Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 Countdown

It is midnight 31 Dec 09. I cannot believe it. Tonight is the last day of year 2009. I felt a sense of nostalgia welling in me, threatening to engulf me in its intensity,its poignacy almost sending me to the brinks of tears.

Yes, readers, welcome to the last day of year 2009, the last night of the last year in a decade. You may ask why I am so emotional about this day? So what if it is the last day of the last year of a decade. Well, I spoke to some of my colleagues today on what they would be doing and where they would be at 0000 hrs, 1 Jan 2010, the first second of a brand new decade. The replies I draw from some would be quite the usual merry making sort of parties, some would spend it with their families and communities, for others not so fortunate, they would be just happy to live through yet a day.

In the past, countdown to a brand new year does not matter much to me. I mean, ya, I was happy as a kid, ushering in a brand new year, relishing in all the partying. The merriment matters to me but the significance of a brand new year has always been lost on me.... till NOW!

As an adult now, I have now come to finally grasp the significance of another brand new year as it signals yet another chapter of our new lives to take stock of where we are now, where we want to get to and how to get there. It is about fulfilling the things that we keep procrastinating... things that are of so much importance and value to us that somehow we do not do them year after year as we are lost in our work and committments.

Some resolutions for the retiring year 2009, I have tried hard to achieve but circumstances and people always proved to be a stumbling block. I do have some lofty goals in life but at the same time, I do think it is important to be contented with life.

Year 2009 is simply a nightmare to many Singaporeans and denizens of the world with the droves of retrenchments taking centrestage almost daily for quite a number of months this year. Some victims of the economic meltdown have found job while others are not lucky.

I am contented but aspire to better myself. Hope is in the air.

In retrospect, I am shocked at the quick passage of time....and life will soon ebb.

Let us make full use of the coming year!

Singapore Short Stories wishes all a Promising and Fulfilling Year ahead!

I cannot sleep, counting the seconds to year 2010. As I lied on my bed, recollections of the past year and possibly the past decade revisited my mind with new visions of hope and dreams taking shape too!


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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What has the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit COP15 to do with hair loss?

Copenhagen Climate Change Summit ended just a week ago with a sketchy framework cobbled together by the United States and the BaSIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India and China). The summit was marred by many differences among the different countries, chief of which were:

The developing countries blame the developed countries for the former’s historical responsibility of polluting the world which led to today’s global warming.

The developing countries want the developed countries to help in the funding of clean technology, in the adaptation and mitigation measures for their countries.

Low-lying islands like Tuvalu emitted little greenhouse gas emission into the atmosphere and yet it would be the first country to go under waters should the sea levels rise due to the melting of the giant ice glaciers.

So how in has this climate change conference to do with hair loss?

It draws a number of parallels with hair loss. To see this, replace the developing countries with a young man and the developed countries with an old man, and the similarities would become clear. With these, let translate the three chief differences into age-old truism for hair loss:

“The developing countries blame the developed countries for the former’s historical responsibility of polluting the world which led to today’s global warming.”

Translated:

The balding young man blame his balding old father for his inherited genes (‘historical responsibility’ in the climate change context) which led to the young man’s balding problem today.

Fact: A large percentage of hair loss is inherited

“The developing countries want the developed countries to help in the funding of clean technology, in the adaptation and mitigation measures for their countries.”

The balding young man want the old balding man to help in the financing of hair loss treatment products and services (‘financing’ in the climate change context) as the old balding man has more money than the balding young man as the latter has just a few years of work.

Fact: Hair loss treatment is by and large expensive, a young below 30 years old man may need help in the monetary terms to procure these products and services.

“Low-lying islands like Tuvalu emitted little greenhouse gas emission into the atmosphere and yet it would be the first country to go under waters should the sea levels rise due to the melting of the giant ice glaciers.”

Fact: The balding young man definitely prides his looks as such hair loss will be a heavier blow to him (‘be the first country to go under waters’ in the climate change context) at his age than his father’s.

After reading this post, can you see how this 15th UNCC climate change conference really draws parallels with hair loss?

The last analogy: the hairs on the receding hair line and thinning crown of hair loss sufferers are akin to the rapid melting giant icecaps at the poles!

Okay now, for something serious. Former US Vice-President has warned that the polar ice caps would melt in a matter of 5 to 7 years time to the skepticism of many.

Due to global warming, the polar ice has little time to form, resulting in thinner ice bases which translate to lesser hunting grounds for the polar bears. Many polar bears die as a result. The weaker and smaller polar bears drown together with the thinner ice sheets.

Thus all countries have to do their part to help curb global warming. Singapore has pledged to cut carbon emission by 16 % below Business as usual level. The result: Higher electricity prices for all Singapore household and industries coming next month!

So maybe I have to increase my speed of blogging to save electricity in the future!

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Singapore Botanic Gardens Christmas Celebrations

This year is the 150th anniversary of the Singapore Botanic Gardens and in conjunction with the anniversary, 150 beautifully decorated Christmas trees light up the Botanic Gardens in celebration of Christmas.

My wife and I visited the exhibits on Christmas eve and we saw the 150 small Christmas trees encircling the bandstand of the Gardens. Each Christmas tree was decorated by grassroots organizations, non-profit organizations and other institutions and organization from all corners of Singapore!

Botanic Gardens was a special place to visit on the eve of Christmas when thousands of Singaporeans would be flocking to Orchard Road to usher in Christmas. Botanic Gardens on Christmas eve offered a serene peace of calm and quiet far away from the maddening crowds. With this exhibits, it makes for an even appealing place to celebrate Christmas.



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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sezairi Sezali wins Singapore Idol 2009

The male contestant, Sezairi Sezali has won the Singapore Idol 2009, hence I have guessed the winner wrongly (see earlier post).

It was quite surprising to me because I have thought Sylvia has the X-factor and would be on her way to clinch the title of Singapore's first female idol.

Anyway, congrats to Sezairi Sezali for being the third Singapore Idol!

To read more, visit http://idol.mediacorptv.sg/

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Sylvia Ratonel crowned Singapore Idol 2009

The Singapore Idol 2009 finals will be held tonight at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. It is now a battle between the sexes with the remaining two contestants Sylvia Ratonel and Sezairi vying for the top honor of Singapore Idol 2009.

I do not following Singapore Idol since its debut in year 2004. It was the same for the second season in 2006 and the current third season this year. I can sense that the craze and fever for Singapore Idol is not as high as in the first season, it definitely seems quieter now, except for the previous two weeks when there was a media publicity blitz on the final two contestants and the finale of this season of Singapore Idol to be held tonight.I am not a fan of Singapore Idol and I have not really followed each season of the Singapore.

