faced by Hong Kong served to disrupt and suppress the rights of other people, just so that it could serve the goal of some people. It doesn't make sense. Rights to freedom of expression don't qualify to deprive the rights of other people to a peaceful and conducive life. The protest leaders should be prosecuted (for organising a disruptive protest). There should be a bound to protest and the organisers are liable to face the rule of the day, and answerable to the law. If the protest had been peaceful and not disruptive, it would have deserved more respect. This protest doesn't deserve my respect nor sympathy.

Having said that, the US should also probe the killing of an unarmed black teenager that sparked a violent street protest in St. Louis (and not to mention at Ferguson, Mo. few months back) and also to ensure that no recurrence of the event. US should also need to improve its image and increase public trust and confident in the police force. The US government should be fair to the police force because they put their lives on the line to maintain public order, and with the degrading image of the force, attributed to recent incidents by handful of officers, aren't helping their image and motivation.

I believe all countries are faced with similar problem as Hong Kong (and the US). So, to "pressurize" another country to probe into their own affairs is really distasteful and offensive, because Hong Kong surely did not poke its nose into US affair regarding the killing of Michael Brown, 18 (August 2014) and Vonderrit Myers Jr, 18 (Oct 2014) and ask the US government to probe these killings (and also other previous events), right? Even if US is sincerely concern, it should have relayed the concern discretely, especially considering that US is having its own problem back home.

Last, I still have trust in the police and I believe that sometimes, police face more insult, assault, and victimization as compared to real criminals (who can anytime misuse their rights). Having said that, it is also wise to ensure that the police is constantly reminded that they shouldn't wear their badge and act like humans (and susceptible to emotionally induced action or response). They should be better than other humans. For that, the police deserve a pat more often than criticism.

Just a thought.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Hong Kong protest: use police as scapegoat to be violent

Police in any countries will do their job by ensuring that there is public order. In protests that serve to disrupt daily lives of other people, such as in Hong Kong's case, police has no choice but to bring order back.
Protesters can sometimes be vicious. The organisers are cunning, deceptive and sometimes boundless by law and conscience. The purpose of the blockade facing Hong Kongers is to disrupt the lives of residents, workers, and daily activities. The protesters thrives to induce public anger at the government for failure to maintain order. The protesters also wanted to induce mismanagement by the government. The more missteps government makes, the better. These will be highlighted by media and relayed internationally. 

Alas, police are always made the scapegoats in most cases. Police are the front line and as human beings, they will err emotionally. Again, to gain mileage, protesters have to induce a misstep by government machinery. To succeed, they need to taunt by insult and violent/unruly behaviour to get into the nerves of the police. In order to succeed, they need the help from the press (any press) on standby to capture it on video or pic. The protesters can afford to wait (a day, a week, and even months) for the bait to work. To have the police falling into the trap isn't difficult. The timing should be right. 

Protesters are attacking the government at multiple angles, first disruption to daily/business activities, taint government image locally and internationally, incite anger and drive mob attack on government machineries, induce international intervention, and many more. If there are casualty to the mob of protesters (the pawns), it would bring success much much more closer to the organiser (or the leaders) behind the protest. A few word of regret and sympathy by the organiser would surely bring more support to the protest. That would be the most brilliant move on a "game of chess". That is also the reason why the protest was not done in a dull place such as in a national stadium or open field. What is the fun if the protest can't be escalated to a violent one?

That is where police comes into picture. Let the police be the scapegoat. Let them be the sole reason/trigger and most important an excuse to push up a notch to become violent. 

If that happens, more property and lives will be destroyed. There is no loss for the leaders of the protest. They (politicians sidelined earlier) will gain plenty. Well,  they can shed tears afterwards and blame the government for loss of lives (esp. the police for the cause). People will sympathise and misdirect the blame solely on the government. Hong Kong will receive letters and calls to "pressurise" the government. The protest will still be there disrupting daily activities. 

What is the fun of a protest if it can't be escalated to being violent? That is the motivation to hold the protest to disrupt public order. Let the pawns drop. Let the police be scapegoat. Let the other non-participants suffer due to disruption, jams, loss of business, increased tension in the neighborhood, deteriorating safety level for their family, and uncontrolled emotional outbursts (from non-participants and protesters). The mastermind of the protest will gain more. 

