Sunday, August 30, 2015

Bought Aint Office Chair

Ordered this on the 27th and was told it was prepared for delivery the next day. It came this evening. Most unexpected because I didn't want to pay extra for weekend delivery.

The delivery man told me business is red hot! He was in such a hurry.

Paid $48.80 including $4.50 for delivery.

This is functional and the materials is cheap plasticky. Let's see how long it lasts.

GE 2015: PAP Manifesto

From "For Singapore" to "With you, for you, for Singapore"

The PAP must have wondered why after decades of "For Singapore" there is now a need to get to "With you, for you, for Singapore"

The Old Guard were predominantly elites but somehow voters didn't seem to notice or mind. "Elites" is a real liability now and every aspiring politician had to take pains to explain and sell their heartland credentials, and so prove they are not out of touch with the people.

There is nothing wrong with being elite or having an elite class. I have not seen now nor in history any functioning society without a elite class in leadership. It is how the elites conduct themselves and more important their values and motivations which mattered. You can't hide the non-verbal vibes and Singaporeans are hard nosed and not stupid.

So it is "With you, for you" with substance or not at all.

Now the hard work begins. Candidates have to press the flesh and meet as many people as possible. It would be indispensable to be able to connect with listeners emotionally at rallies but that is not the forte of nearly all PAP MPs. You gotta to connect emotionally or you would get voters' support. This time your personal brand is likely to be more important than the party's brand. For a long time we have told you we do not want Yes-men and Yes-women in parliament. They must have understood why Inderjit Singh is so popular eh? But there is no need to imitate Inderjit. Everyone should be himself or herself and show they are "With you and for you" in their personal way, otherwise it is just insincere.

My MP came yesterday and I decided not to see him especially when I was busy tutoring the daughter Physics. I just ignored him when he pressed the door bell. Since it is GE time once more, tomorrow we will call the town council again and see if we can get our broken window fixed. We shall see to what degree they are "with you, for you". The well oiled Singapore machinery is when I do my job well and you do yours well then everything will be well. Right now the overwhelming majority of us are doing our jobs better than you are running our trains. That is when it becomes a big problem.

Now what is the town council number again? I think I shall Google that.

Hock Lam Beef Noodles

First time we tried Hock Lam beef noodles. I might have many times very long ago  as a kid with my parents when they were a humbler enterprise.

It was a good experience. I think we will go back for more.

I think this is superior to pho noodles anytime.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Received first political cartoon

This is the first political comic I receive for GE 2015. If it were 2011 I think it would have been one lampooning the PAP.

This graphic exaggerates way beyond all proportions. Low Thia Khiang will never be PM. It will take a very long time if ever for the WP to be able to form the government here. He would have retired by then. As opposition the WP is useful. Regarding their effort to foster a First World Parliament, I think they failed. They were not able to get the PAP to play ball. Should I blame the PAP then? No, because they didn't promise anything like that. It is up to WP to figure a way to make the PAP give up their bullying tactics and if they were never confident of doing that then they should never have promised. Therefore if the WP can score 20 seats in the house, there will not be any idealistic first world parliament any more but the gloves will come off. They will conveniently forget about first world parliament and just sell to voters to entrench the opposition. To me we entrench nothing except integrity and competence. Everyone has to earn their place. The way to entrench yourself is to perform.

We have elephant memories on some things. Goh did not deliver his Swiss standard of living.

Since enough people do worry if the WP can keep their promises hence the pun in the picture.

The Saudi Panda: Risk of depending solely on oil

Just got this chart off CNBC. This the link to the story.

The Saudis never saw this coming: how the Yanks are able to produce oil at such incredibly low cost and they could even go lower. It is impossible to beat the Americans in a price war.

The economic lesson is that no country can have a bamboo diet like pandas. Only diversified economies are resilient and few economies are diversified. Just look at the Aussies who got rich recently exporting resources to China. When the Chinese stopped buying they suffer violent economic convulsions.

Most people and their leaders are lazy. Typically they do not bother to work hard toward a diversified economy.

