Saturday, August 30, 2008

Heart-Shape Agar Agar


Where to find this lovely Heart-Shape Agar Agar in Singapore?

Sorry, it is not for sales. It was created for me by my Honey Dear Angel and we ate it together!

I feel like the Luckiest man on earth!

Sustaining Singapore

Just some weeks ago, the Singapore government has formed an inter-ministerial committee to look deeply into how our future environment can be sustained in the face of the ongoing global destruction to earth, which is home to near 7 billions human.

An online portal was set up to canvass feedbacks from the public. At this writing, more than 600 feedbacks from the public have been received, with more expected.

My 20 cents point of view is as follows:

Paper reduction:

Do away with paper receipts in our country, explore a card and an online portal system involving the customer’s SINGPASS account coupled with technology similar to that of EZ-link. Upon payment, in lieu of the issuance of receipts, the cashier just scans the customer’s card for registration of the sales into a centralised system.

Upon reaching home, should the customer want to view the details of his transaction earlier on, he would just key into the online portal and he would be able to view details of the transaction he had earlier and those of other past transactions.

Plastic reduction:

Forbid the use of all plastic utensils and cutlery by all food stalls.

Air con temperature setting:

Some places like offices and shopping centres are like giant freezers, look into an audit of the coldness of air-con places, make it obligatory for all public air-conditioned places to conform to a specific set temperature.

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Known Stranger

Once a while, somehow or other, and not surprisingly in our small country, we would tend to meet ‘head-on’ with someone whom we have not seen for ages. If it were someone we knew well, it would be fine as we could exchange some pleasantries and even rekindle back the old friendships and exchange contact numbers. However, what if it were someone whom we do not know well or have spoken less than 10 times to?

I encounter the latter situation from time to time and this morning, I encountered the same situation again. When the MRT arrived and the door opened, the minute I stepped in, I was greeted by a face I had not seen for many years. It was my secondary school classmate. Back in the secondary school days, there were many fraternities or in layman’s term, ‘clans’ formed by the students in the class. The male friend I met on the train did not belong to my ‘clan’ and not only that, we had really not much common interest together, thus it was no surprise we talked less than 10 times in the whole of our 4 years together in the same class!

Thus as our eyes met for that brief instant………and realization set in, both of us were clearly embarrassed and our eyes parted immediately. We knew each other but it also seemed like we don’t. While I could clearly walked to him and start the ball rolling saying the likes of “Are you (so and so)? ” , I did not do that. Frankly saying and ashamed to admit, I could not see the reason to act so. I also know that it is a fleeting moment….. I would not be able to bump into him forever (or who knows?).

To put it short and perhaps curtly, he is a ‘known stranger’ and not a friend or acquaintance to me (what an oxymoron!). During the times when our paths cross, though we know each other, we did not communicate much; and the very few times we did so were for studies. There was no deposit into each other’s emotional bank during the times we were together.

As I excelled in studies in secondary school days, he might have thought I am arrogant, okay let him be. Anyway, I do not believe in excellent good grades would translate to fatter pockets unless one is a scholar in the civil service. I know of many friends with dismal academic grades now commanding ultra high salaries! Most of them are in private sectors where the sky is the limit! (no parachuting unlike in one sector)

You could not fault me for seeming nonchalant meeting a ‘known stranger’ like him. If you were in my shoes, would you do the same as what I did?

Care for your Eyes

Computers have become an ineluctable part of modern work life and home living. Working in today’s term means sitting and staring at the little screen for at least 8 hours a day doing some work. Eyes off the screen and one would be accused of not doing any work.

Imagine the toll on one’s eyes staring at the screen for such long hours per day, multiplied by the days spent working. If that is not enough, modern man return back home, once again throwing themselves in the arms of the computers as they check their emails, carry out online chatting, watching TV and be entertained. Our sight is being compromised in this era of computers!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dr. Ooi Ban Leong

I was shocked to read today's news that a NUS Associate Professor Dr.
Ooi Ban Leong was knocked down by a truck while crossing a road in Clementi on his way home after work. Dr Ooi passed away at the scene from the accident from severe head injuries.


Its a pity..... a bright, promising young spark, a very talented researcher, who could have contributed even more to the world with his expertise in Microwave technology has passed on.


Dr Ooi was one of my lecturers during my studies in NUS. He was an approachable man with students and this fact was also reported in today's Straits Time, not surprisingly.


This sad incident followed on the heel of another traffic accident which claimed the life of a woman and her husband just few days ago. The couple were waiting at a traffic junction to cross the road when a car came veering towards them, killed the woman and injured her husband.


The road habits of drivers here in Singapore are getting worse and worse. I could practically encounter impatient drivers everywhere in Singapore. I was also almost killed on the first day of Chinese New Year this year by a taxi!


Thus when one crosses the road using proper crossings, one should nevertheless still double check on any oncoming vehicle; some drivers just do not care at all about the safety of others until too late.


When precious lives are lost through a blunder or recklessness of another, it is a real pity! No amount of sorry or remorsefulness from the errant driver could bring the dead victim alive!


Drivers, please drive carefully. Pedestrians, have another check before crossing the road.


Lives are too precious to be lost through a traffic accident.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Special Soya Milk


This cup of soya milk is not your ordinary Soya bean milk.

It is HIGH CALCIUM Soya bean milk.

How does it derives its name from?

HIGH CALCIUM Soya bean milk = Horlicks + Soya bean milk

When my Honey and I first tasted it at Maxwell Food Centre, we found the taste and idea not bad! The price is also reasonably low at slightly a dollar more.

Next time, maybe I will pack some soya bean milk home and 'DIY' with Horlicks, Milo, Coke and try the different tastes.

Hopefully, I will not get a diarrhoea after drinking my own ''soya bean cocktails ''!

Speaker's Corner


The seeming remote and forgotten Speaker's Corner at Hong Lim Park catapulted its way to headline news recently as PM Lee announced plans to grant demonstrations of all sorts, provided they veer away from the topics of race and religion at this little Corner.
Just in case, you have never been to Speaker's Corner, above are the pictures of this little 'Open Space', literally and figuratively.
12 animals will greet you if you would to come to this park these days before you see any demonstrators flexing their muscles or demonstrations taking place!

Free GMAT Practice

I have come across this website which is a gem of a website, a boon to those preparing for the GMAT.


On the website are dozens of practices for the verbal section, the more difficult section for Singaporean candidates as opposite to the numerical section.

I wish those taking the GMAT could find this website useful for their preparation, else one could turn to the public libraries too to borrow the voluminous tomes of practice books.

Do you love your work?

It is paramount that we ask ourselves what do we want out of work.

Is it Stability? Continuous learning? Challenges? Nice boss? Money? Work Life Balance? or Love of job nature?

In my opinion, it is extremely difficult for one to land a job which would provide all the above-mentioned traits unless one is blessed enough to make a career and fortune from his own hobby; his passion.

