Thursday, October 30, 2014

Should she do Comp Science?

You don't need any math to tell you that the app development space is dominated by the boys. A graph like this with a time line tell the story more clearly.
The girl is a natural with computers. It is like they are made for each other, like she knows how the machine thinks. Unfortunately she isn't the assertive sort and often give up rather than defend her interests. I was also a natural at these stuff too but my enthusiasm has weakened considerably over time, and I know of many others like me.
In just a few short years she would have to decide which path to take.  Right now she is focused on getting her A1s. We are quite certain the two maths are in the pocket already. Maths is easy to tell.

Blogged with Blogger app at Marine Parade Library.

Update: Nov 3, 10:15am

Look, all batang! And the girl is looking forward to catching this show after her exams. 

MRT and the GCE O and A levels

An old friend caught this at the mrt station and posted it on social media.

My girl is having her O levels and I am putting aside work to take her to and back for every paper.

It's a real shame we do not have much confidence in our train system. I think many people are still angry but the numbers must have shrunk.

Not everyone is able to drive their children to these exams. These are such high stakes exams that you have to organize your life around them.

The girl will read this post and I hope she appreciate how fortunate she is.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Norton AntiVirus Renewal

I have been renewing my Norton Antivirus buying off a new box off the shelf every year for a while now. I was suspicious of the box price when I checked recently at Challenger: $59. I remember paying less than $50

For years, Norton had the self defeating practice of making you pay more to renew online but it changed when I checked recently.

Next year this time I will look up this blog to compare prices.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Very slow Sing Post

The parcel for me arrived in Singapore last Friday and a week later I haven't seen it yet. According to the system, some postal worker is carrying it about now and I can expect it today.

See how quickly it was packaged and dispatched out of Beijing. It only took them a couple of days.

Very unimpressed with Sing Post performance. No wonder they also do not deliver our magazines timely.

Incubating ISIS professionals

I understand William Pesek the Bloomberg columnist poked fun at the brouhaha created by this touching dogs event. To many including those in Malaysia, the whole issue must have appeared as absurd.

Look at the last few paragraphs of the story. You can feel the hostility and the desire to violently hurt the organizers and its participants. I wonder how many more steps are needed to bring them to become fully ISIS worthy. To me they are being incubated for apocalyptic Islam. ISIS offer them a caliphate in the making. Who the hell do they think they are that can force the Almighty's hand? I wonder how many of these extremist Muslims are aware of the direction that they are headed. To me, the moment you start nursing anger and retribution against others, you are no longer Islam worthy. You have gone over to the dark side.

Almost every day I wanted to write something about the ISIS but I restrain myself. The above is from ST October 20.

Malaysian society is fertile ground for ISIS to incubate and mine for misguided Muslims professionals to further their cause. No doubt some of these potential recruits have been under cover threatening violence toward Syed Azmi and the other organizers.

Today we are witnessing the rise of a hateful version of Islam. They may not be the majority but they have far greater drive and energy. They are growing market share faster than the other Islamic schools. Since many peaceful Muslims regrettably also possess little knowledge (a problem with Christianity too) of their religion, instead of battling ISIS deviant theology, they are potential prey. The difficult and onerous task is left to a small group of Muslim theologians. They are poorly organized and therefore out gunned. Some these theologians are even sitting on the fence and have not make up their minds! They could even tip over to ISIS side.

I am still waiting and may be in vain for the big theological contest against Salafism in general and specifically Wahhabism as presented in ISIS and Al Qaeda. Until the battle of ideas began we will not make progress fighting this evil idea virus. In the west, a growing number of people aren't so patient. They have made up their minds that Islam is an evil religion and not a religion of peace. That is most regrettable. That is the path of violence, tears and death. Do they know what they are wishing for?

Update: Oct 25, 4:45pm

Imperfect, but we in Singapore is probably doing this better than anywhere else. In London they are trying and failing big time.

Under Bush, the US believed too much in their big guns. Obama is much more sophisticated and nuanced but America's politicians, media and people are too shallow. They fail to understand that Obama refusal to give in to them will spare America a lot grief tomorrow. If you can't make things better, don't make it worse. On their own they are already very good and doing themselves in. Assad is the most astute player but also most evil and self centered.

A bicycle friendly nation?

Cyclists aren't showing enough enthusiasm for Khaw's plan to make us a bicycle friendly city. On the other hand the opposition is quite vocal.

Top of my head, I thought the idea was impractical because our weather is just too hot and humid.