Anytime there are bound to be winning and losing sectors in an economy and some sectors are persistently relative losers. Such sectors have a hard time attracting their share of talent. In our case it is the difficulties of attracting more people to do engineering.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

GE2015: I agree with Jack Sim

I like to think Jack Sim or more famously Mr. Toilet spoke for many of us how we voted in GE 2011.

There must be much fewer angry people this time round and this should translate into more votes for the men in spotty white. They will never appear in white with polka dots ever! But to me that is what they are when you think of their many silly statements. They aren't stupid but everyone comes across as that when they are out of touch or missed the context.  Well sometimes the MSM are to be blamed. At least they are not at the level of those ministers from across the Causeway who should be suited as clowns. Truly!

Aging Gracefully

No thanks to the markets, I have been very busy and have no time to blog more seriously.

A friend just left this on her daughter's timeline and I found the YouTube version. Thought it was quite good. Help the younger people get some future perspective i.e., my kids.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Cooling Fan for router kaput

Got this fan in late June to keep the wireless router cool. It stopped working this morning. This thing wasn't made for heavy duty work. I bought one for wify in May and that is still serving her nicely.

I am not going to bother with keeping things cool for now. This router has been with us for two years already. It is also about time to recontract my fiber internet link. Let's see what is their next offer.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Teochew Porridge four years later

The parking lots are back, we were early and didn't have problem finding a parking lot. Looks like it is back to old times. Up ahead beyond our view is the new MRT station. I checked and we haven't been back in over four years! Sometimes I wonder if they are still in business as I had read in the papers how the MRT works had badly affected them. A slow drive up this road after our lunch showed that many of them were different from what I last remembered.

This is what we had for lunch - $17. The price is reasonable and the quality is very good.

We will definitely be back.

How often at the Gardens by the Bay?

Was clearing the accumulated paper rubbish from the car yesterday and lo and behold what did I find? Eight parking passes from GBB for this year.

We must have been there more times than that as I have thrown away some of these tickets.

Well we love the GBB especially the flower dome.

Photo of Jubilee twins

The only reason why I posted this picture is because I like it. That is my privilege blogging for myself.

When I saw it on TV last night, I thought what a gift from the parents to these twins. Must be really fun for them to see this photo when they are old enough. Of course we take it for granted that they will be well and healthy. There are many places in our world where this cannot be assumed.

SG50 NDR: One people surfaced

I know very little about bands but enough to know that it is rare they last a long time. What interest me about them is their shared culture which frequently lead them to split up. To what degree will Singapore eventually have the same character?

I think up to a point the individual artistes need for personal expression trumps everything else. To get that space and freedom they have to go separate ways.

To remain as one people we always need to work at it and deeply imbibe the wisdom that in our diversity we can find the source of unity at a deeper level. This is so deep it is for all practical purpose invisible until the surface layers are torn away. We have become aware of that since the passing of Lee Kuan Yew. Once we were tentative and unsure about this in us, now we assert it with confidence and spontaneity.

To me that is the most significant take away for SG50 and the NDR.

It is vital to have sufficient foresight but our unity is a great asset to shore up any lack we might have in that department. Larger neighbors and players in the geopolitical space will take us seriously.

To trade off truly spectacular fireworks for an impressive display of air power prowess, that was wisdom.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

GE2015: One clown speaking for the rest

Some people suggested with clowns like they have at the NSP CEC, they don't need competitors much less enemies. They have caused their SG Hazel Poa to quit in disgust. Now all their silly efforts has come to naught. Steve Chia who was eyeing for a three corner fight between him, the WP and Tin Pei Ling has surrendered.

They have no character or common sense but they also prove that anyone is free to try contesting of a seat in parliament. It is up to us voters to call them out for what they are. Resoundingly stupid Steve Chia and his colleagues in the central executive committee.

Now let's see who else is quitting the NSP CEC. That is their only redemption from stupidity.