Seeing my colleagues in their late thirties and early forties stuck in jobs that are essentially wasting their invaluable time is worrying, definitely I do not want to be like them.

At their ages, coupled with families, venturing out into the unknowns, into another career they would like to experiment comes with unforeseen risks. Do they want to risk their security, stability and of their families and trade them with the unknowns?

Thus many of them stay put, in their occupations, doing something they do not really like, wasting their invaluable time as they do nothing meaningful every working day ….

Taking a leaf from their books, I certainly not wish to be in their shoes. Life is made up of 80% work (in terms of time), if one find work meaningless and unenjoyable, we can imagine the quality of their life as well.

I really need to work even harder, did not want to fall into a ‘catch-22’ scenario like what my colleagues found themselves fallen into.

One needs to constantly develop his competencies and life-long learning is key.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Long Fatt Tau Sar Piah



Today I taste what is undeniably the BEST Tau Sar Piah I have eaten in my life !

These are even sweeter as my honey queued in the heavy afternoon rain for 15 min to buy these specially for me! How lucky I am !

Long Fatt Tau Sar Piah, at No. 639 Balestier Road sells these goodies at only 60 cents per piece.

There are as usual two types of these piahs: sweet and salty.

The skin of the piah is crisp and thin; the filling is rich, creamy and fills up most of the core of the piah.

The long queue at this store attest to the popularity of this store as well as its piah among heartlanders.
So try it today, one would not be enough !

Singapore Weather

Singapore’s weather is as unpredictable as man.

Predicting how different men behave is akin to predicting Singapore’s weather.

It has rained on and off for the past one week, a strange phenomenon for this period of the year for it should be relatively hot and dry.

A hot sunny afternoon with its relentless heat can transform into a thunderstorm of rain in no time.

I am always equipped with an umbrella, rain or shine.

It is like buying an insurance.

My Well Thought Phrase

Having experienced Life thus far, I suddenly thought of a maxim on life just few days ago:


''Belief is more important than Competence''

Explanation:


A man who is competent but does not believe in himself will nevertheless not be able to see his ability transformed and put to opportune use for himself. Opportunities for him could be lost as such and once they are missed, they could be gone forever.............

Monday, August 25, 2008

Han Zi Peng





At last, I managed to track down the famous Hum Ann Pang Han Zi Peng stall in Maxwell Food Centre!

I have paid homage to the stall on the very few occasions I passed the popular stall but the stall seemed to have no chemistry with me on all of these occassions as it did not open on each of these visits.
Last Saturday, while passing by Maxwell Food Centre with my girlfriend, we saw that the stall was open for business!

After gulping down plates of chicken rice, we went to order the Han Zi Peng snacks from this stall. Han Zi Pengs are sold at an incredibly low price of 6 for just $1 !

The old boss of this stall always make appearances on TV shows featuring great food. The old man was always as usual, busy kneading the dough, with his back severly lowered, making an acute angle with his normal spine.
My girlfriend and I shared in the fun of frying the dough in the hot pan of boiling oil. Cooking of the dough by customers in the hot and boiling oil is the trademark of this decades-old stall.We ordered 6 sweet tau sar (red bean) and 6 salty.
The tau sar Han Zi Peng were really nice, with the sweet filling stuffed inside the flour occupying 90% of the interior of the hollow inside the Ha Zi Peng unlike those sold by other stalls whereby the proportion may be less than 50%.

For the salty Han Zi Peng, these were a tad salty for comfort, thus we prefer the sweet Han Zi Peng by this stall.

Pictures can tell a thousand words, so the above were some pictures of these great snacks we took.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Greatest Show on Earth

How time flies, Beijing Olympics comes to a close.

The highly anticipated closing ceremony of the Olympics, true to its form, far exceeded the expectation of the 90,000-strong spectators and millions around the world watching from their TVs at homes as the closing culminated in a mind-boggling, spectacular display of fireworks and performances; the man behind this great wizardry is none other than the highly acclaimed Chinese Director Zhang Yi Mou.

London, the host for the next Olympics has a most difficult task to deliver a game of the same grandeur as what Beijing did.

Singapore Bay Run

After the gruelling run
Passing the Grand Flyer

Starting of race


Never mind that I had slept around 0100 hours yesterday night after viewing ‘live’ ’the spectacular fireworks display, and not having the ‘7 hours of sleep’ that SAF inculcated in me and similar NSF men during NS; never mind the midnight rain which has lent the weather a chilly cold, this morning at 0600 hours sharp, I was up and ready to take to the roads and bridge (Sheares Bridge) in the annual Singapore’s Bay Run 2008.

I was raring to go! I donned on my sporting attire, had some drinks and bread and off I went to take the MRT to city hall.

Along the train journey, many similar ‘heroes’ entered the train, decked in their sporting gear, wearing the official Singapore Bay Run 2008 attire.

By the time I reached the starting point of the 10 km race at 7.20 am, what greeted me was a sea of runners, in a mind–boggling of outfits. Soon at 7.30 am, the race commenced and I ran in the non-competitive 10km run.

I brought my camera with me and before the race, halfway the race and at the finishing of the race, I had captured on photo and video for posterity, many snapshots of the race.

During the start of the race, many and I could not stand the high humidity of the weather as it rained the night before. But alas, the weather this morning was serendipitous (though it rained in the afternoon, right now, island wide). The run was well-organized and I ran at a slow, steady and leisure pace, taking in the grand sights of the Singapore Flyer, Sheares Bridge and the many interesting performance en-route the finishing point.

What was most outstanding and touching was perhaps the sight of a male runner pushing a wheel-chair which sat a lady (not sure their relations, his wife, maybe) with deformed legs. The male runner ran the whole 10 km route, nudging his charge along, and he made it within a decent timing, much faster than some of the runners!

The Sheares Bridge run is an event I will not miss or try not to miss every year…. It is an event where mind rules over one’s body, where adrenalin comes rushing out and nourishing one’s body, where Singaporeans can run on the busy roads of CBD and on the Sheares Bridge legally, where we all pay homage to the great bridge overlooking the busy CBD and the up and coming Integrated Resorts like a decades old guardian.

After saying so much, it will not bear justice to you readers if I do not share with you on the videos of this great running event of the year, here they are:

Video 1

Singapore’s Fireworks Celebrations 2008

Thousands of Singapore thronged Marina Bay last night for a glimpse of the spectacular fireworks display by the Koreans.

Yesterday night was the second and last night of two which capped the Singapore Fireworks Celebrations 2008 held in conjunction with our National Day celebrations. Friday’s fireworks display was by France.

Singaporeans are really fireworks lover and are lapping up every opportunity to catch fireworks for free during public holidays like the Chinese New Year, National Day, and New Year Day!

For the viewing of the Fireworks celebrations, tickets were sold for seats in the floating platform to view the fireworks displays which were the finale for a series of performance gigs at the floating platform. Tickets were sold at $18 each.

