Thursday, July 27, 2017

Galaxy Note 8 based on leaks

This is the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 8 based on leak. It sure leaked more than the White House.

Would be very interesting to compare against the real thing when it is released in a couple of months time. Too bad the display purportedly at 6.4 inch is too big for my pocket. I think it would be very expensive as well.

Below an updated July 21 version.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

No longer read Anti-Trump magazine stories

I realized I haven't been reading lengthy anti-Trump magazine articles for several months now. I think they are published as an emotional outlet than adding light to the issue. This is a huge business opportunity for the liberal media catering the to the visceral hate toward this fool.

Yep, a part of me still wonder if he is really the US president. When this is over we will add a lot to our understanding of the United States of America. Our image of that powerful nation would be changed forever. Perhaps I should say, it already has. At the very least we would wonder if American voters would put another cartoon character like him in office.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Catching Dunkirk

For what Dunkirk veteran Ken Sturdy said about it, I might just go and see it.

Sometimes I feel that Facebook is a waste of time but on the other hand it has opened new horizons for me too. You can predict what you will get. I know many people have their filter on and inflate their bubble with it making them more convinced of that they are absolutely right in their bigotry. I guess I am using Facebook in the opposite way. E.g., I take note of Trump's ardent supporters posts. I never imagined some of my friends of many years ended up as his die-hard supporters. It was so unexpected. Often my friend in Canada also remarked the same and it seemed we never got over that.

I think I would just get the DVD when it comes out.

Sonny Liew's Charlie Chan

I have seen this comic book in the library many times. Several times I read portions of it whilst waiting for others to pick the books they want to borrow. Many times I was tempted to borrow it but knew I would be too busy to read it when if I take a copy home. Now I would have to wait for a long time if I submit a reservation. On the other hand I could buy the Kindle version for about USD 16 bu I have decided I have no time.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Useful Bilahari Kausikan

His public sharing can be very useful. He is more willing to talk compared to many other diplomats. No doubt he is a very smart guy with disappointingly matching arrogance, but I don't care. He only needs to be useful. He thinks his loyalty is to Singapore but I think his loyalty is to LHL and the PAP. Sure, he would be able to justify his positions but I would in the absence of evidence always err on the side of safety with Occam's razor.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Halimah Yacob will run for President

I imagine as President you would be a rubber stamp one. What check would you be towards the government of the day? I think you are a good person but your loyalty would still be to the PAP even when you cease to be a member. There is too much tribalism and too little independence from the PAP. It is as always party above nation for you guys.

It is the same predictable script. First you say you would consider or indicate then it happens.

I hope the Malay community can offer someone who does not need any special approval from the committee because he or she fails to meet every requirement to stand for election. On that score Mr. Mohammed Salleh Marican and Mr. Farid Khan Kaim Khan do not qualify. Also will the Malay community accept Khan as one of them? He culturally but not racially Malay.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Post LKY: There are "no lessons" from the past

How can there be lessons from the past when different people draw diametrically opposite lessons from their long working relationship with LKY? Even his children seem to disagree with each other. The elder son has not come to a firm conviction about the house which at least half, possibly lots more think his father wanted it torn down. No, the man is alive as with anyone is, you let him explain and do not second guess him. Now he is gone, can you interpret him when in life you do not but check with him? How do you hope read him correctly? You might not succeed with a regular guy, what is the chance of doing the same with a genius? History informs us that societies have regularly failed to continue the legacy of the great leader once he is gone. We learn what we can and make up the rest ourselves.

Now we read the great man not with our thought but our hearts. Science have caught up with the faith books on this - our thoughts are directed solely by our hearts. Anyone can easily cherry pick quite a few sayings and speeches from LKY to support either an optimistic or pessimistic case. People regularly do the same to their religious scripture too. The words and works LKY left us will be used or abused according to where our hearts lead us.

History is only a guide. It is not easy to draw lessons from history. If history is a treasure map then the terrain has changed and the treasure might also have. We have to update our maps and careful about getting it right whilst working together on it.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Volunteer divers, the siblings and LHL

These do-gooders get it and will frequently do better job than the tax payer funded ones.

