Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Disney bought Lucasfilm

Heard over radio this morning that Disney had bought Lucasfilm. As a reward there will be episode VII of the Star Wars saga in 2015.

I always thought they will not end at episode VI but who would have thought it would come about this way. I hope Disney handle the Star Wars franchise with full appreciation of the Force.

May the Force be with you. For a cool $4 billion only.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How to understand women

Spotted this at Marina Square car park this evening.

The owner of this car will discover than when you love, you will eventually understand. If you try to understand without love, you will fail.

I remember pastors were fond of preaching and teaching the wife as a helpmate, a partner. That is actually putting the cart before the horse. Put aside the idea of partner. Love come first. Sounds easy eh? It isn't. Therefore to be practical most marriages are not made this way or you risk exceeding your faith and get into deep trouble, which sometimes take divorce to get out :-(

The prayer of St. Francis of Assisi is pertinent. It is aspirational and rarely achieved.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Don't listen to your pastors about wives being partners instead husbands love your wives as Christ love the Church...

The USD in our lives

The USD is usually only a distant interest and affect us indirectly and often went unrecognized. But as I look at this chart it tell an important story of our lives over the last five years. And if I don't capture it now, it would be inconvenient as we turn the page to the new year.

So often we save or make money by luck or God's grace. This is the story of the USD-SGD chart for us. It is not that clear until you have the chance to look back.

I can see we sold so much USD for SGD at the highs. I understood what was happening but I couldn't like a scientist is able to operate like an engineer. Transferring knowledge to an application context is notoriously hard. Ah, I can see the 1.21 we were getting in September last year for booking all our accommodation for our trip the the US then :-) Not skill, completely luck.

And grace is better than luck. It can come in any form e.g., buying USD at the highs and selling at the lows. It is beyond our ability to fathom. By faith we are not afraid to lose big.

That Music CD I bought recently

I didn't really know why I bought that CD a few days ago. I wasn't pay a lot of attention to this CD playing in the shop because my mind was on my phone. Then I played it this morning in the car and I got it! I love this song: He could see my heart from there. I would rank this with Amazing Grace and the Purple Rope.

I would like my children to relate this with the passage we were reading over the weekend from Ephesians 3. Made at Calvary.

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Religion might wipe out your common sense

What has religion and in this instance Christianity done to your common sense? I am perplexed to receive this YouTube clip again and again from my evangelical Christian friends including my former bible study teacher :-(

Another who had sent it to me was my former boss who became a Christian years later after I left the company. He is a very intelligent and reasonable man. What has happened to him?

My first exposure to this clip were from my GOP friends a couple of years back. All happened to be evangelicals but I can understand where they were coming from. I explained to them I didn't agree with them and they didn't respond to my rebuttal.

By the way this clip was uploaded in 2009. Don't the senders check? There was never a risk that it would be removed.

Gosh, and all of them are voters :-(

This clip has garnered 8.7 million views with 19,000 likes and 14,000 dislikes. Very divisive.

Faith takes your common sense farther bur religion wipes it out.

 And the lead in to the clip is this same inane stuff:

Subject: FOX News has blocked the showing of this clip
Remember when we were told to watch Fox News on a Sunday night that was going to air something about Obama and we watched but never saw anything! Well, read below and click on the video to see why it got pulled before it could air.
Now we know why Fox News never broadcast it as they had originally planned to. This piece was pulled.
*I encourage you to please send this to everyone on your email list ASAP.*
*Remember all the notices we kept getting to watch Fox News on Sunday at 9PM? What Happened?*
*This is the clip that got pulled due to pressure from the Administration.*
Obama Puts Heat on Fox News to Prevent Sean Hannity from airing this piece.
*This is a video that Sean Hannity of FOX News has been trying to show that we are told has consistently been blocked by the Obama Administration for several weeks. It was a matter of time until the internet picked it up.*
*Watch it now before it gets pulled from the internet!*

Tharman on the PSLE

When she was readying herself for the O levels, I had occasionally reminded my daughter that the PSLE is more stressful because it is based on the T-score system. I am glad Tharman even if only speaking in a personal capacity publicly admits this. It is a no brainer.

I don't believe our kids will slacken academically if we scrap the PSLE. My larger worry is an academic system that over time as students work to game it poorly prepare them to successfully join the workforce or start their own business. A fine grain system like the PSLE is precisely the sort of system we don't want to keep. Fighting for the last mark at the expense of many other life's lessons is simply a bad way to bring up kids.