That is why these people lacked conscience. The tactic might work, or it might not (in Thailand's case, it worked for a while until military rule put a stop to it). Nothing ventured nothing gained. Loss of lives is nothing to them. The means to success is not important. The goal is more important. 

My thought: violent/disrespectful protests won't work. Disrupting daily activities of other citizens is a crime. If the protest suppresses freedom of other citizens, the protesters automatically lose their rights to freedom of speech/expression. Not respecting the basic rights of other people disqualify the perpetrator his/her own rights, e.g. the rights to express by the protesters, which inevitably suppressed the basic rights of other people in the neighborhood is the most valid reason to revoke the protesters' rights (and can even land them in jail for the loss of property and lives caused by their action

Just a thought.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

What were you thinking Google YouTube, for allowing the video thumbnails to be misused to show graphic sex scene?

I don't understand. 

Google YouTube please think. Whenever someone uploaded a video, why did you allow them to "deviate the content" by adding whatever thumbnail they deemed fit? For example, I can upload a kids MTV song and add whatever thumbnail I wished by searching for the "best image" on my computer. What if I decided to add a graphic sex to the kids' song? How about adding a thumbnail with violent beheading in action? Can you see the irrationality? I don't really care if you had validated their accounts prior to allowing them to use the thumbnail function, or that you would promptly remove/inactivate their accounts if any violation had been detected. I only care for the safeguard that you will be implementing to ensure that thumbnail function is not being misused anymore. Why not allow thumbnail to be derived from the video being uploaded instead, and how about showing randomly selected thumbnail from the uploaded video (and minimising user intervention)? When a thumbnail for a video can be misleading, then the use of thumbnail is defeated, and thus, I don't see the point of using thumbnail, do you Google?

Now, as a parent yourself, can you see the risk of me keying search term, "Kid song" and end up with thumbnails in some results showing graphic sex, demented action scene, violent beheading snapshots, grisly ghost shots, and all in front of my toddler? Although the thumbnail is small in a 17 inch LED monitor, it ain't so when you are using YouTube with your Smart TV that might be 40 inch or more.

So Google, please do the right thing before YouTube ends up with more complaints than views.

Just a thought.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Jaclyn Teo vs Cheongsam lady, and all

I don't know Jaclyn Teo before the Cheongsam lady was "flamed" in the net (with nastiness being flung her way and her families). I empathized with the Cheongsam lady and her family. It was uncalled for for Jacklyn Teo to do the things she did.

Who is Jacclyn Teo? Why did she do the things she did? I Googled.

She was in the news complaining about police's poor response to a distress call about an old drunkard trying to enter her car. According to Jaclyn, she and her husband had to travel to Upper Thomson at around 2am on Sunday to get supper for her "ailing father" at a convenience store. Probably their fridge was totally empty at home. That's a really odd hour to go out from home purposely to get something (or were they somewhere earlier), and did Jaclyn and her husband traveled from home just to get food for dad? I'm asking out of curiosity.

The husband alighted and left the doors to the car unlocked. How responsible is that? According to Jaclyn, the old drunkard opened the door and started spewing vulgarities and gesturing angrily. My next question, did the drunkard swear in English (or was there misunderstanding)? Why was he targeting her car? What triggered his action? Was there a misunderstanding? Fortunately, she managed to close the door and locked them.

The next thing that perplexed me was this. Instead of calling her husband for help, Jaclyn called the police. Did her absent-minded husband forget his phone? During the phone conversation with police, was the husband still busy at the convenient store? If Jaclyn could call the police, I guess there was no immediate danger to her. However, Jaclyn insisted that the police should get their butt there ASAP. Again, is the husband still dillydallying in the convenient store? From the pic posted, it was obvious that the street was not deserted. I could see people there, suggesting that Jaclyn was at no instance, in real danger. However, the video that she posted later showed an "agitated" drunkard (and I'm not sure if the husband is in it). Could the video capturing have triggered the drunkard's "agitated behaviour"? Instead of driving away after the husband finished shopping, why stop to take video to add tension to the situation? If the drunkard was dangerous, it wouldn't have been smooth sailing (or advisable) for the person to take the pics/videos, thus suggesting that the whole drama was probably an over-reaction.

