Friday, April 18, 2014

The hard truth of Gen Moeldoko apology

I read this last night and felt vindicated about my uneasy feeling of Gen. Moeldoko apology earlier. On our end we had no choice but welcome it, which Ng Eng Hen duly did. Now the other side had disclaimed it.

So what's next? You deal with them as they are, a third world country which is often unable to get their act together. We should also stop being surprised about them. As a distant observer I am somewhat disappointed that our leaders were surprised at the naming of their frigate.

The personal relationships are only lubricant but what is vital is common interests. We shouldn't confuse the two. Between them and us and for that matter any other party, there will always be gaps that cannot be closed. The special relationship enjoyed between the Americans, British, Canadians, Aussies, and the Kiwis is founded on a common historical root in British history and culture. Perhaps we could have achieved the same with the Malaysians but we didn't stay Malaysian. We were remade into the Germans of SE Asia. We had no choice as the alternative would be to crawl back to Malaysia begging to rejoin the federation. This is the hard truth

Sewol's Sinking: Feel like hanging the captain

Link to article.

I should have read this only in the morning because I had great difficulty getting to sleep after reading how the captain and some crew members had tried to save themselves ahead of the Sewol's passengers.

And this really made me hit the roof. He was callously drying wet paper money on his bed even as he expressed his "deep sorrow". At this point I feel like hanging him. But these days you must be careful with the news. In a hurry journalists and especially editors make so many mistakes. Some media types are even worse than this captain. They slant, even twist the news for more readership. Very irresponsible but people are so short term these days.

Then I saw another report (it was nearing midnight already). Park Ji Young a young heroine, only 22 years old sacrificed herself for her charges. The captain should have died instead. He should be the last one to leave the vessel!

I hope Park Ji Young's family receive generous help for the loss of their daughter. She came from a very poor family and she gave up going to university to help make ends meet. But I am just sick in the gut how often the senior people are the cowards and the heroes are those reporting to them.

Update: 7:50 am

I shouldn't have missed this. Good grief the coward left the Sewol pretty early. I can think of a few countries the coast guard will demand the captain stay with his vessel and not rescue him. What were the coast guard thinking? Shame on the Korean way. A culture which the boss could do no wrong and his pride is the most important thing and synonymous with the organization reputation, that someone else should take the blame if he errs? That's the emperor is always right culture. That's why enough captains of Korean vessels sans the Navy I hope, would not try their best to protect their passengers. If found guilty of criminal negligence, I think he ought to be shamed and hanged as an example for all skippers.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ferry sinking: When not to trust the authorities

The Korean students were too "听话" and we are so similar to them. This is a good example when not to listen to the authorities.

We should only listen to them if they are experienced and the process is one which they have budgeted and properly carried out e.g., renewing your passport. In general they are no good for the unexpected. Consider the suicide of Pte Ganesh. He was an outlier but the SAF is set up to work with the normal recruits and soldiers. Ditto the school system and I have first hand experience navigating the system which is very trying when you have a special needs child.

In general the authorities are good in a few things which are often used by lots of people and the bureaucracy is usually lousy at handling exceptions. In this sense Singapore is not exceptional as much as she wished to be. Unless you have novel technology or a culture to work things successfully which others cannot imitate e.g., how the Japs queue up for services after the Tsunami, you are just ordinary like everywhere else.

But Singapore needs to be exceptional and to do things which others also want to but can't. For many years SIA did that with distinction. They still do but the marketing mix priorities from customers have changed and too many passengers are willing to trade away service for lower price.

Having too many FTs here is only a winning idea if they can be trained to work the Singapore way otherwise we will just descend into the bad habit of competing on price with a small premium on location. Why do you think the salaries of our fresh graduates are depressed? Cheap, cheap, cheap that's why. Meanwhile the houses they need to buy, the cost of living get dearer and dearer. Politicians must be stupid to think they can keep winning elections this way.

Update: April 18 7:45 am

Kudos to ST for printing this article by Andrew Salmon. Since primary school I have always told my children to refuse teachers' orders if they feel they would be put in harm's way. They will also not obey any stupid school rules. Of course I would never have allowed them to play school hockey had they been keen or even for PE. A Jurong JC girl lost one eye from a hockey accident. I am totally sure an accident like this had happened before if rare.

