Thursday, April 30, 2009

Singapore Cable Car

Our cable car system straddling between Harborfront Tower, Mount Faber and Sentosa which has served Singapore dutifully for the past 35 years will be finally undergoing a 7-month overhaul costing $36 million dollars.

My Dear and I were just up there in one of these cable cars some weeks ago and unfortunately, the ride was nothing special to us at all!

Firstly, the cable car cabin was relatively small and being non-air-conditioned, the cabin was hot and humid. Secondly, the scenary which could be viewed from the cable car cabin was far from awesome. Last but not least, the traveling distance was too short at all (even if one were to travel the furthest distance from Harborfront Tower to Sentosa).

However, my Dear and I had an excellent experience with the cable cars in Hong Kong just some days ago. We traveled on the cable cars in Ocean Park and to Ngong Ping 360 from Tung Chung.

I must tell you that the cable car rides there were simply AMAZING! The cable car was traveling above the mountains, the seas and the cities so much so that the scenary which could be viewed from the cabin is truly magnificent!

Secondly, the beautiful ride itself was much longer than what could be afforded in Singapore and thirdly, it comes with a great, air-conditioned and well-ventilated cabin! All these at approximately the same price as that of the Singapore Cable Car!

Personally, I believe the monies that go towards the overhaul of the Singapore cable cars could be saved. Singapore should just scrap off the current cable car system as the traveling distance is not that great and scenic after all. Singapore should relook into a new path of a cable car, one which could possibly link Singapore’s highest point, Mount Faber with some other possible attractions.

Keep Left Rule by Singapore MRT

Since the inception of the 'Keep Left rule' (a rule which encourages passengers to keep to the left while using the escalators) by the Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (SMRT) corporation, there is little success: many Singaporeans are still keeping to both or either sides of the escalator, oblivious to the rules which encourages them to keep left.
In Hong Kong and other regional countries, it is the 'Keep Right rule' as passengers are encouraged to keep to the right while using the escalators. The rule seems to be kicking at least in Hong Kong when I was there last week as it seems second nature for the Hong Kong passengers to follow the rule.
I muse over why Singapore's 'Keep Left Rule' does not achieve the same success evident in other countries and I came to a conclusion: most human are right-handed and hence more people (the right-handed) are more attuned to turning or keeping to the right rather than the left.
A high time to change the rule?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I am Back from Retreat!

Dear Readers,
I am back here in Singapore after a week retreat!
And the venue of my retreat was definitely not in the Singapore jungles la.. was just joking :)
I visited one of the regional countries and have such a wonderful time with my Dear there!
Will share with you folks on some of the Great sights and Great food I partook of during the trip, so keep a lookout for these in my blog!
I also received a couple of comments from many of you on my blog! So sorry if I do not respond to each and every of your comments, because haiz... when your tour ends and when you come back to 'reality' after holidaying... there is just so much work to do!
I arrived back in Singapore early this morning and spent the whole of today unpacking my luggage and cleared my mail choked full of emails..... wow I was without internet for a week or so (cannot believe it) but I enjoy the brief respite from the onslaught of the IT!
Thanks to All of you for supporting my blog! Do look out for more exciting posts coming up!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Singapore Retreat

Dear Regular Readers,

Please do not be suprised if you come to read my blog few days later to find that there is no new post not only for 1 day, but for 5 to 6 days.... reason is that your Good Friend, Singapore Short Stories will be going for a Singapore Retreat in order to invigorate himself and do some 'table-top' exercise to serve you folks, all living in Singapore!

I will be going on the Retreat in Bukit Timah Hill, Singapore's highest point (only 166 metres though!). There I will use the self-scape digging lesson I learnt from my army days to good use and I will dig a fox-hole and immerse myself there.

At night, I will do some blood donations to the tonnes of mosquitoes residing in the mountains while I observe the cunning and slick movements of the monkeys flying from one tree to another. It is only via observing nature that you will find your true self!

For many years, I am a victim of the modern day: all the hustle, bustle, stress, complications of modern living! I feel Great to be with Nature! though I hope not to find a person suddenly sleeping besides me at night, a man called Mas Selamat, hehe, neither will I want to see visage of some Japanese soldiers still fighting in the World War II (for they are definitely ghosts hehe).

A Singapore Retreat, that is uniquely Singaporean! And that is truly invigorating! Come and find me in Bukit Timah hill ba if you want to escape from modern living :)

Thanks for your continuous support!

Vivocity Open Sesame!

My Dear and I visited Vivocity yesterday. If you are a regular there, you would (of course) know that Vivocity links with the Harbourfront Tower.