If jettisoning the PSLE is too daring, I think a system of bands to replace the T-score approach would be a real and welcomed improvement to reduce stress and ameliorate competition.

As it is, we are giving up too much other parts of our life for the PSLE. It has become a god when as always it ought to be a servant.

Doing Great Things for God

I come across lines like these very often but a similar line from this book finally provoked me into blogging about it.

"he has been marked by God to do great things for His kingdom" 
(see the blue highlight in the pic)

Everyone regardless of your religious persuasion or station wants to do great things. Nobody wants to be humble. Of course if they try they usually fail. No one wants to do small things with great love, which is the secret of humility. I have come across an exception (see Shane Claiborne, 'The Irresistible Revolution - I bought that book in 2010)  but there are actually countless of them out there who prefers to be invisible and you have to look harder than gold to locate them.

But as I want to stop here, I thought perhaps this is the place to insert one of my favorite even if likely an apocrypha story: the Missionary Homecoming which can be found all over the Web.

An old missionary couple had been working in Africa for years and were returning to New York to retire. They had no pension; their health was broken; they felt defeated, discouraged, and afraid.

As the trip began, they discovered they were on the same ship as President Teddy Roosevelt, who was returning from one of his big-game hunting expeditions.

No one paid any attention to them. They watched the fanfare that accompanied the President's entourage, with passengers trying to catch a glimpse of the great man. As the ship moved across the ocean, the old missionary said to his wife, "Something is wrong."

"Why should we have given our lives in faithful service for God in Africa all these many years and have no one care a thing about us? Here this man comes back from a hunting trip and everybody makes much over him, but nobody gives two hoots about us."

"Dear, you shouldn't feel that way," his wife said.

He replied "I can't help it; it just doesn't seem right."

When the ship docked in New York, a band was waiting to greet the President. The mayor and other dignitaries were there. The papers were full of the President's arrival. No one noticed the missionary couple. They slipped off the ship, disappeared in the crowd, and found a cheap flat on the East Side, hoping the next day to see what they could do to make a living in the city.

That night the man's spirit broke. He said to his wife, "I can't take this; God is not treating us fairly." His wife replied, "Why don't you go in the bedroom and tell that to the Lord?"

A short time later he came out from the bedroom, but now his face was completely different. His wife asked, "Dear, what happened?"

The Lord settled it with me. I told Him how bitter I was that the President should receive this tremendous homecoming, when no one met us as we returned home. And when I finished, it seemed as though the Lord put His hand on my shoulder and simply said;

"You're not home yet."

It is never too late and it was this missionary opportunity of starting to do small things with great love. When you focused on the small things which nobody notices except God, you cannot expect the fanfare of a grand welcome. Wasn't God gracious to him before he gets home?

Forget about doing great things for God. He doesn't and never needed you to. Leave it entirely to him if he wants you to be great here. Too many missionaries had misappropriated William Carey, "Expect great things for God, attempt great things for God". No wonder churches are so caught up with the popular images of success. A success absent the personality of Christ.

NYT on Wen Jiabao's family wealth

This story just wouldn't go away. Now that Wen Jiabao's family has engaged lawyers to sue the NYT, it is going to stay around longer. May be after early November when China has a new Premier, the media will lose interest.

Really what's new here? I thought most people in the streets of Beijing and other major cities know about the wealth of the party higher ups. When we were on holiday in Bejing in 2008, our taxi driver went on and on about the corruption of the top leaders especially Wen Jiabao because I had accidentally started him on it by comparing Zhu Ronji and him.

Update: Today's ST

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dr. Miranda Yap

She used to teach us Chemistry at NUS many years ago. One of the more caring and able teachers. I think she was the only one who invited us to her place - the whole class! Her husband was a lecturer in the Mechanical Engineering department.

So sad to see what has happened to her. Someone had been chosen to do her job at the institute. No a good sign that she will recover.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Fewer Singaporeans heading to Australia

Spotted this in the papers today. When the Singapore economy was in the doldrums, more people left for Australia. As we rebounded economically the traffic to Australia fell markedly.

So much noise against too rapid growth, but I say action speaks louder words.

I spent a large part of yesterday exploring taking a holiday to New Zealand south island. We haven't been back since twenty years ago and remembered fondly our time at Queenstown. Fortunately I took a little walk using Google Maps and we changed our mind about this trip. The lesson learnt a few years ago when we took the kids to Brisbane taught me to be more thorough. We remembered being impressed with Queen Street Mall when we visited in 1989, but in 2005, we were disappointed at how staid and boring the place was. The museum was also under whelming. Singapore Orchard Road and our museums had zoomed far ahead of them. It is a real life lesson for us that we mustn't stay still but must always progress.

