Tuesday, August 31, 2010

No Tuition

In Singapore, there is a television program caller BlogTV. A sort of entertainment/current affairs program, its next show will be on students and the amount of private tuition they have.

In a survey they conducted, BlogTV report that 97 out of a 100 students have private tuition of some sort. First reaction I had on hearing 97% of students have tuition, “That can’t be right! That’s way too high!”

Then after awhile, my reaction became, “Who are the 3 students who do have any tuition at all?” Anyone who knows Singaporean parents knows that they are above and beyond kaisu, so I am amazed that there are exactly some Singaporean parents who don’t force their kids to go for tuition.

As a born-and-bred Singaporean, that just sounds impossible to me. A kid without tuition? That’s almost parental neglect here in Singapore.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Rally

In yesterday’s National Day Rally, Singapore’s Prime Minister Mr. Lee Hsien Loong touched on many bases. For all the welcome news on education and the economy, the one hot topic that Singaporeans have focused on is the issue of foreign workers.

The issue is so hot (and toxic) the PM spent over 40 minutes touching on foreign talent and the integration of foreigners and permanent residents into the Singapore community. The 2 main points on foreign workers is that a “Population and Talent Division” will be set-up to manage immigration, talent and population policies, and that 80,000 foreigners will enter Singapore this year.

Local (and growing) complaints by Singaporeans about the sheer numbers of foreign workers in Singapore have I believe led the PM to lower the number of foreigners into the country. That is good as it means the Singapore government is listening to the people. Just last month, the PM announced that more than 100,000 foreign workers will enter Singapore; a piece of news that was taken very badly by Singaporeans.

However, I fear the government has not listened enough to the people. If the PM thinks 80,000 is a number acceptable to Singaporean, he will have to think again. The big problem Singaporeans has with foreign workers is not ‘foreign workers’ themselves, but the problems that came due to the sheer amount of foreign workers in Singapore.

Overcrowded MRT stations, packed buses, sky-high housing prices; all these problems are due to the influx of foreign workers in some parts. I mean private home prices rose 11% in the first six months of this year in Singapore, and would Singaporeans be grateful we will only get 80,000 foreign workers instead of 100,000 foreign workers?

Somehow I doubt it too.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Iraqi Mistake

As the last U.S combat brigade left Iraq on August 19, 2010, I guess it was understandable that America would try to justify The Iraq War (also known as the Occupation of Iraq). I mean no one like to admit they made a mistake, much less a proud country like United States of America.

However as I see the news on CNN, I can’t help but feel an urge to laugh. I mean the news on CNN were touting the “success” of the occupation! The new “freedom” and “reconstruction” of Iraq by the American forces!

I don’t know if it’s just CNN or do other American news agencies do the same thing, but America need to be serious about The Iraq War. The war is a failure. America went in on the claim that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD) which were a threat to the security of the region. They ignored international opposition to the war, and invaded Iraq even when the United Nations says they found no evidence of WMD. To the surprise of America (for some reason), no WMD were found.

7 years after the war started on March 20, 2003, months after the last Iraqi elections, the Americans are leaving and there is still no Iraq government in place in Iraq. What freedom is CNN talking about when there’s not even a government in place in Iraq?

As for the reconstruction? I hope the Americans had reconstructed Iraq as they were the ones who broke the country in the first place. There’s the Gulf War, the sanctions, and then The Iraq War. As Colin Powell once said, “You broke it, it’s yours.”

The Iraq War is a mistake. The cost to America in finance, manpower and prestige has been greater than any gains America got from the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Despite what spin America put on it, those are just facts.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Moving On

The inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG) has ended and not a moment too soon for the Singapore government and the PAP (People’s Action Party). Despite all the chest-thumping by the Singapore government, reactions to the YOG by most Singaporeans had been, at best, muted.

Questions about the YOG ranged from the S$387 million budget (3 times above the estimate), to poor food for volunteers (leading to food poisoning), to poor management of ticket sales (which lead to “sell outs” even when over half the seats at the events were empty), to an arrest of a Singaporean man who attacked the ruling PAP on Facebook. Despite the “face” we shown to the world, I’m pretty sure almost everyone in Singapore is glad the YOG is over.

