Saturday, November 30, 2013

Online Govt Critics: Shrinking Margin of Safety

My reading on this subject of the government purported attempts to curb 'free speech' on the Internet has been sporadic but in the gist socio-political commentators online are afraid that they are being forced to play in a small play pen.

My knee jerk reaction is these commentators saw their margin of safety to comment or criticize the government shrinking. I think only those who have seditious intention need to worry. Of course it also begs the question what is seditious?

If I am not wrong, the Alex Au's case of being hauled to court over his remarks about the judiciary only gathered 170 signed supporters. Even ten times the number of supporters would not be enough for the government to pause and reconsider. You need a public push back at least equal to the Population White Paper to do that.

To me time is the greatest revealer of people's intentions. Many smart people are more than able to disguise their true motives but all lies eventually show up in inconsistencies. What the government and readers need to do is simply to wait but always to have enough fire extinguishers on stand by. Everyone who is out to influence the public does well to remember Lincoln admonition: You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.

Really, we just need to make it safe to wait. The public cannot afford to care if critics have their margin of safety. People should stand by their words or just shut up; safety in consonance with accountability.

In intelligence work, officers often take a long time to be go from suspect to confirmed if someone is a terrorist. But the public is quick to judge a person and often wrongly. We can't help going with first impressions especially when it has no direct and immediate impact on us. I think the public's margin of safety is more important than those of the socio-political critics. It is not just the government interests that is in question here but all of us. And if the government has erred, time will make that clear too and we must and will push back.

Faux Black Friday Sales

I often remind the folks at home that often the bargain they got is an illusion. This article is taken from the WSJ regarding Black Friday sales. It is the same all over the developed world. Of course you are far worse off if you fail to buy when it is on sales. You are truly ripped off.

Any wonder why some of the richest guys are in retail?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving becoming popular here

My wish is coming true. Looks like more and more locals are also starting to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Another friend also put up pictures of Thanksgiving dinner of local fare.

Update: Nov 30

Just discovered this in the ST.

Not sure if many are celebrating as a truly Thanksgiving feast but it sure help to be called Thanksgiving if you missed the whole idea.

Thailand march to civil war?

I am just pessimistic that the social and political divide in Thai society can be resolved peacefully. What an audacious act to storm the Army HQ. Months from now I wonder if this was the moment Thailand started on the path to civil war, and if not now then I suppose it is another date for the choosing.

Previously my friends never joined the protests but this time the whole family is proudly doing so and keeping up with posting after posting on Facebook. The Thai scholar friends my girls have at school are also anti-Thaksin. The Thais that are supporting him which I had met were those running Thai food outlets when we were living in Dubai.

Not the same but morally equivalent doesn't this resemble the American south insistence on keeping a slave class or underclass? Unless you have perfected the system as the Indians had with the Caste system this thing is bound to blow up in a bloody manner again and again.

Update: Nov 30, 9:35pm

Smart to leave or they would be forcing the military to act against them. At least this is clear. No party must be seen to force the army to act. That party will lose.

Real and Fake MOM website

These aren't two sessions of the same MOM website. They look identical but I didn't try to click through. The URL are similar except for the '.' and they are


The pretender is up to no good. This is a bait which they can use to steal your login etc., MOM has made a police report. Cyber crime and hacking in Singapore is finally maturing. The ignorant and lazy are going to get killed, especially those who stupidly use the same password for every website.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Nike Shield for her

Bought a pair of Nike Shield running shoes for the girl last night ($164). Now she can retire her horribly off white Nike which had doubled up for school use.

Realistic about Leaders

Text of article at CNet.

It is the same everywhere: from the leaders of gangsters to the most respected religions. You never find enough good guys to fill your positions of leadership. Often I read the idealistic posts including some of mine what leaders ought to be. They are so perfect it is not going to happen. Often I don't care to be misunderstood. Accurate writing takes a great deal of effort and however I try, I am not gifted enough to make it easy to understand for my children. So I simplify and in conversations with the to and fro going on I explain myself to them.

When Shanmugan took over as Law Minister he wondered why Land comes under his ministry instead of MND. Eddie Barker had set it up that way. At the end of the day, it is safer and wiser that we shouldn't trust ourselves too much. We should invite others to watch over us to keep us honest.