There is not such thing as too rapid economic growth. What we must be mindful of is what we are willing to give up for additional growth. We must never trade our values for additional wealth. Willie Cheng had an excellent article on this topic in the ST yesterday, 'When market values rule society'.

Update: October 29
Someone left as a comment a very interesting blog post:

Typically I don't respond to comments and that's why this isn't entered as a comment either.

Mine is causal and lazy fellow blog and I typically just write what's on my mind. Not a serious blog where the writer researches, thought deeply and then write. In this instance, I have made a quick check and read several articles preferring the latest date ones. Here is something noteworthy: immigration to Australia has gone up. See: Australia Migration Rates increase 18%.

And here is a non Aussie source: the Indian Economic Times. It is about attracting HNI entrepreneurs from India.

I hadn't bother to look beyond what I originally posted because I have come across too many instances of Australians applying to come here. One of them used to report to wifey too.

As a rule of thumb most of us cannot afford the time to research thoroughly when there is no sacred principles or money on the table.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The PM on housing problems & family values

I was struck by two newspaper articles I read this morning. First from the ST.

The PM correctly observed that many housing problems at their roots in family break ups. It so logical for him to encourage families not to break up. Unfortunately his perspective is so archaic.

Look at the next article from the WSJ.

Unlike now, why were there fewer family break ups before? This story is emblematic of times then. Is the PM suggesting that we turn back the clock? Families were probably as unhappy then as now. The only difference is that they do not pour outside from the home to the streets.

I bought a music CD

So happy I bought this CD. I heard it playing in Mt. Hermion this evening and asked what they were playing. I think the last time I bought a music CD was probably more than fifteen to twenty years ago!

Now what have I been missing between then and  now?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

100 year old to remember - Jay Leno Show

I like this 100year-old lady. She is the role model for all of us if you get to that age, and it has to begin now isn't it?

Dr Richard Teo talk to dental students

I thought I saw an article on the late Dr. Richard Teo on the papers yesterday but had skipped it.

When Tan Chuan Jin put this up on facebook, I decided to read it. Afterward I emailed it to my brother for my niece in Med school.

Dr. Teo learnt his lesson the hardest way. There were many who preceded him and lots more will follow him. Some like him warned others of the folly of following his example. He has must have saved some. This is a message that will always need to be repeated.

I think this would be helpful to my niece because Dr. Teo was talking about doctoring. Yes, it also remind me of the GP we go to too. Over the years he had seemed more and more distant. I think he is tired of being a doctor. On the other hand it warmed my heart the radio oncologist my mom had and the caring doctors who had attended to my dad at SGH ICU.

Update: October 26

The YouTube version: see

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

PW and sleeping students

This morning I arrived at my daughter's JC and easily counted five students sleeping at the benches. I think they are all suffering from the working too hard at PW.

Fortunately my daughter's team could call it a day at 1am last night. I hope no more all-nighters. This looks like worse than the A levels.

Looking forward to the iPad Mini

My WhatsApp to wifey minutes ago.

The weight of the iPad is the top most important feature to her and our kid who carries it to school everyday.

Did I read 308g? I think we are sold.

YouTube video by CNet of the iPad Mini

Sis's adventure Down Under

A clip of what my sis is doing Down Under. I think they were there to celebrate a friend's wedding and pack in some fun afterward.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Singtel 3G service

A graphic way to show the obvious that Singtel isn't delivering on their 3G service.

There may be four bars. In fact, the 3G will occasionally flip over to H+ but Speedtest could never find a server to test connection speed.

I performed this test this evening at Promenade MRT station at around 6:45pm when there were lots of human traffic...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The perennial heavy school bag

These simple problem of heavy school bags is one of my pet peeves with our school system. I had wanted to blog about it last week. I even snapped a photo off the early morning hard copy of the ST. In the end I decided against writing because I didn't think it would be useful.

The government doesn't seem keen to solve this problem. Ironically by the time the kids are tall and strong, the heavy textbooks also disappear. My girl in JC has no textbooks. Everything is printed in loose notes for them.

I remember how in our vary active PSG in primary school we discussed this issue ad nausem. We concluded we can't solve this without the MOE driving this. So I bought my kids the most advanced ergonomic school bags available, leading many other parents to buy the same. They were expensive. Very sorry if you can't afford it. That's an early lesson for the younglings on the wealth gap. I was unhappy but there is nothing we could do.

