Friday, August 31, 2012

Following young people blogs

I come across this on a friend's daughter's blog yesterday. How true! I am motivated to keep this blog for similar reasons. Good for her, she is so much younger than me of course.

I started following quite a few blogs of young people especially those my friends' kids and friends of my children. They help me to understand what normal kids are like. Regrettably this exercise hasn't been very successful as most of them give up blogging after a while or else they are serial blog starters.

Kids often do not exercise judgement with what they write. I am sure they will regret some of their postings. Who knows, I might be as naive myself. Time will tell.

Anyway for someone so youthful, I am often impressed with the maturity of her thoughts.

I wished my children would blog more often. There is so much to share and encourage others with. A well kept blog is like good wine, getting more valuable with vintage.

Kakiage Burger

Had a late lunch yesterday of Kakiage Burger @ Mos Burger after visiting Comex yesterday. The last time I had this was with my late dad. He liked the Yakniku Rice Burger very much. That must have been almost five years ago. The next time I have a Kakiage, I would naturally count off the years once more.

Lao Beijing after a long time

We haven't gone back to Lao Beijing for well over a year. Ordered the wrong toufu for our girl. So glad I have this blog so that I can tell how we had gone wrong. On the other hand she learned to eat the pork dish which was impossible last year. That's progress :-)

The eggplant dish wasn't as good as before. It was too soft and mushy. I prefer it firmer.

My HSDPA stories

This D-Link dongle I bought last March is going to the dustbin. Pretty unhappy with it. Took me a while to find out that it is no longer working. Come to think of it, I hardly even use it. I have switched to a TP-Link one.

Paid $69 for this one at Challenger today. Same asking price at Comex which is going on now. It would mostly be used by my kids when they take the ultra portable to school etc., for their studies.

Got this at Comex yesterday for $69. Found out that it cost the same Challenger today: TP-Link TL-MR3040. Would be really neat to use it with the HSUPA dongle.

Would be pretty neat when we take our iPads out and share a wireless connection, but I think it is even more useful when need a connection when on holidays.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Last 1-for-1 Magnums

Bought the last twenty four pieces of Magnum Classic (All Almond are out) this morning from the petrol station. Yesterday at another petrol station I took ten (all that was).

Altogether we had bought 80 Magnums this month! I barely ate four or five, wifey zero.

Sleeve Ultraportable Case from Shenzhen

Ordered this from Shenzhen via eBay for about USD 14 fifteen days ago. Arrived yesterday via registered mail. Now the daughter have a nice protective bag to put the ultraportable PC in to take to school.

I have ordered so many small items from Hong Kong and China using eBay. The experience has been 100% good. On the other hand the only time I ordered one from Singapore, I waited for as long as it might have come from the USA. Repeated emails to them were ignored. When I tried to cancel my order they claimed it is in the mail.

I will stick with Hong Kong and China. Cheap, fast and good. I know this can't last forever. Wages in China are going up but enjoy it for as long as it lasts.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Xenophobia: Singapore trying to stay extraordinary

Link to Yahoo's article.

Xenophobia is a non-issue here. The government is over reacting because our exceptional reputation is at risk. Just imagine and I bet it has happened when foreign leaders meet with our leaders and query our recent anti-foreigner sentiments. Can you imagine visitors asking President Obama about rising high profile gun incidents in America? America is being America but Singapore is turning into something else and these visitors unthinkingly thought that we can have our cake and eat it. You can't.

This government forgets that its policies are causing us to become just like any other global city, albeit trying to the among the best. They forget that you cannot be uniquely Singapore as we have come to be known from how we got here when they execute strategies for us to wear it like London or New York for global citizens work and play here. You must choose. As usual they want to have everything. It is all rhetoric because when life is lived you start trying to have everything but eventually are forced to choose when you have become so exhausted and stressed. There is work-life, lots of it but just ignore the balance and cut out the babies to get more life.

Our leaders conveniently forget to consider that in other societies if foreigners were accepted at such rates and numbers, there would already be riots in the streets and the government voted out of power long ago.

We are still exceptional but we are gradually losing it. We might be over paying for the many things we can see today with the precious unseen intangibles of what is Singapore.