This line from the story captures the values of this group of life-savers. Not mentioned but I would understand it that every single life saved is the most important, and if they had only saved one that would be good enough. Sure they had saved many as well.

Running public services and companies, to be realistic you cannot avid numbers based KPIs. Being practical keep us going but only ideals secure our future and check moral corruption. In this sense, I personally feel that the siblings were too idealistic and the PM too realistic.

I probably can take my chance with the presidential elections to protest the PAP lack of idealism which must turn their values hypocritical over time. As a realist I would still feel compelled to vote for them to form the government because there is not other viable choice.

Friday, July 7, 2017

NUS Commencement 2017

She is finally done with university for now. Did the minimum three years, no point doing honours because it is too academic. Perhaps she will return to do her masters later.

Whilst she was putting on her robes, I bought her this ($59.90) and it has become our star of the day

Before and After :-)

The bear decided I wasn't good at taking this shot!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Leon Perera's Speech: A very good 11 mins I missed

An eleven minutes speech which I should have made time for but how could I? I don't even know it was useful and there were so many speeches. The ones who curate the news for us has a lot of power.

Fortunately my former classmate pointed it out as worth listening and so I did. Instead of the front page of the ST, we have friends to help us with what to read or view.

Meanwhile the ST app sucks. It had sucked from the beginning, long enough for me to run it on several devices and it is still very unreliable, the worst app ever. I have lost count how many times I wanted to terminate my subscription. My brother and sister already have and for a long time too.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

PAP: "No pinching my nose to vote for Trump"

I resent how this issue is consuming time I do not have. The only speech I heard from start to end was the 12 minutes one by ESM Goh. Certainly I didn't care for the PM's 38 mins speech except to read about his teary moment talking about his late father telling him to look after the family if anything would to happen to him. So I came across this by serendipity and no I didn't spare the 5 mins to hear Teo Chee Hean out. I imagined the earful from the other ministers and MPs.

It is unconscionable to use parliament to bully private citizens. It is shameful. Remember how Chng Hee Cock also used the chamber to bully Philip Yeo and many shameless MPs stood with Mr. Cock with their bird talk? The PAP is very tribal. They have each other back regardless of merit. Philip Yeo was only saved because ministers are also members of the civil service tribe defended him.

No pinching my nose to vote for the PAP. Moral hazard will make them weak until they destroy Singapore because they also make sure they remain impossible to challenge successfully. Ownself check ownself ensures that.

Since the opposition parties are not up to the task of governing, they will win elections but I would like to see them win without the people's mandate. If they are shrewd they ought to pass a law to avoid that outcome. Politics everywhere has become pregnant with surprises.

Update: 8:00 pm

I just came across this and was piqued by what Heng Swee Keat remarks and decided to spend the 22 mins listening to his speech in full.

I mostly agree with him even on abuse of power by the PM because that is not proven. There were wiser ways for the PM and his involved ministers to respond to the siblings allegations which they failed to. How could these people who are far more intelligent than me not do any of those? I am forced to conclude the PM has something to hide. He will never sue his siblings because that would be the end of him. Neither can the siblings continue to bring out more dirty laundry because ESM Goh had put paid to that. They can move on to the serious business of governing. But the PM is tarnished beyond repair and the plans to succeed him should be hastened.

If he leads the PAP I might support him but if it is LHL certainly not.

Update: 11:40 pm

What a hare brained and mischievous suggestion from Shanmugam. Even Trump does better than this. This guy is unfit to be an MP much less a minister. Insult our intelligence even on his on Facebook page, commenters found that incredible.

It is important to do you homework and it is also very difficult as well since most of us do not have the time. The PAP knows this and throw us a ton of reading materials to drown us. I so happened to recall that according to the PM his siblings had threatened to expose him during the 2015 elections. If jealousy was the reason as Shanmugam disingenuously suggested then why wait till 2017. It is because the siblings held out hope for achieving their objective of demolishing the house. Jealousy cannot be the reason. Hong Jassmen and five others must also have found that incredulous.

But why would Shanmugam care? Only a few of us, too few to matter would have noticed. But he is stupid to try his luck. I hope it redound on him.