Years later when the iPad came out, I decided we can solve this problem completely ourselves. I bought iPads for my children and scan all their major copies into the tablets. Guess what? When some teachers in school saw it, they wanted the soft copy, but my kids say no. This should have been done properly and not by some back lane arrangement. I can foresee how much trouble for us this could lead to. Doesn't it prove that a permanent solution must come from the MOE?

JK Rowling's presence in our house

A book by JK Rowling deserves some mention!

We almost didn't pick up this book from the library. It was fortunate that yesterday, the library loan system refused wifey a book loan which caused us to investigate and realized that this book I helped her reserve is ready for collection. We were surprised no email notification arrived. The book could have come and gone.

I don't know if wifey will end up buying this book. I believe we have more than one set of Harry Potter at home. We even have kindle copies. They are read and reread countless times. I am the only one missing the fun. I tried to catch the movies a couple of times on the airplane but couldn't make head or tail of the story. I owe myself some day to have some Harry Potter fun. Perhaps this book too after waiting for wifey's verdict.

Alvin in a hole loves to keep digging

Alvin Tan doesn't understand to stop digging when he falls into a hole. Heng Swee Keat is afraid there will be more Alvins and is renewing emphasis on character education. Alvin might be extremely bright but he is a fool. Singapore gave you the opportunity to make something good out of yourself but you are idiotically throwing it away. You are the dog that is doing worse than biting the finger that feeds you.

Years ago, a bright EDB scholar who used to seek my views eventually felt that he had overtaken me in experience and wisdom told me there is no such thing as bad publicity. There is only no publicity. He was so disdainful of my view. I told him he was wrong and I don't want to persuade him on that. You have to recognize and let people learn some lessons the harder way.

I am no longer in contact with this scholar. Not because I don't want to but I am not in his league at least from his unspoken point of view. Fortunately for him, he is never going to be as foolish as Alvin.

I hope he doesn't need more than Alvin to recognize that he was wrong.

Actually I am not that wise but I bear in mind as best as I could and have ways to learn the meaning of, "He must increase and I must decrease". That kinda of warn me about how to seek publicity. Don't. Let it come to you. And in a distant way it is a follow on from, "If you love something let it go. If it comes back to you, it is yours to keep. If it never returns, it was never yours before".

Leave some room to trust a higher power because we are all very limited. Too many people achieve success that they don't deserve because they flouted the laws of the universe. I don't know what you call your higher power, but don't be cocky and leave some room for his grace.

FDW risk: Low Probability; High Impact

As a young married guy I knew nothing about FDWs. I learned a lot from the gossips from the older secretaries at work, who by the way were also fairly young. They were just older and more experienced than me. I was horrified by their stories. The occasional tragedies reported in the media by FDWs were not helpful. I told myself I will not have a FDW if I can helped it. Since my parents weren't willing to help with childcare, we didn't have kids until quite late.

I look forward to reading Samuel's story later; how one bounce back from extreme negative impact.

People routinely ignore the Black Swan. I have noticed that there are many Black Swan eggs, which by the definition of the Black Swan only a few will agree with me. Misfortune investing (not like this story but those with prices) is not attracting enough people. This is a paradox as it might be the only way to kill off many disastrous Black Swans.

I hope more people will bet the Black Swans. She must be stared down courageously together. Running from it only cause her to chase you. Financial market players might then finally begin to redeem themselves by  saving the world instead of destroying it.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Riding Pillion to School

Whenever I see a student riding pillion to school, I always think they are from an low income family especially judging by how the rider dressed. Without fail, I wish the kid would do very well in school but the statistics tell me I am probably too wishful. Next, I will  wonder what happens if it rains. The kid will have to go by public transport. Then I will ask why they didn't opt for the school bus. Stupid question I can't help cogitating in my mind: It is damn expensive!

But this morning I have enough out of mind presence to remember to take this picture because the lights were red for a very long time. The next time I witness something similar I would definitely remember I blogged about this. So why did I bother to even post this then, except that it is too late now.

I am asking myself now, why I thought this way? Because long ago my parents had sometimes told me that was how they had felt.

Back at Sakae Sushi

We returned to Sakae Sushi after so many years that we cannot remember when was the last time we dined there. The IT based system had completely been revamped. Nice to see the mouse is absent and the iPad had taken its place. Even the waiters use iPod Touch to place orders. Linux out and iOS in.

I suggested wifey try their teppanyaki sets. They were quite good especially the beef cubes but the portions were kinda of small.