With these things called fireworks to be showcased on a large expanse of performing area called sky, the viewing of fireworks display is not limited to only those who have paid for seats in the floating platform. Singaporeans know that, and thus they flocked in droves, I was there with my dear girlfriend around 8pm, and the whole of Marina Bay was simply packed like sardines, with hardly area for breathing!

Umbrellas went up as it rained but fortunately when the fireworks came slightly after the official time of 9pm, cameras and camera phones went up instead to capture the captivating, stunning, marvellous, absolutely wonderful array of fireworks displays.

The beauty of the fireworks displays could not be captured by a camera as the fireworks were or myriad of forms and everchanging, thus the best I could do was to ‘video’ the fireworks throughout its duration of almost 15 minutes!

When the fireworks were over, the crowds of Singaporeans quickly dispersed. There were huge jam of human beings from the Esplanade to City Hall and Marina Square.

Kudos to the police who were on standby, they ensure a safe viewing and a safe trip home sweet home for the fervent Singaporeans who have turned up despites the rain to catch one of the most spectacular fireworks in Singapore, ever.

I would be attaching all the video clips of what I had captured for you readers in this blog. At this time of writing, I have only uploaded the following videos

video 1

video 2

For the rest of the videos, appreciate you can come back to this website to enjoy once I uploaded them onto Youtube.

Enjoy!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Singapore Bay Run

Singapore's annual Army Half Marathon cum Sheares Bridge Run (a.k.a Singapore Bay Run) will be held tomorrow!

This is the event of the year where participants could run down the roads in the busy CBD, up and down the Sheares Bridge, partaking in the grand views of the Singapore Flyer legally.

It is gonna be a fun and healthy event as participants take on the road for the easy 5km, the moderate 10km and the gruelling 21km.

If you have not participated, you could still go down to Marina Bay tomorrow morning and just jog in the fun and run your own race, for registration just entitle participant to a goodie bag and an event tees only.


I would most likely be going down for that run of the year tomorrow as I did the last year, see my post on 26 Aug last year.

Swan Song

Singapore bowed out of the Olympics as its peddler, Li Jia Wei, aged 27 failed to clinch the bronze medal for herself, and for Singapore, as her nemesis, world No.2 Guo Yue, aged 20 tamed her, with little effort.

This could be Li’s swan song… as she broke news that this Olympics would most likely be her last. Newspapers today are awash with photographs of her crying sadly.

She had done her best but in terms of capability, there is still a wide rift between her and the top 3 China players.

In this Olympics games, Singaporeans have seen the prowess of our young and uprising table tennis star, Feng Tian Wei as she locked in a tight game with the world No.1 Zhang Yi Ning, losing out by only a slight margin. There is immense potential in her still and Singapore’s table tennis fraternity still have hope of producing a medallist 4 years down the road in Australia.

After watching the dismal Bronze medal game between Li and Guo on TV, I continued to watch the Gold medal face-off between Zhang Yi Ning and Wang Nan (the former Olympics Champion in year 2000) and I witnessed the fastest and most impressing table tennis match played on mother earth.

Wang Nan played well though she was 29 years of age, defeating Zhang in the first set of game. But alas, age caught up on her and she lost to a more versatile and younger player.

Age can cap the limit in sports and for sportsmen, their profession.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Alumni-giving

An article, published in the Sunday Times last week, on local graduates’ views about donating to their alma mater parallel those of mine, that there is an apparent lack of attachment to our alma mater.

While varsities in Europe and America have not much of a difficulty in garnering millions of dollars donated by their alumni, Singapore’s alumni seem to need much goading, or even cajoling from their alma mater towards giving to their alma mater. NUS and NTU are not getting the donation amounts they could have possibly ‘reaped’ from their thousands of ex-students. The only lone bright spot, which fared slightly better in figures was SMU, and this might stem from a deeper sense of attachment to the school inculcated in their students and alumni?

Since graduating from one of the local universities some years back, I have been consistently receiving newsletters and brochures from my alma mater pleading me to donate to their school development. However, as highlighted earlier, I feel no sense of attachment or bonding to my alma mater, with which I have spent good four years. The same sentiment was echoed by many graduates in the same report when surveyed.

Every moment in my alma mater was spent attending lectures, tutorials, doing projects, flitting from one faculty to another, taking cross-faculty modules. The lecturers and tutors did just average, not really forging the sense of intimate bond with me or any other students that could be developed in secondary schools. To be honest, many of these lecturers or tutors were also researchers, Master or PhD students, or appointment holders, juggling many hats thus it is understandable they had limited time to grant further coaching to students after class. What they give outside of class to students was still much appreciated, welcome and an excellent dedication on their part.

True, students could take part in many CCAs in varsities and along the way, develop an inkling of affection for the school……..but this come at a premium, the spectre of falling grades amidst the cut-throat, tenacious and unrelenting competition for the ‘A’s among the locals, the PRCs and the Indians.

Thus, is it any wonder I and many could not feel an inch of attachment to our alma mater?

First Job

Few people can boost of staying in one particular job these days, gone are such days whereby one stay in his first job till the end of his retirement…..though I do know of a handful of people whose first job is also their last.

‘A job for life’ has been replaced by ‘a life of jobs’ and the hallmark of one’s career in this century is marked by the changing of jobs over few years. In this era, it is all about developing different competencies, which will add to your career capital that will add the ‘oomp’ factor in your resume.

It is paramount that one needs to develop one’s competencies, learn different skills, make himself marketable in this age. It is all about learning, retraining in this knowledge-based economy.

The modern world is also one without borders, it stands one in good stead if one is equipped with working experience outside his own country. An increasing number of companies are looking for people with transnational and international experience, who have traveled and understood the world, to assume positions within their companies.

The modern world is also one without security. Mergers and acquisitions have put paid to the belief that one is a master of his own career as one can be given the sack anytime.

Nevertheless, if one is always prepared for changes and have always been developing his skills and marketability, it is no cause for alarm.

Class 3

(continued from Part 1 on 20 Aug 08)

There is no expiry date upon passing the BTT but for the FTT, passing comes with a two-year validity period. The prerequisite for taking the traffic police test (TPT) is a valid FTT passing record, thus one needs to ‘clear’ the FTT and to ensure the record is still valid before taking the TPT.

Driving practical lessons in Singapore, are by far not cheap. Basically, there are both private and public players in Singapore offering such lessons with the bigger players being the Comfort Driving Centre, Singapore Safety Driving Centre and a host of smaller private companies which charge cheaper rates.

For beginners, the choice of schools between the private schools and the public schools such as Comfort Driving Centre and Singapore Safety Driving Centre is almost a baffling one. For Singaporeans looking for cheaper learning rates, private schools are usually especially alluring; however public schools with their structured curriculum are rated more highly among Singaporeans who value a pass at the practical driving test ‘asap’ over the higher rates they need to pay for the lessons.