Who can you trust: Beyond meritocracy

LKY was not shy to publicly express his preference for McCain over Obama. Who was Obama? McCain is tested but Obama had come from nowhere. Almost eight years later, we know Obama is no lightweight. America can afford to take that chance because if they had made a wrong choice, they are quite capable of bouncing back.

The winners of a meritocracy are not those who have passed the test of performance but trust. It is easy to judge a person's performance but very difficult to know if he or she can be trusted. The PAP is in the position and have the resources to play this safer than any other political party could. Their competitors can never hope to equal this for as good as practical, eternity. Therefore the voters will eventually tire of more of less of the same predictable look and feel for the men and women in white and try someone else. This is just human nature. In other words we will take a risk against the boring and predictable PAP sometime. The only way for the PAP to continue to govern is that it must change fundamentally. Ng Chee Meng and his senior colleagues defense that they do not suffer from groupthink is a weak one. Just like a Merc however you redesign the car is still recognizable as a Merc. How do you sell that the Merc is the car for all time is a huge challenge. To me that is impossible unless you can explain to the people better than they can think and see what is coming and how you are best prepared to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

Now if ever from the opposition, and it is a matter of time we do, outstanding characters of foresight but untested with a gift of the gab makes its entrance, the PAP becomes totally vulnerable. Just as a thought experiment, imagine a LKY emerges from the opposition side. That is a pair of shoes all of Singapore is waiting for someone suitable to fill.

Over time the PAP erstwhile strengths will eventually be perceived as weaknesses. They can either be proactive by acting with imagination stay ahead of the curve or play catch up and gradually see their support eroding. But how could they lead us into the future unless they also have a good idea what is beyond the horizon?

Over time this dichotomy of choice will become increasingly obvious. The choice between the boring, predictable good enough but not great and the exciting, full of possibilities alternative but also untested and extremely risky. As the population become more educated and self confident, it is a matter of time they reach the tipping point and take that risk of living dangerously. So the PAP must be the change or be changed. To me they have only made some adjustments when they ought to be thinking of transformation. You don't try to fix the opposition but win the hearts of the people. Don't be chosen because people have no choice because quietly and patiently society will create its choice outside the PAP. Whether voters will make the right choice or not, who knows?

Above quote from Yahoo article.

Friday, August 21, 2015

SG50 Commemorative Currency Notes

Happened to pass by a few bank branches this afternoon. Since I had some time I decided to trade all the cash I just took at the ATM for these new notes.

They limit each customer to only $500 worth of currency. Therefore I had to repeat the process again next door to make $1000.

Each $100 set comes with a $50 note and 10 pieces of $10, each with a different motif on the back.

Solving Android Lollipop Problems.

The performance of my Note 4 degraded after I upgraded to Lollipop from KitKat. A few times it had died on me and I had to remove the battery to bring it back to life. Three days ago I decided enough was enough. I backed up the system using KIES paying special attention to Whatsapp. Then I reset the phone to factory condition and build it up all over again. A time consuming process. Indeed the phone has become like the PC. Can be full of trouble when it doesn't work well.

Trumpet trees are blooming

Spotted many lovely blooming trumpet trees along our roads these couple of days. Went up a block across the road to get this photo.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

PAP track record is not the point

I think better say and show that you are in touch with the people more than highlighting your track record. What people are afraid of is the government disconnecting from what is good for Singapore with what is good for Singaporeans. If we suspect your intentions, governance and leadership becomes very difficult. The Population White Paper would have passed without a hitch if our infrastructure had been tip top. The last four years you did not try your best to solve the maintenance problem with our MRT trains but the transport minister tried his best. He was forced to trust SMRT to do its part, which they failed. Will this bad apple eventually spoil the rest of the apples in the barrel?

In the Singapore Conversation immediately after the last GE, you were acting like order takers or customer service reps than leaders trying to understand the Singapore heart beat. You were not leading but watching for cues from us. I don't think we can navigate the ship of Singapore into the future this way. For goodness sake, you need to lead. Without a good idea of what is coming, we will be what we will be following our instincts only. If we know what is coming, we will develop ourselves differently to meet the future. Bilingualism was never natural but we sweated at it because our former leader foresaw the future and pressed us into it. Leave us to be natural? We might be the turkey, very happy until we discover we were meant for Thanksgiving dinner.