George Takei: A pastor's message on homosexuality

Three-quarter I agree with this Pastor, one quarter I do not but on how to respond to homosexuals, I am totally with the Pastor. Clearly we don't have the right to judge the homosexuals but also recently I have been led to revisit Revelation 1 to 3. How appropriate as contrast to get John the Apostle of Love with the famous John 3:16 be the person to record Revelation. These are very difficult times to be a pastor. I am afraid the majority of them would end badly.

For me trapped in such times and place, there is no difference between gay and straight or a divorcee vs married. However just because the members and leaders of the churches are deep in sin do not mean we add another drop to the bucket. Nevertheless the homosexuals have done a wonderful job at driving the Christians crazy because they are by and large better people than the Christians. We are in a perverse situation. That additional drop of the homosexuals makes the bucket a little better. It is not supposed to be like this but this is the reality today. Therefore Pope Francis will not judge the homosexuals but have instead led by example to go into public confession and asking for forgiveness. For the churches, the issue isn't homosexuality which is clearly being used by God to expose the Christians hypocrisies.

A right with God church would not stand for homosexuality but nevertheless pursue homosexuals even if persecuted. It will persistently welcome the homosexuals into its community but in turn the homosexuals will reject repeated offers. They can't stand the 'holiness' and it is so sad I had to put on the quotes because nobody knows what holiness is. The greater the holiness, the more awesome the love. You can't imagine or conceptualize that as it must be seen and experienced. That is the secret of John's record of his Lord's prayer in chapter 17.

Just as those publicans, adulterers, prostitutes, thieves and unclean lepers in Jesus time made the religious and morally upright looked bad, we are experiencing the analogue today. Only the personalities and types God is using have changed, but the religious and morally upright are still the same. I can hear the Christians say we are not like the Pharisees whom in like manner they had also said to Jesus, we are not like those who killed the prophets.

God's love is SCANDALOUS and I hope that Pastor would discover soon as he opens his arms to the homosexuals.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Deplorable Safety Culture here

We have a deplorable safety record but what can you expect from a poor and simplistic safety culture. MNCs operating their chemical plants here run a totally different safety philosophy which this government probably consider to be too costly. It was but no longer. People are getting miamed or killed unnecessarily. From cyclists on the road, construction sites, schools and also the SAF.

That is why I refused to sign off of some of the activities the schools plan for my children. They say they try their best but little did they know they don't even know what they are talking about. Just like what had happened at Ngee Ann Poly.

Beyond design and processes, practical safety is also a matter of drastically cutting down the probabilities of accidents, which often lead you back to redesign and enhancing safety in the process. Here leaders in charge regularly fail to think in probabilities and mistakenly equate low risk with  zero probability. They have this "bo an ni suay" attitude, the same reason they put their kids on their laps in the front of the car and also fail to belt up in the back. They could not be more wrong and perversely never learn.

Update: 2:15 pm

The e-ink hasn't even dry yet before I caught this on AsiaOne.

and the injury could have been prevented! See below the myriad choice of hockey goggles the players were not equipped with. We really have an inadequate grasp of safety. Just like it took forever to get doctors to wash their hands properly, this is going to be a very long wait! This is as criminal.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Come for scholarship interview

The daughter forwarded this to me this afternoon. How ironic I thought, she didn't even apply for this or any scholarships. RI had like her more than 300 with the maximum 90 points and counting the rest of the JCs there must be at least 600 or more of them against the limited places for Medicine, Law and Business. This was somewhat surprising. Many of the top scorers could have opted to study in foreign universities? But that is too early. I think she got it because she proposed NUS business school as her first choice. Those who did not and also fail to obtain places in Medicine or Law would be pushed further down the pile when they fail to obtain their first or second choice.

Updated: April 18 11:30am

After much research and thinking, she informed that she is emailing them to turn down the opportunity to interview for this scholarship. The decision mean nothing, it is the thought process which counts and turning this down is the right thing to do at this time.

Visit to Bukit Batok Library

Hasn't been here for years I. I like the parking rates here: $1.18 for the first two hours. I think I will come more often over the next few months as my duties take me around here more often.