ESM Goh had pulled wool over many people's eyes and for practical and sad reasons I have chosen to look the other way to buy time because PM Lee has taken Singapore hostage. Don't be an idiot and expose the ESM tactic. I hope you get a good scolding from him because it is not true the siblings were trying to take the PM down. If the PM were upright, nothing would stick, not even public opinion would turn against him since he was such a popular leader. Only evidence and not allegations or speculations can take the siblings down in the opinion of many of us. The nation is divided because the PM is afraid to sue. That is family before nation when his late father has always put nation before family.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

38 Oxley Road: How ESM Goh is helping

On June 17, I posted "Would ESM Goh please help?"

I just read his speech on the subject in parliament and shared it with a few people.

Link to GCT speech.

ESM Goh was trying to restore confidence to the PM and his ministers in a carefully worded speech which I first heard and then read the text. Very well crafted to recover as much as can be recovered from the damage incurred from this public family feud.

Now he is hoping for the WP and NMP to also show their vote of confidence in the government. Would they?

Most important how does the public feel about this?

My most important blog posts on this subject were the first two.

June 15: LKY values in 38 Oxley Road - Demolishing the house is in keeping with our survivor values.

June 16: The practical vs the ideal - The siblings were idealists, their brother and late father were realists.

So after LKY passed away the idealists and the realists clashed. They could stay out of each other way but for the house, the rest as they say is history.

LHY and Suet Fern knew how this would end. They will be packing their bags and go like they said they were planning to.

Most important: ESM Goh never explained the motive of the siblings wanting to bring their brother down as PM. He creatively suggested there were "deep cracks within the family, cracks which perhaps started decades ago" I pretty much doubt that. They probably like any family have their share of squabbles but to hate each other to such a degree and successfully hid it from their parents and relatives, that is an disingenuous suggestion.

Most people will not try to read into ESM Goh speech too deeply. We need our Lenin's useful idiots except that I am not sure if we have many such people. LWL is confident that we do not. I know we are definitely much smarter than the average American voter.

Update: 10:25 pm

Important last words from the PM speech as he closes in parliament today.

When I recounted how when I was about 13, my father had told me: “If anything happens to me, please take care of your mother, and your younger sister and brother.”
Singapore was then part of Malaysia. We were in a fierce fight with the Central Government and the communalists.
My father did not tell me, but he knew his life was in danger.
Fortunately, nothing happened to my father then. He brought up the family. And I thought we had a happy family and he lived a long and full life.
Little did I expect that after my parents died, these tensions would erupt, with such grievous consequences. After so many years, I’d be unable to fulfil the role which my father hoped I would.
So, I hope one day, these passions will subside, and we can begin to reconcile.

Best they reconcile then our prayers are also answered but what a brutal answer. We live in a messy world and never pretend it to be otherwise. Always stay real. Honest politics is a thankless task.

Update: July 5 6:50 am

It was getting late but I spotted something very useful before I turned in for the night in a comment to ESM Goh's speech.

All the accompanying bird talk! How many would have followed events and news flow as closely as CJ Leo? Most people would not have the time and the PAP like vile politicians everywhere exploit this hard truth.

Update: July 5 8:10 am

Just shared this with a group chat of former classmates.

Bear in mind that leadership is taking a people to a place they would otherwise not go on their own. That is why LKY never bothered with opinion polls. If he listened it was because he needed to decide if we could make the journey successfully, if not then select a different destination. Now we need to be a different and better selves than our pioneer generation. We need to go where we would not naturally go because we are not useful idiots.

I saw Shanmugam boldly telling off US lawmakers in DC over the TPP but he is a chicken in front of voters. This is bad but sadly realistic. On the other hand LWL is no chicken and will like her late father give it to us unvarnished if necessary. She trusts us to rise to the occasion and I wish I have faith like hers.

Update: July 5 12:40 pm

A former pastor friend send me a video clip which developed into this picture in the first few seconds of play.

Unlike the astrological quality prayers that were circulating which are so general and hedged to be useless, I reminded him about praying for ESM Goh to intervene. So I responded as follows.