I wish these ministers would shut up. They have no damn moral authority to talk about xenophobia to us. They created the situation, and we are not xenophobic. The badly behaving foreigners, if we kick them it is because our feet couldn't reach the government shins. Well the government is finally reacting but wrongly.

Update: 10am. What others are saying

  • Kelvin Yong Likewise the behavior of some of our ministers and MPs while tackling issues with opposition MPs. Unprofessional and so lack of intelligence, depth and grace Mr S!
    33 minutes ago via Mobile ·  · 13

  • Vasu Dev 
    Ok ok let's put this into perspective. You're at home in your beautiful house. Your father decides to invite a talented plumber to help fix the plumbing. He does an ok job and is invited to stay. The plumber then moves into the room next to
     yours. Then he complains that your music is too loud and you should make less noise. He complains that your food is smelly and once ever so often he litters the floor and spits out if your balcony.. You complain to dad but he calls you xenophobic!! WTF!
    25 minutes ago via Mobile ·  · 13

    • Ting Yu Xu Did the pot just called the kettle? What was the cause of the rise of such xenophobia?? Before they start accusing their native for being anti-foreigners, did they remember themselves for often giving the foreigners sugar and giving their natives the cane?

      Since the gov aren't fighting for us, we've got to defend ourselves and our people!
      about an hour ago ·  · 26

  • Mark Lim Did I slam foreigners? No!
    I slammed on the policy that brought them in. I slammed the authority the sleeps on issues caused by foreigners!!
    59 minutes ago via Mobile ·  · 21

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Missing at National Day Rally: Providing for Parents?

According to the ST and MYP the PM did a glowing job, perhaps even his best ever rally speech. But as I listened to FM 93.8 yesterday discussing the NDR, not a single caller had anything good to say. Who is more accurate?

Link to Yahoo article: Providing for Parents in Singapore: Can We Give Enough?

If you have many children and if each is able to give a little you will have enough. Yes, in the remotest way the PM did address this issue - the baby bust problem.

His speech can be viewed as brilliant provided you also do not consider what he had decided not to address. It was departure from the technocratic past. It was a response to many of us complaining that our politicians are too technocratic and lacking the human touch. I hope our leaders read between the lines and understand that learning to be politically savvy isn't the end point. Truly what we want is courageous political leadership with empathy. Saying you understand and burying your ostrich head in the sand isn't it.

The number one issue for most people today is the cost of living. It is a challenge most of us struggle to overcome and I am afraid a growing number are despairing. It takes the issue of ageing to surface what day to day we prefer to not to see or we will just be moody all the time. It is the utmost issue that had appeared so unimportant that it failed to make it to the PM's most important annual address to the nation. But it is a problem that would not go away.

They are gradually learning from the West how to kick the can down the street. Since we are still at the half full, half empty glass point, people are uncertain and divided where we actually are. The PM warning about increasing taxes sometime during the next twenty years to listeners is as good as never. Twenty years is eternity in the political calendar. It just made him look responsible and does not cost him votes. He never imagined how he could run his government differently from anywhere else in the world and make it better. I am waiting to see if he can deliver a whole of government approach consistently. At least some non-economic, budget constrained ministries are already intellectually persuaded on this course. This would be truly special and our resources will be deployed so intelligently we could do so much with so little instead of raising taxes. However there is a darker and probably more realistic read behind whole of government. It could be an inter-ministries strategy of getting another ministry to pay the bill for your programs because you have no budget. You know how among ministries civil service leaders fight for credit and jostle for positions. That's why it is not easy to achieve whole of government approach consistently. That's why the PM was for a while doubling up as Finance Minister. I wonder if that is the reason why PMO is so big and has so many ministers without portfolio?

I am glad Singaporeans are to outsiders so unreasonably demanding of our government. It is our survival instinct. It is our collective memory of how we got here. If we cannot bring the cost of living down, we will not have babies, which is just the slowest and least awful way of a society committing suicide. We must get rid of this death wish which we pretend not to see inside us.

Best UK Olympics Advert

I wasn't clear until the advertiser announced itself to my sight. If you need help see the top left corner.

Very creative! Credit where credit is due. This one was sent to us by my ex boss hubby.