But I think we should just go ahead and keep pushing until we succeed because on balance the benefits are worth it.

I was thinking may be I could use a light motorized bicycle going out to keep cool and muscle power pedaling home. I can always take a bath when I get back. Good exercise too.  Of course, I worry about losing the bike to theft. Unless more effort is put in to control this, the scheme will fail.

Many cyclists today are only interested in cycling as a sports and Khaw is mulling over this as a mode of transport. I think they don't like to share space with too many slower going cyclists. This could be why they are no so eager. When I go to the PCN, there are now many notices urging cyclists not to speed.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

ABC Brickworks Food Centre

Late dinner at ABC Brickworks Food Centre last night. Many stalls were still open and that's good. We had many choices.

Also bumped into an old friend we had not met for perhaps almost ten years? She still looked the same! Good for her.

I think this place is worth returning to.

Ho Kwon Ping missed the key point

Ho Kwong Ping as the first SR Nathan fellow for the study of Singapore gave his first of four lectures recently. It was a good and interesting lecture.

May be he has to keep his lecture simple but the price to pay will almost certainly be so heavy to the point of useless. How so? He had ignored Singapore's external environment. Goh Chok Tong recently at the S Rajaratnam school explained eloquently how foreign policy is our second wing and you need two wings for Singapore to fly was mostly ignored by the media. They gave most of the publicity to George Yeo at IPS instead but readers missed that Yeo was in his people pleasing mode and had purposely skipped evaluating potential threats to Singapore.

Back to Ho's lecture.

Leaders are produced from the people they govern with incredible insertion of good and frequently bad luck. All over the world like never ever getting a currency at fair value, people regularly get better and mostly worse leaders than they deserve. For all his faults and nobody is perfect, we got far better than we deserved in Lee Kuan Yew and his co founders. Why didn't Ho Kwong Ping make this the subject of his first lecture. It is as if he had talked about selecting the cart and assumed the horses are in place to pull it along.

Our external environment has not only been benign but also largely supportive of our growth and prosperity. Historically it was a fluke. It is wiser to assume that this will not last and we will be tested and frequently severely in the next 50 years. Are we ready?

The next 50 years belongs to the young today and that is the reason why I am writing this blog post. Most of them learn about the historical Venice in their social studies class. It is full of government propaganda and serving the PAP. Nothing wrong with that as long as it is based on historical facts. What was conveniently left out the kids will discover as they grow up. But there is something which they fail to emphasize a lot more: Venice response to its external environment vis a vis our response in foreign policy.

The students are taught how the external environment for Venice changed and eclipsed her strategic role forever leading to her irreversible decline. Singapore have to work against this all the time and the greatest and perhaps only asset we have is foresight and boldness to defend our interests.

The story of  Singapore tomorrow is not who win elections as that is confining our analyses and vision but more broadly whichever approach we adopt, how do we produce the farseeing and bold leaders we need. For many countries such leaders are nice to have; for us it is a matter of life and death.

That is why I often rue that we have the best leaders but are only tops in a class of failures. We need to aim higher and do better. To begin with talking about who will win elections is really missing the point and should be confined to the dinner table with his friends and not a public lecture.

What my kids have to watch for is when foreign leaders stop coming to see our leaders, actually mostly LKY, to explain the region and the world to them. That would be the day the canary dies. Quality first and last, as it won't matter the colours and stripes of the political party in power.

Update: 7:35am

Ho Kwong Ping hit the bell of optimism when he spoke about growing self agency among our young. That is at the individual level. What matter is how they organize and especially contest each other constructively is absolutely critical. Do we descend into chaos or emerge and create new order out of chaos? Someone who could lay down some insight to achieve this would be very helpful. A topic to consider for his next speech.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Back with WSJ again for free

Last night the daughter received an email from the university informing her that WSJ is giving away complimentary subscriptions.

So we are back with the WSJ again.

Update: October 22 8:05am

The daughter saw the post and told me it wasn't complimentary but sponsored. I replied might as well they cut the school fees eh? Why do you want to pay Murdoch when you haven't learn to read his hidden agenda? He is not as transparent as the Economist.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Tracking a Chinese registered article

The last couple of eBay orders came with free shipping but yet the vendor chose to use the more expensive mail registration route. This time I was curious and decided to see what I can learn from the tracking number they gave me. Quite fun!

And the view from Singapore's end looks like this.

Looking forward to replacing my free original Tab S cover with this more versatile one. Samsung paid too much attention to looks and too little to use. This new cover will fix that.