Only that it’s not quite over as now it’s time for the aftermath.

Two persons have come to the spotlight due to the YOG. Mr. Abdul Malik Ghazali, 27, is under investigation for posting a series of comments on Facebook critical of the YOG. Mr. Vivian Balakrishnan (Minister for Community development, Youth and Sports) has come under fire for the handling of the games.

Personally, I think both are in trouble for nothing. Mr. Abdul has been arrested on charges of inciting violence. He had written on Facebook that it was time to “burn” the sports minister and vote the PAP out of office. As some readers would remember, we had a case when an idiot attack a member of parliament (MP) last year and set the MP on fire. Maybe that cause the police to be sensitive about this matter but I had read the comments in question by Mr. Abdul and frankly I don’t see what’s the big problem is. The comments in question is in the middle of a series of comments by a lot of people, some of which I found much more insulting than what Mr. Abdul posted. It was one post, one comment, in the middle of about 60 different comments (when I saw it) by him and other people.

As for Mr. Vivian Balakrishnan, he is under fire as he is the minister for community development, youth and sports. Although I must say he must take some responsibility for the YOG mistakes, on the whole I do not feel that the YOG is a failure. I admit I didn’t feel much if any of the Olympic spirit but as an overall event, it would be a stretch to call the YOG a failure. Events were held, there were no security scares, and even the most anti-YOG Singaporean will have to admit Dr Balakrishnan tried and worked hard on the YOG.

The YOG is over. It’s not the overwhelming success wanted by the Singapore government and not the complete failure hoped for by the anti-YOG crowd. There’s no need for any deep inquest (except maybe on the S$387 million), the event is over and done with. Let’s just all move on.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Comics this week

Star Wars: Blood Ties #1- I’m not a fan of Star Wars comics. In fact, you can say I’m not a fan of Star Wars in general, however I did pick up this title, not because the father/son team of Jango and Boba Fett, but because of the art. The art of Chris Scalf in this issue was nothing short of excellent. I’m not a fan of photo realistic art in comic books but the moment I saw that dragon, uh…balyeg, I was sold. I also give Tom Taylor credit for trying to flesh out Jango and Boba. Personally I don’t understand why Star Wars fans like them so much (Boba I can understand as he was the badass who captured Han Solo, but Jango? The only thing he did in the movies was die), but Taylor did a fair job of it. It's a bit of a thankless task but the story wasn't the worst thing about the issue. The worst thing about this issue? All the Star Wars advertisements from toys to the new MMORPG (which is like 2 years away) that take up space for the story. We don’t need all that

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

She Should Have Lied

So Mexico's Jimena Navarrete has been crowned 'Miss Universe 2010,' and will now go around the world as the beautiful woman in the world. However she won the title on account of a ‘mistake’ by Miss Philippines, Venus Raj.

When asked by judge Billy Baldwin, “What is one big mistake that you have made in your life and what did you do to make it right?” Miss Raj replied that she do not believe she had made any truly major mistake in her 22 years of life.

Now beauty queens giving poor, lousy answers aren’t a new phenomenon, Singapore has our own infamous beauty queen for that, but what is so wrong with that answer? The question was for a “big mistake” and as the girl was just 22, it’s hardly impossible that she never made a big, major mistake before in her life (before this answer of course).

Yes I know the correct thing she should do was to lie, claim some big mistake which she never did and score points for the lie, but she told the true. What’s wrong with that? How many big, major mistakes had you made when you were 22? It was like that year during the Miss USA pageant when a contestant was asked if same sex-marriage should be legalized in America. She gave an answer in line with her belief that same sex-marriage should not be legalized. There was nothing wrong with that answer except that it was politically incorrect and she lost any chance of winning the crown.

So I have a suggestion for all beauty pageants organizers; get rid of the question-and-answer section of the competition. I mean given the evidence, we are just not interested in the views of beauty queens. They can be telling us the truth; they can be telling us their beliefs; they can be telling us their views; and they can be punished for it.

Viewers and judges only want clean, simple, politically correct answers. We are not interested in the contestants’ views! Since that is the case, get rid of the question-and-answer.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Now This Is a Jam!