My gut feeling will be Sylvia as I believe overall she has the X-factor to be the third Singapore Idol after Taufik and Hady, as such I have titled this post as above. However, the ball is in the court of the viewers as they would have the power to decide who they want as Singapore Idol by telepolling. The winner will be the contestant with the most number of polls.

I believe my prediction will materialise in 3 hours time though it will then be time that I grudgingly hit bed, amidst the celebrations of Sylvia's fans, for tomorrow will be the start of work after a much-deserved long break.

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Changi Airport Christmas

Christmas trees have become a regular, if not, a necessary fixture, in any major Christmas decorations. We will witness all these brilliantly decorated Christmas trees in shopping malls and public places. Thus can you imagine what would happen if a Christmas decoration is void of Christmas trees? It would most likely look dull and boring to many.

However, this Christmas, the Changi Airport Group has produced an innovative Christmas concept, decorating its three passenger terminals with colourful balls of different shapes and sizes. There is not a Christmas tree in sight, yet the festive atmosphere these balls engendered is not lost on visitors; on the contrary, the festive mood is revved up to the best Christmas experiences in the airport, as what my wife and I experienced last night, on Christmas night itself!

The biggest Christmas ball in Changi Airport is undoubtedly this one nestled right in Changi Airport Terminal 3 level 2.





The ball looks big, red and nice, even with a closer look:





You may ask why bring in this giant ball and park it in terminal 3, just as a decoration? The authorities there definitely has a much more exciting concept, as every half-hourly, the ball opens up, in a music-box fashion to thrill visitors from young to the very old, belting out a slew of Christmas songs while it rotates with simultaneous coasting up and down of a number of ping pong balls amidst the other balls in itself. Yes, meet the Giant Music Ball in Singapore!




Near the end of the musical ball performance, sweets and ping pong balls will be discharged from the vents located at the bottom of the music ball. Visitors can sign up as participants of a special game to hunt these ping pong balls and exchange them for prizes, see the enthusiasm of this group of participants!


It is hard to describe the magic of this giant music box alone in words and pictures. As such I have recorded the video footage of the music performance, enjoy!






















Friday, December 25, 2009

Quest for Immortality: The world of Ancient Egypt

Dear readers, how have your Christmas eve and Christmas day been? It must be good right? Same here for me as I have been to a few very exciting and interesting places of interests for Singapore tropical Christmas which I will definitely share with you in the coming few posts, so do watch out for it!

This morning, Christmas Day, my parents, wife and I went to see not Santa Claus on this Christmas Day, butMummy! Yup, the mummies you watched in those “Mummies” shows starring Brandon Fraser which come to life and which will come and grab you!

Mummy maniac has hit Singapore with the exhibition: “Quest for Immortality: The world of Ancient Egypt” held at the Singapore National Museum from 22 December 2009 to 4 Apr 2010. Ticket for this exhibition costs $15, but come every public holiday, admission charges to the 5 Singapore Museums: National museum, Asian Civilization museum, Philatelic museum, Arts museum and Peranakan museum are waived free. Hence, the “Mummy” exhibitions are open to the public for free today!

The waiver of charges is partly the reason why we want to see “Mummy” on Christmas day, the overriding reason is that we are historical buffs.

Initially, I have expected that there will be few people to this exhibition as Singaporeans are generally not known as historical buffs, but I was wrong.

As soon as we reached the outside of the exhibition gallery, we were surprised that an extremely long queue has formed outside the gallery. We were told that it would take us 3 hours just to enter the exhibition!

It was far too long to wait. Quest for Immortality Exhibition? Quest for Entry to Exhibition instead!

Singapore Orchard Road Christmas

Hi Everyone! Merry Christmas! My wife and I have just come back from Orchard Road and I must tell you, it is real jammed packed with people! Almost thousands of Singaporeans,Permanent residents and foreigners descended down to Orchard road to usher in Christmas! Human traffic is so slow that even a patient people will be irritated.Anyway, it is so nice to be at home and I returned home right before midnight. Orchard road, with thousands of people, walking around, making fun and others sitting down just to usher in Christmas was simply a bomb to be detonated. Why do I say that? As some of the crowds passed, some strangers will spray those bubble foams to people they do not know. And at other instances, a group of people will start to cheer out loud and another group at the end of the jam will resonate with the equal vigor, making merry and funny gestures wildly and loudly!

True enough, there were a number of policemen on standby and stationed at various parts of Orchard road, but I wonder if a riot were to break out, amidst the thousands of bodies, would they prove to be a formidable force to quell the unrest?

If a bomb is to be detonated in Orchard road by terrrorists, thousands would be killed. It is lucky that Singapore is by far a safe country where thousands of people can congregate and celebrate festivals together happily and peacefully.

While in Orchard road, I can see the differences between the atitudes of the many foreigners living in Singapore and Singaporeans. The foreigners are mainly more expressive and 'louder' than Singaporeans. However, the young Singaporeans today have become very much westernized and their behaviour has shockd me.

The demographics of Singapore is fast changing. Singapore has more than a million foreigners living on this small island which comprises mainly of the China Chinese, India Indians and people from all over the world. The Singapore government has tried its best in its efforts to enable harmonious living of the foreigners with Singaporeans but sometimes certain tensions still exist between them.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Horoscope reading

Today is Christmas eve, I would like to wish all of you a Merry Christmas. Year 2010 is coming very fast, it is time for many to check out their horoscope readings to get a glimpse at what the new year will bring to them.

Personally, I am not a keen believer in Horoscopes, nevertheless, I do still read horoscopes as some of these bad forecasts mentioned in these readings can really serve as timely reminders for one to take stock of our lives and improve in certain arenas. Here is one good website for you to check your horoscope and astrology readings for year 2010: http://www.horoscopes-love.eu/year-horoscopes.php

If you have some time and are interested, you may also want to find out what is in store for the world in the coming 2010. When it comes to such forecast, the prognosis is always very bad. There is a host of doomsayers predicting macabre scenes embracing the world, the spectre of world war III, among others. If you have time, do read this website
http://completeall.com/Informative/World-Predictions-2010-5079.html where some of the predictions are really interesting.

Oh no, today is Christmas eve and tomorrow is Christmas day! I will be getting flak with all those gloomy and macabre postings of horrible work stories and forecasts. Don’t worry, let me do some remedy!

