Archives - 2004
Singaporean on TV
Lee first state visit
trinity-divinity remains intact.
for a reality check
Kra Canal Project
shock at Johor Baru
Casino plan: Surprisin objection
what you want
Re: Digital rage
Insensitive Singaporean on TV
Online letter on soc.culture.singapore
After watching the mandarin news on Channel U with regards to
the earthquake in SE Asia, one interviewee has the audacity to
say that the airline could not even compensate or allow him discounted
rates to a diverted route to Bangkok when he can't proceed to
Such insensitivity, a discounted air ticket is much required than
lives lost or destroyed. Hmmm
Dec 26, 2004
Lee first state visit
PM Lee visited Brunei recently. It was for the Royal wedding not
a state visit.
However, I am sure keen political watchers will be asking which
country would he pay his first state visit and when.
Will that country be in ASEAN, in Asia or in the West?
Would the PM visit China last after the episode over his private
visit to Taiwan before he took office?
Will the emphasis for the first state visit be economic or political
PM Lee's political advisers must be working overtime to plan the
trip and his entourage.
I do not have the resources to check out which country PM Goh
visited when he took over from SM Lee.
As citizens we can only wait but we hope it will be a wise choice
by the PM. It will be important to Singapore.
Some punters having nothing better to do could be working on the
I am no political watcher or punter but someone who likes to put
my 3-cents worth of thoughts in all kinds of issues. I have the
feeling the trip will be soon.
Tan Kok Tim
Sep 19, 2004
trinity-divinity remains intact.
As a keen observer of the political developments in the ASEAN
region I am amused to see that although Singapore had just appointed
its new Prime Minister recently, from the trinity and divinity
perspectives,it continue to remain intact.
Firstly, there is the father, the son and the holy Goh.
They continue to be in the government probably true to what the
new prime minister had claimed; not to create and sustain a political
lineage of modern monarchy but in order to harness the energy
of the young and to leverage on the wisdom of the ancient; to
preserve the achievements of the past and to harness the dynamism
and technology of the present.
The island state or probably by now an island kingdom, looks forward
to continue retaining its position as the hub or the middle kingdom
of the ASEAN region. I sincerely believe that it should be able
to do so with the minimum of efforts.
This is subject to the proviso that apart from the above trinity,
the divinity of the nation is also retained and continues to be
feared and worshiped: the Goddess of mercy Kuan Yin and the God
of no mercy Kuan Yew.
As regards Malaysia I am not too sure as to whether it would be
able to recreate the records of its past success as Pak Lah is
an entirely different personality from Dr Mahathir, the master
builder of mega projects, national stature and icons. I am however
willing to bet that Pak Lah should be able to contribute his own
As regards Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines I dare not
speculate as to what would finally happen of them with the elections
either still in the process or in the offing. Let us hope the
best for them.
Teropong Negara (Malaysia)
Sep 9, 2004
Time for a reality check
I am disturbed by what I read in the July 19 issue of TODAY.
On page 5 is an article with the headline "Lag before upturn"
in which Acting Manpower Minister Ng Eng Hen "acknowledged"
the "reality" that "the optimism and effects of
an economic recovery has yet to filter down to the ordinary Singaporean".
He was speaking at a Sembawang GRC dialogue session when a resident
said that people "are not spending as much as before"
and that "many Singaporeans are still unemployed".
He said: "Because of the five bad years (between 1997 and
2002), it will take a few more good years to soak up the unemployment."
Then on page 10 was a letter with the headline "A pattern
that leads to inevitable hikes...".
The writer wrote: "The same symphonic pattern emerges.
"First, the prelude, with the local media heralding a slew
of statistics announcing the arrival of better economic times.
"Then, a premature suggestion to restore the ministers' and
top civil servants' pay cuts, which was greeted with unpopular
feedback by many who felt that the economic upturn benefits have
yet to filter down the masses.