To all those people who complain about traffic jams, read this and weep! In China, there is a traffic jam along the Beijing-Tibet expressway that is more than 100-kilometre long.

You read that right. State-run newspapers in China report that drivers could be struck in the traffic jam leading to Beijing for 9 days before reaching Beijing and get out of the jam. 9 days! Now I heard of growing road congestion in China due to a growing car population but a 9 day traffic jam?

That is just bad road planning. No, that is just horrible road planning. No, that’s just…I give up. What do you call a 9 day traffic jam?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Personal Responsibility

Last week, I wrote on a Singaporean man who was suing Resort World Sentosa after losing S$26 million at the casino. I had written that sympathy for the man wasn’t high in Singapore because most Singaporeans thought the man should have known better.

Basically, the man should have taken personal responsibility for his actions.

That’s what I will say to a man in the U.S as well. In America, Craig Smallwood is suing game publisher, NCsoft, for making a game “addictive”. Mr. Smallwood is a player in the MMORPG, Lineage II, and has been playing the game for over 20,000 hours in the last 5 years. That’s about 11 hours a day for 5 years! Mr. Smallwood is now suing NCsoft for “not warning him in advance” that the game is so addictive that he was unable to function normally in real life.

Seriously, I do not know if I should laugh or cry at this? I do not know badly Mr. Smallwood “suffered” playing the game but was NCsoft supposed to published a bad game? Now I heard of video game addiction before but how is it NCsoft’s fault that a player went and play a game 11 hours a day for 5 years? There’s such a thing as an “off” button on PCs right?

Unfortunately, that does not matter nowadays as personal responsibility seems to be a term modern men do not understand.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Comics this week

Brightest Day #8- With the rotating case of Brightest Day, the stars in this issue of the ensemble was J'onn J'onnz and Hawkman. The Martian Manhunter finally got his head around the idea he’s not the last Martian and it wasn’t a bad story. Not great but it wasn’t bad and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing because the story seems to be struck in set-up mode. Hawkman’s story was totally different because writers Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi are, to be kind, remaking Hawkworld. How well you like the story will depend on how well you like the “new” relationship between Earth, Hawkworld and Thanagar.

Uncanny X-Men #527- One of the biggest problems the X-Men had in recent years is how big of a team they had become. This problem is illustrated perfectly in this issue. The story jumped from Emma Frost in Utopia, to Hope in Mexico, to Cyclops in Japan, and you are never sure what the story is about. Emma talked to Stark and Namor, Hope was saving a new mutant in Mexico, and Cyclops was having a beer in Japan with Wolverine. The link between these stories; nothing!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Review of Inception

Yes, I had heard the hype before I seen the movie. “Inception” is a great movie; a classic in the making; has the team dream of director Christopher Nolan and Leonardo DiCaprio; is destined to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars etc. After seeing the movie, I must say this;

Believe the hype.

More of a science fiction movie than a heist movie, “Inception” was written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan and the man knows what he wants to do. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Dom Cobb, an extractor. He is a thief who extracts information from the mind of his victims while they are dreaming and his latest target is powerful businessman Saito, played by Ken Watanabe.

The theft failed and Saito reveals he is auditioning Cobb’s team to perform an inception; a very difficult act of implanting an idea into someone’s mind while he is dreaming. In return, Saito will use his influence to cancel Cobb’s crime record which will allow him to return home back to America and see his children. It was a deal Cobb couldn’t say no to.

Due to the difficulty of convincing their target that the idea belongs to him and it wasn’t implanted by an outside source, it is necessary to force their target, Robert Fischer (played by Cillian Murphy), to go into a dream-state while he is dreaming. After that, the team will again need to force Fischer to go into another dream, a third level of dreams before they can implant the idea. Cobb then went about recruiting a new, bigger team for the inception.

If you are confused by the dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream idea behind the movie, be afraid because the movie twist and turns even more once the team entered Fischer’s dream. The movie is a twisty, mind-bogging sci-fi action movie…and it makes no apologies for it. I have to applaud Christopher Nolan for having the guts not to dumb down the movie. As it is, Inception has a smart, innovative and risky story, which in a lesser hand may have left audiences leaving the theaters in confusion.