I will be posting what it is like to celebrate Christmas in Singapore! Ya, based on my outing with my Dear wife as we would be going out to a number of places these few days! Though Singapore is small, I must really applaud the government and authorities for coming out with a slew of Christmas events and attractions that is uniquely Singaporean! They have done their part, now is time for me to take my camera with me to the various Christmas happenings in Singapore and share them with the rest of the world and you!

Singapore Short Stories would like to wish all Singaporeans and friends of the world a Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The world

This world is about RELATIVITY

You are what you BELIEVE

Be the DIFFERENCE you want to see

MODERATE in everything

HORRIBLE Christmas Stories

These are two original horrible and funny Christmas Stories, which I would like to share with you. I leave it to you to decide whether these are true stories or just pure fiction!

Horror Story 1:

Jim, a teenager was walking in the void deck after a Christmas Party. He hadloads of fun with his friends just an hour earlier and was walking home, beaming with joy with the presents he had received from them. He loved Christmas and he valued the message of Christmas, which is the spirit of giving and sharing.

Halfway through his walk, he was disturbed by a cat which was wailing loudly. “Poor Cat, it must be lonely”, Jim thought to himself, “How I wish the cat could have someone to accompany and share the festive moods of Christmas!”

As he walked further, he came to the sight of an old middle-aged homless man, sleeping soundly on a chair in the void deck. Jim thought to himself yet again, “Poor man, time is probably lost on him. It does not matter to him, whether it is Christmas or not, as he does not even have a home”. But still, Jim wished the old man has somebody to share the Christmas with.

To help to do his part to bring the sharing and giving spirit of the festive season to others, Jim suddenly thought of an idea. He ran to the cat a hundred metres away, carried it in his arms and hurled it at the sleeping old man and exclaimed: “Merry Christmas, now both of you will not be lonely for Christmas!”

Horror Story 2:

If you have watched “Twilight Sage: New Moon”, you would have caught the scene where the female lead actress faced the situation of the half-naked hunky werewolf man being surrounded by few other half-naked hunks who sprang from nowhere at night, soon the hunky werewolf man, were off to somewhere the lady did not know with those hunks after he has given her some lame excuses to leave.

Mary, a housewife found herself right in the plot of this blockbuster movie, when about three men, who were his husband’s friends came to the door of her home one early night. Similar to the movie plot, they were asking for her husband to leave with them. However, sad to say, these 3 men were either fat or skinny. Mary’s husband, gave her a similar lame excuse and left with these men. It turned out that her husband has gone for training sessions to prepare for their coming reservist Remedial Trainings!

Yup, as you have guessed correctly, these were pure fiction originated from my mind. I might have a modicum of ill humor… I seek your pardon and hope you would not be hurling a cat at the homeless folks sleeping in your void deck, come Christmas eve, which is just hours away. Let the poor homeless folks have a blessed silent night. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Free calendars



Year 2009 has seen the worst of the economic crises in decades. Banks and financial institutions collapsed, companies went bust, and these were followed by the myriads of retrenchments and cost cutting exercises, which translates to pay cuts and zero bonuses.

Corporate calendars have become a rare breed on theback of this bleak economic calendar. In the past, employees are keenly anticipative of the sleek and compact organizers, diaries as well as calendars they receive pro bono from their companies this time of the year. Today, there seems to be a silent consensus that the company bosses owe no obligation to their charges when it comes to free calendars. This consensus is due to the expectation that companies need to cut cost in this economy on the mend.

So if you are like me without the coveted calendars for the coming 2010, do not fret, here is some good news I would like to share with you.

Go to this site: http://www.homelifeweekly.com/calendars/free-printable-calendar-2010/ which stockpiles an array of calendars in different layouts and format. Choose the ones you need and print them out and you are on your way to organizing a great year ahead! Hope you find my post useful to save you some bucks before you scurry along to buy a new diary!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Singapore 2010 Countdown



How time passes! In just 10 days, we will bid 2009 a good farewell and welcome 2010! I guess all of you must be excited now right! 2010, a new year will be coming so soon! Have you done the things you set out to do this year? If not, you should do now before the year ends!

Also, this is the time when many will set down new year resolutions for the new year 2010. What are your new year wishes? Hmm, many of you may have thought of one or two new year wishes but I must encourage all of you to write down on a piece of paper your new year resolutions as experts have shown that when you write your goals now and place these written goals everyday on a place where you will see them, you are halfway to success as you are committed to achieving these goals!

Best of all, share your goals with your family, friends and loved ones. Once you have shared your goals with others, you will feel that motivation and committment to make them happen! In Singapore, when it comes to every end of the year, you will be able to share your new year resolution for yourself and your country with the world!

Yup, you are able to do just that! Since some years ago, Singapore has uniquely launched the wishing spheres project come this period of the year annually. These wishing spheres are for Singaporeans to write their wishes and blessings for the nation, their loved ones or themselves and at the stroke of midnight 1 Jan 2010, these giant wishing spheres will be released into the Singapore river in an illuminating, brillant and stunning fashion, transforming Singapore river instantaneously into a river of wishes!

So have you pen your wishes on these wishing spheres yet? If not, hurry down to Esplanade or Millenia walk and pen your wishes now! My Dear and I have the opportunities to pen down our wishes for the nation when we happended pass Millenia walk shopping mall on our outing.

I believe this novel idea of Singapore is a brilliant one! In Taiwan, the people have Kong Ming lanterns, where they similarly pen down their wishes and hopes on these lanterns before liting them up and seeing them carrying their hopes and wishes up the sky! In Singapore, we do not jave the Kong Ming lanterns but we have the wishing spheres instead which is also quite brilliant. Singapore is surrounded by seas, its time for us to transform our seas into the seas of our hopes!

Stay tuned to this blog as I bring you the latest happenings in Singapore during Christmas and the final countdown to year 2010!

Singapore Friends

Dear Readers,

Let us be friends! If you are observant enough, you would have notice thatI have created a Facebook Fanbox widget on the left of my blog! Yes, I have introduced this widget on my blog so that readers now can follow Singapore Short Stories not only on this blog, but also on Facebook where I will update regularly so that you will learn the latest happenings, events and news occuring in Singapore in real time! What is more, you will now have this lovely lion as your friend on Facebook! Thus do add me now!

International readers, you are strongly welcome to add me to your facebook accounts too to learn more about Singapore, its places and people.

I welcome all readers, Singaporeans and international friends to be friends of this Singapore Short Stories blog.