Monday, August 27, 2012

PM Lee National Day Rally Speech

It's about 10:15 am now. I collected those comments on the PM's NDR speech with 11 or more likes. My proxy for resonance. I am particularly worried about Lois Lai "free this, free that" suggestion. Aichi Chong garnered 38 likes (I added myself later) which is way ahead of any other comment.

These days practically nobody view their children as their old age pension. This is good but we have forgotten a very important reason why people have so many kids in the past. Even biologists concluded that having many offspring is Nature's way of ensuring survival of the species. However we have interfered so successfully with Nature and gone to the other extreme. Poorer societies are closer to nature than us. They use less energy, control their environment less and they also have more children.

We will not solve our problem of low birth rate. Let's hope we are lucky since we aren't willing to pay the price to overcome a declining population.

  • Sharon Lee Those who arent satisfied with the speech probably have to reflect and rethink what makes you so difficult to please. Truly you must be awfully difficult. You are responsible for the progress of singapore too, not just the government.
    11 hours ago ·  · 18

  • Francis Oen Sir, I fully agree with you that we cannot be xenophobic but I feel that the influx has been too fast for both the residents and infrastructure to cope, hence the backlash. Also, immigrants today also will be the dependents of tomorrow when they age... Why then so much recently instead of in the future when the numbers require it... Also, on increasing TFR... Why not rebate of $50k on HDB housing loan for each child per family unit...3 kids then $150k off their housing loan so that they have more income to bring their kids up....
    11 hours ago ·  · 13

  • Aichi Chong Sir, I have 3 kids - 13, 11 and 8. I love kids and I would consider having one more. But after seeing my eldest through her PSLE last year, I decided against it. The thought of having to go through the PSLE 4 times, and the thought that I'd have to sacrifice time with my baby (if I had a 4th) to help my younger 2 with their PSLE, are factors that have changed my mind. For us, it's not about money, but rather what I foresee the kids would have to go through that hinders me from having a 4th. My children are deprived of a balanced childhood and the freedom of childhood. They are frustrated with how their studies dominate their lives. Their lives revolve round school, homework, tuition, supplementary classes, cca etc. I literally squeeze in 20-30 min of outdoor play time for them on weekdays. Competition in schools and in the workforce make work-life balance almost an impossibility. I believe that all parents want their children to be happy. But being mired in a pressure-cooker environment really leaves childhood much to be desired. Just my thoughts. Thks
    11 hours ago ·  · 37

  • Lois N Lai ‎1. Affordable housing = only one parent using his/her cpf is enough to pay for a house.
    2. Free education for kids until a certain age < 7
    3. Free medical for elderly > 70
    4. Free medical for kids until a certain age < 5
    5. Take out examination from certain terms at certain level.
    6. Free transportation for elderly > 70

    Sir, please take the bold steps before pressing us to have more kids.
    11 hours ago via Mobile ·  · 16

  • George Sim What kind of "home" would this be if our children are going to be brought up struggling with the ever rising costs of living and ultra competitive society. What joy is in living when we have to work our whole lives to pay for a pigeon hole of a leasehold house.

    Mr PM sir, your intentions are good but the focus is all wrong. We don't need to have the best airports, the largest seaport nor world class transportation. We need a home where we can be proud to raise our families in and a secure income to retire with. Not all men are born in Singapore with talents equal to your elitist team in white. Some of us struggle even with day to day living.

    It would be excessively idealistic to expect everyone to conform to our meritocratic hamster wheel society.

    I appeal to you to look upon Singaporeans first as human being, not as a per capita GDP statistic that you unabashedly boast to other nations.
    10 hours ago via Mobile ·  · 15