Despite the twisty nature of the movie however, director Christopher Nolan managed to keep everything in line through good pacing and good performances from his stars. Cillian Murphy as Robert Fischer was especially good in this movie. I won’t say everyone will get the twist and turns of the movie but Nolan keep everything going and there’s no slowdown of the action. This helps as there will be times in the movie where people goes “Uh?”, but by keeping the action going, the director push the story through and at the end, everything makes sense. (The ending is deliberately vague so that doesn’t count)

I’m not sure if Inception is a classic in the making, but Warner Bros. need to screw up pretty badly for it not to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars this year. It’s that good. Watch it and you can see it for yourself.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Big Loss

As the casinos opened for business earlier this year, I guess it was a matter of time before something like this happen. According to the Today newspaper, a Singaporean businessman lost S$26 million over three days at the Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) casino in early June.

According to the newspaper, the businessman, a managing director of a multi-million dollar company in his 50s, received a $500,000 credit line in March which was extended to S$2 million by the casino in April. However as he was playing baccarat at S$400,000 per hand…

The businessman is now suing RWS as he claimed that at no point in time did the casino perform a background check on his financial situation. He just filled in an application form, deposited S$100,000 and handed over a blank cheque to RWS.

Unfortunately for the businessman, most Singaporean has little sympathy for him. Most Singaporeans I spoke to say the businessman has only himself to blame. I agree.

You are playing baccarat at S$400,000 per hand, lost S$18 million in a single day alone, even your girlfriend pleaded to the RWS senior officer to stop granting you more credit; surely at any of these times, you can say, “Stop!” You didn’t and you are now S$13 million in the hole.

I’m sorry but in this case I can only blame the businessman for being foolish. The businessman was a 50+ MD of a multi-million dollar company, not some young teenager. He should have known better and knew when to quit. He didn’t but that’s hardly RWS’s fault. What were they supposed to do? Stop people from throwing money at them?

That's not going to happen and that's probably what the courts will think as well. The businessman can try to sue the casino but it might be better for him to save his lawyer's fee and use the money to pay back the casino.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The YOG is not about Singapore

As stories about poor tickets sale of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) makes the rounds in Singapore, I have to say the poor sales comes as no surprise. I mean like I had said several times before on this blog; Singaporeans just don’t care about the YOG.

To avoid sounding like a broken record (yes, I know it may be a little too late), today I have a suggestion on how to improve Singapore’s love for the YOG. Have the news on television focus more on the actual sporting events!

If you turn on the news in Singapore or turn on Channelnewsasia, you will see as many stories on the superb organization (broken canvas roof not included), beauty and cleanliness of Singapore as you would on the achievements of the young sportsman in the YOG. Enough with all these self-congratulatory pats on the backs already, the YOG is (supposed to be) about the young athletes who would one day potentially be Olympic champions.

The YOG is about them, not the city of Singapore and it’s time the organizers recognized that. If you want people to be excited about the YOG, then stop trying to promote Singapore and start promoting the YOG. They are 2 different things.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Even I'm Puzzled By This

Before I get into today’s post, let me get 3 things out first;
1) I am a supporter of the death penalty,
2) I am not a fan of Yong Vui Kong, who is a convicted and admitted drug-dealer,
3) I think the Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign is an exercise in futility as most Singaporeans support the death penalty,

So you can just guess how puzzling the ruling of High Court Judge Steven Chong is when even I have issues with his ruling that the President of Singapore has no discretion, under the Constitution, to grant pardons! Only the Cabinet has the power to do so!

As Yong Vui Kong’s lawyer M Ravi commented almost immediately after the ruling, “Lawyers have been sending petitions to the President all these years.” Now I’m no lawyer but even I thought that when someone on death row applies for clemency from the President, it’s a appeal that is for the President of Singapore, not the Cabinet of Singapore.

You mean all these years, all the lawyers in Singapore had been doing the wrong things? Can lawyers be sued for malpractice as they had been doing the wrong things for all these years? What about all the pardons that had been granted before by our current and previous Presidents? I mean there must be some death penalty pardons that had been granted before right? Are all those in jeopardy now due to this ruling?