See All of you around!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Enlightment

It is raining cats and dogs outside of my home at this moment of my writing. It is not surprising as it is now monsoon season, that time of the year when rains are a tradition in Singapore which lends the festive mood of Christmas in snow-deprived Singapore.

I am not sleeping as I cannot sleep. Time seems to pass very quicklyespecially at this time of the year. Soon, another new year, 2010 will be ushered in. I want to spend more waking hours and savour the last of year 2009 before it comes to a close and be gone forever.

Time passes very quickly. I find myself seeping into reminiscence once again. With the passage of time, it is inevitable that I find my physical body deteriorating, my memory not as good as before and I become more easily tired. Are there redeeming factors when time passes you on?

With the passage of time, comes experience and with experience comes wisdom. Wisdom is accumulated over time, and indeed I have grown wiser over time. I have learnt from the lessons of life gleaned from my experiences and some hard knocks in life this year and have emerged, though scathed, wiser.

Some hard knocks in life are unavoidable. I have learnt that one cannot be too good and kind in life else some people will take your kindness for their opportunities to be exploited. Man is an animal in essence. Though man no longer live in the jungle, the complex rules of the jungles still apply and there are still preys and predators in modern context.

Imagine a tamed and docile animal being released into the wild wild world, what will happen to it? If the animal is lucky enough, it will not be eaten, at most it will be injured and learn survival skills with every scar earned on its body.

Children should not be too overprotected by their parents. Parents should never keep their children closeted in the comforts of their own homes, totally oblivious to the wild wild corporate and outside world where human relationships are not as simple as ABC to comprehend and not all people are kind. Parents should prepare their children to navigate the complexities of the outside world by letting them go off early from their wings to take on the world at an early stage.

In his teenager years, Buddha was a young prince who was given a opulent lifestyle filled with riches and goodness. Buddha was also fed with the same utopia picture of the outside world. Has Buddha not escaped from his house and venture out, he would have never seen the suffering and the uncomfortable lives that his subjects led.

One should hence explore the world at an early stage, be streetwise and learn the skills of surviving the complex human relationships in life.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Singapore Blogs: A roundup of Singapore’s Blogosphere 2009


As the year draws to a close in less than a week’s time, let us recall some of the important and sensational events, which occur in Singapore’s Blogosphere in year 2009. I will be sharing my perspectives of these events as one of Singapore’s blogger. Though I may not be Singapore’s top blogger, I am glad to witness the increasing popularity of my blog, and I must thank to all of you readers out there, no matter which country you hail from, who have supported my blog in one way or another, many Thanks to you once again! I will continue to make my blog as beneficial, as insightful, as interesting, as enjoyable and as useful as possible to you!

A watershed event, which seemed to herald a new dawn for Singapore’s blogging fraternity occurred in the Singapore’s blogosphere just weeks after year 2009 commenced. A popular blogger, Ms Jayne Goh, the marketing director of Mensa Singapore whose blog is at www.eastcoastlife.blogspot.com has set up a pro-tem Association of Singapore bloggers with some of her fellow blogging friends with the noble mission to promote and support the positive development of the blogging scene in Singapore, as a distinct form of media; with all the rights and responsibilities that entails, to every citizen as well as to promote professionalism in blogging among other objectives.

Just days after the association was formed, the unexpected (or should I say the expected) occurred: the setting up of the association drew a barrage of flak among the online community who questioned the need for the existence of the association at all. Their main beef centred on the need to charge members an admission fee as well as the very notion to group the disparate communities of diverse Singapore’s bloggers as one. Bloggers have also lambasted the idea for the formation of the association and from what I have read, a number of famous bloggers have politely declined to join the association too.

I believe the association of bloggers is founded on very noble and good principles to better the blogging scene in Singapore. However, the task of this association is a challenging one as it seeks to introduce some form of a system to the uncontrolled flux of Singapore blogs and Singapore blogging. Many incendiary comments were made online as I believe Singapore bloggers have mistaken that the association seeks to regulate blogs or serves to become their watchdog. To be frank, the association might have achieve its objectives, grow its community and prove its detractors and critics wrong among the torrent of criticism has it persisted. A peek at the association’s website at http://associationofbloggers.wordpress.com/ left no doubt to the standing of the association in Singapore today.

Somewhere in the middle of this year, the annual OMY blog awards 2009 was held, where a senior citizen blogger was crowned the winner in the individual blog section. It may come as a surprise that an older Singaporeans is the winner, however it calls for celebration as it exemplifies that when it comes to learning and navigating the rudimentals and intricacies of technology, our senior citizens can do and do it better!

There were also other blog awards organized by a slew of organizations such as the Nuffnang blog awards, you can read all about it from the internet, thus I should not details these events here.

Apart from the aforementioned events and personal achievements of Singapore’s bloggers, it is quite quiet in Singapore’s blogosphere till a week ago and this week when 3 incidents of different natures concerning Singapore bloggers made headline news, elevating the blog pulse of the nation once again as a last hurrah of sorts of the year.

First of all, the court has ruled that Ms Jayne Goh, (yup, the founder and President of the association of bloggers (Singapore) you read earlier ) has defamed a teacher in her blog entry dated somewhere in Dec 08. Hearing for this case will adjourn next January.

I would like to advise bloggers to exercise prudence while indulging in their favorite blogging. Though blogging provides a cloak of anonymity for bloggers, one must never deframe others, infringe copyrighted intellectual property or write politically, religiously or racially sensitive topics. If one does so, he would have to prepare to answer and defend what he wrote on his blog with a robust justification.

In another incident last week, project Engineer Alex Tan has become quite well-known for the wrong reason when it was reported that he has asked two members of the parliament during a young PAP forum an inappropriate question as to whether the PAP has created political apathy among Singaporeans and a feisty exchange of words soon escalated on the cyberworld between him and another young PAP activist, Sear Hock Rong which continued at this point in writing.

Finally, wedding bells ring for Singapore’s No.1 blogger, Xiaxue as her Caucasian boyfriend, Mike proposed to her in a movie screening and captured their treasured moments to be shared with the blogging fraternity on none other than Xiaxue’s personal blog.

That’s my quick sum-up of the blogging fraternity in Singapore, hope you enjoy my sharing! I hope Singapore bloggers would continue to enjoy their favorite past times come year 2010 and collectively contribute to the memories of Singapore….. imagine 100 years later, when the future generations of Singaporeans were to read our blogs, they will inherit a rich legacy of Singapore’s past which is our present.