Since 2011 have they rebuilt the trust with us? With me, I would say only in a limited way. Only if we kick them would they respond. Remember that planned but ill fated Temple/Columbarium in Punggol West?

Monday, August 17, 2015

Lessons from retiring PAP MPs

I agree with Han Fook Kwang that Lui Tuck Yew's quitting politics portends more than just a minister resigning. Just look a little further. There was a time when MPs leave because they were told by their secretary general they need to make way for new blood. Now more than a handful MPs are telling us they need to spend more time with their families or their other job need which they have neglected need them.

The MP calling has become a full time job. As some like Baey Yam Kheng, Tin Pei Ling and Foo Mee Har gave up their regular job to be full time MPs, some must gave up being MPs for their day job.

Lui Tuck Yew said that you need a tender heart and thick skin to be in politics. More than ever this is true here. But a thick skin does not mean you don't feel the hurt from the barbs people hurt at you. In fact if you have a tender heart it will hurt like hell. Thick skin isn't tough skin at all just as courage is not the absence of fear. It is just refusing to give in to hitting back or running away when every fibre in you scream at you to. On top of feeling hurt if you have to bear the hurt the spouse and children will also feel on your behalf. It is going to be much harder to find people to come into politics unless you do not mind sociopaths. Such kinds with great acting skill will con many. There will be many such types in the election after this one. It spells great danger for us.

Over the last few days I decided it was fruitless to speculate on the reasons for Lui quitting politics. It is easier to just note the non true reasons and let time reveal the truth. Let's see what he does after he has left the PAP.

At this rate the pressure is to produce an outcome where from the PAP side people come in to serve as MP/minister for two or three terms and leave. They will also not think and plan on a generational timescale like LKY had but over ten to twenty years. Given our small size and vulnerabilities the risk of us not surviving goes up by orders of magnitude. Conceptually for a small state you achieve the equivalent mass and push of a large state by acting early after seeing what is developing over the horizon. We are not like America, a large excavator which can be moved into position at short notice and start working. We are ants and we need to know way ahead of time where to show up and start working. If we do that right we punch way above our size. In fact that is the only way we could.

Raymond Lim retires from Politics

I think I bumped into Raymond Lim more than any other ministers. Several times I saw him sitting at the next table with his wife at the hawker centre or having breakfast at McDonalds. Then my routine changed and I stopped seeing him again. That was many years ago.

I am sure he is a nice guy, a great MP but a lousy Transport Minister. Lui Tuck Yew ever gracious to his colleagues and subordinates used the oldest trick in the book. Praise others for what they are good at and avoid mentioning their shortcomings which he prefers to deal with in private.

Raymond also didn't understand trains and left it to SMRT to handle it. He forgot that GLCs could play heads they win; tails you lose with ministers. Structure breeds behavior. SMRT will go for maximum shareholder value and minimum effort on what we all can't see: maintenance. If anything goes wrong the lion share of the blame will fall on the minister if the train operator cannot solve the problem.

The axe should come down on Desmond Kuek and the SMRT Board. There will be no sympathies like Lui Tuck Yew received if these people are booted out.

You might miss Raymond Lim as a caring MP but certainly not as Transport Minister. In fact I am hard put to think who can do that job better than Lui Tuck Yew who nevertheless could not explain and persuade us on how the challenges should be overcome. The arrow of blame heads for the PM when the transport minister quits. Netizens are quite public about this.

I salute Lui Tuck Yew not because he has been a successful transport minister but he is a good and capable guy put in am impossible structure, something which the PM and his Cabinet have the power to change but did not.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Singapore 2B: One of the best blog posts

One of the best blog post of governing Singapore that I have come across. On many occasions I have lamented LHL is incapable of foresight. How Singapore desperately need that; how Peter Ong's toys to peer over the horizon won't cut it.

That blog post captures my sentiments exactly.