Real life is leaders will fail us more often than not. We have had a most unusual and remarkable run. We should not expect this to last and we must be resilient when leaders fail us. The scandals we have had in the last couple of years is what is normal and also suggesting that we have become complacent. We have been lucky over many things but this matter has nothing to do with luck and everything to do vigilance and diligence capped with courage.

Gladwell's David & Goliath just got cheaper again

I thought I got this for a good price at $7.64 earlier this month. It is now only $3.79. I dislike paying more for books as much as I hate paying ERP and parking charges.

Is there a way to tell which item Amazon will bait us with even lower prices? This book is now the number one seller.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

'A' Levels over

At 3:15 pm today, pencils down and the A levels is over for the girl. What a relief. No exams in her school career had been as trying as this one.

She told me studying for this exam was like a dog that kept barking at her to work and work without ceasing. Today that dog stopped barking and vanished!

I guess she will pass and eventually make it to university. We will have to wait till March to know the details. Only one A for PW is in the pocket.

Pope Francis on trickle down economics

This is taken from the Pope Evangelii Gaudium or The Joy of the Gospel.

Good he is saying this out loud. I never believed in trickle down economics. Unfortunately we belonged to the minority and an incredible number of people who would be hard done by didn't understand or know what was coming.

Pope Francis is going to make enemies of the powerful like his master before him had.

Meanwhile the self deceived Lloyd Blankfein is proudly doing God's work at Goldman Sachs.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Spotting Rudolph Cars

Spotted my first Rudolph car four days ago. It was a Jag.

Come across another one today in a car park. I think this one looks more suitable.

Monday, November 25, 2013

QE: Not easy to taper

Like many I was too naive and conveniently forget that it is easy to print money but devilishly hard to take it back. Looking back, it was never realistic and in fact foolhardy for the Fed to have tapered in October.

There was never time to worry about how to soak up the liquidity used to put out the fires in the scary days of the crisis. Realistically this is a problem that is best given as much time to solve as possible. If you can't make it better don't make it worse. On the other hand nobody seems to know if we would have enough time. We simply choose ignore our parlous state. We don't want to see that we might have a lost decade or worse but really that is not enough reasons to be so pessimistic.

What I am very sure of is this: We need to break some rules.

95 year old Ah Por killed herself

I got this from TOC. Finally I decided to write about it as I could not keep it out of my mind.

She is not alone in feeling about wanting to die when she was no longer 'useful'. She is alone in that she succeeded. I have heard from other old folks how they wished their lives could end because they are 'useless' and/or do not want to burden the family.

Look at this clip, the family could obviously afford her medical expenses.

Her suicide is likely her final act of love to the family. But is this love? Imagine had the family been among the wealthiest here, I don't think she would have taken that tragic course. Her medical expenses would be nothing compared to their wealth. Money isn't everything but everything is money.

So is the solution for preventing such deaths come from the government? Nobody is richer than the government but the state do not take care of one sick and elderly only. Given that we are a democracy, society must decide. We are never rich enough. We could save more people but the way we live, we are basically a selfish people despite showing much evidence of generosity. Mostly we do not give without receiving. Many friendships are basically transactional based on cycles of going into debt and repaying debt. Not just over money but everything. And when you are old and sick and could no longer give, the culture of avoiding debt means you also do not receive. Most do not have the guts to kill themselves like Ah Por but they share her desire for death. I do not know the true reasons why Ah Por killed herself but her demise had caused me to remember how I thought and felt in my dealings with the elderly sick.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Tokyo's Mother of Vagabonds

I mentioned before that there are many followers of the Way who labor beneath the radar. Haruko Morimoto (found 20 year old article on her too) isn't actually one of them but she is low profile enough for most of us including the Japanese not to notice her. Our work is mostly done quietly. Depending on the context we don't even tell people we remember them in prayer because the people we are asked to help are often waiting for something 'better than prayer'. A few loaves and fishes to feed thousands still work better than prayers and that is what they want. The work is very quiet and sometimes you do feel quite useless and powerless because you don't seem to do anything. You just basically WAIT. This is the hardest thing to do in a world that believes in massive action. Christians by and large do not understand. Ironically the ones who do are the top investors because they also spend a lot of time waiting.

Nicole Seah at Ground Zero

See more or rather read further.

What cannot kill you will only make your stronger. I think she will come out of this much stronger. Perhaps she is already beginning to or she wouldn't have written that post. It was a U shape story with a visible right ascend.

