Saturday, September 30, 2017

Chicken Cutlet in Tanglin Halt

Can't remember when the last time I was back at Tanglin Halt Food Centre for a meal. Anyway the price of this yummy chicken cutlet has gone up by 50 cents to $5.50. The bun and butter have also been taken out. One nice feature though is that it is noticeably less salty now.

The thunder rice stall my sis told me about but I had forgotten until we had finished lunch and went around looking for it. 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

WiFi speeds on my devices

The Asus VivoMini PC

The Galaxy Tab A 10.1 with S-pen

ZenFone 3 5523KL

The unbeatable old Galaxy Note 4

Friday, September 22, 2017

PM's most important meeting in China

The meeting with Xi Jinping is essential and so it was with Li Keqiang and Zhang Dejiang but the most important meeting go to be with Wang Qishan. The real talking and understanding with the Chinese is with him. The first three were the top three in the PSC. Wang Qishan is ranked 6th but effectively he is number two. The PM can speak his mind with Wang Qishan much more than he could with Xi Jinping. It would be good for us and China as well if Wang Qishan continues to be in the PSC after the October meeting.

We have a lot to do and Zhang Feng have put it nicely into a table.

"Quality has declined since LKY's time" is a view shared by all three groups. These classifications are only out of necessity. In real life it is a spectrum of degree from left to right. To the Chinese the friction between us and them would not have happened if LKY were around. 

The Chinese are master par none at the oblique. Here is a lesson from Wang Qishan when he met PM Lee. I excerpt from Today Online. 

Mr Wang, who heads the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, said he was surprised but happy that a request had been made to meet him.
"So I sought permission and I am here meeting you and your delegation today ... Singapore is among the countries I have the most contact with," added the 69-year-old during their meeting held at Zhongnanhai, a former imperial garden that now serves as headquarters for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Mr Wang also paid tribute to the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's founding Prime Minister.
"I had the privilege of having personal conversations with him on multiple occasions. He (was) such a visionary figure full of political wisdom.
"I gained a lot every time I talked with him ... I'm really greatly saddened by his passing. He was indeed a great man," said Mr Wang

Without making us lose face, the Chinese think we have "learned the lessons"

Did he really need to seek permission? That was meant for us.

No LKY but we need to move on with vision and wisdom. Since LKY is no longer with us, you know the Chinese would have enshrined his writings as scripture to guide them into the future were he a Chinese leader. We can do no better than that until we are lucky to have another LKY.

And that is the message of Wang Qishan to us.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Tharman connects better with us

Tharman will never be PM but he connects much better with us, and he has a way of sending a return message that he heard and understood us, which is very unlike the other ministers except Tan Chuan Jin, now out of Cabinet.

Here are some lines I lifted from the story:

The DPM, who said he himself would have also preferred a contest "like most people", said however that the aspiration for race not to count is something that requires working towards.

"It cannot just be a pledge, it cannot be just an incantation," he said. "Sometimes it requires a conscious act of the state."

"The reality of the matter is, not just in Singapore but anywhere else, including the most mature democracies that everything else (about a candidate) being equal, race, ethnicity, religion, matters."

If a leader cannot connect with the people he/she leads that leader has at best limited effectiveness. It is our unique circumstances that such bad communicators can still lead but clearly it is not sustainable. Such leaders will also eventually lack confidence and constantly worried about their positions.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Remembering Stanislav Petrov: He saved the world

That is a picture, not sure when it was taken of the former Lt. Col Stanislav Petrov. He passed away practically unnoticed on May 17 this year. His main contribution to humanity was he saved the world from a nuclear war. I have read about him before and I read his story again today when I got news that he had passed away.

The world would have ended if he didn't have the sense to recognize that the system was buggy and sending a wrong signal that the US had launched missiles against Moscow.

For his immense contribution what did he receive? Look at his apartment, it was not much.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A look at Braddell View

A view of my late parents' place which I have never seen before. The place will not last since more than 80% of owners are enthusiastic about selling it en bloc.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Borrowing Aung San Suu Kyi for LKY vs LHL

(click on pic for enlarged view)

Good piece by Nirmal Ghosh but he is not going to be read by those who needs it most. I am going to appropriate this for our domestic politics use in an analysis of LHL vs LKY.