ESM Goh: Demand the same integrity from all parties

I am scratching my head how do you do that? Holding any political party or government to any standard of integrity. Typically I know they have no integrity after the fact. In other words too late. Many are not as careless, stupid or have powerful enemies as Najib.

Look at how the PAP selects ministers. Save a few lawyers and doctors the majority are people they had been observing since they were teenagers. These are their scholar generals, policemen and senior civil servants. The opposition parties have to take much more risk with their candidates. At least the quality of education and experience of the people they can bring in keep going up. However it is hard to judge if anyone is lacking integrity.

No, we can only try to reduce the risks when selecting people and I am doubtful we can do very much. Furthermore there is not much transparency and a deluge of data when they opt to be more transparent. Most of us must pick the issues to study because there is simply not enough time.

I watched how the Americans put their politicians especially Presidential candidates under a microscope. I don't think that is doable here. We are a different society.

My response to GCT is don't talk down to me. Say something more meaningful and practical.

At the end of the day, we are taking huge risks. It is difficult to do better.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Germany's sick experiment on Greece

The WSJ was just doing its job reporting on the ground the situation there. But behind the sick numbers which even the IMF will not sign up to people must work out what the Germans are up to. This is no longer the European Germany but one that is trying to make Europe in its image.

These numbers for Greece to achieve are fantasy. Going by German rational calculations, I think they are using Greece to conduct a low cost experiment on the very long term feasibility of changing the guts of every European member into German ones.

Low cost because most of the money given to Greece would simply be recycled back to Germany and the other creditors. There is little for Greece except to keep existing so that the money can move to and back.

I thought my idea was crazy but I am reminded from history leaders can occasionally think and act most foolishly. The most recent example was American hare-brained idea of regime change for Iraq. What a mess.

The German experiment is doomed to fail. Now it is up to France and perhaps after the referendum the UK to do something about this.

China's Emma Lee vs Our Tan Cheng Bock

There were about 900 likes within the first two hours ST posted it on their Facebook page. All the comments were negative and unhappy why Emma Lee and her mother who are not Singaporean had seats at the NDP when most of us born and bred here had tried many years unsuccessfully.

Emma Lee must be completely perplexed and confused by the backlash she is getting. I don't blame her. How would she know? Among her Singaporean friends she is well accepted.

Below is our own Tan Cheng Bock a veteran MP who could not get a seat but have to specially arrange to be in a skyscraper to stay close to the parade.

This is a political and transactional PAP government. Dr. Tan is no longer useful to them and the likes of Emma Lee represents a grateful foreigner vis a vis complaining locals. But these foreigners do not understand what make Singapore tick. We do. The PAP leaders are so starved of appreciation, these foreigners are now preferred but politically suicidal for them to publicly admit. Singapore will have a short life if our leaders values are built on dollars and cents. Even Lee Seng Wee who passed away recently only wanted to do good and never bothered with public appreciation.

Emma Lee 1
Tan Cheng Bock 0

Damn you PAP.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

PM as the next Transport Minister

Bertha Henson saves me a lot of time blogging about Lui Tuck Yew retirement. I mostly agree with her. I would take this opportunity to write about what's next. I think the PM ought to take over as Transport Minister. When in his view nobody could handle the Finance portfolio he had assumed that. Now is the time for him to own this hot potato. After all the problems were created by his reckless policies with a take the people for granted attitude. He made us feel inferior to the foreigners he was in a hurry to bring in causing us to teach him and his colleagues an unforgettable lesson.

Comprehension 101. Lui Tuck Yew made this the first paragraph in his letter to the PM after his introduction, i.e., the most important point.

The PM's point that the Cabinet bears collective responsibility for Transport issues is nonsense. That is not how the public view it, and we will never accept that. Does the PM mean that he could get away with big mistakes because the entire government would have to resign to take responsibility? Cabinet collective responsibility is an oxymoron. It is the nuclear option for mutual assured destruction between government and people. It is also how with weak opposition parties you could be a dictatorship under an umbrella which says democracy. Lui Tuck Yew recognized that. He has found the kindest to his colleagues moment to take responsibility and leave. I salute him.