As we were approaching Harbourfront Tower, suddenly we heard the loud and ear-piercing shrill of the fire alarm and right in-front of us, the metal shutter just came rolling down, sealing the entrance of Harbourfront Tower from Vivocity and civilisation!

Announcements came and set in quickly, informing shoppers that it was a false alarm. Dozens of security forces descended onto the entrance of the Harborfront Tower and took action to restore Harborfront Tower. Large crowds of shoppers were left confounded and confused. 5 minutes later, the shutter came rolling up and Vivocity and Harborfront City resumed to normalcy.

Singaporeans live in a very peacefully and squeaky clean Singapore. Singaporeans are fortunate to lead lives which are not rocked by political turmoils, natural disasters or civil turbulances though like any other open economy, we are still targets of terrorism and financial meltdowns.

What seems to be an insignificant matter in other nations rocked by human or natural turmoils is greeted by surprise by Singaporeans. Laspes in normalcy of an effective nation such as the case mentioned here or breakdowns in public transports seems to be the only adventures in our peaceful lives!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Jedi is a religion!

I read a piece of news in the local newspapers today which left me shaken and unbelievable!

The report highlighted that some of the policemen in a certain country actually have Jedi as their religion.

Yes, the Jedi from the movie "Stars Wars", it seems incredible to me, but doing a check on the internet, I really found a dose of information related to Jedi as a religion!

The previous unconventional religion which I heard was Scientology, of which a famous Western star was also a believer.

Hotcakes, Happy Meal

I still remember those McDonald TV commercials broadcasted in the earlier years which showed young children happily enjoying their McDonald Big Breakfast, culminating in their cheers: "Hot cakes, Happy Meal".

Just look at the picture of McDonald's Big Breakfast: with hot and warm omelette, chicken bacon, harsh brown, buns and a cup of hot coffee, this is the Great way to start a busy workday.

However, the price of McDonald's Big Breakfast has indeed increased from the yesteryears, now the price is $5.85. Price increases are expected with inflation and rising standards of living.

But I seldom eat McDonald's Big Breakfast because I do not belong to the 666,660 (and increasing) Singaporeans with a net worth of US $1 million, excluding the valuation of their housing. For me, what I earn is just some PEANUTS and I can only eat some slices ordinary bread plus some jam for my daily breakfast.

Sound pathetic? But is true, because if one earns so little money like me, the only thing is to curb expenditure.

Of Dr Ong Seh Hong, Ren Chi Charity Scandal, NEA and the Geylang Serai Indian Rojak Mass Food Poisoning Incident

Dr Ong Seh Hong is the PAP politician in the media limelight lately.

Firstly, in the ongoing Charity Scandal involving Ren Ci and Reverend Ming Yi, it was disclosed that Dr Ong had borrowed a loan amounting $60,000 from Ren Chi Charity. Some of the online community netizens were quick to ride on this latest link in the charity scandal which has created a storm of debates on this little island revolving charity accountability, the principles of Buddhism and monkhood and now evolving a Member of Parliament. The netizens were having a field day speculating on the possible causal links of Dr Ong Seh Hong and the scandal.

However, Dr Ong has given a full and somewhat satisfactory reply to the mass media, the salient points being that he borrowed the money in order to pay for his corporate housing loan while still being an employee at the Government Investment Company of Singapore (GIC) and he was not a Member of Parliament then. Dr Ong has to clear the corporate housing loan first before he could join Ren Ci Charity as Ren Ci Charity has offered him a position in its medical management. Dr Ong has since cleared the loan.

The second incident which also impacted Dr Ong lately was the recent mass food poisoning in the Geylang Serai Temporary Hawker Centre. The hawker centre was in Kampong Ubi, a constituency of which Dr Ong Seh Hong was the Advisor to. Dr Ong Seh Hong was Advisor to Marine Parade GRC and Marine Parade Grassroots Organizations and specifically he is Advisor to Kampong Ubi Grassroots Organizations.

In the aftermath of the Indian Rojak mass food poisoning, many online netizens were quick to pass the buck to the National Environment Agency (NEA) for not ensuring a hygienic condition in the Geylang temporary food market which resulted in the capture of some 122 rats.