Politics is messy and complicated business, so complex it is hard to write about quickly and simply. Ghosh piece is a good foreign example which also happen to be highly visible. Now every political leader eventually faces difficulties like those Aung San Suu Kyi is having. The difference is only a matter of degree. Her situation would be my shorthand of what LKY vs LHL faced. The son is borrowing his late father's methods minus the brutality but for opposite reasons.

Abraham Lincoln moniker was Honest Abe. For decades he was a political leader who is deemed to be perfect and beyond criticism. Well it is still politically incorrect to criticize him. Nevertheless the Honest Abe myth made him to be far more honest than he is. It is a reputation he used with great effectiveness to become president. When faced with an impossible situation, he lied in an impeachable way that the Confederates are not in town to seek peace. He did that so that he could get the law to emancipate the slaves to pass in Congress. Without explaining himself because LKY said he would leave it to history to judge him, he had emphasized that his motives were honourable. I think the results speak of them themselves. That is why I have overlooked LKY tactics and mistakes but not his dishonorable son.

The people can be ignorant, believe in fairy tales and keep their ideals but political leaders have to get real, get the job done without diminishing society's ideals. If such leaders succeed the minority who understood will keep mum indulge in selective amnesia and leave to history to judge what happened, as they have for America's founding fathers and Abraham Lincoln. If we are not done in by a morally bankrupt government, we will also live this rite of passage. That would be when we can begin to entertain ideas of maturity as a nation.

British society waited for hundreds of years before they are confident enough to entertain the possibility that their preeminent scientist Isaac Newton was gay.

From Malaysian maid to Singaporean butler(ess)

I thought Malaysia have left this behind them as they got richer. This is deja vu, never imagined this happening there and wondering if it would come to pass as well in Singapore as a higher class version. In my imagination, some classy lady butler/nanny to the ultra rich families. Quietly we already have a critical mass of them here. When the super rich demand something they usually get want they want. Perhaps it is already happening but they are doing their best to avoid the publicity.

I think Jim Rogers' family would buy but they relocated here too soon.

In our hearts we live forevert

I remembered I wanted to blog about this when their daughter Carmen passed away, but as usual never found the time to.

This is sort of emotional reunion for this couple with their daughter, and also caused me to remember another story. The bride's father had passed away and his heart was transplanted to another man more or less the donor's age. He took her late father's place and give her away at the wedding. It was beautiful occasion.

We will always find ways to live even when we are dead. There is eternity imprinted in our hearts.

Friday, September 15, 2017

US so late with removing Kaspersky

I had Kaspersky antivirus on my PC easily more than a decade ago when it came free with the machine. Shortly afterwards I discovered they were Russian, I immediately had it removed. Now I use Norton, AVG or Avast.

The Americans are so trusting. When I worked for one of the top Wall Street banks, they accepted my resume at face value. They never once asked for any supporting documents.

Update: October 11 2017

See NYT story: How Israel Caught Russian Hackers Scouring the World for U.S. Secrets

SG Presidency with a "natural sunset"

How we got to Halimah Yacob as president is a series of intelligence insulting moves by people who are very smart. The PM should just have accepted the Chief Justice and his committee suggestion to scrap voting for the president and return to an appointed one. Now we have got the worst of everything instead.

In April the Chief Justice said as reported by the ST.

Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, who chairs the Commission, said the provision had a "natural sunset" as it would not be invoked if Singapore progressed towards a race-blind society and elected a minority president on its own accord.

What natural sunset? That is just disingenuous. Look across the Causeway, the NEP is supposed to achieved a natural sunset as well. History and our founding fathers would also add that there is no such thing. This is like giving a little kid a calculator hoping that he will learn mental sums. People don't give up their crutches. You PM and cronies have humiliated the Malays and dishonored our pledge.