Pope Francis lost to his bishops

In the style of the shallow US media reports, they will surely report that Pope Francis had lost to his bishops. Some might even be so naughty to suggest there was a quiet revolt. Noting could be further from the truth.

We should be worried if the Roman Catholic Church flips like a coin. The process of change is more important that the outcome. If the process is right, the outcome is a good one.

So the Pope will now return to his closet and pray even more, waiting for more bishops to come around.

To me, the bishops and uncountable lower ranked leaders not ready because if they accept the Pope's ideas, they have to give up their longstanding stance. What would they be left with then? Much of their Christianity is their distinctiveness from non Christianity. Standing your ground against such sins help in a perverse way to stay relevant even if it fails the Christian test of inclusiveness and surprising love.

This year Economics Prize and our GLCs

Jean Tirole had done the work decades ago on competition which could have been immensely useful for helping us avoid the manner we privatize and run our state monopolies. Now we have companies like Singtel, SMRT, Mediacorp etc, that basically sucks. All that he feared and warned about had come true for us. There is now no excuse for not knowing how to fix this.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Lunch at Rendezvous Restaurant

Lunch at Rendezvous restaurant today. I took a picture of the wall with many photos of their former places. I could recognize some of them when I ate there quite regularly as a pre-schooler.

I also noticed something unusual about this place again which I first caught sight off when we were here in May this year: an unusual number of quite over weight diners. I wonder if they are regulars and if so, I shouldn't be!

They seemed to have gone loose with the Chicken Korma, the gravy wasn't as thick as I last remembered.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Women can have it all

So the BS that women can have it all is finally over. I am writing this to make only one point: the ability of a free information system to nail most hypocrisy and people just can't say the politically correct any more. This doesn't work all the time but the chances improve over time unless the issue dies before the time is up!

Goh Chok Tong's S. Rajaratam Lecture

This is a better and far more useful and important read than the speech and Q&A George Yeo gave at the LKYSPP.

The children are very busy at the moment and I hope they come back sometime to read the full transcript of Goh Chok Tong lecture to the S Raja school.

As for George Yeo he didn't say anything much that is new but he clearly shows that he had grasped and mastered the current ideas of change many others had spoken and published on.

I agree with Bertha Henson that ST dropped the ball on this one. A great pity to let this learning opportunity passed.

Remembering Dr. Richard Teo

I blog about this two years ago but by then Dr. Teo had already passed away.

His greatest impact on others was when he had that few months left. I am glad it was not too late for him.

Two years later, unless we have something like this published in the papers, he is mostly forgotten. You can simply go to YouTube and check up when someone left a comment for his talk to the aspiring dental surgeons.

Quitting Jumbo Seafood

Our regular birthday dinner venue for wifey: Jumbo.

Unfortunately standards have fallen noticeably. We will be looking for another place to have the chili crab dish for her next time. She only indulge in this twice a year, so gotta to choose carefully.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Vehicle growth rates cut to 0.25 percent

Vehicle growth rate will be cut from 0.5% to 0.25% However the number of COEs would not be materially impacted due to deregistrations. I wonder how many car owners will cough up for new cars or will there be a transfer of asset ownership trend where the young and upwardly mobile graduates achieve their aspiration of owning their first set of wheels and older people past their peak earning or retired give up theirs. Among my neighbors I have seen a few as they aged, they gave up their cars. They are still fit and healthy but I assume they could no longer afford or need one.

Synod on the Family: Francis on the God of surprises

I am not a Catholic. Yesterday a parent from my kids' school shared a link to an article I couldn't find now. Nevertheless I managed to google similar articles and I like this one from the UK Catholic Herald.

I like to use the incident of the huge sheet of forbidden animals that came to Peter but the Pope has far better ways to communicate the same ideas. Another story I like to use is living and expecting Joseph stories. People shouldn't stress themselves silly for nothing trying to plan their lives. We have far less control than we like to think, especially the achievers.

Francis: If laws don’t lead people to Jesus, they are obsolete

Lawrence Khong has been quite successful at turning non believers off Christianity. I cringed whenever I read in the papers, "staunch Christian". If we do not have a reputation of caring deeply, we have failed. We have really failed.

Cousin's Wedding

This is going out to my cousin today. We were at his sister's wedding but can't make it for his.