‘Packaging’ of business is now the buzzword for businesses and for the public schools, they have already jumped on this bandwagon by bundling practical lessons with E-tutorials for BTT and FTT and having a system whereby the learners can choose a fixed instructor and a car for their driving lessons (no doubt at a higher price).

(TO BE CONTINUED)

$1 dessert

$1 can seem so small in Singapore, especially at a time when prices of food are on the ascent.


However, $1 still can buy you a bowl of yummy chendol, ice-kachang and other cold, mouth-watering desserts.




I would recommend Singaporeans to visit the wet market cum hawker centre next to Eunos MRT station.


The ice-kachang, chendol, ice-jelly..... desserts you name them, you get them... all for $1 only !


Besides the cold delicacies, the whole hawker centre itself is a microcosm of hawker centre stalls which Singaporeans want: great food at an excellent price!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

20082008

Today's date is a special date: 20-08-2008.

The speciality of this date is second to 08-08-08, considered the most auspicious date in a century for the Chinese, in English calender.

On special dates, I would always try to do something memorable, significant or to achieved something.

Today, I have achieved something that I had worked on for more than a year.

The sense of achievement is immense and completing it on this unique date makes it all the more memorable!

So what have you done on special dates, would you deliberately do something to celebrate these special dates?

Class 3

BTT, ATT, FTT, PDL, TPT … these acronyms may not make sense to some, while for others, these terms are familiar. If you find these familiar, congrats you might have earned for yourself that coveted Class 3 licence that others are dreaming or eyeing for or you are on your route to preparing to obtain one.

The issue of ERP and congestion of cars is perennial and for one to avoid the maddening crowds on the MRTS and bus, not to mention the long waiting time, private transport may be an attractive option, unless one is willing to shelve out monies to be chauffeured in taxis. To be able to own your own transport, to get to your destinations on your own in your own automobile, a driving licence is a must. Even if one is not to own a car or buy a car, driving is an useful skill especially for guys and such skills can be prerequisites for certain vocations. The process of driving is also peppered with invaluable life lessons and one learn values such as tolerance, patience, proactive, confidence and some human skills interacting with the trainers.

Now the real and ineluctable part to that journey to obtain the licence: it is a long process and the process is not cheap (for Singaporeans, in monetary terms of course). I would just share with readers the fundamentals of the journey.

First of all, one must purchase the book called the Basic Theory of Driving, book the basic theory test (BTT) with the traffic police for $8 and when the test date comes, sit for the test.

Like the advance theory test (ATT), such tests are computerised now, but for folks who are not as adept in English, they need not worry, the tests are conducted in the four Singaporean languages but these are timed tests, similar to those booklet tests when we had in the past. Checking of all answers before submission is still possible in these online tests and one get to know instantly their results (pass or fail) after the test. The questions they obtained wrongly would also be reviewed and the correct solutions provided.

But interestingly, to pass BTT or ATT, the passing mark is not by the conventional rule of thumb: 50% of the questions correct. No, instead, if one have more than 5 questions wrong, one will need to come down for retests again.

Sounds daunting, well, but think of the logic. Driving can kill if one’s fundamentals are not strong or basic enough thus I applaud the traffic police on setting such a stringent criteria for passing the BTT and ATT. If one is still cowed by this fact, one can rest assured that passing can be a cinch if one attend the many online practices at the driving centres and religiously practice the questions till perfection, as the proverb says, practice makes perfect.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

News n more

Two young female news anchor… one helming the TV 8 Chinese news bulletin, the other, a relatively new TCS artiste who was roped in to co-host the Olympics special… the former, Ms Huang Shuang Xi was reported to bat a housefly on national TV while reporting the news; the latter, Ms Jade Seah uttered the ‘F’ word when the video to be streamed on the bulletin encountered some jitters ….

Both were caught red-handed by hundreds pairs of eyes and the incident occurred soon after another within a short span. It made me ponder on the quality of news broadcast in Singapore… have our standards fallen? or these are just some real-time streaming of what constitute the social graces of normal Singaporeans.

With the advent of technology, their ‘misdeeds’ became legacies through netizens who put one of their blunders on Youtube for posterity. Video for Ms Jade’s ‘F’ word.

It was no wonder that PM Lee made the impact of the internet on our society as one of his theme for last Sunday’s National Day Rally. Singaporeans collectively must know how to manage the internet as a society else the internet will affect our society adversely.

Singapore’s Cupid

If there is one message Singaporeans brought home from the National Day Rally, it would be that our country needs babies, more of them, and in the soonest possible time.

Yes indeed, the topic of procreation by Singaporeans for Singapore hogged the limelight in this year’s rally. A slew of measures would be implemented soon, as the rally unveiled, to prop up the dismal birth rate of Singaporeans, currently standing at 1.3, way too low for the fertility replacement rate of 2.1.

PM threw up proposals during the rally, to name a few, the merger of SDU and SDS; parental-assisted matchmaking; more child-care leaves for parents and the financial subsidy for couples seeking IVF.

What PM had mentioned in his rally on the predicament of singles in not meeting their soul mates did ring a bell to me: some singles do not go out to expose themselves to the opposite gender enough, some have no free time, some have time but too lazy or concerned to change their way of life, some have no confidence in relationship, some adopt a ‘wait and see’ attitude and others are simply nonchalant or clueless.

I belong to neither of the above fraternities … I actively sought love in the past for a few years, was sorely disappointed but now I am happily attached.

One reason why singles are not hitching or actively looking for their dates could boil down to one word ‘expectation’.

Personally, I have been to many SDU functions, met and dated a number of SDU gals but finally all these dates led to no bearing of fruits simply because I could not meet the expectations of some ladies or vice versa, some ladies did not meet my expectations.

I could dwell at length on what constitute ‘expectations’ and chalk up a long list of pointers listing all attributes which single need or want in their other half. Common expectations cited belong to parameters like character, physical appeal, status, chemistry, education, wealth and common interests.

Alas for me, just as I felt despondent above seeking for love, I met a nice angel outside of the SDU circle in one of my external activities, which I participated. We have seen met each other’s family and are planning for marriage next year.

Marriage is a sacred affair between two, a lifelong affair between two, and an everlasting commitment, thus I could share the view of singles to find the ‘most ideal’ or best partner for him or her but such search could be for many years.

I encourage all singles to broaden their social circles, take part in more activities outside of home when free and you could like me, be able to find your compatible soul mate in time to come!

Most importantly, singles should date, marry, give birth and enjoy parenthood first for themselves, then for Singapore.

The Singapore Demonstrator

Singaporeans could have a spot, right in the heart of the city for demonstrations, if what Mr. Lee said in his rally were to bear fruit.