"The main theme comes into play with miscellaneous school
fees and town councils' services and conservancy charges going
"The crescendo builds up as everybody scrambles to raise
charges, taking the cue and green light from the early birds who
first up their fees....
"We are led to believe that this is the natural order of
"What is worse is every price increase is met with the rhetorical
reassurance that nobody would be deprived of basic services despite
the hikes and the social net is always there for those who really
cannot afford the increment.
"The other tired argument to justify the hikes is that the
charges have not been increased for so many years and therefore
the increase is way overdue.
"So what is next?"
The letter has elicited no response from any government official.
Perhaps it is hard to response to the awkward question posed by
this letter writer.
So how can the common man on the street believe that there is
empathy among our leaders, who have jumped the gun, so to speak,
and have left him behind...again? What of his confidence in being
able to share the good times? Can we blame him if he decides to
Jul 24, 2004
I'm currently filing papers to take my foreign domestic worker
with me from Singapore to Hong Kong and I'm struck by the difference
in regulations concerning maids.
In Singapore, I'm free to pay my maid as little as I like - about
US$175 per month is very common here but many maids (especially
non-Filipinos) are paid less and to allow her time off only if
I feel like it.
In Hong Kong, I will be obliged to give her every Sunday off and
to pay her a minimum monthly wage of US$410.
Singapore's government claims to take the well-being of foreign
domestic workers seriously but as long as maids are left at the
mercy of their employers in these two basic areas, such statements
Josephine Bersee, Singapore
International Herald Tribune
Jun 29, 2004
Kra Canal Project
The shortest part of the Isthmus of Kra is less than 50km, as
I understand it to be.
With the latest concern over security in the Straits of Malacca
with a longer coastline, would it not be easier to secure a mere
50km vis-a-vis thousands of km?
With the concern over the security of oil (apparently 50% of the
world's oil supply pass through the Malaccan Straits, would the
idea of the Kra Canal first mooted in 1677 be revived and brought
to fruition? Regards,
Jun 22, 2004
( Re: Trends
- 'High tech' laggards)
Some of those "plumbers" are Johoreans who drive into
Singapore and worked for local contrators. They carry their tools
and parts in the car booth.
Our government should arrest such illegal workers.
Jun 21, 2004
shock at Johor Baru
One day in early April, I drove home to Singapore after a shopping
trip in Johor. The hospitality of the Johor was spoilt when I
was suddenly stopped at random by a Malaysian traffic cop after
the immigration checkpoint together with many other Singapore-registered
I was asked to report to the small traffic operations room. I
asked the traffic corporal what offence I had committed. He then
asked me the registration number of my car.
After he punched in the number into the computer, he told me that
I had committed a traffic offence in exceeding the Malaysian highway
speed limit somewhere in June 2000.
In the first place why didn’t the Malaysian traffic police
give me a summons there and then in 2000? It looks like the Malaysian
traffic police are taking Singapore motorists for a ride.
The question I would like to ask is: is it proper for them to
stop Singapore motorists at random at the causeway and slapped
them with a fine for an offence purportedly committed?
For the information of Singapore motorists, please have with you
at least RM150 on your way back to Singapore, otherwise you will
be subjected to humiliation.
May 3, 2004
You are weak
just bought a cell-phone)
Once again, another Singaporean gives in to the temptation of
I, unlike you, have never had a HP in my life and I intend to
keep it that way. And oh, I'm 27 this year, an age where it is
supposedly easier and trendy to give in to consumerism.
You can save yourself by giving it up of course. Like you said,
you don't need it. Why buy things you don't need?
Sng Chee Khiang
Apr 20, 2004
Casino plan: Surprisin objection
Hi Chiang Nee,
to your article titled "Casino
plan: Surprising objection" at
27, an atheist male Singaporean and a graduate of a university
in Australia. I do not consider myself conservative, in fact,
my politics are considered "Left of Centre" in the West.
I'm one who object to the plans to set up a casino in Singapore.