Always like to send a Precious Moment card if I can get a suitable one :-)

I think after him there are only two more left who aren't marred, but I somehow fear it is not going to happen. I am glad I can't trust my feelings about such matters. Indeed such things belong to the surprising.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Replaced our Stationary Bike

After more than twenty years, we retire the old stationery bike. I vaguely recall I didn't pay more than $300 for the Proteus, big money in those days.

I saw the equivalents at Aibi were way over priced. I googled and found JMALL very competitive prices. To cut a long story short, we became happy customers and bought a new one for $170 only.

More than 20 years ago, China wasn't a powerful manufacturer and exporter that she now is. That is the secret of the cheap cost of goods which retailers duly stick a high price if you do not do your homework.

Gays and Divorcees: A new attitude and behavior from the Vatican

Without showing the Spirit of Christ for the 18 months he became Pope, and even before as the Argentinian cardinal, Pope Francis could not have convened this synod.

If you just read your Bible and allowing for the trap of time and place, especially our history over the last 2,000 years, something like this was going to happen.

Those who live by the good book with no prayer much less the Spirit of Christ will never arrive here.

It was appropriate that NYT would use a photo like this in their story.

You don't see the Pope waving the Bible like some popular Protestant preachers are apt to do.

The Apostle Peter was praying when the vision of a large sheet of all sorts of forbidden animals appeared and he was told to prepare them for his meal. The Church had and will continue to have such moments.

The Bible circumscribe the Spirit of Christ and the Spirit gives the Bible life. You need both, not just one, the Bible. or you become like the religious teachers of Jesus' day when he often had quarrels with them.

Homsexuality and Divorce are both wrong. That hasn't change. What change is our behavior and attitude toward them. There is a time and place for everything.

Update: Oct 15, 6:35am

Progress HuffPost? Hardly!

The HuffPost and other "progressives" read it wrong. The media is not very helpful here either but manages to let in a glimmer of light. I quote from the article.

While the text did not signal any change in the Church's condemnation of homosexual acts or its opposition to gay marriage, it used language that was less judgmental and more compassionate than past Vatican statements under previous popes.

The Roman Catholic Church unlike many Protestants ones is simply large enough as children of a God big enough to deal with this in the most Christ like way they have learned. Especially after the Pope 18 months of showing the way at the personal level.

The Church business is to open its doors to sinners when throwing them out has become a very bad idea. Into its fold it admit uncountable liars, thieves, adulterers, you name it, patiently bearing with and waiting for them to be ready for salvation. It is just about to officially embrace more in like manner. It is the Gospel in action, the Spirit of Christ moving. Something Lawrence Khong, Focus on the Family etc., didn't understand but thought they do.

Excited about this rechargeable battery

I am quite excited about this quite unsexy thing: batteries. Really looking forward to seeing this technology become products. Even keener than the new optical zoom lens for smartphones that was also invented locally.

I am biased but I hope this stuff would be short listed and even eventually win the Physics Nobel Prize.

The oil companies would hate this. They pretended not to be when I was studying this technology with them long ago.

I risk being happy too soon eh? There is a lot more we need to know about this technology before we can be certain it is good enough. What about energy per unit weight? What about safety? Anything that stores a lot of energy is a fire or explosion risk. And most important, how much?

Tharman at the IMF meeting

I read this almost 24 hours ago and I am glad I didn't blog about this until know because I want to pair it with the funk Finland has gotten itself into. Tharman as quoted in this article by Jeremy Au Yong was particularly pertinent to avoiding Finland's situation.

From Tharman,

At a press briefing earlier, Mr Tharman warned that a prolonged period of mediocre growth would leave the global economy more susceptible to shocks.
"If we have low growth persisting over a long period, we will always be vulnerable. Vulnerable to geopolitical risks because they will have that much more impact on growth, jobs, on confidence. We'd be vulnerable to biological pandemics and we would be vulnerable to financial Ebolas which are bound to happen," he said.
Speaking at the briefing after chairing the 30th meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee, he said the body's main concern was how to address long-term problems.
"The substance and spirit of our discussions were very much on focusing on tomorrow. In other words, focusing on the reforms needed to address the challenges of tomorrow," he said.
"And if we don't do that, then we can't solve the problems of today. To solve today's growth problems, we have to lift potential growth. That means reforms that don't pay off immediately but reforms that build confidence over the medium to longer term... If we don't address tomorrow's growth problems today, we would be left with today's problems tomorrow."
While Singapore is growing at potential, he said at the interview the long-term challenge remains centred on the problem of raising productivity.
"We have to find every way of getting productivity growth. We are still in a situation now where we've got new people coming into the workforce every year but, come 2020, it's going to be like some of the mature economies where you grow only by productivity."