Mr. Lee has proposed to utilize the Speaker’s Corner in Hong Lim Park for Singaporeans to stage demonstrations too, if they want and this ‘demonstration corner’ would be managed by NParks (National Park Board).

Demonstrators-to-be could apply for permits to stage their demonstration, and in a bid to jump onto the internet bandwagon, PM Lee has asked the relevant authorities to look into implementing electronic applications for such permits.

Sound like a misnomer to have a demonstrations which are systematically planned and carried out, but the setting up of such a ‘demonstration corner’is another defining moment for Singapore to open up new venues of self-expression.

Such demonstrations should nevertheless stay away from the sensitive topics on race and religion. Who would be the 1st Singapore Demonstrator (not idol)?

Little India

It has been a long while since I visited Little India.

In a country where the majority is Chinese, I was inevitably engulfed in a state of ‘culture shock’ whenever I visit Little India for being a Chinese, I become an instant minority in the Indian-dominated enclave.

Little India is an interesting place to visit for all Singaporeans of all races. One can learn more about Hinduism from visiting the hundreds of shops selling a host of Indian paraphernalia, making new Indian friends and indulging in Indian cuisine.

I hope to see more Chinese and Singaporeans of other races (besides Indian) there the next time I visit the place. It seems quite apparent that Singaporeans of other races visit Little India only for its landmark shopping centre, Mustafa Shopping Centre and some of the popular eateries like the ‘Kompala’.

They should explore Little India, its sight, sound and people and understand our local Indian culture, part of our uniquely Singaporean culture.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Best Curry Chicken Noodles in Singapore

If you want to savour the best curry chicken noodles in Singapore, I STRONGLY recommend you to visit the curry chicken noodles stall in Albert Centre Market (at this point of writing, it is closed for Hawker Centre Upgrading, but nevertheless you can find its temporary premise just next to Rocher Centre).

Everytime I go there to eat, I forget to take a look at the name of the stall, but it is easy to find the stall as it is the ‘most outside’ stall facing the direction of Bugis MRT station and if you are still lost, the few pictures of Bryan Wong and other stars in past TV ‘food-tainment’ shows will ensure that you get the stall correct.

There is one other curry chicken noodle stall in the market which I have yet to try it out but the one which I highly recommended gives very rich and yummy red boiling hot curry, with a generous dosage of fishcakes, bean sprouts, ‘dau-gi’ and chicken meat and one can have a choice of noodles to accompany the dish… all for a value price of $3 !

Sound tempting rite? Sound hungry? Then come on down to the stall. I am not paid to do this free advertisement but I just want to share with all of you food buffs on the most delicious food one can find in Singapore.

Will be looking out for more good foodies, stay tuned!

OB markers

I witnessed an interesting commotion this morning as I was riding up the escalator towards the MRT platform.

Halfway through the ride, many passengers and I were confounded by loud shouts emanating from one side of the platform.

As we finally reached the platform, we soon realised the shouts came from a dutiful middle-aged male SMRT officer, who issued warnings from one end of the platform to a caucasian male on the other end who had waited for the MRT at a spot beyond the yellow marker on the platform floor; a train was fast approaching then.

Many passengers were bemused as the loud warnings practically filled the whole platform and it was evident that the other passengers could hear the warnings, in fact all on the platform, as they turned to glance at the officer, all except the caucasian himself who was still in a world of his own, unperturbed by all the cacophony he has unwittingly generated.

Seeing the nonchalance of the caucasian, the officer had no choice but to rush towards the caucasian and pushed him away from the yellow marker just before the train came. The caucasian was perturbed and seemed deviant, questioning the officer on his action.

The caucasian still could not get it.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Singapore clinches a Silver medal

Singapore women's table tennis team entered as darkhorses in today's table tennis women team finals , pitting against hot favorites China.

Our trio though proved no match for their formidable opponents nevertheless they had come a long way and has performed remarkingly excellent in the Olympics by bagging a Silver, our first Olympic medal in 48 years.

The Sunday Times today carried an article which reported how the immediate past President of Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA), Mr Choo Wee Khiang has talent-spotted Li Jiawei in China in year 1992 and how he almost brought to Singapore the then teenager Zhang Yining, who was Li's then training mate and now the world's No.1 woman table tennis player if not for China's intervention: 'No, this one you cannot take, as she would be our country's future No. 1'.

Even since 16 years ago, China knew and saw the potential in Zhang Yining. If Singapore has brought in Zhang Yining, can Zhang be still No. 1 and help Singapore bag Gold medals regularly?

Hmm frankly speaking, I believe if that were really the case, Zhang , under a different environment and one which is void of high-calibre players, would not become No.1 today and some player in China would assume that title still with its perennial supply of talents amidst its 1.4 billion population.

Delayed telecast of National Day Rally (English Version)

In an unprecedented move, PM Lee has asked Mediacorp to move the broadcast of the English version of his National Day Rally from tonight to 8pm tomorrow, so that more Singaporeans can support our women team from their television sets at home.


What a sporting move but believe some Singaporeans including me would be a tad disappointed because we are really interested in our country's affairs and what are the policies on the card for us.


Okay, would wait for another day.

National Day Rally 2008

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong would deliver his National Day Rally 2008, tonight at 1830 hrs at the National University of Singapore University Cultural Centre.

The Rally is the most important speech by the Prime Minister for Singapore as it is in the speech, that some up and coming plans for Singaporeans would be shed.

The Rally would be attended by ministers, members of parliaments, key government officers, civil servants, businessmen, student leaders, grassroots, community and union leaders, underscoring the paramount importance of the Rally.

Many Singaporeans believe that on the list of pointers in PM's message, would be some carrots to boost the dwinding birth rate of Singapore and some sharing of Singapore's economy in the immediate years and its implications for Singaporeans.

Tonight would be an exciting night; many Singaporeans would be at home, glued to their TVs to watch the Singapore Women Table Tennis team's bid to create history for Singapore's sports with their attempt to capture our first Olympic Gold and to watch PM Lee deliver his speech to be the first to know the important policies which would be on the cards that would affect all (Singaporeans) and sundry.

Go for Gold?

Singapore, having secured at least a Silver medal in the Beijing Olympics Game 2008 (ending its Olympic drought in 48 years) is gunning for its first-ever Gold medal tonight, with all Singaporeans rallying behind the women team.

The action will kickstart at 7.30 pm tonight Singapore time.

The Singapore women team has secured a prize bounty of at least S$750,000 for their efforts so much (this amount for a Silver Olympic medal). Should the team blazes its winning trail further, S$1,500,000 will be guranteed for the team. Such hefty rewards, I believe, are the highest in the world. Lucrative carrots for other foreigner players to defect to Singapore too?

I wish the women team luck in their combat against their formidable opponents from China. It would be indeed inject a morale booster to Singapore's sports scene should the team win a Gold medal in this year's Olympic as it would shed the assumption that Singapore cannot achieve such a feat. With the accomplishment of a medal in the Olympics, I would also hope Singapore would be able to achieve its 'Singapore 2010' dream one day (having our National Soccer team play in the world cups in one of the t0p 32 nations).