In today’s Straits Times, the Chief Executive of National Environment Agency, Mr Andrew Tan, has given a comprehensive reply to the enquiries which surrounded this incident. He acknowledged that the agency is tightening up its process to ensure that the Hawker Centre hygienic grading decals are issued promptly and timely after the routine assessment. In his reply, Mr Andrew has also provided a point which many Singaporeans may not known, the fact that when a hawker centre in a constituency is undergoing upgrading under the NEA’s Hawker Centres’ Upgrading Programme (HUP), the constituency Citizens’ Consultative Committee (CCC) can request for a temporary hawker centre to be set up in the constituency, as in the case for the Geylang Serai temporary hawker centre. However, this temporary hawker centre will not come under the purview of the NEA’s HUP and the management and the upkeeping of the hygiene conditions in the temporary hawker centre will come under the jurisdiction of the CCC. In the case of the Geylang Serai temporary hawker centre, the Kampong Ubi CCC has the task of ensuring a hygienic condition in the centre and NEA will move in when necessary to enforce the hygiene conditions. In the report, it was understood that NEA has already learnt of the rodent problem in the market in February and has assisted the CCC to step up its efforts against the rodents, however the elimination of the rodents was a uphill task.

As usual, online netizens reacted swiftly in the aftermath of these two incidents (Geylang Serai food poisoning and the Ren Ci Charity Scandal) before the full facts of the cases are being borne out.

NUS email sent with wrong attachment resulting in a massive leak of confidential data of its alumni!

A breach in data security at the NUS Career Centre on 1 April 2009 was recently reported in the news.

An email was sent to some 900 alumni of the National University of Singapore (NUS) inviting them to a recruitment event. However this email inadvertently included an Excel spreadsheet with information of about 16,000 alumni graduating between 1993 and 2008 with First Class and Second Upper Honours.

What transpired was that the staff who sent the email attached the Excel spreadsheet to perform a 'mail merge' function, however the staff forgot to delete the Excel spreadsheet before the email was sent out. This spreadsheet contained names, faculties, degrees conferred, year of graduation, contact numbers, mailing and email addresses of the alumni who were affected!

Upon detecting the slipup, the staff responsible for the security lapse immediately recalled the email, but this recall could not be achieved in totality.

NUS immediately followed up by sending an email to the recipients to apologise for the oversight and for any anxiety and inconvenience caused. All recipients were asked to disregard the confidential file and not further circulate or use it. It was also understood that the staff responsible for the oversight has been counselled and disciplined.

This incident, described as an isolated incident prompted NUS to embark on a university-wide review on information security.

What happens to our top universities here? National Technology University has seen a couple of suicide and accident cases involving 3 of its Electrical Engineering students and staff; the most notable one being the case of David Widjaja. On the other hand, NUS now also has its internal problem of data security breach.

Some academic experts have warned that the latest data security breach could mar the reputation of NUS as one of the world’s foremost universities in its bid to enter the league of top world-class universities.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Uniqlo at Tampines One Shopping Mall

Tampines One Shopping Mall opened its doors to the public last Friday and my Dear and I have visited it on the 2nd day of its opening (see my blog post on that day). As I have mentioned, there is nothing fantastic about Tampines One, except for the flagship shop called Uniqlo, which is Japan’s No.1 casual wear brand in the mall.

My Dear and I could not get into the store when we visited Tampines One last Saturday as there was a ceaseless queue of shoppers waiting to enter the store. This morning, we went to Tampines One for the second time and thinking today, being a Friday morning, we would sure have an opportunity to visit the store and discover what is so fascinating about it. Just before we reached the store, we already saw a queue forming up at the entrance of the store.

We checked the store and realized it would open its door only at 11 am. We were amazed that the time being 10.30 am, a queue of people has already formed! We shopped around the other shops in the mall and made our way back to Uniqlo at 11 am. We joined the queue which has since grew longer.

It took us 15 mins to enter the store as the store limits the number of customers in the store.

I find it unique for Uniqlo to limit the number of customers in the shop. In my opinion, I find it’s a brilliant business strategy as well! Firstly by limiting the number of customers in the store, Uniqlo is bettering the quality of the shopping experience of customers (as its not that crowded!) Secondly, by limiting the number of customers in the store, you are naturally creating a queue of customers outside the store, this in turns creates some buzz and free publicity for the store. Singaporeans are always curious in nature and seeing people queuing up, they will inevitably queue up too to find out what’s really so special about Uniqlo (whether or not they will buy ultimately from the store).Last but not least, such a tactic will encourage customers to buy at least something from the store. Having spent a great amount of time waiting just to enter the store, it is Singaporeans’ natural psyche to at least get something from the store they like (maybe not like that much) as entering the store for the second time is an uphill task requiring lots of time again!
That’s my take for Uniqlo. My Dear and I spent just ten minutes to navigate the store and exited empty-handed for there is not really anything special about the products on offer there (at least in our opinion).