The scourge of A levels PW

A couple of years ago my ex boss complained that her son in HCI literally worked through the night over PW. Last night my daughter was scourged by the same experience :-( She only went to bed at 4:45am and was up to get ready for school at 6:00am. Boy, we didn't have it that hard when we were in JC long ago. At least she had company. They were not with her but all of them were on the phone and online - the marvels of modern technology. Of course all of them could only get to sleep as late as her. They loved to do everything together.

There were rumors that PW will cease from 2015, but I cannot find any documentary evidence to support that. I hope so. The kids learn a few things but I think it was very wasteful and inefficient.

She messaged me that she qualifies to offer H3 subjects but I think she is likely to turn it down. We are not keen on any of those overseas scholarships. Who wants to be bonded these days? Schooling is a tiring experience in Singapore. Unlike the O levels, the A levels is really a strain. No need the additional burden of H3s.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Asking for Slower Economic Growth

As usual we tuned into 93.8 on our dirve to the office. Yesterday discussion on Education was predictable and boring, but this morning talk was well worth listening to the chimes from SME owners. They mostly sound reasonable to me.

Workers and the government fail to appreciate that SMEs are almost always in fire fighting mode. They are all price takers; cannot plan but must master the art of quick and effective response to changing circumstances. As a drowning man would clutch at a straw, so SMEs will NEVER SAY NO to cheap foreigner workers. Life is hard enough and they don't need it to be harder. So I am afraid if we want SMEs to upgrade, they must be brutally forced to do so. We must also be prepared that many will find it less painful to relocate and some would prefer to even throw in the towel. Painless restructuring is a myth. I hope people asking for slower growth know what they are wishing for. Please bear in mind the track record between wishing and getting is no good. Just ask yourself how often you buy stuff and are disappointed with them. Think carefully.

The debate over how fast we should grow economically has missed the mark. We look at this as if we have a choice. I don't know why the government and media never bother to re-frame this correctly. It is really not so much about the pace of growth but our capacity to absorb it. I think nobody would be complaining about too fast growth if we had never ran into bottlenecks of housing and transport. As these twin problems are solved, the problems take care of themselves. It is just convenient for the government to allow their detractors to make a big fuss as they quietly rectify the infrastructure bottlenecks. Just clever politics.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The magic of endorsement

You can't find Mo Yan books in the shops any more. They flew off the shelves after he won the Nobel Literature Prize.

For my kids: this is the magic of endorsement. The Nobel halo descended on Mo Yan and made his works desirable.

Mo Yan wrote his books long ago. Some were even made into movies. Nothing has changed except you know what.

The Sun; the PC

Took this photo before leaving the house this morning. It is the time of year when the study gets the sun. Time to throw a cloth over the equipment every morning before leaving.

This is the first morning when the PC is missing. I finally chucked it yesterday. It had become completely unusable. Now how to make better use of the freed up space?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Exams: Distinction is actually just Pass

I sometimes tell my kids that in real life scoring distinctions in exams often meant you just passed. Standards often have to be kept much lower otherwise most people will fail. This is wrong. I believe and I hope in my lifetime all these will change. In fact I can see the early shoots of change coming already. Teaching and learning has to be more effective so that today distinctions is the new pass grade.

At DigiPen they do not confer you their diploma unless you are good enough for work at graduation. No wonder so many flunk out. All our schools produce graduates that still need much training before they can contribute meaningfully to their organizations. That is why many employers are not willing to hire fresh grads. Those that do are the ones who want to grow their timber.

Take charge of your own education and avoid being the product of a cookie cutter. And you must learn to sell your abilities without people having to try you out because they are not likely to give you that chance.

A side point. DigiPen is a furnace to test if one truly has the passion for creating computer games. It is good to achieve self knowledge early. Just because you are passionate about something more than any of your friends do not prove that your passion is sufficient. It is easy for the young to get this wrong. Most people will not be narrowly focused but find pleasure in integrating various skills and disciplines. Keep in mind that passion must exist in the context of mastery, autonomy and meaning. These three features are stitched together by the thread of relationship.

Dinner at Long Beach Seafood

Dinner at Long Beach seafood last evening. This is our second weekend seafood dinner. Instead of a chili crab, we had the black pepper crab this time. Like previously, the crab is half the dinner bill.

The toufu with spinach was quite good. I need to make a note of it here because this item isn't on the menu.