I think the cons in this case far outweigh the pros.
a casino would bring in lots of tourist revenue, and make Singapore
a much more "vibrant" place. But is a casino the only
means to this end? I don't think so.
flip side, the ills legalised gambling are well known. Money laundering
and addiction are just the tip of the iceberg.
spent time in Australia, I was able to see how addiction gave
rise to crime and broken families, with the most high profile
case being the deaths of 2 toddlers who died in a car parked under
the summer heat while the parents played jackpot machines.
there are no lack of articles detailing how the Victoria State
Government spends a great deal of its revenue running programs
to help people shake their addiction to gambling.
BG Yeo's plan of keeping out Singaporeans below a certain "economic
class" from the casino, the less said about it the better.
our education ministry is finally waking from its slumber trying
to shake a elitist mindset from our kids, the same government
trying to instill it in another area. One step forward, two steps
(Seah Chiang Nee says: Nice to hear from you, Mike).
what you want
A lot of this has to do with UPBRINGING, culture etc. The orang
asli is happy semi-nude, the Papua New Guinea guys happy with
their penis sheath.
Some people feel naked when they wear the swimsuit, some feel
over-clothed so they put on the bikini.
Others prefer nudity. Some prefer fully clothed woolen cashmere,
mink etc etc.
If you leave out the religious considerations we would all be
wearing something light and cool in our weather - take the clue
from orang asli.
But if you work in the office you want to wear a tie, and a bush-jacket
methinks you look like a clown, sweating under the Kuala Lumpur
sun. Don't be Over-dressed, neither be under-dressed.
Just be APPROPRIATELY adorned.
(If you know what that is;
If not, wear what you wish;
For I am not bothered what you look like
It's what's inside that counts)
By NHGong, SangKanchil
Mar 14, 2004
I read your article 'Schools
streaming: Shaping elitist mindset'.
Equally of concern is the grading of teachers in determining their
bonus and annual increment. If grading is set by quota between
the best and the lowest rung, there will be competition. It can
be unproductive and unhealthy competition if taken to extreme
to vie for position.
Wage management and morale in education are different from those
in the offices of the administative services. It affects students
when teachers are unhappy.
If the fixed and variable component in teachers' salaries are
taken to the extreme, it could affect the morale of teachers due
to back-stabbing and politicking, each teacher wanting to be the
best at the expense of others. It can affect the commitment by
teachers if there are friction among them. In the long run, the
next generation of students will be affected. Hope you have the
means to check this out too. regards,
Feb 24, 2004
I've long thought of the Internet and particularly chat and newsgroups,
as almost miraculous places of learning what's going on in the
rest of the world. More importantly, learning how people "over
there" think. Sadly, we have not gotten there yet.
All these wonderful free places where folks (from anywhere) can
express themselves have been taken over by poorly brought up juveniles
who considerate it fun to abuse others without fear of appropriate
There too, there are the just plain sick adults, who, sadly, cannot
see beyond the blinkers of their little worlds, and cannot understand
a "different" point of view.
We have little choice but to "bear up" with stiff upper
lip. Better times MUST be coming!
I believe we WILL get there. Little by little there will grow
international agreements on how to deal with the irrational disruption.
Right now we are thrashing around, figuring how to deal with the
murderous "radical Muslims" who are not "real"
Muslims at all. Once we come to accept that they must be totally
destroyed, the world will improve.
It all reminds me of the old "frontier days" in America's
West. If you didn't like someone, you shot them...perhaps you
got away with it...Perhaps the vigilantes hung you for it. "Law"
was pretty much up to the individual. but little by little, we
matured and developed a body of law that allowed us to become
a society. We certainly have a long ways to go...but we keep trying.
And so it is on the Internet: Wild and woolly...anything goes.
It is, mostly, not yet a place for serious, adult discussion,
but I KNOW that someday it will be. I just hope to live that long.
Regards, your friend,
Jan 8, 2004
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