In the newpapers today, I even read that a lady wrote to complain that she was turned away by Uniqlo though she has turned up at 845 pm and the store only closes at 10 pm.

It may be just a marketing hype to say the least!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Parc Lumiere: Simei DBSS by Sim Lian Group will be launched on 18 Apr!

Gazing into the crystal ball of time, I read the newspapers of tomorrow: 17 Apr 09. The launch of Sim Lian DBSS flat at Simei, Parc Lumiere on 18 Apr 09 are heavily featured on the many pages of the newspapers.

This project will be a Design Build Sell Scheme (DBSS), and I expect prices for the 4-room and 5-room flat to be between $400,000 to $500,000. $500,000 is often touted as psychological level of home buyers as with that amount, buyers would well afford a condominium!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Singapore Blogger Day

It has been decided that Singapore will have its very own, first in the world: Singapore Blogger Day to be held on the 31 Jan of every year!
The date 31 Jan has been choosen as the first two characters of the word 'Blogger' : Bl gives rise to 131.
The first Singapore Blogger Day will be celebrated in Singapore with a LOUD BANG on the 31 Jan 2010!
It is a date that Singapore Bloggers have been waiting for!
'It' refers to Singapore Short Stories who feels that Singapore should have a day to celebrate blogging in Singapore. This is my very idea that I will hold copyrights haha... nevertheless I am floating this idea with some of the most famous bloggers in Singapore...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Geylang Serai Temporary Hawker Centre Indian Rojak Mass Food Poisoning- The Lesson for Singapore and Singaporeans

On the heels of the infamous Geylang Serai Indian rojak mass food poisoning, some Singaporeans are quick to lambast the relevant authorities for its lax control on the hygiene standards of the temporary markets and hawker centres, which was exemplified in the capture of 122 rats in the vicinity of the Geylang Serai market.

These Singaporeans are quick to shift the buck to the local authorities for failing to ensure the cleanliness and hygienic standards of the Geylang Serai market. Even the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Dr Yaccob was blamed in the internet world. But are the Minister and his authorities to blame for this latest tragedy, which has claimed 3 lives (including a foetus)?

In my most personal and humble opinion, the real culprit behind this latest episode is GLOBALISATION. Let me explain why:

In the past kampong days of Singapore, when there were lots of mobile make-shift stalls, barring those extensive transgressions of hygienic food handling, many Singaporeans had higher immunities to viruses and bacteria. Thus even in those days when the standards of food handling were not as good as the present, people seldom fall sick from eating the food then.

With globalization, medicine advanced and the current century witnessed lots of people around the globe snacking on vitamins and processed human foods, this inevitably caused the immunity of human beings to be greatly weakened.

Globalization brings about industrialization and modernization and subsequently great deal of pollution is generated by humans. Global warming, which subsequently arises, depletes the ozone layer and together with pollution, brings in thousands of viruses, some mutated and many others from the universe into contact with human beings and animals.

With reduced immunity of the animals and humans, and the increased variations of bacteria and viruses, it is inevident that in this era, people and animals are getting weaker and inherit all forms of strange diseases.

Mad cow diseases and chicken flu are just some of the more commonly seen new viruses impacting animals and man.

The health of Singaporeans generally is on the decline these days for reasons unknown (but which I would attribute in part to globalization). Take for example, young and fit Singaporeans, with no known history of illness, can suddenly drop dead! And who could deny the fact that many Singaporeans these days are balding?

Thus lets have a more macro and comprehensive insight into the latest massive food poisoning incident when we want to hold who should be accountable. Yes, the local authorities and the Indian Rojak seller may have some roles to play in this latest tragedy, but we must not forget the fact that our body immunities as a result of globalization have indeed taken a plunge since the primitive days, this is the lesson for Singapore and Singaporeans to take note of and it underscores the message for us to exercise and keep fit regularly to boost our immune systems.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Singapore Chicken Chop Story

This afternoon, with a craving for Western meal as lunch, I queued up at the Western food stall for a platter of chicken chop.

I was second in the queue, in front of me was an old man, who was waiting for his dish of chicken chop too. Once the stallholder handed him his plate of freshly cooked, tender and juicy chicken chop, the old man seemed too delighted, turning to me and remarked proudly how succulent the chicken was and how tasty it would be when the chicken were to later land in his stomach. I gave me a smile and wished him a pleasant lunch.