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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Wendy’s Singapore

After a hiatus of more than 10 years, it was reported yesterday that the Kopitiam group has brought Wendy’s back to Singapore with its first outlet at Lau Pa Sar food court. The group is embarking on an ambitious plan to open 35 Wendy’s fast food outlets in Singapore in the coming decade. I believe Singaporeans like me welcome the news as it inevitably means that when it comes to fast food, we have now an additional option!

I have not heard of this fast food chain when it was operating in Singapore. This has perhaps to do with the fact that I do not belong to the older generation. A check online revealed that the signature burgers of Wendy’s are its square burgers. I am going to check out Wendy’s soon. Singaporeans enjoy novelty and hence it is expected that the flagship outlet at La Pa Sar will be having a brisk business and it is going to be jammed pack with crowds!

Monday, December 14, 2009

BookFest Singapore 2009


My wife and I visited BookFest@Singapore 2009 at Suntec City convention and exhibition hall last Saturday. This event, held from 11 Dec 09 to 20 Dec 09, is a mega sales of myriad of books, stationary and computer paraphernalia, with a sprinkling of stalls selling snacks, hair loss treatments and more.

You would be forgiven if you thought you have entered a concert as you step into the exhibition hall as there is a plethora of seminars, stage performances and songs belted out by popular artistes throughout the duration of the event. For us, we noticed a large audience, constituted mainly of men below the stage, watching and perhaps ogling at the sexily dressed Taiwanese singer,

Wen Lan, as she sashayed and imparted her dancing skills to a male audience chosen to join her to play a game on stage. She is here on Singapore to promote her album, which befits her costume, titled “Dancing Queen”.

It was books galore at the event with an equal mix of both English and Chinese books. It was reminiscence as I took sight of the slew of colourful and appealing assessment books for primary school and secondary school kids. The cover of each assessment book is brilliantly designed such that it is really appealing to an adult like me, much so for the kids I believe. It makes good marketing sense to design assessment books so appealing as such. How lucky the kids of today are, their assessment books are so attractive unlike the drab designs I had. I hope this factor will proved to be a consolation for them doing their assessment books.

I still recall the days when I was in primary school. For very minor offences like spelling mistakes, I would be punished quite severely: being slapped on the face, being slapped on the hand by the teacher’s ruler, even more ‘heinous’: being knocked painfully on the knuckles by the ruler and also being pulled on the ‘sideburns’ of the hair by the teacher!

Do not be mistaken. I was not a bad student. In fact, I had exemplary behaviour, it was just that this was the common punishment teachers meted out to students in the grand old days of my times. How times have changed now! The teachers today are much younger than their predecessors and if a teacher is to even scold students, he or she may be inundated by the parents’ complaints!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

How to renew your National Library books?

Are you a book buff like me? If so, it is highly likely that you are a regular visitor to the many great, quality and comfortable libraries scattered throughout our island.

Do you know that now you can borow up to 6 books item, inclusive of a maximum of 2 audio visual materials from the libraries with effect from July this year? And from April this year, there is a one-time free renewal for all library materials so that library members can renew the library materials for a longer loan period at no additional cost and avoid incurring overdue library charges if they require more time to read the book or magazine.

Singapore Short Stories really welcome these revisions to the National Library Board's policies. As a working adult, who loves embracing knowledge, I hit the libraries regularly and it is really a chore to rush through the books I borrow within the initial borrowing period of 3 weeks.

I have some library books with me now which are due to be returned next week. The problem is I have not completed reading one of these books and I would hence need to go about renewing the book, luckily for free the first time. I reckon this first time free renewal would grant me sufficient time to complete reading my book.

I have not renewed National Library books before, as such, I took on the onerous task to find out exactly how I can renew my books. Finally, I learnt that in order to renew the books you borrowed, you must first log in to your account first at

http://www.pl.sg/page/PlCheckYourAccount/CheckYourAccount

after your login, you will be able to view the books you have borrowed and you will be able to click those which you require renewing and hit the 'renew' button. The renewal process is simple though not direct (as in no direct renew link or instructions on how to go about renewing in National Library Board website).

I surmise a number of Singaporeans may also be at a loss when it comes to online renewal of their National Library books, hence I hope my post on it will help.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Somerset 313


The newest shopping centres on Orchard Road seem to take the mould of taller and narrower buildings. This was the case for Orchard Central and when I visited 313@Somerset recently, I was surprised that the shopping centre looks similar to Orchard Central. What is interesting to me is that the Somerset MRT exit is situated right in one of the basement levels (B2) such that the shopping mall seems to contain the MRT station!


Nothing particularly appealing to me about 313@Somerset, Orchard Central is much better as it has more stories of shops and is broader, offering more walkway for customers.

Starhub and M1 iPhones

Singaporeans are really lovers of IT and modern gadgets. With the sales of iPhones by Starhub and M1 today, there is really a long queue of Singaporeans waiting for hours just to get that highly-coveted iPhone!

Singtel, Starhub and M1 are currently the three players in the iPhone market. Now consumers have two additonal choices with Starhub and M1 joining the fray. With 3 players, there is now no one player dominating the iPhone scene in Singapore. There will be pressure as the 3 players compete with one another to grab a bite of the lucrative iPhone market.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

How to earn money?

This article has been moved here.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Fengshui

With the end of the year coming, it is time to usher in year 2010 very soon. As a regular goer to the bookshop,. I have noticed that bookshops have started with the stockpiling of books. A bulk of these books are assessment books due to the fact that school is reopening for students real soon in just a month time. However, if you are observant enough, you will notice that the bookshops have also started to sell horoscope books and fengshui for the coming new year 2010!

A quick glance convinced me on yesterday’s visit to the bookstore that the number of Fengshui books outnumbers that of English horoscope books. Actually there are also Chinese horoscope books too, just that some Chinese horoscope books marry the theme of Fengshui into their book collection thus one can find customized horoscope forecast as well as Fengshui readings for their Chinese star signs come year 2010. I think the publishers of these Chinese horoscope and Fengshui books are smart as they have customized books for readers of each different Chinese animal sign. As compared to a general Fengshui or Chinese horoscope book, more people would hence become buyers of these books! Actually, this tactic is similar to books of English horoscope where there are different books catering to each of the different 12 star signs.

Strictly speaking, every new Chinese year starts on the first of every Chinese lunar month and for year 2010, Chinese lunar new year falls on 15th Feb 2010, a day after Valentine’s Day. As a Singaporean, I enjoy celebrating both New Year and Chinese New Year, though I believe more in Chinese horoscope than its western counterparts.