The buns is 80 cents a piece versus 50 cents at Jumbo. They were larger but unlike those at Jumbo, you wouldn't want to eat them without gravy. The kids prefer Jumbo's. They have always like buns.

Kindle Book Credits

A most welcomed message from Amazon came in last night. I am looking forward to getting some money back from my many Kindle books purchases.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Mitt Romney in Gangnam Style

I tried but couldn't find something equivalent for Obama to match what they had produced for Romney. It is obvious why isn't it? The two represent very different views of society, economics, politics and government. Obama is not anything like Gangnam values.


Primary Schools: Improving Facilities

The kids these days are having it really good in primary school isn't it? Good for them but as outliers my kids, especially the older one do not get to enjoy them. We are mostly on our own and thankfully not doing badly. However like some parents in my shoes, the cost is really high.

Damn the LTA

I am certainly no fan of the LTA. They have way more screw ups than success. Are they waiting for more kids to die outside Sembawang Primary School before they do something meaningful? This reminds me of the dangerously fatal stretch along Upper Thomson Rd near the church.

I am confining myself narrowly here. It would take many pages to list their shortfall and poor performance. I don't envy Min. Liu inheriting this mess from the feckless Raymond Lim.

Time we make them own the outcomes instead of just following some stupid book to absolve themselves from blame.

I know in the end it wouldn't be just LTA that is at fault. Government cock ups usually happen when multiple agencies need to work together to achieve a good outcome.

Update: October 24, 2012

14 days later the MP raised a hue and cry albeit politely.

Beware the Galaxy S3 Gallery App

Beware the Gallery app than works with the Camera on your Galaxy S3.

I was shocked to discover from my Singtel App that I had consumed 100 Mb of traffic yesterday :-( Just a day before, I had only used up 5Mb. What happened?

A little sleuthing revealed the culprit was the Gallery app. I have since disabled it. Apparently it was pulling down photos from my Picasa and Facebook accounts in the background when I was flipping through the pics I took at Gardens by the Bay yesterday. There is no point is confining the app to only pay attention to photos in the phone because each time you switched off the phone and when it is turned back on it defaults to all photo sources. Best to just kill it and stay with the trusty QuickPic.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Visiting Paya Lebar Airbase

The gold must be fake or the government wouldn't be able to answer why tax dollars are spent this way.

The daughter visited Paya Lebar airbase with her class and took one extra back for her sibling.

I bet if they had given this out previously it might have been the F-16 flying falcon.

The RSAF were opportunistically trying to get them to consider a career with them. I think they could be smarter by being more targeted in their approach. Their messages were probably wasted on the majority of the students. These days there are more street smart than when we were their age.

Man, 78, sees wife again after 3 years.

Warms my heart when I flip the papers this morning (a routine before ST updates the e-copy).

My wish for them is the gift of prayer. Why? Look at their physical disabilities and poor health.

There is enough love to bind them with a cord of prayer. This is not academic.

Meanwhile I hope he is able to visit her often.

For some who get to this post by happenstance, this is better than loving your pride; loving your money or hugging whatever security blanket you are not willing to admit. Most people do not out grow their security blankets. In fact they trade up for bigger and pricier ones.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Avoid Matte Screen Guard

Avoid buying and installing the matte screen guard for the Galaxy S3. See the pic on the left. The lower half of the ebook shows the poor results of using a matte screen guard.

I bought two of these matte screen guard for $2 each. Poor choice but a cheap mistake.

Use clear transparent screen guard for the S3.

IBM Watson's and NaviMap

I should go and find out more about IBM's Watson. Looks promising that it could be combined with NaviMap. Would be a really powerful combination.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

We will become strangers in our Singapore

We cannot solve this problem. It can only be mitigated.

Participants at this dialogue wonder if they would feel like a stranger in Singapore. Of course! It is coming and prepare for it, if you can - you can't.

I look at my family. It started with my parents 2; then 3 of us; we got married and take made 6 + 2. Only 4 grand children. So it number sequence it looks like this: 2, 5, 8, 12 and now 10 because our parents are gone. So eventually we will have 4 young to 6 old. I think we are doing better than many when compared to my dear old friend from childhood. His goes 2, 7, 10,  13 because two of his siblings are single.

The last number is most critical. Up only 3! They have moved from 13 to 12 this year when one parent passed away. Tough for the third generation. They are looking at 3 supporting 9. And I have omitted the in-laws which could make the picture gloomier especially if they were parents of an only child.

They are not going to be able to look after their parents, grand parents and also have children. The burden gets heavier and harder to solve. Their shoulders are only this broad. Be thankful that they don't run away. Let's see how the faster ageing Chinese society up north deal with this.

