Friday, November 21, 2014

Terrorism: We are indeed complacent

Across CNA, Today, ST and now Yahoo most of the comments were about severely punishing the two German vandals. I am just glad they weren't Americans as that would be very troublesome. Enough people over there didn't learn from the right lessons of Michael Fay's example.

I have come across only one comment questioning how these two fellows got in to spray paint a train. There could  be more similar comments but I have not time or stamina to go through all of them.

So how did these two passed security and get into the Bishan depot? SMRT lips are zipped and the Police is equally quiet. We might not know as there seems as yet no pressure for the public demanding answers.

I can't do anything if the Singapore public is complacent about the risk of a terrorist attack, but I can take precautions. The simple reason why we have not been hit is because these terrorists have higher priority targets than us. That is why we were so careful about how we should get involved combating ISIL. Truth is we are actually an easy target. Securing Singapore like Israel will exact huge economic costs which we cannot afford. Furthermore Israel is far easier than Singapore to secure. There is no need to explain this, just follow the news and use your head.

We have a reputation for being safe. How good is that until we are really tested. We didn't even need any terrorist, in person or cyber to take down SGX trading system. Everyone is so money minded throwing caution to the win to make more money. Every business including SMRT earns money but won't even bat an eyelid to socialize losses. This must not continue.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Why we cannot be like America

For the latest example by Thomas Friedman. Yet another of the countless example we all come across that the Americans have a tendency to learn lessons the hard way. They also end up learning it very well but that story is for another occasion.

I still remember clearly from my JC days so long ago. My GP teacher proposed that democracy is just tyranny by the majority. That had stuck with me and would take many years for me to break that lens and grasp that in America, it is the unreasonable tyranny of the minority, which turns out to be also wrong. It didn't help that LKY also reinforced this point year after year.

As usual like many, I am amused by Churchill's eloquence. His oft repeated quote about the Americans which my daughter had become fond of quoting from time to time for a few years already.

You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else. 

Until about a few years back, I didn't understand why the Americans behaved thus.

The American political system and society make it impossible for the majority to lord over the minority and sometimes even the minority of just one.

As my kids grow up I recognize that there are lessons they cannot learn except by the hardest way and some of the most important lessons I cannot teach but had to by faith be left to God. I would not explain it here but America is also an act of faith. Nearly all nations are based on territories and a few on race and culture but none I know is based on beliefs like America is. It is the ultimate idea virus.

Often America wait for those who cannot be persuaded or understand except through painful mistakes to move forward. If small countries like us try to do the same, we will be sunk. There are limits to how most countries could adapt American ways for themselves.

This is the last paragraph for Friedman's op-ed. Familiar? That's was exactly what LKY warned them before they invaded Iraq. We all knew because the aghast LKY went public on this. I sent that article to a friend in Dubai with the following comment.

Note the last paragraph. That was what LKY was telling them Americans not to invade Iraq. A trillion dollar lesson for not heeding his advice.

Do we have a trillion dollars to spare? But they have paid billions for many other mistakes before. Well we can also spend a trillion bucks if the Singapore Dollar is the world's reserve currency.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A best selling book on Gay Sex

I check the top selling Kindle books pretty often. Coming in at 21 was "The joy of Gay Sex" by Charles Silverstein. Just yesterday Dr. John Piper was sharing on Facebook a story on anal sex purportedly taught to some American 5th graders.

What is happening? I don't seek them but they have found many of us. Their presence is growing. Over time they will cease to be a public secret any more but publicly live cheek by jowl with us. I don't have a problem with that but still that realization was kinda of a shock to me.

To make it to the top 21, I wonder how many people are homosexual. I imagine it must be a large number or were lots of straight people picking up that book out of curiosity? I do not have the time to find out but I am sure we will eventually get to learn all about them. No need to go looking, they will come to us. Now if they expand their space too rapidly there will be a violent push back from the public. All that I have noticed about them tells me they are an impatient bunch. Personally I also think they have no idea what love is. Unfortunately that is the problem with too many among the rest of us too.