Come every Chinese new year, do check out whether you are one of the animal signs which offend the deity “Tai Sui”, if you do, you would have to pray to the deity to seek forgiveness.

Fengshui to some is a belief and a reality, to others, it is a superstition. I do believe in Fengshui as I truly believe that the flows of cosmic energies will have both positive and negative bearings on humans. There is a market for Chinese Fengshui both in Singapore and in the Western world such as United Kingdom and the United States. Many Fengshui astrologers and practitioners here have also become very rich indeed from their business. This just goes to prove that there is a strong demand for enhancing Fenghsui in our daily lives, especially for businessmen who may want to do everything right to their environments keep the counter ringing.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Midnight Singapore

I was outside Vivocity shopping mall in the wee hours of Saturday morning. By ‘wee hours’, I mean the hours past midnight. It was around 2.30 am then and there seemed to be a concert going on outside the shopping mall with dozens of people moving around and loud music blasting away!

On closer look, I realized it was the busy scene of event contractors setting up the tentage, stage, decoration and everything necessary for an upcoming event. I am not too sure what the event is, but judging by what I have seen with the theme of the event centering on football, I believe the event has something to do with World Cup 2010! If you are interested, you may want to travel to the shopping centre and take a look, provided the event has not ended.

I am not a midnight owl thus staying past midnight outsides of home offered me interesting insights of Singapore. Most of us sleep during these early morning hours, unknown to the happenings in Singapore during these times. In Vivocity shopping mall, I saw many works taking place at the mall, which has since became as silent as a graveyard past 2 a.m. There were cleaners sprucing up the mall to usher in a clean and hygienic shopping mall for visitors come yet another brand new day tomorrow. In some of the outlets in the mall, there were also scores of people doing renovation works to the outlets. I guess these are definitely the times where cleaning and renovation works to the shopping centre malls and its outlets can take place as during the day, shopping malls are open for businesses and there are just too many people around.

My wife and I took the Nightrider bus home which plied along the many streets of Singapore for 2 hours before we reached home! To be frank, though the Nightrider bus can save commuters tens of dollars of dollars, the waiting times for these buses as well as the bus journey times are real lengthy. I can complain no more as I took this opportunity to see the streets of Singapore and its happenings past midnight.

The nightrider bus my wife and I took was filled with party-goers and pubbers who had enough of the fun at these entertainment spots and decided to hit home. A group of these pubbers treated the bus like their home, laughing and playing stupid jokes nosily, much to the annoy of others passengers.

The bus looped around Orchard road where late night owls filled the bus to three-quarters of its capacity. At subsequent stops, when the bus opened, only a handful of passengers could take the bus, as the passengers standing in the bus did not want to move in to the rear and the bus driver did not do any much to remedy the situation, except for broadcasting the automated voice message which encouraged passengers to move into the rear of the bus. I felt the passengers who did not want to move their bums into the rear of the bus were really being downright inconsiderate as they deprived an opportunity for others to board the bus, go home and sleep early. What an inconsiderate bunch of self-centred people; those who could not board the bus due to their inconsiderate actions had to wait for another half hour at the least for another bus!

As the bus trailed around the streets of Singapore, I could see that the streets of Singapore post midnight were void of people, except for some people strolling here and there, some groups of youngsters sitting around aimlessly and a small group of the homeless and destitute sleeping on the streets.

As the man trailed on and on, it was soon 4 a.m and I could see coffeeshops starting to open up and prepare for the businesses ahead. Entering Geylang, I could see that its slew of eateries and snack shops were still mostly operating as many of these eateries are open 24/7. I also caught a quick glimpse of some creatures of the night: prostitutes plying along the street, aiming for their next targets.

At last, we reached our home after a long bus journey! I think it is better to sleep during the night because it really took a toll on one’s bodies to stay awake at times when the body is ‘scheduled’ to repair itself.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

The twilight saga: new moon movie

I watched "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" movie, which was released just this Thursday, last night with my wife. The plot was not as exciting as part 1 : "Twilight", in fact, the whole show was very 'draggy' and not much of an action or excitement.

I would have expected that in this sequel, Victoria, the remaining blood-thristy vampire would be dealt with, instead the whole show centred on the theme of love.

In the end, the female protagonist chose the vampire over the werewolf and the movie ended suddenly when the vampire popped the golden question to the female protagonist "Will you marry me?", then the screen went blank. A chorus of dismay resonated simultaneously from the audience, leaving one no doubt that this "Twilight" sequel was very poor as compared to the first instalment.

Besides the display of ample body muscles of the well-endowed werewolf which proves abundant eye candy to females and the seeing of the huge and cute wolves, I think you can put better use of your money.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Prostitute caught on Google Streetview Singapore!


In my last post, I have shared with you readers on how useful and innovative the newly launched Google Streetwise Singapore is and the ways to access the software.
In this post, I will like to share with you how far Google does in masking or blurring out images of passer-bys caught in Singapore Streetview, particularly sensitive images.

As such, I set out on this mission to test how well Google does in the aforementioned task. So how do I do it? Well, the very easy thing is to find out what images of passer-bys caught in such a Streetview software would be embarrassing, and it reminds me that earlier on, I have read that Google has captured images of people caught coming out from brothels in other countries. As such, it is hence inevident that my search when comes to such embarrassing finds would centre on Geylang, Singapore's and world-renowned red light district.

Thus, I pointed Streetview to Geylang and saw roads, streets with the many small shops that are emblematic of Geylang. Some old uncles or are they old lechers were seen cycling along the busy roads of Geylang, then I saw this photo:

Hmm, a sexily-cladded girl sitting alone on a warm afternoon on a lonely spot near the brothel areas in Geylang. Waiting for someone, you may say? Or is she bored? Well, it is obvious who she is and what she is doing!

As for catching the old lechers loitering in Geylang on Streetview, some faces whom you may be shocked and surprised to know, I will leave it to you to do, if you are very interested to do so. My intial find is that the images of people especially sensitive people in sensitive locations, not wanting people to know that they are there, may not be really blurred out, just take for example, the woman photo above, whose features I can see quite clearly.

As Google Streetview is not a realtime streetviewing software but based on past videos and photos taken during its Google Car tours, I think if those people caught in Streetview for not a nice reason and shown to all the denizens in Singapore and the world, maybe I can pinpoint it to a quirk of fate or lack of luck for being in a wrong location at the wrong time to be captured on Streetview and their deeds be known to posterity forever.


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Google Maps Street View singapore

The folks at Google have done it once again! Yes, the folks who bring you Google Earth has released the version of Street View for Singapore just very recently!