Update: July 6 4:30 pm

Evidence that demands a verdict coming or not? But sometimes the truth is more deadly than lies. We can live with the gradual but not sudden demise of a leader.

Tommy Koh: Kausikan were you smart enough?

Did Bilahari Kauiskan ever anticipated the situation Qatar has found itself in recently? That was the question that kept circulating in my mind as I read Tommy Koh's article.

Prof Koh took pains to point out to what degree international law was adhered to in the termination of diplomatic relations and economic blockade of Qatar by Saudi Arabia and a few other countries. It is helpful to read again how Prof Koh ended his story.

Kishore Mahbubani long range radar warns of possible break downs in the rule of law in international relations. Therefore the example of Qatar to Singapore is relevant. Prof Koh points out that prior assumptions and certainties suddently did not hold - the Americans did not come to defend Qatar and shockingly took the agressors' side instead.

Yes, unlike Qatar we invest heavily in our defence but please don't have the itchy fingers to use these assets because we have been foolish on the strategic and diplomatic fronts. Our military is not an insurance policy for careless diplomats to turn to but part of our overall diplomatic and security strategy.

Kausikan is very smart but only for an international order that may be going away. I hope it is only a brief hiatus and what are we doing and making sure that we succeed to help create a world system that is still rules based? On this matter we should be bold and bet the ranch because if the rules based global order collapses then our demise is only a matter of time. Go ahead and punch well above our weight.

Because Kausikan has been so candid and generous with his knowledge many including me have benefited much but I figure in this instance he is off the mark. Nevertheless I am sure he cannot missed the warning Chan Heng Chee gave about how skepticism then cynicism become accidental ideology unaware, which is always dangerous for Singapore. The only safe ideology for us is what works.

Update: 7:25 pm

I referred to Chan Heng Chee in the main post. Below is where I got it from her yesterday in the ST.

Balancing between Kausikan and Kishore

To do that and as usual to achieve it quickly and sorry, not often as clearly as I would have liked I am borrowing from Chan Heng Chee's piece yesterday in the ST.

Before getting to the "Post-US world order" Prof Chan explained the political genius of multiracialism in a Chinese majority nation. We always build upon our foundations and so a bit of history is always needed to get people on the same page.

It is superior insight and foresight acting with imagination and courage which produce strokes of genius (see a result of that from Prof Chan's sharing). I had over the years in this blog lamented that LKY's foresight is what we cannot replace when he is gone.

Draghi said he would defend the Euro at all costs. The Chinese attempted to defend the RMB with reserves. This is a quite recent example of which is the superior way. Words and intention are far more powerful than hard resources if we know how to use them.

When we have great foresight and the power to persuade others on it, we begin to punch above our weight. Qatar never had that but like the Chinese discounted for relative size they had money, and like the Chinese discovered you never have enough money. Today China is very tightfisted about money leaving the country. In other words even big countries must be careful about acting big. Instead all countries must learn to be wise. Resourceful countries can indulge in the occasional foolishness especially America but the rest of us pay a price far higher. Small countries could pay the ultimate price. Wisdom is not an option but a necessity for us. On that Kausikan was brilliant but not wise.

Big or small country is a static idea but a wise country is dynamic and adaptable toward ensuring its security and promoting its well being.

Go ahead and punch well above your weight but only if you have deep clear insight which is sufficient to power extraordinary foresight. Then you would succeed at persuading others to your point of view and finally add chutzpah to make it successful.

Monday, July 3, 2017

38 Oxley Road: Parliament to safeguard "useful idiots"

I didn't bother to follow the "debate" in parliament earlier today. What for? A friend shared the transcript of what the PM said etc., See below and double click to enlarge if hard to read.

In the red box, I said,

The answer is in the process. If you think you have no stake in this then wait for time to reveal but if you do then the answer is a bespoke one. At the macro level whoever has the useful idiots on their side will win, at least in the short term if truth is not on your side.
What is a Lenin's useful idiot?

Fortunately in certain matters like security, finance and bread and butter issues there are few useful idiots here. The upcoming presidential elections could easily be hijacked as a referendum on the PAP government. Time will tell.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Government and LKYSPP at war

I don't know if that is the appropriate title for this post but it would be if they keep up with the fighting. Previously only folks like Donald Low (I don't agree with most of his views) and Yeoh Lam Keong (brilliant, does his homework) were criticizing the government. Now the boss Kishore Mahbubani has probably inadvertently gotten involved or perhaps what was private has become public.