  • David Moses Heng Sir, I watched the NDR while my wife and 5 kids went downstairs to have their ice cream break with my in laws. I thank God for them as they are here every sunday without fail to help out with the kids. But even as I watched, I can't helped but feel skeptical about what was shared with regards to the boosting child birth rate. (1) You urged Singaporean parents not to send their young ones to the un necessary enrichment and tuition at a tender age. But may I ask how when the local schools are pressure cookers and with so many kaisu parents out there wanting to out do each other from day 1, how can they be convince? As a young parent with very young children, I forebid my children to undergo such programs as i want them to enjoy their child hood. I even told them that all the I need of them is that they enjoy their school and do their best. In my course of work, I have come across students who will break down and cry for scoring 80/100 for their tests/exams because to them, they have failed. when probed, they shared that since they are in the best class in the school, anything less than a 100/100 is consider failure. (2) Prejudice against working mothers in the ministries. My wife was working in a Secondary school which was at depot road before relocation under MOE as a General Education Officer until this year when she was forced to resign from her much loved job. How come you may ask? Under the leadership of her principal then(she(the principal) has since been transferred to another school this year), there will be times when my wife, while she is on child sick leave as our children are down with sicknesses, would be scolded for taking child sick leave. And when she does take the leave, the principal would get the HOD to call her almost every other minutes and ask if my wife has any worksheets for her students. I also heard from friends whom are in the school that the principal would openly declared during the weekly meeting that if the teachers wants to be mothers or have more children, they should consider staying at home for the school DOES NOT want mothers to be teachers! There are just so many more of such encounters that I personally know off. I have also written to you previously on your wall before. But there are also excellent stories that I know off which makes me still hold a tinker of hope in MOE. Sir, I sincerely urged that while your team and you may have good and excellent policies, they should never be left to the sole discretion of the ground leaders. NOT MANY OF THEM are in sync with what is intended. (3) Flat size: Given my family size, the current flat would become way too small as the children are growing up. But the flats being build these days are way too expensive and small. Is there anything that your team and your government can help families like us? Sir, I love my Singapore and I am proud to be a Singaporean. I have also served with the SAF for 12 years before leaving in 2007 to start my own outfit doing youth rehab work and I have every intent to grow and build my family here in this little island I call home. Infact, I have been telling my children that daddy would strongly encourage them to sign on with the ARMY or Police force when they are off age. All I ask from you is for a chance, a chance to grow and nurture my family so that we would not be out place and out paced. Please do not ignore us OR leave us behind. Thank you.
    9 hours ago · Edited ·  · 14

  • Jessica Aw it's true that pre-schooler should enjoy their school activities more.. don't over-teach them, but when our children went to Primary school, their suffered because they couldn't catch up with the teachers teaching, it was like teachers would expect them to know their work readily from Tution centers beforehand and I am stay at home mum with 3 kids, age 9, 8 and 5, it's too expensive to send all of them for tutions so that they'll be able to cope with their school works... the only thing i can help my kids is to buy a assessments for them to do, but still, couldn't compete with those who went for tutions..when they scored 65-70, it was below average, when they scored 80, it was just average in the class and those with good results, were most in tution centers.. :(
    12 hours ago ·  · 12

  • Koo You Liang-Shaun Hi PM Lee, I'm a Special Education Teacher. I would like to enquire if there are any new initiatives or updates drawn up by the government with regards to Special Education sector? There are many wonderful initiatives and adjustments made to mainstream education over the years. As a Singaporean, I'm proud to see that. Hope u can do the same or more to Special Education. I remembered you have mentioned about an inclusive society in 2004. Hope to see u address more concern and issues about our special needs in Singapore so that they can be inclusive in our society too :) Many of our special needs students have tremendous potential to contribute to our society. Besides, our continuous belief and support in them, we also need the government to play an active role in helping them to maximize their potential beyond disabilities. As a SPED teacher, it is my ambition that every child here with special educational needs will reach their fullest potential in life, be able to hold a job to support themselves and their families :)
    10 hours ago ·  · 12

    • Raymond Lim Dear PM Sir, would it be possible to request the local university to offer part time PhD for business courses. Working personnel are equally as motivated to make both career and study work!
      12 hours ago ·  · 11

  • Punitha Charles When Mr lee said "please let your child have a childhood....', my 9 year old daughter looked at me. She said, "Did you hear that? I so like this Prime Minister!". You have a new fan Mr Lee:)
    12 hours ago via Mobile ·  · 15

  • Thisis Ryan Sim Thanks for making Singapore a lovely place to stay in, ignore those Ppl that always complain, they have no idea how blessed they are living in Singapore.
    13 hours ago via Mobile ·  · 13