World leaders are not known for long term thinking if short term solutions are available. It is a temptation which our government has often discovered to be irresistible. Upping productivity which we are doing now is very painful work. It is simply not given the effort it demand until the leaders are at risk of losing elections.

We were so angry with the government that for a while we put aside the dictum, "grow or perish". We need to return to normal sometimes and respect fast growth again but not at the expense of digging into and weakening our bones. Sometimes we have to sacrifice some muscles which Nokia failed to do. All the time we are trimming fat which is by the natural laws is always growing somewhere.

By 2020, we will only grow by productivity will be proven false as we near 2020. We need to remake our advantages and most important we need good foresight, which is better than history in helping us see the present clearly.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Finland a cautionary tale for us

As I just read this Bloomberg story on Finland and I kept telling myself as I read that such problems could be ours some day too.

The Finns were complacent but outsiders as usual are often slow to realize this.

PM Stubb had gone as far as blaming Apple for its troubles. As we all know Nokia failed to forestall the Innovator's Dilemma lesson and so Apple ate its lunch, more specifically Samsung did but Apple started the juggernaut rolling right?

The writing was on the wall for sometime and what's needed was simply waiting for the right moment to be unlucky. Then comes S&P with a downgrade from AAA to AA+

This had happened to America but she is not worse off at all. For small countries like us, it will be quite a different matter.

Now I am waiting to see if our leaders is going to use Finland as a cautionary tale for us. In a way we are lucky to be in an economically booming region. It is true that growth hides a lot of faults but this is also the time to fix things properly without going into bad fire fighting mode.

Two FTs to help in Ebola Hell

They have already made two trips and are eager to go again into the epicenter of Ebola.  Really salute these two FTs from Australia. Sharon Salmon is the nurse and Prof Dale Fisher the senior doc must be scared stiff of dying from Ebola infection but stared fear in its face and went.

I recalled I was just completely discouraged when I came across so many reports how incompetent these West African governments are and how local superstitions and culture only served to worsen the epidemic. I wondered how to help them without also fighting them at the same time.

The answer is an old fashioned and certainly not some pedantic big idea Kishore style: One patient at a time and if you can add productivity all the better. In the end, it is still a story of doing small things with great love while waiting for the Calvary to arrive. If we don't even buy the time for large organized solutions to come together this problem will find its way to every corner of the earth.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Blogging for Myself: Privacy matters

If not for emails like these that I had signed up for earlier I wouldn't have known about his clip. I never surf YouTube. It is potentially one of the most time wasting activities.

There is an interesting TED clip today. I could only spare 10 out of the 20 mins but I think I already know where the guy is coming from. I can always continue where I left off later.

I agree that privacy is not just very, but life and death important. All the man have done is made an extended case with examples after examples basically calling out as liars those who trivialize this. In particular Eric Schmidt from Google.

So let's be honest about this eh?

Blogging for myself as the name for this blog is my way of telling people don't come, but if you want to, please don't expect me to write in a reader friendly manner.

Blogging for myself is public because there is no such thing as private on the Internet. If you really want privacy then take a page from Deng and Suharto. Don't record it. Keep it in your head and pray there is no such thing as a perfect mind reader in your lifetime. Even so Ezra Vogel managed to produce a paper weight worthy book on Deng.

Privacy should be respected but also let the privacy wars continue. Fragile humans need such conflict to stay honest and become stronger, more resilient.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

A development milestone?

I just bookmarked this to be read using my HD tablet later. My PC display may be exceptionally large at 21.5" especially when I am sitting so close to it but its resolution is poor at between 100 to 200 ppi

I vaguely recall the first time I stayed up the whole night and before that many nights which I was just too sleepy to keep my eyes open. These are physical development milestones doctors don't track and I don't keep a journal.

A deep desire to read a long article on a display that can display text like a printed magazine must be scored as another developmental milestone. My mom must have felt somewhat similarly whenever she called upon me to help thread her sewing needle.

It is no effort to read this off my PC display if the article is about topics that engage me, but what interest do I have for fashion? I mostly study what is regarded by most consumers to be peripherals. E.g., how the money in the business flow, the competition and politics etc., May be I will stray somewhat into the stuff that dazzles and titillate the senses, the created beauty, this is just my personal approach of bringing down the pain threshold as part of my discipline to be more broad minded.