As I remembered, in Rescue 911 (a TV program), police always advised the callers to be more proactive when it comes to personal safety. Example, if the caller was at home alone and a burglary was in progress, the police would advice the caller to lock the bedroom door (and keep quiet) and wait for police dispatch to arrive. The recorded exchange would show the police speaking in a calm tone and giving explicit instruction to the caller who would sound panicky all the time. In the above case, the caller was trapped and alone in the house with a burglar (or burglars) who might be armed and dangerous. Thus a police dispatch would be rather appropriate in this case but still, dispatch takes time and being proactive to protect yourself is still important. However, for Jaclyn's case, she managed to lock the door (when she was calling the police) and there was no further dangerous behaviour from the old drunkard (because there was no report of property damage to the car nor personal injury thereafter). Imagine if the drunkard had used an empty or full bottle to crack her windshield, that would have been a different scenario. Her insistence for immediate police dispatch was over-reaction. Her expectation for god-like speed dispatch was unrealistic, especially considering that all the while she was not able to furnish the exact location (it's not a house address but street, mind you) to the police operator. In a situation such as this, leaving the place once the husband finished shopping would have been appropriate. However, this is not the case. I suspected that the husband could be the person taking the video of the drunkard later. To me, a normal response would have been to drive away instead of prolonging the confrontation by video capturing, which could have escalate the bad situation.

An analogy to Jaclyn's case would be for someone who spotted an incipient fire (but a manageable one) from a BBQ pit. Instead of calling for other BBQ friend to help get a bucket/bottle of water to douse the fire, one smart Alec called the fire department. The personnel on the phone advised the caller the steps to be taken to manage the situation, and if all else failed, EVACUATE. If the fire was an incipient fire (just as the old "harmless" drunkard), it would have been easier if the caller acted more proactively to protect himself/herself rather than insist that a fire-engine be dispatched (thus wasting resources), which could at anytime be a life-saver for other people who really needed help. If I was her husband, I wouldn't be flashing out my phone to take photos/videos (I'm assuming it must be the hubby, but it could be Jaclyn too) because if the drunkard was indeed dangerous, he would have acted in more aggressive manner after the "taunt".

What is more perplexing was that, after sometime, Jaclyn claimed that the old drunkard was a molester (aka Jaclyn's Molester). What is going on? How could an old drunkard who might be "swearing" in Tamil (or probably in English), who didn't manage to get into her car (although he was claimed to have opened the door), who didn't act unruly to the extent of damaging her car in order to force himself to her, was able and managed to MOLEST her? Was she speaking sanely after having the car accident? I will give that the benefit of the doubt (BOTD).
Also, Jaclyn is an expert in Information Technology with a degree in Computer and Information security. In the news, she was quoted as a volunteer in an NGO that helps single mothers. The voluntary work is commendable, but her attitude is wrong. How could a social work volunteer harbour such negative perception towards the POLICE? She was quoted as saying, "I don't trust 999 anymore after my incident with that drunkard molester @ Jln Ikan Merah". To be a social worker, you should be working closely with authority and especially police, especially in cases of abusive spouses (or loan-shark harassment). Having no faith in government machinery disqualify you from helping people! Instead of complaining about one/two bad apples, social workers work around huddles to get to HELP and relay it to those in-need. IMHO, Jaclyn is unfit for the role (although I'm not sure how active she is in the social work, really). Her attitude, especially how she allowed her Facebook post to victimize the cheongsam lady by making public a personal opinion/thought that escalated to cyber bullying, was sickening. That to me, is not how a social worker mindset/attitude is supposed to be.

Also, Jaclyn's choice of word for special children as "retard" is very distasteful. That's not a slip-up because a social worker will never be ignorant to that extent.
To sidetrack a little, if I am the organizer of CPF protest and there is a clash with annual YMCA event for special kids, I would have executed the protest in the most appropriate manner possible (in order not to disrupt the YMCA event). Regardless of whether the event clash was intended or not, and since the events were clashed anyway, I would have to give the benefit of the doubt anyway and would have conducted myself the best I could with HEART and CONSIDERATION. To retreat sometimes is better than to charge at the wrong target or unfavourable condition (Sun Tzu's advice). To frighten kids and disrupt volunteering (feel good) work is despicable. There will always be plenty of chance to protest (you can even protest numerous times per year if you want), but YMCA Prom @ the Park is an annual event (in which the kids had practiced hard prior to the event). Sadly, there is no heart in the CPF Protest organizing committee. They should have given the benefit of the doubt to the whole event if they had HEART. Alas, they were adamant and harboured useless doubts that the whole event was PLANNED!!! Even if it had been planned, they could have at least showed some mercy to the innocent by-participants comprising children but unfortunately, their cause is far too great than others.