Update: Aug 12 11:20am

Nice of ST to do this for Lui Tuck Yew. People forget and need to be reminded. Myself, I have always been kinder to him any time than to the feckless Raymond Lim. Lui tried to make a bad situation better but Raymond Lim was responsible for making it worse. Also Desmond Kuek is the wrong person for the job. You don't bring in the military to learn but someone with deep experience in trains to solve the problem, and to pay him double the previous CEO was just adding to the aggravation. The only time I was paid to learn was in my first job, otherwise it is always what I can contribute and then try to learn on the job as much as possible.

These two top comments are very interesting.

First comment I assume reflect the sentiment of the silent majority. The second comment is logical but unrealistic because Malaysia can still be a going concern with that quality of lousy government but if it were Singapore we would be finished. Vincent Ong and also many FTs here fail to understand the minimum standard to keep Singapore going. It is also just perverse when the PAP government play this card against us, which only make us angrier. I call that their unacceptable habit of playing heads I win, tails you lose. They mostly stopped that since the last GE.

Update: Aug 12 3:15pm

I suppose reflecting his Chinese education, CSM is always subtle and rich with symbolism.

"classmates from over forty years ago" means I know this guy. Nobody needs to explain him to me.

"But I ride on his buses and trains almost daily... or I wish they were really his" CSM can't resist this for contrast, i.e., ministers travel in cars but he like most uses public transport and what is really the shot across the bow comes next - I wish they were really his. In other words LTY was constrained with the solutions he could bring to bear on the problem. Evaluating within the box the PM has put him in, he had scored distinctions but accounting to the public is a different matter. Had LTY owned the system he would have a free hand to do all that is necessary and the solutions would be bolder and faster.

Lee Seng Wee: The light has gone out

He was a good guy my late father used to say. Many rich people are crooks he went on to explain. Now he is gone. Suffered a fall to his head, the surgeons tried to save him but complications set in. He passed away on August 7 and was cremated the very next day. As in life, very private and low profile.

A much better example than Ng Teng Fong and Khoo Teck Puat. I am still unhappy that for a $100M each two hospitals were named after them. Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine at NTU, of Business at SMU and Natural History at NUS, I welcome those.

These days too many of the rich are show offs. Quite a few flaunt their vulgar wealth that is built on debt than cash and assets. We gotta produce more rich people like this family.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Missing Papa on Aug 9: Please demolish the house

As usual I flipped through the papers early this morning and rarely stop to read anything. I just want to have an overview, coming back to read them more carefully later. This morning I stopped, dropped everything and made time for Dr. Lee Wei Ling's, "Missing Papa on Aug 9"

Many thoughts about how she must be feeling went through my mind as I read and I have no time to write them all here. However two things were most prominent. She didn't get any special treatment at Marina South to see the Black Knights perform. That would have meant a lot more to her than practically everyone else present. The next and more important it would be best for me to quote her.

Can we just honor her father's last wish? I think lots of angry Singaporeans might help. Tell the government to honor LKY's last wish. The guilt would be upon us if we don't. Even if we would to fail on the first try, we should just keep at it until the bungalow is demolished. Yes, we ought to keep it if its occupant were someone else other than the Lee family. Then the guidelines for the preservation of monuments apply. But to preserve the memory of LKY and the Old Guard, it is best to keep making Singapore better and a beacon in the world. Even God felt it clever to destroy the Temple in Jerusalem for temples everywhere in living beings.

Yes, I had also wanted to write about LKY's interest in euthanasia but I think it is better to keep those sad thoughts private.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

50 years ago an unlikely nation and people

I have been wondering what I would leave on this blog to remember this day long after it is past. I found it on June 20 this year when a friend and my sis shared this article by Cindy Tong on their Facebook pages. I responded as follows:

Singapore is small enough to be family. We saw that when we were mourning for TKPS during the tragic earthquake. We are also large enough to confidently bestride the world, who has the chutzpah to go to Washington to tell American lawmakers to grow up. We adapt all the time, so we do not have a fixed identity. It is the continuing journey taken together which will constantly define us. The writer Cindy Tong will find her identity as a journey and not a destination. Then she will begin to be aware how unique we are.