And to ask questions and satisfy my curiosity of the interesting people I come across on and off. Of course I take are not to ask how much he/she paid for it. I always offer such people a perspective they never thought of. The reasons are obvious.

If we can live beyond a hundred years, going blind could be a development milestone. We don't equate losing something with development but for all practical purpose that is a poor attitude isn't it? We have no choice about growing old but not so about growing up.

The font size on my PC display is still set at default.

Shared opinion of Kishore's abilities

I have always wondered how many feel the same as me about Kishore. I think quite a few, but I also suspect most people won't bother to read him too.

The man's reputation far exceeds his abilities. ST should just drop him.

My word for him? Pedant.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Economist Cover: The Gay Divide

It being a Friday, my copy of the Economist was dutifully downloaded into my phone and tablets.

Oh, The Gay Divide? We have the divide in our midst too.

The Pink Dotters were making progress for several years and then Lawrence Khong and company tried to roll them back without much success. Pink the least war like of colors is the juggernaut and nobody here is strong enough to push them back except the government. Khong was always appealing to the government to act.

Then the silent majority made its voice heard over the issue of LGBT lifestyle with children books in our public libraries. The public have spoken and the government entered the fray.

Now the LGBT and its liberal friends or shall I suggest comrades have just used HCI as the battleground to ambush the conservatives. Good luck. If you play this too hard the silent majority will find its voice again.

Hong Lim Park is as big a place as the Pink Dot Movement is allowed. Can we allow them a larger space? Yes, but only if they learn how to do this right.

It is not possible to be whiter than the whites (I mean their opponents) but you can point out correctly the white aren't that pure and perhaps grayer than the pink. Hypocrites have no authority to go around judging sinners. Neither do they know how to love them without coming across as frauds.

A humble Christian leader declared not long ago about homosexuality, "Who am I to judge?" Actually he was given the authority to judge but his church lost it and he was courageous to recognize that fact.

There will be no divide when we stop judging and start forgiving.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

HCI principal wants more open letters

Agatha Tan played her principal like a fiddler. It was so easy there will be more like minded students giving him this royal treatment in future. This can be very tough to deal with as some of these students have misguided, highly educated and articulate parents backing them.

Of course, Agatha must have calculated that if she had simply written to him in private, at best the response would be slow if any.

In terms of military strategy, Agatha can be seen to have borrowed the elements to battle the system and get it to bend her way. Facebook was the instrument that could summon the elements to her aid. In a diabolical fashion, ISIL use religion to pull in the sacrificial bodies. The principle is the same.

What if another student pen an open letter and better yet with many fellow students signing off against Agatha's position? That is not happening given the astute response of the principal blaming a particular facilitator.  If so, and if he and MOE think there is nothing wrong with the program why is it going to be discontinued after this year? Personally I think that program is not suitable for the present reality.

To me, this principal is weak and lacks courage. Going forward every night when he goes to bed he must wonder if there would be another open letter to him tomorrow morning penned in the middle of the night eh?

I believe he is smart enough to know that the elements cannot simply be called upon. However is he confident that he is on top of every issue? The sexual and relationship conservatives and liberals have been seeking to battle each other whenever possible. Agatha simply invited the liberals to ambush the conservatives this time. Sadly this HCI principal chose to act blur and failed to discipline Agatha for her mischief. I am waiting for Heng Swee Keat to bring on the proverbial rod of discipline to Agatha.

Time to swap this one for a stronger principal. I think HCI deserve better.

HK Protests: Got what I wanted

As I do not know Hong Kong society well I had suggested in an earlier post that the government should urge parents to persuade their children to give up and go home. After all they have made their point most clearly and nothing more could be achieved.

This is taken from ST Li Xueying's article. It is one of those less common moments the paper shines.

Time is the greatest teacher of all. Give it a few more years, Kaytal Wong and many others will appreciate they didn't take the whole movement to the precipice where there can be no winners.

He was bypassed for the Physics Nobel

From the time they were in primary schools I had on and off told them not to work for accolades or prizes. Instead contribute to making people and the environment better. Sometimes I told them the story of Darwin vs Wallace. Today Darwin gets all the credit for the theory of Evolution through Natural Selection but Wallace is mostly forgotten.

I don't know enough to be sure that emeritus professor Nick Holonyak was more deserving of the Nobel medal for Physics. Just reading the story and some knowledge of how LEDs work, I would have though he was deserving of the prize. He didn't get it but the trio of three Japanese was given that honor for their invention of the blue LED.