As you can tell, Justice Chong’s ruling has opened a can of worms that has led most Singaporeans to wonder about many things, including (arguably) the most important; “If the President of Singapore don’t even have the power to grant pardons, what’s he there for?”

Saturday, August 14, 2010


The Youth Olympic Games (YOG) officially starts today as the opening ceremony that will kick off the YOG will be held today. As youths throughout the world descend on Singapore for the YOG, most Singaporeans still have the old questions on the YOG.

First and foremost; Where is it held?

Really most Singaporeans don’t care about the YOG but even if we are; we have no idea where the events are being held at! I know football is being held at Jalan Besar stadium, but that’s only because I seen the sports news and they mentioned it.

Outside football…where are the other events being held at? Swimming? Fencing? Where are all these being held at? The only ways I could find the competition venues is by going to the YOG website, www.singapore2010.sg or by reading the newspaper to see the sporting events of the day; outside that…nothing!

Since it haven’t started yet, there is still time for the YOG organizers to make things right. More and better access to such information like where the events are being held are needed to make the YOG a success not only for the Singapore government but for the Singapore people as well.

Friday, August 13, 2010

What Dreaded BMT?

Recently, I had to go back for reservist training. I do get why because the army hadn’t called me back in 6 years, but they say go, I go. The first thing I noticed when I got to my bunk; the mattress is thick.

I mean it was a good, spring mattress. Not only that, it was about 3 times thicker than the mattress I had when I had my BMT (Basic Military Training) about 15 years ago. So when I heard that there is an 18-episode “reality” series on YouTube that shows 15 BMT recruits as they go through their dreaded army Basic Military Training, I was like…What dreaded army Basic Military Training?

Good, spring mattress; handphones; good food…I can’t help but feel a little jealous. These boys have it good.

I remember when my family came to visit during my BMT, my sister thought it was Spartan while my father thought it was very good. He probably had it worse in his time.

I wonder what he will think of the BMT now?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Comics this week

The Thanos Imperative #3- At its mid-point, issue #3 finally decided to give us some backstory on the Cancerverse and it’s leader, Mar-vell. Frankly, it was something we can do without. After the WOW of issue 2, this was a change of pace that seems out of place. Even Nova’s strike team didn’t do much for me. When did Beta Ray Bill showed up? I never seem him in the series yet and suddenly he’s on a team that’s supposed to strike deep into enemy’s territory? The one good thing is that the tiring Drax/Thaos rivalry is being taken care of. The sooner that’s out of the way, the better.

Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time #4- I like to say something along the line of, “The surprisingly good comic adaptation of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time is still going strong”, but I can’t. Because the series has been so good since #1 that I’m no longer surprised by it’s quality. I expect it and it always delivered. Chuck Dixon, Chase Conley & Dynamite has got a winner here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Insufficient Evidence

When people talk about Russia, the image conjured up is a cold, harsh, wintry land. A very cold, very wintry land that is almost unmatched in the rest of the world. Hitler, Napoleon, Frederick the Great; all were defeated due to the Russian winter.

So when you hear that the wildfires currently engulfing Central Russia are due to record temperatures, you would think most scientists would link it to global warming. When temperatures in Moscow hit a record high of 38.2 degrees Celsius in July, it turned out to be a very short-lived record. That record was immediately broken in August.

It was the hottest two months (and it was back-to-back) in 130 years for Moscow.

Seem simple enough to link it to global warming right? Not true. Experts are cautious because they claim 1 extremely dry summer isn't sufficient evidence to prove global warming in isolation.

Don’t these “experts” read the news? Flood waters have hit countries from Pakistan to China. The floods are so bad that millions of people throughout the world had been affected by it; even reclusive North Korea had to admit floods had hit their country. Considering all the extreme weather in 2010 throughout the world, what else do they need?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Good Numbers But...

With some fanfare, the Singapore government announced that Singapore's economy grew 17.9% in the first half of the year. A superb number…that most Singaporeans couldn’t care less about.

The reason is very simple; most Singaporeans had not received any benefits from it.