Singaporeans will realize that the less painful route is to have foreigners top up our numbers; be prepared to getting used to feeling like strangers here as deaths reduce our numbers. We don't need the SAF to defend us as it would die out on its own. All our enemies need to do is to wait for us to die off. To help the process and it is palliative for us too, they can export some of their best here as advance parties. I blogged about this before but I am too morose to look for and link back :-(

By the way we will need foreigners big time to preserve our real estate values. This will be key to persuading the population to accept more foreigners. People ignore the link between demographic and property prices because most see the trees but not the forest.

Never assume that in future foreigners want to come because as we age, we become a less attractive destination. Therefore the demographic profile must stay in an attractive hip shape at all times. If we lose that, we are done for. Unfortunately the government ability to explain and convince voters about this is pathetic.

I think as long as we give making $$$ our highest priority. As long as we have this attitude of wanting it now at the expense of tomorrow the curtain will fall for us. Don't we realize that our high standard of living comes from mortgaging away our future? Nobody is attacking us. We are killing ourselves. That is the price of front loading our lifetime expenditure and worse using it to keep up with the Joneses.

My kids will read this and eventually we will talk about it. If not, I will take it to them.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Lionel De Souza surfaces!

Wow, I didn't have to wait long at all for Lionel De Souza to present himself in his usual apple polishing ways.

I am interested in him because he filed the police report over Amy Cheong's terrible facebook fiasco. I was telling wifey that I recognize that name because he was such a stand out flatterer in the ministers and MPs facebook pages.

Lionel de Souza latest, "With you, Mr Yeo at the helm of Kerry, this slogan holds true"

Lately this bootlicker has done less than nothing for racial harmony.

Now let me see, I might have an earlier entry on Mr. De Souza. Yes, it was posted in May: PAP Apple Polishers

Daughter's Irresistible Lock Screen

An irresistible cute lock screen my daughter put on her new Galaxy S3 :)

I see, it also says, "Do not touch"

A Glass Future by Corning

I was using Corning glass in the lab long ago without knowing it came from them: Pyrex. We used to boil the milk bottles in a Corning Ware, and we use their tableware everyday. Now it has even made its way into our iPads and Galaxy S3s. So it is with some excitement to get this visionary video by Corning of where glass is going tomorrow.

This is Part 2, which is more interesting. I saw Part 1, I think sometime last year

Here is an appraisal of how much of this alluring technology is already available. Pretty much actually and so this is not science fiction but tomorrow's reality.

Forgiving Amy Cheong

Someone left this for me in Amy Cheong keeps popping up in my news feed. I do not respond to comments unless they need to be deleted for using expletives or more likely requests for help.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, please share on your Facebook or blog about it if deemed fit. Thanks~!

Posted 13 minutes ago to facebook

If we frighten the racists among us from surfacing on social media with severe punishment the fault lines Shamugam talked about would remain.

I would like us and especially the Malay community to rise to the occasion by forgiving Amy Cheong even if at the same time condemning her utterly insensitive comments.

True racial and religious harmony comes from not pretending not to notice the fault lines but wisely engaging them. If the Malays want to see a PM from their race in Singapore's future, work at it. Non Malays must play their part too. The long term security of our society is to show Malaysia and Indonesia that we are not a faux racial and religious harmony.

I know I am almost asking for the impossible when you consider that Gandhi had tried and failed. But India will always be there and do not need to succeed at the impossible to stay Indian. On the other hand Singapore was created by a stroke of luck and sustained by herculean effort which often challenge us to overcome impossible odds. The Americans can have a black man for President. They have worse race relations than us but at least they are not afraid to open their cupboards to deal with the skeletons. We on the other hand are hypocritical. Instead of engaging each other we try not to offend one another. This is just faux racial harmony.

I am disappointed with the PM and some of the ministers for failing to show more courage beyond what they had. They punish Amy Cheong but fail to build on it courageously to take us to the next level. They want to go back to the unsustainable status quo, which they fail to recognize only buy us time but never a solution.

If we fail to forgive Amy Cheong, we would remain stuck and always afraid. We live in fear to the point of pretending there is no fear in order to daily get by. No wonder there is so little positive energy here. We are afraid of so many things to the point that nobody would want to live here unless they can make good money.

I never imagine that I would have a blog post that is not "blogging for myself". Now please drop by and click "like" Let's show our children we are working towards real racial harmony for their future.