If you want to be happy, do not pursue prizes and honours. How they are given out is fickle and unpredictable. In fact it is likely to cause one to lose sight of the purpose of the work and also forget that the journey is a big part of the reward.

I have finally come across this good story for me to make this a major point with them.

With so much good work done in the sciences, these days the Nobel committees have a pretty hard time deciding who to confer the honours on. It is now a matter of luck. Even luck is increasingly looming larger and more decisive than meritocracy in many areas. Meritocracy as an ideology is showing its age. Perhaps an existential crisis is not far away.

When to avoid NUS elevators?

Wow, you can't trust the elevators in NUS often enough to bring you to the level you want to go?

I don't know if she was tickled or irritated but the daughter Whatsapp me this yesterday before sitting for her mid terms.

When I was a student there long ago, the Otis elevators in the engineering block were dangerous. A classmate broke her arm when the doors closed on her. Yep even then sometimes the lifts don't work but we never had a message warning us about the risk of using them on our way to the exams.

Running up and down stairs is not bad exercise.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Group Sex: When coming to our schools?

Don't know, but when I came across this two days ago, my immediate reaction was when is something like this coming to Singapore.

Perhaps it is already happening but nobody has yet been caught and so remain private.

Can we reverse this? I think it needs to get worse before we can expect improvement. Public policy can't do much. Individual families have to own this and it is not easy. Vulnerable families are sitting ducks. Religious leaders by and large are morally powerless because they never earned but had inherited their moral mandates.

I think in public we have more people standing with Focus on the Family but in private the picture is probably quite different. Folks who thought like this Hwa Chong student are probably gaining in numbers.

People are going to experiment, we are getting more diversity in relationships and sex. Along the way some of these practices will be discarded because they turned out to be empty and unsatisfying. Just as the hippie movement died off so it is the same here.

True colors of badness is always superior to hypcritical virtue. That is how I sense one camp versus the other. You can redeem the former through grace but the latter will end in condemnation. True virtue is rarer than large diamonds and is crowned with humility. That is how you tell one from the other. Virtue without humility is just hypocrisy and that is why Focus on the Family is so unattractive compared to the Catholic Pope Francis. I thought I read the Catholic church is gathering to discuss such issues soon. The Pope and his confidantes prayed a ton before meeting. I think that is how they get themselves prepared and ready.

Understand the irresistible currents of history.

Update: 9:50am

As a young man I was immensely helped and guided by this book by James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family.

I think they are wonderful when they are not trying to fight anybody. When they are fighting they become dogmatic and that is a greater danger to them than the people and ideas they are fighting against. They never knew how to fight because they turned into crusaders.

When they are dogmatic, they make the prideful mistake of putting God in a box. Then they become hypocritical from their doctrinal correctness. Good Christian diversity is expunged and growth stopped. Everyone is under pressure to appear to be living by the right doctrine. Form trumps substance and to experienced observers you can see the fake in them.

Update: 4:25pm

I don't know how many sittings I need to finish reading the papers today. Most likely this will be an unfinished task. Anyway I was lucky to come across this contributed by Prof Tommy Koh today.

In his piece, Tommy Koh praised his wife's efforts and success in helping him with his work. The roles they each played in the family and work would be text book perfect for the ideas promoted by Focus on the Family. I don't believe Tommy Koh is a Christian but those ideas are good for anybody's happiness and success. (errata: got a message this morning Oct 9 informing me that Tommy Koh and wife attend his church)

Who is Agatha Tan? All we know is that she is a JC1 student from HCI. Does she happen to have very good friends who are LGBT? Is she LGBT? Therefore that session in school provided an excellent opportunity for her push back? Procedurally it was only proper that she added the necessary self disclosure. But she is only 17 years old more or less.

The problem with this issue is that it is too complex for a public shouting debate as inappropriate as always per indulging in megaphone diplomacy. FoTF was caught like a deer in the headlights and I think they deserve to be whipped for this. They have no business crossing the lines into others territory. Ditto for AWARE in an much earlier episode. FoTF failed to learn from that especially when they crusaded against AWARE teaching sex education in our public schools. How could they have? They were blindsided, they thought it was a war which they (moral) versus AWARE (immoral).

If you are sure that you are right, as Christians the way to do it is to live it and only occasionally with deep humility point out the wrong. Don't seize the pulpit and pontificate. That is the mistake of FoTF, and worse to do that by stealth. That makes you no better from Kong Hee's CrossOver project trying to stealthily convert more nominal tithe paying Christians.