Today we celebrate our Golden Jubilee. So Majulah Singapura, Onward Singapore, To Boldy Go once more. I think at our cores we are perhaps Trekkers. Singapore is also an Enterprise. We never planned this but my children grew up watching Star Trek TNG over and over again.

Update: 6:35 am

Two of our doctors went out of their way to bring Megan home. And the reason? "She is one of our own" replied Dr. Chew. (ST July 2)

This is Home Truly.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Mah Bow Tan: Blindsided Minister retires

I think quite a few are happy to see him go, but really him stepping down as minister is good enough. Quite a few have profited handsomely from his housing policies but you know, this is not the time to offer the man public praise. It is just politically incorrect. What about me? I feel sad for him. He had a tragic career in politics. Future ministers should have a chat with him to better understand how it feels to put in your best only to be severely criticized and publicly blamed. No ounce of appreciation except those who had a personal touch from him.

How many people can you personally touch, make a difference in their lives compared to policies which touch everyone including those yet to be born?

As the way to hell is paved with good intentions that is the tragedy of Mah Bow Tan as a minister. I never believed he took decisions to make us worse off but worse off we had under him. He was a blindsided minister or what in the SAF might say, on the ball but the wrong ball.

There are dark corners in every mind. That is why faiths like Buddhism spoke of the luminous ones. Mah had crafted policies that needed darkened corners in his mind to have been illuminated to avoid his mistakes. This has nothing to do with intellectual ability or wisdom. It had to do with empathy and the heart. Among ministers he wasn't the only afflicted but he had the misfortune of helming MND.

The man in the street see such darkened minds superficially as elites out of touch with their lives. They can't tell if you as minister were working for them or pleasing someone else, e.g., the property developers and wealthy. Just as there were actually good and evil Communists too, but that was a morally bankrupt ideology which rendered it impossible to tell good from evil. Who can see in the dark?

Therefore if the PAP wants you as a minister but you have no idea what the common folk worries, fears and aspirations are, be kind to yourself and us and say No.

I like to finish by recording my grateful thanks to Mah Bow Tan for imagining and championing Gardens by the Bay. I could also feel the PM's pain when he spoke about your role in making GBB happen. In this tiny Red Dot nobody should be in politics if he cared too much what others think. Do what is good for our country regardless of what the people think. If that his how he thinks, he will retire happy. I believed he tried his best.

Friday, August 7, 2015

SG50: Bless our Singapore by Corrinne May

I didn't think there is a second one to cherish after discovering Lorraine Tan Flower in the Snow yesterday.

Must be quite special for Corrinne May to do this with her daughter.

I am not Catholic but there is so much the Protestants could learn from them. Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words said Francis of Assisi.

Protestants talk way too much. If they would only spend more time on their knees and in little acts of love.

This Jubilee Weekend

The Jubilee Weekend is upon us and we are having a quiet weekend staying mostly at home. I had tried to get tickets for the NDP, the first time I ever tried but you know the laws of chance, we were not likely to succeed.

I told them all the free to enter and half prices especially at the Zoos, let others especially those who feel that full price is an arm and a leg enjoy it. Each time I see school children in the two conservatories at Gardens by the Bay I am so grateful it cost them nothing to visit. Unfortunately they could not take their parents along. They will have to bring home digital photos to show their parents. I am thankful that most people can afford a smart phone never mind it is not an iPhone.

I will be using this weekend to catch up on work as well. Work is not a four letter word when it is meaningful and you can do it at a comfortable pace. Then I can really get into the Zone.

Mistreated Healthcare Workers

I caught this because my nurse friend shared this.

And on nurses' day which was just a few days before, I combine two pictures to produce this for her.