Update: 8:45 pm 

Just came from reading two articles at Singapolitics which made perfect sense to me. I just wondered if the PM and his ministers couldn't think like this. Of course they can but they face the pressure of office and while certainly no cowards, they aren't that courageous either. They would make excellent leaders for many countries but I am doubtful they are adequate for improbable Singapore.

'Fight Intolerance with Tolerance' by Tessa Wong

'Would Amy Cheong have been fired if she was a banker?' by Rachel Chang

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Samurai Burger experience

Dinner this evening was a single patty Samurai Burger, and it was quite good. Can't remember when was the last time I bite into one; must have been many many years.

I was telling wifey, this thing doesn't go down into your system like the regular fast food (we call it bad food among ourselves and permit only one such meal a week). It felt wholesome and fresh. Unfortunately my tongue and palate aren't a food laboratory, so it is better to respect this like any once a week treat we have with the kids.

Once I was done with my Samurai, I looked around the restaurant. There were many brown boxes like this one. This is really a hit.

Amy Cheong keeps popping up in my news feed

News on Amy Cheong (a ruckus resulted from her insults of a Malay wedding, she claimed had been unbearable).

Before I left for dinner, I received news that NTUC had fired her. Now after dinner, I find my Facebook news feed over punctuated with items about her. Here one after another is about her.

LSS had weighed in. Shortly Tharman had also recorded his grave disapproval. Shamugam was more insightful, referring to a speech he made almost a decade ago that we are living with deep racial and religious fault lines. Now the PM has added to the conversation with "shocked to hear about this", "the comments were just wrong and totally unacceptable"

Amy Cheong had apologized over and over again. I think we ought to give her another chance.

Facebook has time and again show how careless and lacking in self control many of us are. Amy Cheong isn't the first and I am sure would not be the last.

The less confident will now see Facebook as a minefield. You can come and read but it is better not to post anything, may be just the opportunistic, "happy birthday so and so!"

Going forward, we shall see if the fear meter rises on Facebook.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The New Restrictions for Property Loans

Looks like there are lots of people with cash. Additionally everyone thinks property is all good in the long run, and as long as you can hold to your asset, you would eventually be rewarded.

What the new restrictions have done is to stymie the ownership of more properties. The most important outcome of these new measures is to protect the integrity of our banks and keep a large margin of error.

Whatever we have created an environment that will lead up to real estate being priced for perfection. There is no such thing as a sure bet in asset markets. The only sure things are assets that are cheap but isn't going to zero. In our market, real estate isn't it.

In the end the bet on property is a bet on steady enlargement of the GDP. If this doesn't happen, there will be many losers. So the more asset wealthy we become, the more allergic we are to recessions. We will also be more risk adverse. Is this a good thing? A nation of wealth managers instead of wealth creators.

The plight of Mr. Tan Cheng Chu

Two thumbs up to K Shanmugam for getting personally involved in this.

More than three thousand likes, i.e., fewer people are skeptical or cynical. That's good.

Looking forward to Season 6 of Cesar Milan, "The Dog Whisperer" tonite.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Jumbo Seafood at East Coast Park

Dinner tonight at Jumbo Seafood @ East Coast Park. I think our last visit was about a year ago and we ordered the same dishes too.

I find the chili crab too troublesome to handle. Just as well wifey had it all to herself. She loves this dish.

I like dipping the buns into the gravy. We had 24 of them in two baskets.

Replacing my trusty thermos mug

Time to replace one vacuum cup with another. The plastic cup on the left was supposed to be unbreakable and well it hasn't. Nevertheless it looks worn. I think I have had it from 2005/6. It doesn't work as well now. You can tell from the condensation on the outside each time I pour a cold drink into it.

I have tested the new one ($21 after discount at John Little) for both hot and cold drinks. It is working well.

When there were too few babies

Morose article on the consequences of China's one child policy more than thirty years later. Reads like a zero sum game of trading one form of misery for another. In other words, the challenge of managing population was never successfully overcome.

Those who in their easy living conveniently forget that eventually children by design or accident become your pension plan just need to look to China.

An old friend story about divorcing her husband forces me to leave the forest for the trees. So much of what she told me was was about how to successfully cope with old age and sickness especially when she felt that she couldn't count on her kids. These days many of them could barely look after themselves notwithstanding their parents. People will learn the hard way that retirement was the privilege of demographic luck that had just ran out. Most of us will have to be economically active for as long as possible. I hope you enjoy your work till the end, otherwise it is still a lesser evil than joblessness.