Singapore has come so far to obtain a Silver Olympic medal... though it is good enough, but in Singapore's tagline: we should always strike for the very Best. This belief is what makes our great country ticks like an efficient and responsive clockwork.

Doomsday...2012?

The internet is rifle with Doomday prophecies and theories.

The latest prophecy on the net speculates the year 2012 as the year of doom for the human civilisation. There are hundreds of sites dedicated to delivering the theories to back up this belief. One such site is as follows:

http://www.survive2012.com/

To me, if one finds his future is doomed, it is already Doomsday for him, one need not wait for 2012 for that day.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Singapore wins an Olympic medal in 48 years!

Singapore has defied naysayers like me as our women table tennis players delivered the first medal for Singapore in 48 years!

An amazing feat for our island, but it would be more laudable if our winners are real Singaporeans.

Anyway it does not really matter whether true-blue Singaporeans or naturalised Singaporeans won as the fact is that Singapore has won!

Other countries are also relying on foreign talents in certain sports to deliver the medals. The foreign player scheme in Singapore has definitely worked well with the winning of a medal from these naturalised Singaporeans.

Just think of it, without the training provided by Singapore, Li Jiawei and her team would not have the opportunity to develop their potential in China and play on the world stage, they would just be one of the ordinary table tennis players in China, outshoned by the more dazzling stars.

Remarkable for Singapore to clinch an Olympic medal though it was certainly not a cinch (we have waited for 48 years for this day). India with its 1 billion population has till today managed to clinch only 1 Gold medal in air rife, not a traditional sports in India.

Li and her team would also be handsomely paid for their achievements and more would be given to them if they are able to overcome the table tennis world champions: China in the finals.

The finals would be played this Sunday, at a time and day when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong would deliver his National Day speech.

Singapore Arts Musuem


In tandem with the celebration of the National Heritage Board 15th aniversary, there would be free admissions for all to Singapore Arts Musuem from 1 Aug to 15 Aug after 1500 hrs.


My girlfriend and I visited the Arts Museum on the 9th Aug 08, which is Singapore's National Day, and surprisingly there was hardly any crowd in the musuem though it was its open house on the day.


Where have the crowds gone to? One can logically deduce that thousands have flocked to see the National Day Parade but deducting this amount, there should still be at the very minimum small numbers of visitors to the museum but we did not see that.


On the contrary, it was the foreigners and expatriates which made the bulk of the visitors on that day. Singapore really has a long way towards an arts hub as Singaporeans, in my opinion, are too concerned and fixated on the real practical aspects of life which affect them such as the rising inflation, price hikes of all items to be able to really enjoy the finer things of life.

Friday, August 15, 2008

ERP Woes find its way to Youtube

Singaporeans are confounded by the ERP woes so much so that there is a video spoof which has just made its way to Youtube.

The late Hilter came alive to bombast the installation of ERP gantries in Singapore.

Watch this hilarous video on Youtube!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Food Glorius Food


Anyone who has eaten at the hawker centre opposite Fu Lu Shou complex in Rocher area would have agreed with me wholeheartedly that the food sold at its scores of food stalls give customers superb value for their money.

Some months back, this great hawker centre was barricaded as works to upgrade it under the Hawker Centres Upgrading Programme (HUP) by the National Environment Agency (NEA) commenced.

I have thought that I have then lost this last food paradise in Singapore for some months before the new refurnished centre reopens

But I was wrong: last Saturday, I had inadvertently found that the food stalls in the hawker centre have merely temporarily shifted to a make-shift food centre next to the road just aside Rocher Centre before the refurnished food centre is up.

For just $2, one can savour yummy dishes.. and eat like a King under $10 !

There are some durian sellers at a stall by the roadside opposite the make-shift food centre too. This, together with the make-shift food centre gave me a surreal feeling that I was eating at one of the many food stalls in Malaysia as I dined there.

This feeling of eating at rural Malaysia at this particular make-shift hawker centre is particularly poignant at night.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The TAO of Competition

Singapore has placed high hopes on this year’s contingent of athletes headed for the Beijing Olympics, in its bid to end the country’s medal drought since 1968.

The hope for a medal (be it Gold, Silver or Bronze) is skewed towards athletes Tao Li and Li Jiawei, who are local and regional powerhouses in Swimming and Table Tennis respectively.

Both are born Chinese (China Chinese) but have since become Singaporeans.

When Tao Li broke the Asia’s swimming record in the event on Sunday, local news touted her as the most anticipated player to bring in a medal for Singapore, but alas this was not to be realised for yesterday, she came in 5th in the swimming finals.

Though she was placed 5th, it was the best showing by a Singaporean player in the Olympics swimming team. Singaporeans applaud her results, I hope.

Now, we have to rely on naturalised players like Li Jiawei to carry home a medal for our country. But Li and her team faced a difficult start, beginning the pre-finals with heavy-weight opponents

I personally find that it is extremely difficult to land a medal for Singapore because our best hopes might have been gone … …


Competitions are unlike practices. In practices, one can be immaculate, spotless,perfect but when come to competitions, there can be silly blunders made and that can be very very costly. That could be due to pressure or luck..

I have personally experienced this fact today for a technical test. I was shocked to fail the test as I made a real silly blunder or mistake in an aspect of the test which should never be perpetuated and tolerated as in practices (dozens after dozens), I was perfect in that arena.

And I must tell you that it is not about being nervousness or lack of confidence, being through so many tests of all genres, I have lost the nervousness of starting a test. It has to do with being luck or the lack of it (unlucky). I simply have no luck today and have committed a rather costly blunder as I have to foot out another few hundreds bucks for a retest.

It is also a stupid mistake which I regret very much. Rather than crying over split milk, it is time to evaluate what went wrong.

Though I could not extricate myself for making the mistake, there is still an element of luck factor which one requires in tests.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

It rains on our National Day !

Yesterday, the sky was not cooperative in the celebration of our Nationdal Day Parades as in all years except 1968, but all Singaporeans still have fun!

I would like to revise the figure of the number of people who I said participated or went to watch the extravaganza last night in my post yesterday. The actual number was in the range of 200, 000 to 300,000.

No wonder the streets around City Hall were quite empty as all Singaporeans flood around Marina Bay and Singapore River for a glimpse of the action and the fireworks.

Missed the dazzling fireworks? Here are the videos that I have captured for readers:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-efG51X6Xg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hg6r4uvy-YE

Enjoy!




Flags and more flags


There is a dearth of national flags hung up and displayed by residents outside their apartment units this year (if one is to exclude those flags hung up by the town councils).
I noticed that Marina Mandarin Hotel is patriotic and supportive and thus have captured the above photo for it is not that common for a hotel to be decked in national flags.
Maybe other hotels will start to take a leaf from Marina Mandarin Hotel next year and we may see more hotels than housing apartments being decked in red and white !