Many people supposedly married for love but nearly all separation are about assets. When I was a kid people often wanted children for their pension value. Love is just a convenient cover for bread and butter issues. It's the same with politics. And I don't want to go on to the issue behind money - our egos. You love others in order to love your ego at a higher level of self pleasure. That's love?

But God showed his love for us in that whilst we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Ah where and how does sex feature when Christ is the image of the husband and the Church his bride? I better stop here.

John Piper shares this article on anal sex

I saw this off my phone on the way back from lunch yesterday. I dug into this further this morning because if what John Piper said was true, this is to put it mildly most unwelcomed.

Here is a YouTube video of the TV program reporting the story.

Snopes tries to get to the bottom of this. Gays everywhere would be most interested to see what is the reaction from all outside their community. Meanwhile I am still struggling to find time for this book: The Cross in the Closet.  I am have read about a fifth of the book.

I am sure there is a war out there between the anti-gay and the gays. This war is getting more under handed and dirtier all the time. Each side is trying to get us to be on their side.

From ZenFone 6 to Galaxy Note 4

My short story of a somewhat satisfied owner of a Asus Zenfone 6 ($299 only) came to an end a couple of days ago. The next day I recontracted with Singtel for a Galaxy Note 4.

What's my problem with the Zenfone?

I dropped it on Monday morning with its protective case with no scratches or any damage. Thinking nothing was broken I carried on as usual until a few hours later I discovered I couldn't use the power button to perform screen capture. Then I discovered I couldn't turn off the phone either. Also the volume rocker no longer worked. Was it the drop or just coincidence I cannot be absolutely sure. I took it to the Asus service centre along Orchard Road, waited my turn and the service adviser told me on average repairs take about 5 days. I wasn't too happy to hear that but what choice have I got?

Asus grossly over delivered when they called me the next day to pick up the repaired Zenfone. When I turned up late in the day, the service adviser explained to me that they had to replace the LCD as the volume rocker and power button are part of the same unit. I asked her why the rocker and button had failed but they were as clueless as me.

When I got back to the car, I messaged my brother that Asus had probably designed their Zenfone poorly. My guess is that the vibration from the LCD hitting the ground could reverberate to the rocker and power buttons damaging them. If  my guess is correct they will eventually get many returned phones with the same problem.

The Zenfone 6 has other problems that I have reluctantly lived with over the last few months.

1. Their software running the mobile radio doesn't seem to work reliably. Often I only became aware of messages when I stepped into the house and the phone switched to automatically to WiFi.

2. Uploading to Dropbox is also unreliable. I often transfer stuff to Dropbox only to catch it uploading the connection flipped over to WiFi.

3. Eventually I discover that I could force the upload if I switch to Dropbox as the active app. Similarly email messages started to come in and messages began to appear with switch to those apps.

So now I have given up my vintage Classic plan and gone over to 4G. The Zenfone is now a back up phone I pray I wouldn't need at least 2016.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Example of good communication from Ms Henson

The government repeatedly fails to communicate well enough. The latest example was Khaw Boon Wan failure to anticipate and explain why foreign workers were used in an anti-riot exercise leading to be criticized heavily by netizens and the relevant NGOs.

Preceding Khaw, S. Iswaran scored worse and they can't blame the media for misquoting them!

On the other hand Bertha Henson is more in touch with the ground. She already anticipated how some readers might react. Near the end of her blog post there was another example.

If you cannot communicate you cannot get support for the right policies. Most of the time what the masses want are not the best for all of us and you have to sell complex, unobvious, alternative ideas successfully. As they keep failing to reach us successfully, others with beguiling ideas have come forward with alternatives that are popular but likely to bring regrets later.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Not sufficient: Ambassador Chan's Duality and Balance

Chan Heng Chee contributed this to the ST on Wednesday. I read but found it unsatisfactory. Only the shallowest thinkers still toy with containing China, like the most inept generals who think of tomorrow's conflict in yesterday's terms. So it is duality and balance? But I feel this isn't good enough to avoid the two powers running a high risk of eventually clashing with each other. Duality and balance is not a sufficient concept for global and regional security.

At APEC Obama and Xi spent much time together and afterward announced commitments to cutting back carbon. Yes, the idea is to identify common challenges as mutual enemies which both the Americans and Chinese can combine their resources against.