Agatha Tan is one rude young girl. You are not equal to your teachers much less your principal. You presume he has the time to read your lengthy letter. That is a blatant act of disrespect. A pity you are in a top school but not taught the right manners, and I haven't gone into the language and tone of your writing. Someone needs to put her in her place. She is not entitled to be treated as an equal to her principal. Want to be treated as an equal? Regardless of age, earn it first. Similarly FoTF earn your right to speak about such matters first. I had earlier suggested that our religious leaders often inherited but didn't earn their moral mandates. Ditto ministers who thought they had earned the right to scold us publicly. You didn't risk your lives to gain the right to scold us like LKY and his early colleagues had.

Our democracy is at risk if people fail to know and earn their places. It will lose its integrity like we see in many other countries.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Shanmugam: Western media biased toward China

There was a time when you could just read the ST or Zaobao and by and large take their reading of events. That time has past because we have become global and cosmopolitan.

Of course every media report is biased. Shanmugam was stating the obvious.

More than ever with the amazing plethora of choices of news before us people must learn to be VERY clear what their interests are. Most important everyone must understand the gap between what they want and what the government is delivering. The gap will always be there and sometimes it is to be welcomed especially when we trade our narrow self interests for the greater good.

It is in the West interest to make everywhere be like them. Until that happen the West think the world is a dangerous place. At China's end they just want to trade and be left alone. As China gets stronger her ability to say NO also gets bigger. Hong Kong is the litmus test for those who are still not clued in.

Most important we locals must balance the influences around us to our advantage but we regularly see how too many of our "best and brightest" unthinkingly buy what the West offer. We see this among the best and brightest of the young in Hong Kong. We had witnessed it in Gorbachev and even Hu Yaobang. LKY and GKS were once infected with the Fabian philosophy but they recovered quickly.

Ideas are the most useful and also most dangerous thing in the world. A Satanic idea is powering the ISIL.

Now reading ST on my Tab S 10.5

There was absolutely no time to post anything to this blog during the last few days. Planning and committing to certain items for our trip to San Francisco (this will be our fourth) just consumed all my spare time and more.

In between I had called SPH and changed my subscription so that I can now read my papers on my Galaxy Tab S.

Comments on the Google Play Store for the ST Android app was far from flattering. For me it hasn't crashed and runs much better than on my iPad any time.

On the PM's call, sure we ought to always look outwards. What's there to look at here, we are so small. But when there are nagging internal issues, people simply cannot look outwards with ease.

It might have been more effective to remind those who refused to look outward that they put themselves at a disadvantage to those who do. People hate losing to others. With my kids from young, I have taught them to lose strategically. It had worked spectacularly for the older child and should help the younger one be more confident.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

HK Protests: The government and Beijing rational response

I have no time to think through this more deeply but I thought waiting out the protesters is the most rational and reasonable move the HK government and Beijing have done.

I hope this doesn't end with blood in the streets. My earlier post on this subject was a knee jerk reaction and perhaps my first post not written for myself or family. I haven't checked for a very long time but I recall this blog do get visitors from HK.

Like I said before, these young people have made their point and they better start thinking when to back down and go back to their studies and jobs. You can only send the strongest message to Beijing but you cannot win.

I hope and pray that the silent majority of Hong Kong will organize and tell the protesters to give up. Really, if you are so unhappy about Hong Kong's future, go make a future elsewhere. Understand that the Hong Kong that you want isn't Hong Kong but China. To remake China you have to think in terms of centuries but these kids think their lives is as long as eternity. The time frame and frame of mind is wrong.

Hong Kong is the result of China and not the other way round. A different Hong Kong can come only from a different China and for now that's is impossible.

But all is not lost. I believe these protests is privately shaping the conversation between leaders in Beijing. If Beijing would only take the small step of letting them know they have heard the message. This is the cue for the silent majority of Hongkongers to tell the protesters to stand down and go home.

A lout's disservice to the British community

We had Anton Casey and now another lout from his country is about to join Anton soon. I wouldn't bother to check but I wonder what the British community is buzzing about this oaf on and off line.

I hope the appeal judge up his sentence. Have fun in jail! Meanwhile sorry about losing your job. It was all your own doing. You should just go back to the UK and never come back. Sorry again if you can't get a job back home.

And what is the purpose of giving this idiot publicity? To discourage other like minded ones from the UK.

Oops! I forgot to mention his name: JAMES GEORGE PALIN.