With a number like 17.9, you would expect that things are rosy and Singaporeans would be upbeat about the future. Not even close! In Singapore, most Singaporeans are now worried about their jobs which are under threat from free-flowing intake of foreign workers; housing prices that are too high for them to buy; public transport that are more expensive and more crowded than before; flooding in the city which the government claim is unstoppable etc.

Frankly, if the Singapore economy did grow by 17.9% in the first half of the year, I (like most Singaporeans) sure didn’t notice it. The best thing about the 17.9%?

This is an election year so I won’t be surprise if the government “suddenly” decided that Singaporeans should received a bonus payment to their CPF account just before the election due to the good economic numbers.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Pick South Africa

Football is without question Singapore’s favorite sport and our most famous footballing son is without question Fandi Ahmad. Fandi once played in Europe for both Ajax Amsterdam and FC Groningen and is now a football coach in Indonesia.

However the biggest news about Fandi these days is his 3 sons. Report is that his two oldest, Irfan and Ikhsan, had been offered a trial by Arsenal. It is great news overshadowed by the bigger news that even if they make it as professional footballers in the future, there is no guarantee that they will be playing for Singapore.

Their mother, Wendy Jacobs, is from South Africa so technically the boys can play for South Africa when they grow up. Fandi himself hinted at this as he refused to be drawn in on whether his boys will be playing for Singapore in the future and says that “it is a sensitive issue”.

I agree with Fandi. Both in “it is a sensitive issue” and the fact the boys should NOT play for Singapore. These are the facts; South Africa just held the World Cup Finals, South Africa had qualified for the World Cup Finals before, Singapore can’t even qualify for the final Asian Qualifying Group for the World Cup.

Seriously, between the Singapore national team and the South Africa national team, there is no choice. Even for a Singaporean like me, this should NOT be a question. If the boys managed to get into Arsenal, then they should be of a certain quality and the choice should be obvious. Between Singapore and South Africa; boys, PICK SOUTH AFRICA!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Comics this week

Brightest Day #7- After 6 issues of Brightest Day moving the attention back and fro from characters to characters, this issue answer the questions of why the 12 were bought back to life by the White Lantern. Discovering each character's mission was great, I especially like the fact Iris and Black Adam will be back, but I have to question why the White Lantern don’t just do this in the first place! After 6 issues of cryptic hints dropped here and there, why does the White Lantern suddenly decided to open its mouth and just you know…tell people what they need to do? However that’s a minor complaint as the 12 are finally on the move.

Hit-Monkey #2- Writer Daniel Way must be reading fans’ feedback! Most people who read #1 thought that Hit-Monkey’s ghost mentor took something away from the fun of having a monkey who is a hitman. So Way will make a lot of people happy here as the ghost turn out to be Hit-Monkey himself. I wasn’t keen on Bullseye at first but he worked well as the enemy. The moment when he first saw Hit-Monkey at the wedding and went “Wow” was one of the funniest thing I have read in awhile. Good issue that proves Marvel hit gold with the monkey.

S.H.I.E.L.D #3- After #2 made everyone go, “WTF?” I am glad to say S.H.I.E.L.D is back on track. Writer Jonathan Hickman is back on form as he showed that no matter how intelligent or powerful humans become, we are our greatest enemies. The inner workings of S.H.I.E.L.D is shown and we can finally make sense of the confusion that was #2. The power struggle within S.H.I.E.L.D with Sir Isaac Newton on one side and Leonardo Da Vinci on the other was very interesting. Hickman’s characterization of Newton was great. A genius of a man who went mad in his pursuit of knowledge, his ruthless rise to power was a thing to behold as he wipe out his mentor Galileo and lock up Nostradamus for centuries. I have to question why didn’t Hickman use this as #2. If this was #2 and #2 was #3, things would have made much more sense and we wouldn’t have to go “uh…” Still things are back on track and maybe now we can see what’s Hickman's story is about.

Secret Six #24 –What in the world is going on? After a flashback issue last time, this time writer Gail Simone decided to, for some reason I can’t understand, to put the Secret Six in the Wild West. The Six are defending a town against Junior and the fastest gun in the west, Slade Wilson. What is this, an ElseWorld book?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Family Business

The non-news today in Singapore is the announcement by opposition leader Chiam See Tong that he has chosen his wife Lina to be his successor in Mr Chiam’s Singapore People’s Party (SPP).