Actually she kinda of remind me of Jennifer Lawrence and was losing it. Going back to herself, being authentic I think is best. Long ago in school and no longer fashionable now, I learned not in moral education but English for exams: honesty is the best policy. They used to test you on idioms and we had to memorize a long list of them.

The most important lesson is not to be seduced by forbidden fruit. Do that and she will be much more than alright. I think she will be fine. Perhaps she could also have a chat with Jack Sim of the WTO. I think she can learn lots from him on how to carry on.

New Johor weekend next year

From January next year Johor weekends will be Friday and Saturday instead of Saturday and Sunday.

We should not be surprised that this is happening. People are getting more religious. Everywhere and it is only a matter of degrees we see a backlash against commercial values, a living proof that man does not live by bread alone.

There will be winners and losers from this change but overall in business terms Johor has more to lose than Singapore. We would be less keen to invest there. Asset prices will be discounted down. On the other hand many Muslims would be happier and at the end of the day people want their lives to be happy and meaningful.

An absolutely silly spat between some Johoreans and Singaporeans. It is here only because it had attracted 56 likes. Johor is free to do whatever they see fit about when they have their weekend. Likewise we are free to visit or stay away. Smart people will adjust to the change and a lot of good can be made from this.

It is not the strongest but the most adaptable which survive.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Celebrating PSLE

In the past it was the top scorers, the victors of a meritocratic race without regard to the outcome of the ovarian lottery that filled our papers the day after the PSLE results are released. Like many I welcome the change in emphasis.

We have not gone to the point of acknowledging good luck in our achievers. When we do, the high achievers will not have a reason to be arrogant or possess a sense of entitlement. It is appropriate and wise at this juncture to press the point continuously that winners are nurtured by their villages or communities. Nobody makes it purely on their own merit. Increasingly so many just happened to pop out from the right birth canal.

Meanwhile with a year's experience behind them, our newspapers haven't yet figure out how best to report this event well to readers.

Update: 7:50pm

Another good PSLE story from Today. What about ST?

Shane and Tom a gay tragedy

Unless it was Hitler, no tragic death is to be celebrated.

I just came across the documentary 'Bridegroom'. This is the story of two gay men waiting for the day the law would allow them to marry. Some would wish and say the day will never come but to be realistic I am not so sure. One view is that it didn't come soon enough for them, and that would be the view of sympathetic people.

I found and checked how may had viewed the YouTube clip: more than four million with far more likes than dislikes.

Framed as civil rights the gays will eventually get what they want. We have gone too far down the road and the Christians have no blinking idea what they are dealing with. By and large I am witnessing the pot calling the kettle black. Just as well over the centuries they have also loosen their stricture against divorce. Why not ending up the same with this issue? For me Pope Francis represents the most gracious and realistic response to homosexuality.

The human condition repeatedly show us that except by grace we have no chance to redeem ourselves. In fact Christians today lower the standards of morality so that enough of them can achieve them, ignoring that by doing so they are locking out many more deserving people. They have become the Pharisees of Jesus days. Those Pharisees claimed they weren't like the religious leaders who persecuted and killed the prophets. Similarly today many Christians also claimed there are not remotely like the Pharisees of the past. Exactly why Mother Teresa had to make a big deal that we do not judge others. If your religion is not capable of inclusiveness you do not belong to Jesus Christ.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

PSLE Results tomorrow

Academically we are one of the peaks in the world and this allows us the flexibility to invest beyond books. We are finally taking advantage of it seriously under this minister.

Even if it is very slow to win many parents over to a more holistic education, it is important that they are prepared to endure with it long enough for superior results to show.

Now only the most kiasu parents would research the numbers which were once easily available. Tomorrow result slips will not print the lowest and highest scores.

I have gamed the system by sending my children to secondary schools where a significant numbers of them regularly score seven distinctions or more. In this way they do not need to be among the top few students to do well in major national exams, which is the sort of pressure they would feel if they had attended a neighborhood school. In their schools being among the above average is good enough. This has freed up so much more time for them to pursue other interests.

What I have done was just making the best of what was available and I think eventually parents will not need to strike the sort of balance I had. Many people are fuzzy about where all these changes is taking us as they are not easy to visualize but I am sure they are for the better.

So if you are no good with the academics, you must try very hard to do better. And if you are already more than competent, often it makes more sense to pursue other interests instead of trying to top many or any subject for the sake of a silly and transient trophy. Therefore I look forward to the day when MOE scraps T-scores for grades or bands like we have for the O and A levels. Make it so soon.