With Google Streetview Singapore, one can take a virtual tour of the whole island of Singapore and take in the sights of Singapore streets on one's mobile phones, desktop or laptop with an internet connection! Some months ago, the folks at Google appeared in Singapore and take high resolutions of the streets of Singapore with their video vans. A very high percentage of roads in Singapore are covered, save for some roads which have safety, military implications. The whole of Singapore is now mapped out together with many other countries on one's computer and mobile phone!

Google has tried its best to blur out images of people caught in their Streetview. In the past, photos of people who have got out of brothels or were in compromising positions were captured, to the ire of them. Google has since started blurring images of sensitive subjects, but not all such images could be blurred out. Google welcomes all those who have been captured in their Streetview to raise a case and their cases will be looked into very promptly.

It is with great trepidation that I used Google Streetview Singapore today, and I did catch a photo of a passer-by in one of the first few scenes I saw on Streetview Singapore. I believe Streetview Singapore is such a great tool for those who plan to see the world as well as its streets but could not travel the whole world due to financial constraints, now they are able to travel anywhere and anytime virtually. This software is also great for those who plan to travel to the next overseas destination as it can help them do some homework prior to their travel. Last but not least, for people who are lost, if they are armed with a broadband phone, they may able to navigate themselves to safety or familar grounds!

Singapore Short Stories will teach you how to access Streetview Singapore:

1) First, log in to
Google Maps Singapore

2) Decide on which streets of Singapore you like to see. E.g. if you would like to see Tampines, just navigate using the up/down/left/right button as well as the magnification button.

3) Drag and drop the "Orange Man' icon into the street where you want to view. E.g. Tampines Central and you wil be greeted with a video image main window of the street as shown below.

4) Do you see a small rectange of the orange man and the street on the bottom right of the main window, you drag the orange man icon and the streets ravel as you continue your virtual travel!

Such a fun software to use and to explore Singapore right from the comfort of your home!

Zhao Lin Qian, 5 year old girl run over by car in Punggol Field Road Accident!

The local Straits Times reported today that a 5-year old girl, Zhao Lin Qian, whose family hailed from China and had settled in Singapore, was killed by a speeding car while crossing the two-lane Punggol Field road with her grandfather on her way to piano school.

The girl has shown a talent in piano and this was the first time her grandfather had brought her to piano lesson as it was usually her father, an Engineer in Changi Airport who does so.

While the duo might not be using designated road crossing, it was reported that Lin Qian's grandfather has commented that the car which killed Lin Qian had sped so fast that there was little reaction time.

LianHe Zaobao, the Chinese morning newspaper in Singapore, showed a distressing photo of the girl's grandfather lying flat on the road in shock while her father sat next to the body of Lin Qian wrapped with covers, in complete shock and grief, seemingly unable to accept that his daughter was gone.

Residents in Punggol living near the venue of accident interviewed by Zaobao have remarked that the Malay driver at the wheels of the car, a salesman, who has perpetuated the accident was quite familar to them as they have always noticed him speeding his car very rapidly in the vicinity and has always blast his in-car entertainment system while driving. Witnesses said that they had seen the driver speeding and overtaking a bus before crashing into the poor girl.

It is really a tragedy that occurs in heartland Singapore! Imagine raising your young children, only to be killed by a reckless act of some inconsiderate and showy Singaporeans who just love to speed and show off the speed and sound of their brand new cars, with blatant disregard for the lives of pedestrians!

Drivers who have killed pedestrians walk away with a fine and suspended for driving at most or worse, are slapped with some weeks of jail but that is all, they just have to serve some time and spend some money and after which they can get on with their lives but victims of their brutal, and totally inconsiderate acts are gone forever, leaving pain, misery and grief to the loved ones of the deceased.

I really hope that the Traffic Police can increase the penalty of those drivers who speed and destroy lives and families through their speeding and other reckless acts. I have observed cars in Singapore these days even do not pull over at traffic lights or at specific junctions, I was also almost killed on many occassions by these bad and inconsiderate drivers while using the pedestrian crossings properly as a pedestrian of the road. Drivers here, I observed, are quite inpatient and seem to want to save time and hence speed is the answer for them. I notice that speeding is quite prevalent among some taxis and lorries doing deliveries as really time may be of essence to them.

Drivers who speed either want to save time or want to show to others that they are 'heroes'. In achieving their goals and satisfying their egos, they jeopardise the lives of other road users and render complete disrespect and disregard for the lives of others.

Errant drivers, as I have mentioned before, may get suspended for driving, be fined or serve some jail time, but that is all. They may be sad and guilt-ridden for some weeks, some months but that will also soon pass but the pain and grief of the surviving friends and kins of the deceased whom they have killed will linger FOR LIFE!

I would like to recommend that errant drivers who have destroyed lives through their saneless and inconsiderate acts write a letter, expressing their remorse to the grieving family every month for the rest of their life. I have read that some countries have implemented this method to keep the errant drivers conscious and remembering of the carnage to the lives of others that they have caused... for the rest of their lives! However, such letters may always cause haunting of the bad memories to the family of the deceased for life too!

Errant drivers who speed do not only cause the lives of pedestrians to be jeopardised, other road users such as the motorcyclists, whose vehicles proved to be vulnerable when compared to a car or truck, have their lives equally at stake! I have colleague who was killed in traffic accident too!

Singapore Short Stories encourages all drivers to drive slowly and more carefully, sparing a thought for other pedestrians, and never drink before driving. For pedestrians, do not gurantee that by using designated crossings, you will be safe. Always keep a lookout for oncoming traffic.... for there will be some who will think that they are Kings of the roads.


On a parting note, I would send my condolences to Lin Qian's family and hope that they will seek a closure of this tragic episode and move on with their lives soon.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The mad doctor



Some months ago, I went to a polyclinic to see a doctor after falling ill to a bout of stomachache and diarrhoea.

As I entered the consultation room, I saw the bespectacled doctor behind his desk asking me to take a seat and enquiring me on the illness I had. Next he proceeded to check for the symptoms, a part of the routine procedure. I opened my mouth during the process for him to take a look at the throat using his specialized equipment, it was to my surprise and shock when he suddenly grimaced in front of me, raising his voice to me to open my mouth a little bit bigger. The suddenly change of attitude and mood shocked me and it was also an unprofessional conduct coming from a general practitioner. This doctor seemed mad and looked mad.