The response from Singaporeans has been overwhelming negative as Mrs Chiam has never contested in an election before (though that may/will change in this coming election). Personally I’m not filled with enthusiasm on his choice but no one can say they didn’t this coming.

Word is that Mrs Chiam will be contesting the single-seat constituency of Potong Pasir in this coming election, a seat her husband has held since 1984. Also it’s not of a stretch politics is a family affair. Our current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is the son of Lee Kuan Yew, and they are hardly unique. George Bush the 41th and George Bush the 43th anyone?

Compare to the examples above, what’s the big deal of Mr Chiam handing his seat and party to his wife? He’s trying to keep things in the family; that’s normal.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

National Unity!...right

In a poll held by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), the IPS reported that 2 out of 3 Singaporeans are worried about the numbers of foreigners in Singapore.

Nothing surprising there, but the ISP reported that the main reason for the response is because the respondents felt that national unity would be compromised by the presence of foreigners, regardless of whether the foreigners are here to stay or not.

Let me just say this; those Singaporeans were bullshitting.

I can understand the sentiments of Singaporean citizens who are worried about the numbers of foreigners in Singapore, but because of national unity? Somehow I just doubt that.

When I speak with follow Singaporeans and there are complains about foreigners here, national unity is NOT something that comes up. Jobs, housing prices, people who don’t speak the language, even accents they can’t understand; I heard them all. National unity? Never.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

And The Joke Goes On

The biggest joke in Malaysia for quite some time has been the trial of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on sodomy charges. A 25 year old former aide of Anwar, Saiful Bukhari Azlan, has accused the 62-year-old leader of sodomising him in 2008.

No one in Singapore or Malaysia believed the charges as Anwar had been convicted on separate sex and corruption counts a decade ago (which no one believed in also), and the conviction had been later thrown out. In this latest case, Anwar had always claimed that the charges are trumped-up, the trial is politically motivated, and the prosecution was not impartial. He is widely believed.

And to prove once again what a joke this Malaysian trial is, the prosecution’s star witness, Saiful, is now rumored to be having an affair with a member of the prosecution team! Even more sensational is the fact that the rumors looks to be true! Days after the rumors first surfaced, a junior prosecutor was dropped from the case and when queried by the media, chief prosecutor Yusof Zainal Abiden refused to deny the involvement!

Now the judge in the case has adjourned the case pending a decision on whether to resume the trial. Pending a decision? A member of the prosecution has an affair with the star witness and there is a question on whether the case should go on?

Just when you thought the joke can’t get any funnier…

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Case Of Singapore Not Helping Itself

I do not know who Alan Shadrake was. I never knew he was an author. I never even knew he existed! I do now and so does the rest of the world. The reason is because the Singapore Attorney General has decided to charge the author for criticizing Singapore's use of the death penalty in his book "Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock".

I am a supporter of the death penalty here in Singapore (there are just some people who deserved to die) and I am less than happy that we just made an international celebrity out of a no-name author who is now making a name for himself. I mean who the hell is Alan Shadrake?

I mean what’s the big deal about an ang moh criticizing the death penalty? His book barely made a beep on Singapore’s radar till the local launch of the book. That was when he was arrested by the Singapore police when he came to Singapore to promote the book. If not for his arrest, I would be here asking, “What book?”

Now Alan Shadrake is suddenly a well-known author whose name is on news services around the world. Needless to say, sympathy is with him as it was widely reported that the prosecution offered to drop the charges if he apologized to the court. Shadrake refused and was defiant in a media interview after he was charged in court. Not helping matters were reports that the prosecution will put up 20 pages of Shadrake book as evidence in the case. 20 pages out of a 219 page book!

If you read foreign news service, this is almost a case of David against Goliath. With Singapore being the big, bad Goliath!

All this could have being avoided is we just let the author go in and out of Singapore without incident. I mean he is not the first guy to complain about the death penalty and he will not be the last. So he criticized Singapore's use of the death penalty; who cares? Alan Shadrake was a nobody but now he is famous and his book will now sell like hotcakes due to the free promotion he is receiving. How does charging the man help Singapore?

It doesn’t.