To me Kausikan was plainly being mischievous. How on earth did he draw those conclusions from Mahbubani article? We would never have been a busybody or acted like Qatar. Ah, but there is a subtext in the article which elicited Kausikan and Shanmugam (shouldn't it be Vivian) to respond. Mahbubani was implicitly suggesting that without LKY, GKS or Raja who would never have acted like Qatar have been doing, we now have a bunch of ministers and diplomats that are not the equal of LKY. Without the great man having our backs, we better make some sensible adjustments. Let's be honest and get real.

The danger now is we have leaders who risk thinking better than they actually are and in time will jeopardize our well being and security. Unfortunately the emotional manner which they lashed out at Mahbubani suggest they are hiding deep insecurity which would invite foreign powers to test us. Well some like China had and I thought we clearly passed the test well enough. So I don't understand what is the problem. Must everyone in Singapore belong to the choir and sing from the same hymn book?

Here are a couple of comment on the ST article on Kausikan response.

Kausikan gave many readers the impression that he is pretending to comprehend a passage below the standard expected of JC students offering GP.

They still invite us especially Tharman at the IMF and G20 but there is no guarantee we will always have our seats unless we perform. So there is no need to quarrel about such things.

Here Shanmugam is bringing up his bigger gun to fire on Kausikan's side. Isn't he over stepping into Vivian Balakrishnan's territory. Increasingly I don't trust this minister. May be he is some power hungry menace but still in the feeding phase.

I have read this article before Yeoh Lam Keong. If the PM has seen it, I am sure he would not be pleased as it suggest all the not just years but decades he had spent in power, he is a prime candidate for power induced brain damage.

I like to see an independent LKYSPP that is not afraid of the government. I hope they can stand up to the government successfully but it can be near impossible in the face of tyranny on Singapore territory. And where does tyranny comes from? The abuse of power of course and this will bring us back to the issue of the house at 38 Oxley Road.

Voters must be careful to identify when the civil service and PAP self interest is equated as the national interest at our expense. Chee Hong Tat, not so clever is already spewing this at us.

Remember the Population White Paper.

Update: 7:45 pm

My response at a chat.

Update: 9:55 pm

Yet another one. 

Update: July 3 7:40 am

I come across as part of my unpredictable readings from the Bible this morning. This is from Joshua 7.

When I saw that I thought of Moses who was Joshua's mentor. Moses could have done the same in Joshua's position but he would have been more likely to just talk the Lord directly. Moses was irreplaceable. This is not extraordinary but a pattern that is repeated throughout history. There are exceptions when a great leader is succeeded by an equal but it doesn't look that way for us. The Chinese were candid with us when then reminded LHL that he is not comparable to LKY. However there is nothing to stop us from trying but we have to bear in mind and not have wild ideas of what we are not.

Jiang Wei did not act like he was the equal to Zhuge Liang. He was excellent but he knew he wasn't Kongming. That is what the honest patriot Kishore Mahbubani has urged us to do. There was no need for Kausikan or Shanmugam to over react.

Singapore is tiny but not weak. We continue to punch above our weigh but it is just not the same without LKY. Better respect the fact or we shall repent in tears sometime.

Update: July 3 9:40 am

I didn't wait long. In ST Opinion pages today I found the following written by Yap Kwong Weng from LKYSPP

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Mahbubani : Qatar lessons for us

I regularly disagree with Kishore Mahbubani but this time I am in near complete agreement with him on the takeaways for us from the Qatar experience.

This is a warning to review and understand correctly what it means when we are punching above our weigh on the world stage. Note that after performance is gone, brand remains for sometime, and that is a dangerous period. Are we living that now? Probably not but the government of the day desiring to continue the mandate LKY helped them earn would be sorely tempted to talk themselves into such belief. Mahbubani warns us that it would be forbiddingly expensive.

Let's be honest if that virtue is still present when tested on Monday's sitting of parliament.