Update: 9:45pm

I happened to be reading "One good trade" which my brother pointed me to a few months back. Tonight I come across this from the book. Everything about this is familiar to me. Note the stuff you learn in school if you do not combine it with lots of experience and skills which is not taught and especially tested in school you would be very limited. Since many of the additional skills must be built upon knowing school work well the pupil must try to be good at them. However there comes a point when you can over work yourself for the best grades which is counterproductive. You must not spend all your time studying.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Australia's Stupidest PM

When the gaffe prone Tony Abbott became Australia's PM I feared for them that there will be many more moments of stupidity, and true enough I didn't have to wait very long. In fact, his lack of diplomatic good sense had surprised me on the downside and completely threw me off. Pity he had also picked Bishop as foreign minister. Both of them should just pay attention to keeping fit which they excelled. Not sure what else they are good at but to be fair I don't know both well except of their extraordinary ability to dig holes in the ground for themselves. Simple question. Forget about Indonesia, but how does all these serve Australia's interests?

I don't think we have seen the last of his stupid acts, in fact I wonder how long he would last as PM. The chap doesn't have the brains, skills and definitely judgement to be effective. His frequent gaffes suggest that he might not even be able to competently think. How on earth did he become party leader? If the Aussies can throw up someone like him to be PM what is the risk of the same happening to Singapore. In the main that is what I am interested in.

Update: Nov 21 1:30pm

The stupidity of Tony Abbott and his inner circle is running ahead of my expectation. Sad day for Australia to have such buffoons as leaders. Fromer PM Malcolm Fraser is pressing for this idiot to be sacked immediately. Right!

Indonesia and Australia importance to each other is like the one between us and Malaysia. If the Aussies cannot conduct themselves with common sense with their most important neighbor how is any other country going to be able to trust much less do business with them. I am just shocked at the low standards the Aussie government has descended to. SBY must be wondering how on earth such a bad dream is happening. And Tony Abbott will keep doing stupid things until he is kicked out.

Smuggling in the Pop. White Paper

A valid way to look at this set of exciting plans is as a component of the now no-name population white paper. See how carefully the government has planned and implemented its communication. You always know from the way it is done, tightly controlled and top down.

I don't think people have a problem with a much enlarged population as long as it is properly managed. Had there been no issue with housing, hospital beds and crowded public transport, the PWP would never have attracted so much vitriol and opposition.

Remembering Old Holland Village

This was the Holland Village that we liked best and frequented every week. The Holland Village today is lost to others and the only time we go there is our appointment with the hair dresser.

I remember Times and the Word shop. Bought many books from them. Milano Pizza was a favorite especially apple strudel topped with a big scoop of chocolate ice cream.

When ST made this pic available I just had to snitch it.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Angelina Jolie: I was just lucky

Until now, the most honest persons about luck I have heard were Warren Buffett and Michael Bloomberg. And because of that recognition they use their money very differently from may wealthy people. This morning I get the opportunity to recognize another: Angelina Jolie. Far too many successful people think they made it through merit but Jolie recounted meeting another woman more gifted than her. She didn't get the chance to bloom. She lives in a refugee camp and is probably still there.

If you think you made it solely on merit, you will become arrogant and carried with you an ugly sense of entitlement. We have lots of them, often over stated in our town these days. I fear that unless they repent even if they thought they lived well they will die badly.

Here is Jolie speech accepting her honorary Academy Award

Online Harassment: Not caring to look good

Article from Today.

I have always felt that much of the good behavior we see in public are not from the heart but only to look good. So cocooned away from each other in bodies of steel we are terribly rude to each on the roads. But if we bump into each other accidentally in a crowd we are quick to say sorry. However nothing show our true and ugly side than our online personalities.

Now to be practical, we are going to strengthen the laws against harassment, especially online.

I am glad that my children do not have a wide circle of superficial friends. I have noticed that many such friends are worse than enemies. The painful dawn comes when they betray you online. To the folks at MOE, this is evidence that years of moral education has gotten us nowhere but I think Heng Swee Keat is taking this more seriously than ministers before and I hope he succeeds.

Developed Economies in Secular Stagnation?

Larry Summers made waves with his short speech suggesting we may be stuck in secular stagnation.

As he was speaking to members of the priesthood of economists, perhaps FT's Gavyn Davies is useful for making it more digestible.