Saturday, August 09, 2008

ERP: Every Road Pays?


This ERP (Electronic Road Pricing) gantry next to Fu Lu Shou Shopping Complex was one of the many put up in the most recent installation of such gantries across the island.

Paint the town Red !



Close to 50,000 Singaporeans flocked to the floating platform and the vicinity of Esplanade and Raffles Place to partake in, participate in, or view the nation’s most spectacular parade of the year, painting the town red (literally).

Red is the colour for today as Singaporeans jammed the streets from City Hall MRT all the way to the Esplanade area.

1500 hours, parade-goers already began thronging in, law and orderliness is being continuously reinforced by the hundreds of police officers stationed all around the area, preventing a stampede J.

While yesterday, the world reverberated in the China’s Olympics, Today is a day belonging to Singapore and Singaporeans!

The
parade is as spectacular as ever , though for the first time in many years, it rained for an hour an hour into the parade.

Nevertheless, Singaporeans soaked the fun as much as the rain!

China’s Olympics

At this point of writing, the whole world has witnessed the spectacular, magical, dazzling, fantastic, wonderful and sparkling opening ceremony of China’s Olympics on 8 Aug 08.

It was indeed a proud moment for China to host this grand event on this special date 080808 which comes just once in a thousand years! ‘8’ is pronounced as ‘ba’ in Chinese, which also rhythms with ‘fa’ in some Chinese dialects, which means strike (strike prosperity, money, wealth etc).

Thus it is an uncannily fitting date for China to host this great event on this date. When the Olympics cauldron was lighted up, signifying the end of the successful ceremony and the commencement of the games, it is indeed a proud moment for all Chinese worldwide!

It is not plain smoothing for China on its route to organize the games. There were critics on its polluted skies, protests against China’s human rights issue, sporadic of terrorit acts and the devastating Sichuan earthquake which wiped off tens of thousands of civilians.

At this time of writing, one terrorist act has been perpetuated on day 1 of the games: an American was murdered in Beijing. Though the world cannot stop terrorism, I am confident that China can contain and counter such immoral acts before they actually occur.

China is becoming a world player, its might cannot be underestimated. China is poised to become world No. 1 superpower in 10 to 20 years.

China may be only be strong in the years to come, its 5000 years of civilisations with the dozens of dynasties has imparted to the world supreme knowledge in different arenas: technology, medical, ethnics, arts and many more.

Gavin Menzies even went so far to claim that China discovered America and sparked the Italian Renaissance.

Baby Boom

On this special day, 8 Aug 08, while there were many couples who ROM (registered their marriages) at the registry of marriages, there were also a dozen couples who would like to give birth to their babies on this day (with some choosing caesarean births for this purpose).

On the following day after this special date which is today 9 August 08, some couples also hoped and make it happen the birth of their babies on this date, to coincide with our National birthday.

And often on National Day 9 Aug, news abound with the reporting of the first baby to be born on this special day.

National Day Message 2008

9 Aug 08 is our (Singapore’s) National Day, and without fail, the Prime Minister of Singapore would deliver his National Day speech the day before this important date every year.

The taped message was broadcasted on several TV channels yesterday, and for the full transcript of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s speech, one can read it at this website.

In this year’s message, Prime Minister Lee, while hopeful that Singapore can still continue its growth and prosperity, cautioned Singaporeans that the reverberations of the sub-prime crisis in US might be felt in Asia and Singapore in the coming months.

Who wants to be a millionaire?

14, 17, 19, 21, 25, 38 and 34 (special number)

If you have the above numbers on your TOTO tickets (6 of them to be exact) for the 080808 Singapore Pools draw (8 Aug 08), congratulations you have won for yourself $1,000,000 Singapore dollars!

As expected, there would be more than 1 winner for such a mega TOTO draw, thus the $8 million dollars prize for this draw is unsurprisingly happily spilt over 8 winners this time round, each winning a million Singapore dollars.

As I have predicted on my post on 1 Aug 08, such a mega draw gave low returns on your investment, nevertheless I did fork out $3 just to test my luck.

45 numbers to choose 6 from, this would amount to 8,145,060 different combinations, thus one would indeed be super lucky if he were to win in a TOTO draw!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Of Phones and Life


I became the proud owner of a sleek and modern 3G phone recently, not that I want to use, or I need a 3G phone but it was the best offer in a bundled package, so I immediately grabbed the deal.

3G allows one to watch TV shows, use internet, listen to music at the click of a button on the phone but those TV shows and internet services come at a premium! It was reported months before that a man actually ‘lived, ate, breathed, slept and talked 3G’ for a month and when the handphone bill for that particular month arrived, he had the shock of his life! His cyberlife on his 3G phone amounted to more than $10,000!

These said, I find we can draw parallels between the evolution of the modern handphones with that of modern man:

I had a ‘dinosaur phone’ the 3310, a 2G phone 3230 and now the recent N series 3G phone (all from Nokia). The 3230 has since failed which prompted me to get a new handphone and surprising after all these years, the 3310 functions as well as before, standing strong and steady while its more modern counterparts with more complicated functions fell prey to malaises, crippling their functions. The same analogy extends to man, the more complicated a man’s lifestyle becomes, the more problems he faces. The simpler the life, the fewer problems one faces (but one cannot get all the way beyond the minimum requirements and possessions to sustain life). This fact is best epitomised in the people of some countries where though they are poor but they are happy.

I do observe however modern equipment including handphones have shorter life spans compared to those of their predecessors. The many varied functions all encompassed in one equipment causing more complications and faults are one reasons I could think of. Another reason could be due to ‘forced obsolesce’ of the equipment by the manufacturers so as to increase their sales and services.



Metro Sales


The Metro Sales is here once again at Expo (Hall 5) from 7 Aug to 10 Aug 08, 11 am to 10 pm.

For sales of this gigantic scale being held at Expo, it is always better to come early, even better to come on the first day and BEST to come during the early hours on the first day to catch the best deals before these are grabbed by others!

I had the golden opportunity to visit the sales this afternoon on the first day of the sales. Imagine the uncluttered visits to the hundreds of booths, seamless travel in and out of and maneouvring in the hall and the use of the make-shift fitting rooms without any queing at all that I am entitled to. It is no imagination, it was the real fact! I was also able to grab the freshest and best deals available!

To check on upcoming events happening at Expo and plan early to catch the best deals or offers, be sure to check out this Expo Website.

Have fun shopping!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

MAM(mal) Hunt

News of a crocodile sighted in Pasir Ris Park by a regular park goer sparked off the next largest search in the country after Mas Selamat.

National Parks and PUB joined forces to trap the mammal, and members of the public also jumped on to the ‘bandwagon’ to find the mammal.