Here is a couple of comments on the story above. Her very beginning speeches show that this president is one who would ask "how high?" when the PM said "jump!"

Halimah you are LHL and the PAP "Yes Sir" president. You are not our president. We have effectively only one key to the reserves.

Today the government is morally and politically dishonest, tomorrow it would be criminally as well. It is not a matter of if but when.

Why do the government want to gut the system unless in case they need to abuse it? When the time comes they will say they are doing it in the name of the people but that is just self deception.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


Others have said far more than I wanted to say, so there is no need to repeat them here. Mostly I agree with Bertha Henson's PE2017: Mad at the G.

It was easy not to meet Tony Tan when he was president and it would be as easy to avoid Halimah Yacob as well. I can't do anything about her ridiculously high pay but I can try my best to pay as little taxes as possible. This is a small thing, my worries are over the future of this vulnerable little red dot especially the future of my children and their generation.

I don't know much about the former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama aka "Ahok" but I certainly respect him much more than any of our leaders. His former boss President Jokowi is also a good man but serving under very difficult conditions.

Every person has its price and I guess we have discovered what is the price of  Halimah Yacob. It is not more than $4 million and $24 million if she behaves well.

Plenty of moral hazard in Singapore and it has gone all the way to the highest office of the land. The PAP presents their kelong president. Yet another act of coup de grĂ¢ce by them. How do you govern Singapore successfully without moral authority and a bankrupt political capital account?

The silent brain drain will get more furious. Those who remain will again be tempted to protest with their vote and that is dangerous brinkmanship in the next GE.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Political cost of this Presidential Election

I just responded to a friend who pointed me to an article in Mothership which I only read now. I have seen it earlier and ignored it.

Well for something so constitutionally important, why did the PM fail to try persuade the people at the recent National Day Rally? I don't know what is the matter with this PM. He used to be better. Perhaps he is recoiling from the big hit his sister and brother had served him with.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

SG Population: We have opted for the harder problem to solve

I first got the above story, the Bloomberg version in an email. It has a useful chart which is absent from the ST one.

A long time from now, I would still be able to read the Bloomberg's one but the ST would be much less accessible. I might even have given up my ST subscription by then but I digress.

After a while I was convinced that our graying population could not be reversed and we have to live with its consequences. The cure which LKY tried to persuade us to have more babies is much better than the disease but it was impossible to persuade the people. To most that negate the reason why they work so hard to get rich in the first place. It is already too stressful to have one or two kids. I hope we are much more determined to solve this problem when the time comes than when it was easier. We were less determined simply because twenty years into the future is simply too far out when most of us are fire fighting today's problems. It is human nature to work incredibly harder putting out fires than preventing them.

Our external wing will get even more important than now. Many and more of us will travel the region and beyond. In fact the more innovative we are the farther we will go because the demand for our creations will be more widespread.

The more successful we are externally the richer we are and the more expensive things will be at home. Those who make their living mostly from the domestic economy will suffer. Their income will also rise but fail to catch up. They become price takers of those who make their living from our external wing.

At that time quite a few will leave or simply live overseas permanently than come back because their dollar goes much further against a very pricey Singapore. Therefore sprouting an even stronger external wing is not a solution if it provides little attraction for them to be based here. Nevertheless no matter how much we try, we will lose talent at a higher rate than now. It would be more practical to have a bigger front door whilst the flow out grows than trying to keep people home. A very attractive quality of life ranked among the best in the world is not just nice but a matter of survival for Singapore.

For those harboring ideas of retiring in Singapore, most of you will discover that you are dreamers. Unless you are among the few rich ones and being upper middle class will not cut it, either you forget about retirement and continue working or relocate to another place to retire. Now the problem may not even be a choice between continuing working and retirement. It might be you are not employable.

Friday, September 1, 2017

It was only just fish

Salmon mis-labeled as Batang fish which we did not realize until we brought it home.

No math needed. Relativity tells you Batang was obviously cheaper

Now I wonder if we would see this mistake again in future. Always in a hurry perhaps we would only check after we have brought it home eh?