You need only one radar to look for incoming missiles but with the economy you would need several and still be unsure what is coming.

One glaring omission which was already in the works since I started working: the erosion of the middle class. They were the great consumers but as they lose their jobs, the gradual disappearance of demand must surely show up. For too long debt had substituted for income.

I just wrote to my friend the following.

To me what they fail to mention and this is because it will open a can of worms is the destruction of demand arising from the widening income gap. The economy even if left on its own will always return as long as people do not give up. However the path it takes will leave many casualties behind and that is why we need economic leadership. And tapering is part of that leadership, so is the decision to delay doing that. Whatever it is, we will run out of time because QE cannot go on forever. Note the remarks by Mervyn King before he retired from the BoE.

And what did King say:

Sir Mervyn King pointed this out shortly before he retired from the BoE, but few people paid much attention. Sooner or later, central bankers are bound to become concerned about asset bubbles (rightly), or the risk of losses on their bond holdings, and give up this path. The consequences for asset prices could be very painful when this happens, not because the asset purchases themselves are crucial, but because the markets might decide that there is no other means of keeping growth going.

The day of reckoning is not tomorrow but it will come. The same three legs and only one is needed to create a conundrum: market direction, timing and money management. Timing is that leg. Direction is easy and money management is for decisive risk management.

The blip on the radar screen? Whither growth and confidence. Whatever there will be no tapering if it takes us back to where we came from. We don't even need to go all the way back, just heading the wrong way is enough to give central bankers cold feet.

Update: 10:30am

It was noticeable because like cosmetics, debt had plastered over the true situation. Now that you can't pile on debt like before, the truer picture emerge. Demand is eroding an in a consumption based economy this is a slow cancer. Ageing demographics is also making recovery difficult....but I am still optimistic about the USA when you look at the many other silver linings.

YouTube 500 error

I was about to embed the code for of the YouTube video of Larry Summers suggesting that we might be stuck in secular stagnation when I got this error message. This is the first time.

Now waiting for the highly trained monkeys to work their magic. How long will it take? Will it be quicker than the elevator guys? Whatever I am quite sure it isn't a fire like in Singtel Bukit Panjang installation.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Filippinos useless prayers

I wished Filipinos were less fatalistic. What's the use of such prayers? The Chinese didn't pray when a worse tragedy in the form of the Sichuan earthquake struck them. And the main difference I can see between China and the Philippines is the quality of their government.

If they must pray, they ought to ask God for better government and then they need to show their leaders that laziness and incompetence are not tolerated.

Martin Luther King prayed all the time but there was massive action too. That's what is missing in the Philippines. The way they are going about it, they will become the battle ground for big powers in the days to come and they only have themselves to blame. They are setting the high benchmarks for crying for help.

Update: 3:45pm

I had been following this story in the NYT before it appeared in our papers yesterday. I couldn't bring myself to blog about it then. This was a needless death. Totally unnecessary and I am sure there are too many similar but untold examples. Do you solve such problems with the sort of prayers I am reading? Of course not. With such fatalistic and self defeating attitude their problems will never go away.

Update: 9:05pm

I read about this a few days ago but here is CNN Anderson Cooper in his own words. Feckless Filipino government.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Last Spelling Words

Perhaps this is the last time I gave her spelling. It is a bane she had endured all her school life.

It is good that the most demanding week of the A levels is over. The worst was Chemistry with its endless pages of technical words. Glad that is over.

TKGS girl murdered: low probability, high impact

This was long before I read Nassim Taleb's Black Swan. I decided long ago that we will not have a lived in domestic helper - a mouthful for "maid" which is getting less politically correct. The more accepted noun is FDW or foreign domestic worker.

People are very poor at dealing with such low probability high impact events, and they will continue to be so. Now this goes beyond high impact to catastrophe isn't it?

The emotional angle to this tragedy, I can't find the words for them. This was so close to our family.

We never learn. I don't write about it here but I have been thinking about the havoc Typhoon Haiyan had brought to Tacloban for days. Every tragedy there was the result of under estimating the power of that typhoon. Back home but longer term, it is the Hijab issue. They always appear superficially harmless. Nothing about religion is ever harmless. They are all potentially radioactive. One young twenty year old mother just got herself in a pickle because she ranted about the noise coming from a Malay wedding downstairs her block on Facebook. It was Amy Cheong reprise. She never knew what shit she had stirred up until it is stirred yeah?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Hacking: Not Anonymous but Stupid

What a shame, all the hackers were so amateurish. Actually many of them are like that. The really good ones are invisible and the damage is is suddenly catastrophic, but like those viruses of the living variety good at ensuring survival they don't kill you until they can successfully move on. They want to stay in business.