In a country bereft of nature, adventure and animals, urban Singaporeans find an inkling of wild adventure in trying to track down the crocodile. Crocodiles are aplenty in some countries but they are rare in Singapore. Tracking a ‘wild’ animal in immaculately urban Singapore helps to satiate, reignite and rediscover the adventure spirit in Singaporeans which is inherent in all but nevertheless hard to be released. This adventure spirit is exactly the sense of adventure spirit in entrepreneurship that the government is trying hard to inculcate in our youth.

This incident brought to my mind an incident which occurred not too long ago, one or two years back. A giant crocodile wreaked havoc and caused a furore in a river in Hong Kong. To capture the mammal, the Hong Kong police engaged the Crocodile hunter, the late Steve Irwin who captured the animal successfully as expected.

However though Steve managed to tame the wild, he himself fell prey to a jellyfish, an animal docile and tame in nature unless provoked.

A cruel irony of life, I must say. How heaven makes sport of man !

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Time

Every human has 24 hours a day, no more, no less and thus it is fair.

The only difference lies in the management of time, how one partitons the limited number of hours a day for work, recreation, family and other pursuits.

Time is of essence, the activity one undertakes in a given time should be deemed to be of use, constructive to him though it may appear a blatant waste of time by others.
Some find watching TV relaxing, others find it a complete waste of time alongside other recreational activities like playing games (nowadays more and more Singaporeans playing the portable Sony playstation during commuting).

The use and management of time depends on what one's goals in life are, what are his priorities, what activities he would spend lots of precious time to do it irregardless what others say.
We must manage our own time, manage our own life or someone will manage it for you!

Let it off ...

No matter how hard one tries, we cannot have everyone liking us, there would be always people who do not like us, even though we have not done anything untoward to them or have forgiven them for misdeeds they have perpetuated.

In my course of work, I still have colleagues who do not like me even though we can have daily friendly conversations. They still bore a grudge towards me as I have chastised them for their lazy work attitude before. They bored this grudge till today, refusing to let the grudge heal.

I let it pass. I do not expect everyone to like me. I do not feel terrible knowing others do not like me, but I feel terrible for them as I know how terrible it must have been on their part to hate someone, to bear a grudge for years; it takes so much of an effort and one’s health to hate someone.

I do not treat people who I know hate me for scolding them as different from others because I have forgiven them in their hearts. Conversely, I find it sad that that they choose to focus on some small grudges and not the bigger picture of life.

Life is big, to all those who have been bearing grudges towards others, it is time to let them go.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Life

There are two camps of thought about life: the dualist perspective vs the materialist perspective.

Dualist believe that life is made up both soul and body: the physical degradation of our extrinsic body by death does not spell the total death of a person as the intrinsic soul still remains and has not waned.

Though the physical body, after death, can be buried, cremated, etc the soul remains as ever before, and there can be possible interaction of the soul of the deceased with the others living as the deceased used to do before his death, though the medium of such interaction may be different (a possible cause for the strange eerie encounters some encountered with the other world).

Materialists believe that with death, the whole of a person is gone… soul and the physical body as the physical body gives form to soul.

I am definitely of the dualist view and I would like to add on that too many mortals on earth place emphasis on the physical attributes of a person first then his intrinsic soul. The whole world is always caught up with beauty and fashion, women trying to look even better and men defining the beauty of a person (usually a female) in skin-deep terms. This is a regrettable fact in human existence.

I always wonder if man has not evolved into a more intelligent being, will all man and woman look the same (save for the bodily features)? Animals all do look quite identical: be they lions, tigers, monkeys, birds, sharks, cockroaches…….. then there would not be a defining standard of beauty for all man and woman and there would be equality for all (no more advantages or privilege given to the more beautiful).

Then the whole mortal world will then truly recognise beauty in the intrinsic form.

Public Commute

If one spends a certain number of hours in commuting to and fro work, it is worthwhile to calculate the total number of hours spent in a month or even a year on this activity.

An hour a day on transport translates to almost a day per month of your precious life spent in this activity.

Imagine if one is to work for years, the number of days that would be spent in the public transport would be significant and to begin with, we are just talking about an hour a day!

One shall do constructive things during such public commute: read, think of an idea on how to improve his life, sleep or rest (to gain energy for the coming day), rather than day dreaming or doing nothing of use during the commute. We shall always do constructive things while waiting for the trains and buses too as time is of essence.

Chinese 7th Lunar month

The Chinese Lunar 7th month, more commonly known as the ‘Hungry Ghosts Festival’ commenced two days back on 1st August 08.

This is the time where offerings line the street, smell of incense fills the air, the streets come alive with the buzz of ‘Getais’ and prayer ceremonies adorn some public places.

This is the time of the Chinese Lunar year where the gate of hell is believed to open at the stroke of midnight on the first day of the lunar month, releasing souls and spirits for their ‘annual visit’ to the human world for a month.

To appease the spirits, offerings are made and performances ‘Getais’ are held to entertain them.

Some friends I spoke to shared the same observations as me that there is an uncanny increase in void deck wakes during this particular month, with the bulk held for the aged who have passed on.

This is the time when it is not advisable to go swimming or to indulge in physical activities where there is a certain element of risk.

And the timeless advice is for all to return home early lest we meet with some one we do not want to meet.

Aesthetics lies in the beholder

Blue Pyramid (from rooftop of a building)
Flying Saucer (Changi Airport Terminal 3)
As the two above pictures have exemplified, looking things from different angles in life, one can see different meanings and beauty inherent even in a most ordinary thing.

Friday, August 01, 2008

080808

8th August 2008, (080808), a beautiful date which comes only once in a lifetime is a special day for many.

It is the best date to get hitched for romantic couples including Chinese couples-to-be who are not deterred by the fact that this date falls in the Chinese Lunar 7th month.

It is a date Chinese the world over have a reason to be proud: China’s first-ever hosting of the Olympics!

It is the day before our country’s big day (the National Day)!

This date also marks a significant (and hopefully better) milestone in my career!

And to give more valid reasons to make this special date even more special and meaningful, the Singapore Pools is having a special draw on this date with a whopping draw amount of $8 million!

Wow, sound exciting! It might have lured a non-believer of TOTO like me to have a bite at the tempting TOTO cherry but I would not want to buy a super-TOTO ticket like on this date because I reckon the following:

a) winners of such super draws would be definitely more than one, thus each winner’s taking would hinge on the number of simultaneous winners. For such draws, the average number of simultaneous winners averages around 8 to 11, thus each winner would finally take home an amount less than or slightly more than a million, which could be even less than that in a normal draw (provided he wins in one).

b) with the increased prize amount, punters put in more and coupled with the factor outlined in a), the return of investment (ROI) for such draws is far lesser than for a normal draw.

Despites the low ROI, if one can win at least something on this special date, it is really a special moment to celebrate, this would be the other school of thought: better than nothing.

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