Back on track.

To Jaclyn, I have this to say... Just because the old drunkard is dark-skinned doesn't qualify him as a molester. For all I know, he could be trying to ask for some spare coins from you (as I had encountered many times myself). If indeed he had molested you, you have the responsibility to report the case to police to avoid similar incidence from happening to other people. It is unrealistic (although I wished it was) for police to just pop-up whenever a call of molestation or crime in progress is made. The best way to help yourself is to do it yourself while waiting for help. To expect god-like speed police arrival is flawed, and to accuse police of being incompetent is unfair. Regarding your claim that the police operator was unhelpful, I have this to say. When the police woman sounded "uninterested", she was actually trying to speak to you in a "calm tone", so as not to aggravate your panic and also to give you a clear explicit instruction to help yourself while waiting for help. She would also be asking you in a calm tone to get your exact location, the description of the aggressor, the colour of your car, the plate number etc. Also, technology today don't work the way you thought it to work (thanks to Hollywood), hence to pin-point (or triangulate) a call would need a lot of time and additional help from service providers. You are an IT expert surely you should know this. If indeed phones were really efficient in locating people, most criminals would have been phone-less by now. Last, don't use the police "incompetency" as your political material because it's not doing you any mileage. The police has done more good things that goes unreported, e.g. police who got killed or hurt in action and those who worked hard to protect the people round the clock, they never wanted recognition. But what you are doing is unfair to their hard work.

Just a thought.

Edited couple of times liao... sien

Samsung Note 3 review

I've been a fan of Samsung phone since I started using Samsung S2. Since then,  I've used Samsung Note 1, and currently I'm using Note 3.
I loved S2. S2 persuaded me to switch to Android OS. Previously,  I was Nokia fan and loved the simplicity. However, as phone gets smarter, I feel in love with HTC with its Windows OS. I loved the HTC keyboard with "ctrl" function with allowed copy/cut and paste function. It also had other ctrl keys such as ctrl+A (select all) etc. However, MS Windows market was too boringly paid with negligible freebies. My transition to HTC Magic with Android was a culture shock. I didn't enjoy the experience. Magic was no magic to me. It was not intuitive to use Android. However,  the marketplace was full of freebies freewares and choice. It was simply better than MS windows.
Samsung S2 was the best. It was fast, sleek, unclutteredly clean and intuitive. The swype function was cool thanks to Samsung being first to adopt it in Omnia models. The inbuilt camera was pretty ok.  I was instant fan.
My second Samsung phone was a Note 1 was not so comfortable. The size hindered my mobility,  especially when I was wearing my jeans. I preferred placing the phone in the front pocket and it was impossible to climb stairs with Note 1. However, the screen was unbelievably big. I can read,  draw, and watch movies with ease. The drawback would be that I can't text with one hand. The stencil was very responsive that I could draw and paint. There were many apps I could download with Samsung and Android.
Now, I have Samsung S4 and Samsung Note 3. The S4 acted funny when it restarted with Samsung/Android update. S4 kept restarting continuously. I had to return the phone to Samsung Service Center. The motherboard was spoilt and had to be exchanged. Since then, S4 has been performing at below par.
As for Note 3. I've been using it for almost a year now. Lately, it has been unresponsive and sometimes, freezes. I had to restart couple of times to remove the fault, which will come back after some time. I'm guessing that it could be Android that is causing the problem. Also,  the camera in Note 3 is not good. Snapping a photo is lagging. The culprit was the stabiliser, but disabling that caused blurred pics. I've tried Oppo and Xiaomi. Both had beaten Samsung in pic quality. Both have smooth,  fast,  sleeker,  meaner and uninterrupted experience. Alas,  my Note 3 is a lagging snail. 

The decision has been made. I'm going to try either Xiaomi (cheaper) or Oppo (slightly expensive,  but better) in my next buy. So long Samsung. It's been fun, but it's time to change.