Thumper will have to play her pet rabbit in this greeting!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

SG50: Flower in the snow

I was as usual quickly scrolling down my Facebook war and I saw this. What a beautiful if poignant song by Lorraine Tan. Already 1.4 million view since July 16

Keep the dream alive!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

What Rubbish: Hotties in this Elections

I fully backed Bucky Ng comment.

In this new environment we cannot control what is put out but we can choose how to respond. I hope Bucky Ng gets many more likes. Ditto some of the stupid articles from ST just to attract eye balls. 

I agree with LKY that elections must be thoughtful and serious. No theater please. Go entertain yourself at other countries expense. Sure there can be comic communication but always there is an underlying serious message. Don't even begin to think about drifting toward what the Filipinos are doing. 

TOC should not have highlighted this article to its readers. They are not getting a cent from me in donation this time. Elections has nothing with to do with sex appeal. I thought TOC was quite good in 2011 but the intervening years have shown me that they are much lesser than I had thought them to be. They have become needlessly anti-government, aping the west without thought for our circumstances, basically lost their way. 

BreadTalk Soya: Honesty is the best policy

I can still remember sitting in class as a primary school student our teacher teaching us the meaning of "Honesty is the best policy" This is something BreadTalk seemed to have thrown into the bin with expired buns.

These days everyone is so short term. Everyone is into doing whatever they want as long as they don't get caught. Even the government is into this fad which include talking long term but acting short term.

Rotten, just rotten. Meanwhile another scandal over Kueh Lapis from Bengawan Solo could be erupting.

The only folks thinking long term now are the few honest elites and many of the common people. They are not business owners or highly incentivized executives. They never have many opportunities to be tempted with get rich quick schemes. Many cannot even qualify for much renovation loans to do up their BTO flats. But they are smart folks who learn quickly. The elites better watch out.

Update: 5:40 pm

Got this picture off Oh yeah? "Freshly prepared..."

and the appropriate comments at BreadTalk Facebook page.

Update: Aug 7 1:50pm

And BreadTalk cannot be reached for comment! I passed they outlet in Clementi Mall at noon today and there was only one browsing customer. They have plenty of former customers now.

And these comments were too passionate not to be included here.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Lucky Plaza Yong Tau Hu

First time for me, second time for wifey at this Yong Tau Hu stall on the sixth floor of Lucky Plaza. We stopped by here for very early lunch before heading to Ngee Ann City.

They are very popular. Imagine what the lunch crowd would be like. Many people bought lots of meat balls. I only had two, not bad but my gut feel is that all the eat healthy benefits of yong tau hu is destroyed by this one item.

Chan Heng Chee interviews the PM

I caught this program on TV last night. Impressed with Prof Chan as the interviewer even if I assume, the questions were prepared in advance for the PM. You always maximize a TV appearance.

When there are no easy choices, it is time to think out of the box. Often this will not work either then all good leaders cast their sight to the future and wait for changing circumstances to provide the opportunity to act. It might be controversial e.g., Obama's Iran peace initiative.

It is perfectly true that it is easy for us to criticize. The job of finding solutions is orders of magnitude harder.

I don't know about others but I criticize because.

1. There is inadequate questioning and criticism in parliament and the MSM.

2. A consequence of believing that only the paranoid survives.

3. We must always do better. The media keeps Obama humble. What keeps LHL and his ministers humble? A repeat of 2011?

4. The best leaders don't care if they are popular, so criticizing them do not hurt them and can only help them do better. These are the results speak for themselves characters.

On and off I praise their work in this blog too. The latest was how Shanmugam scolded US lawmakers publicly in DC.

In my parents' time it was futile for leaders to try to get them to understand the pressures of the job and the limits of policy making. In our time when it is clearer that the cognitive and judgement gap between the ministers and many well educated and traveled among us is narrower, government leaders must communicate much better. Give some opinion makers opportunities to understand your constraints (count me out). They will either provide out of box ideas or at least explain policies to others.

The solutions the PAP government suggest got to be better. Never mind if they cannot do better but keep trying. Sure the future is hazy as the PM replied to Chan Heng Chee's questions.