These idiots are going to land hard because the PM wish will be fully pursued by the AG.

Sometimes I think Singapore has created a lucky environment for many so-so business people to be successful. Of course they would typically mistook their luck for skill until they crash into reality.

Update: Nov 20, 8:50pm

Just as I thought, this guy and others will be made examples of as warning to others.

All that's wrong about the Philippines

All the reports from every source about the aftermath of the typhoon are horrible. They make you feel that they could have done better but like numerous times before had failed to. Now here is a picture that captures all that is wrong about them.

Their fecklessness is a real time lesson for the rest of us. Clearly the American officer is more in touch with the troops and the people than the Filipino general. Leaders must always ask themselves if they are out of touch with the ground. Always!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Hijab: Indranee Rajah on WP's position

I thought it would be wiser to for the PAP to ignore the statements the opposition parties had put out on the hijab issue, especially the WP. They should just learn to tell their story better and more persuasively. There is a time to engage the other political parties but that is not now. WP and NSP were just trying to get Malay Muslim support.

The dumbest thing the PAP keep doing is to challenge WP as an equal and able to form the government. They should mostly just ignore them, learn why people are unhappy and get on with doing a better job.

Here are some of the most 'liked' reponses to Indranee's Facebook post.

  • Yazid Idah Aiyah...wateva lah... u all will not debate equally and fairly on this issue... pap will stand by its ground of saying by not wearing hijab promotes racial harmony... what kind of a stupid reason is dat? U take us as fools is it? We are not buying it...
    Like · Reply · 37 · 12 hours ago via mobile
  • Ina Alib For me tis is a racist issue. How can the person that bring up tis matter can be an MP? Im so surprised. We take US as an example, terrorist has attacked them for more then once. But i did not heard any news that their governtment is stoping their muslim religion from wearing a hijab. So whats the matter with hijab?
    Like · Reply · 23 · 12 hours ago via mobile
  • Azhar Abdul Aziz The tudung can impact Racial integration and harmony ? We have never have issues with the Sikh community wearing the turban since their presence in Singapore and now the tudung can cause racial harmony ? I thought these men and women in white are smart and intelligent? Maybe they are, but their hands are tied .. they are boot lickers
    Like · Reply · 18 · 12 hours ago via mobile

All are Malay and I assume Muslim. If you are non Muslim and Malay you probably don't care and leave it to the government to settle this. If you are also a motorist you might be even more interested in the opening of the MCE than this i.e., until cracks appear and troubles start.

My Sikh classmate from NUS was discriminated against when we graduated and he tried to look for a job. To be practical he ended up joining the civil service. BBC did a good program on why the Sikhs wear turbans. Unlike the hijab, it's is not optional and uncontroversial.

Muslims pushing for the hijab are idealistic. They will find that the social realities and engagement will not be as rosy as they imagine if the government give in. Nevertheless I hope over time we mature, accept and give more space to the hijab. Now is not the right time. The result to our society would be a net negative, maybe worse. Really, what's the hurry? Isn't God patient in whatever religion you got to know him.

I am dismayed with the opposition parties opportunism because the electorate is disengaged and poorly informed. However they would look bad when we start to understand this better.

Jack Sim on ego

Jack Sim is prepared to be more honest than most people. What he said here is not only true in social organizations but religious ones too, which is more practiced and sophisticated.

Character education in our schools and families are often action based. Few people know how to work with others especially children at the heart level. Good behavior achieved this way is unsustainable. In fact, it is a hotbed for hypocrisy, a cancer in our society that would eventually destroy us.

Too much of our morality is about looking good and feeding our pride which becomes patently obvious when we become famous, rich or powerful. From my children I have learned that their schools do not know what humility is. What they know is act humble.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Looking forward to the MCE

Can't remember when I was excited about new roads but I am looking forward to the MCE or Marina Coastal Expressway. It would be very good for our daily commute. This are the only moments I think it is worth coughing up money for the COE.