Few months passed and one day on my way to work, I bumped into the doctor who was walking in the other direction towards my estate. He wore office wear and I presumed that he is now working in a hospital in my estate. This young doctor wore a happy expression on his face and was smiling and talking to himself as he walked. Strange fellow.

For the next few months till today, I will quite regularly see this young doctor on my way to work, always talking and smiling to himself, oblivious to the glances eagle-eyed passer-bys may cast on him. As the self-expression were subtle and made while the doctor was walking, not many people might have notice the doctor’s strange behaviour, but I was conscious of this doctor due to my nasty encounter at his consultation room with him.

I am worried if we leave medical treatments to doctors who may not be mentally sound. It is such a fine boundary between doctors and murderers. When doctors botch up a procedure, overscribe medication for their parents, causing loss of lives, that is when a doctor becomes a murderer. Was the doctor too stressed by his medical studies or work and become mentally unsound? I just hope that the mental illness of this doctor could be either improve and go off or be discovered by his peers or superiors. I definitely do not want a mad doctor to treat me as my life will be at stake.

Singapore 2010



Time always passes very quickly, now we are on the 2nd day of the last month of 2009. In just over 20 days, we will be ushering in a brand new year, year 2010.

I do not know whether you are like me, every time when it comes to this time of the year, I will become sad at the passage of time. I will contemplate at the past events of the year, what have happended and it will always jolt me into reality how indeed very quickly time has passed. What seemed to be events that took place yesterday had already passed months ago and it seemed that amidst all the grandiose visions and missions we had chalked up for year 2009, some targets have to be shelved to achieve in yet another year either as a result of NATO (no, I am not talking about the world organization, I am talking about the acronym: No Action Talk Only) or due to circumstances.

At this time of the year, one would ask ourselves “What have I achieved over the past one year” and the result to many would be that some goals are not yet achieved or missed.

I have kept calendars and organizers after I started work to keep track of my professional career and personal life events. At times when I am free, I would always turn back the pages and looked back at the events which had taken place in my life.

As I looked back and retraced some of the moments in my life, I realized for sure that there were certain things in life that I should never do, certain things in life that I should do less and certain things in life that I should do more.

I can be said to be a man of contemplation. Contemplating on past incidents and events of my life as an average Singaporean living on this tiny little red dot. Contemplation does let the past hold hostage of man and act as a straitjacket for progress if one is to be overly contemplating, however some contemplation does benefits to one as one learns from the past mistakes one have made and move on.

It is now just 29 days to yet another new year. I am trying to achieve some more goals within my means before the year comes to a close so that I would have achieved a bit more in year 2009.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Best Singapore Blog

I believe some Singapore bloggers would like to be the owner of the Best Singapore Blog in the league of award winning blogs like Xiaxue and Mr Brown, gaining fame while pursuing his or her hobby.

To me, as owner of Singapore Short Stories, I harbor no such lofty goals. My purpose in setting up this blog is just to share the daily happenings and experiences of an average Singaporean growing in this lion city with Singaporeans and friends of the world over.

In addition, as an embracer of knowledge, I also love to share with readers on useful tips that will enhance and improve one's life in the arenas of health, living, events and many more.

It has been 2 years since inception of this blog. I hope readers of my modest blog would love my posts here. There may be times when the quality of the posts here may not be the very best, I do want to seek your pardon as being a working adult in hectic and fast-paced Singapore and juggling many committments in life, I am afterall a human. However, it is most heartening to know that some of you readers have been quietly and silently adding the link of my blog to your personal blogs. You know who you are, many Thanks for your immense support for Singapore Short Stories.

I aspire to make this blog as interesting and as useful to all of you readers and the Best blog in my personal standards.

Many Thanks once again,

Singapore Short Stories


InPostLinks

For those who are earning some income online, the programme, PayPerPost should not be too unfamilar to you.

Since a few months ago, PayPerPost has been running two versions in parallel: PayPerPost version 3 as well as the newer version PayPerPost version 4. On 1 Dec 09, PayPerPost is officially on verison 4 platform while the older version has now migrated to InPostLinks.

What you see on PayPerPost before will now be on InPostLinks, just that there are no more opportunities, all these opportunities will now be found on the new PayPerPost while for bloggers of InPostLinks, all they have to do now is to put a link in their blogs to earn some income, no more endorsing of products or writing of reviews.

Learning Chinese in Singapore

Recently, Minister Mentor Lee’s call to relook at the teaching and learning of Chinese in Singapore has drawn a flurry of responses from many quarters in Singapore who wrote in to the newspapers, sharing with all their trials and tribulations in their journey to master Chinese in schools. Some of the writers have such a difficult time with Chinese at schools that they eventually migrated to ‘escape’ the learning of Chinese.

Personally, I believe I am one of the few who mastered Chinese to a very competent level, acing both Chinese and Higher Chinese back in my school days. However, as Minister Mentor has so correctly pointed out that nobody is a master of two languages, my English was not that rosy during school days, though my standard is still alright. I am also always improving my English as it is so important here. After starting work, besides the occasional conversation in Mandarin with my Chinese colleagues, there is little opportunity for me to use written Chinese and as such over the years, I believe I have gradually lost track on how to write certain Chinese characters without relying on computer or dictionary.

Though the government has encouraged Singaporeans who are well-versed in both English and Chinese to venture into China to work and ride on the Chinese bandwagon, such opportunities are not many in Singapore. The only consolation is that as more China foreigners come to live and work in Singapore, Chinese Singaporeans may be using more Mandarin to converse with the China-born Chineses as Mandarin is just so natural a language to them. It is a true reality as many of the times, I have personally observed or experienced China-born customer service staff interacting with simple English with Chinese Singaporeans before finally succumbing back to using Mandarin after a short while as it is more natural for them to do so or when the listener could not comprehend the message that is being conveyed.

In the meantime, though the teaching of English has not been pinpointed, it is also observed that Singaporeans speak ‘singlish’ and not the grammatically correct English.

Knowledge is so important to man. The prerequisite to gaining knowledge is to first learn to read and write so as to absorb information. One would then use his cognitive faculty to transform information into knowledge and as more knowledge builds up, one become wiser.

However I would like to add on that there are certain processes which are more important than learning:

Learn to learn: so that one can learn correctly and more efficiently and effectively

Unlearn to learn: so that one can rid redundant and wrong knowledge for new and correct one, to do so, one needs to learn to unlearn first.

Unlearn to unlearn? Does this phrase make sense? Yes, this applies when one is like a RAM, storing information for a very short time before disposal and storing once again and disposal….and the cycle continues.

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