Making a date with the MCE on December 29 when it opens. I am going to visit the GBB on that day.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Excellent article on the hijab

Excellent article even with a cursory reading. Hope to come back later and read it carefully. It is a very long article.

I like her conclusions:

1. The best garment is the garment of righteousness
2. Whenever you dress, be sure to cover your bosoms
3. Lengthen your garment

Can't agree more!

Multiple Lines of Assistance

Looks good, so many lines of assistance. By the way, I can't find a line for public transport. I am interested because Lui Tuck Yew rued that only half of the transport vouchers were given away. I think it is across lines.

What most of us endeavor to do is not to use any of them. This is the best way to make sure we have enough for those who really needs them. However all of us get the long red line which is the most costly. It wouldn't make sense unless all the layers above also get to enjoy everything that is offered at the base. This is where we must focus our worries on. It is the place that trapped the poor in place no matter how you try to help them.

At the end of the day a poverty marker using income is only useful if the government would use it. This government is unwilling and I think the issue at its core is getting people out of the vicious cycle of poverty and preventing the at risk from falling into it. What matters is results. Everything else are means.

Looks like the government is doubling up on poverty alleviation. At this point it probably makes more sense to work with than quarrel with them. Our focus ought to be on results.

Waiting for a cab and low TFR

I might be wrong but if I consider many such similar situations out there, I must be right often enough.

My guess is the husband had taken the car. He is likely to be a high powered executive. The car is parked in some basement car park now in town. Meanwhile the wifey is waiting out in the rain with a brolly and her kid for a cab.

Had most of them been like my brother who takes the bus to work and leave the car for the family etc, more women would be happier keeping home. But people are selfish and this is more visible for those with power. The man of the of the house usually has more power and his self love shows through more clearly. Sure most men love their families but they love themselves even more. Now as we multiply this across millions of people, guess what? Women prefer to have the same power as men. Get a good education and then a good job. Earn their own keep and own their own rides. Along the way if having children amounted to returning to their mothers' lives, thanks but no thanks. This is clearest in Japanese society.

Easy for LKY to blame the women in Japan, Korea and Singapore for not wanting kids but that is only a small part of the whole picture. Truth is we are all responsible.

Many rich societies will learn the hard way and there are always some lessons that must be learned this way; that having too few kids will lead to huge regret. In the same vein the Americans will get tired of divorce and try harder at keeping their marriages. Some day after bitterly regretting our choice, a new generation will have many kids. Likewise the greatest generation will reappear under the right conditions. History does not repeat itself but it sure rhymes because we always innovate ourselves out of cul de sacs.

Without cheaper energy and better technology we cannot have another chance to have more babies in the distant future.

Cleaning BBQ pits

Saw this chap cleaning the barbecue pits in Area G yesterday. When I passed here again sometime later, he had only moved to the next pit. Pretty tough task.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

First 3D printed metal gun

Remember the first flight by the Wright brothers? They are doing much better with the first 3D printed metal gun. Imagine what might come a a few years from now.

The printer which made this gun is too expensive for the home at the moment but I don't believe it will stay this way forever.

I wonder what all these mean for public security. What about 3D printed bombs? This is strengthening the hands of terrorists and I was trying not to be imaginative.

Friday, November 8, 2013

PMO site hacked.

A day after the PM declared that the government would spare not effort to hunt down the hackers, they had struck back. They threw some stones against our wall and left enough evidence that they were here. They would loved to score a bigger hit but that is not to be.

Won't be surprised if they are identified and perhaps caught soon.

95 year old Billy Graham: Form vs Substance

Wake up this morning, the trusty alarm clock has stopped working; first day of the A levels for my daughter, turned on the computer and found this.

The guy is already 95 years old and still had to put out this message. A nice cap of form vs substance when I caught the line between wearing the cross and living it.

This is an old message that need to be told again and again. They still need a 95 year old to tell it eh? Those that come after struggle to cut it like he had. He could have been the ultimate prosperity gospel preacher but no, he chose to stay true.

Update: 9:25am

I should have anticipated this. I just got this as an email from among those Christian friends I have across the Pacific. The irony of it all is that while plugging for this message there is also from them so much religiosity, gay hating, exclusiveness....a loveless Christianity. Very frustrating.

Update: Nov 12

Six days later, not even half a million views. Indeed the age of Billy Graham has passed. To me he preached the true and right Gospel but I can't say the same for many who received it which land us with the church scene today. Now forget about the talk, people need to walk.