Finally, it was my turn to be served, and I had in my hands my plate of nice, tender, succulent chicken as I went to take my seat at one of the tables in the hawker centre. Moments later, as I was busy disintegrating the chicken, I happened to see the old man, sitting a table just beside me, starting to enjoy his lunch as well.

Minutes later, I heard a cry, I turned my head around to the source of the commotion and saw the old man, stood up, a distance from his table, walking to his table, with a bowl of soup in his hands. He was crying in grief and sadness and gesturing desperately! I shifted my vision of sight to the person(s) and things he was gesturing at: a cleaner, his platter of chicken chop now soiled up with strewn tissues papers in the cleaner’s hands, just about to be thrown into the portable dustbin the cleaner was pushing along!

The story became clear to me: the old man has forgotten to take his bowl of soup which came free with the chicken chop earlier and he has gone to bring it halfway during his eating. The cleaners at the hawker centres, ever-so efficient had assumed that his half-eaten chicken chop has been ‘done’ with and so was clearing it!

The old man was just in time to save his chicken chop from being ‘binned’. He stared wistfully and regrettably as the cleaner gestured to return the platter of his half-eaten chicken chop to him, just that this time round, it came with extra ‘ingredients’ like the soiled up tissues papers and some left vegetables of other plates which the cleaners have added while clearing the tables.

The old man must be insane if he has accepted his platter of chicken chop from the cleaner and to continue his ‘lunch’. He sighed and berated gently the cleaner for their ‘efficiency’. The cleaner then dumped the chicken platter into the dustbin and the episode seemed to end.

The old man proceeded to place his remaining vestige of lunch: his bowl of soup on the table and was seen walking away. I presumed he might be getting another chicken chop again since he seemed to be a lover… as I dug into my chicken chop, I heard another commotion just minutes later.. this time round, it was another cleaner who was just about to clear the old man’s bowl of soup when some diners called for her not to.

And they never failed to tell her of the story which has transpired earlier.. the Singapore Chicken Chop Story.

Eng Kai Er

Click on this link and look out for the lady called Eng Kai Er, who was a National Science ASTAR Scholar (PhD) studying Biomedical Sciences (Infection Biology) at the Karolinska Institutet.

Eng Kai Er, 24 and her male friend, Jan Philip, 21, showed the world that Singapore can be on-par with some of its western counterparts when she and Jan paraded Holland Village on the night of 24 Jan 09 wearing nothing at all!

The two are currently facing charge: they could be fined $2000 or be jailed for 3 months.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Geylang Serai Indian Rojak mass food posioning

Geylang Serai Indian Rojak hogged the headlines these days when 2 people died, one woman miscarriaged and many others hospitalised as a result of eating the poisoned Indian Rojak.
Picture above is a typical Rojak, only in this case, it is a Chinese Rojak. I have personally not tried Indian Rojak as I always love Chinese Rojak. A good Rojak s one which has crispy and hot fried doughsticks, laden with creamy peanut gravy, and a host of other Rojak ingredients such as cucumber and some fruits.
In my personal opinion, the Geylang Serai mass food poisoning case was caused by a 'Rojak' combination of factors. The authorities are still investigating this food poisoning incident though the spotlight of the media seems to focus on rats as a possible culprit. Rats may be the culprit but if we would to zoom in further the issue, we would really note that in the recent years, the rat population in Singapore has really increased! I can just walk around my estate and it is easy to spot a large rat scuttling around in the neighbouring hood into the sewer drains!
The rat population in Singapore has been increasing though it may not be really noticeable due to the secret modus operandi of rats. They often carry out their operations under the guise of darkness and when everyone is not noticing. I believe the increase in rat population stems from the effective control of the stray cat population in Singapore. Poor Cats, many of them were put to sleep or sterlized and when we have fewer cats, it is not hard to deduce that the rat population will increase inevitably!
I believe Singapore should invest in our cats! We should not put the number of cats on our streets down, rather we should have more cats on our streets to kill those rats and in view that Singapore is afterall, a Lion's city, surely we should preserve these cats for the sake of the larger cat (Lion).

Megatex and Times Book Fair at Expo

My Dear and I visited the MEGA Fair (an electronics fairs organized by Courts Singapore) and Times Book Fair at the Singapore Expo today.

A raft of stalls at the MEGA Fair selling digital products and electrical appliances from all brands. The price was, however not the lowest. For example, a camera which I bought for $289 was sold at $329. However $329 is the market price, just that I have my own ways to get the lowest quote in town!
The Times book fair at the other exhibition hall was far more interesting with an array of books from different genres.
Books and more books greeted us!

There was a couple of good titles and latest editions somemore, selling at good prices!

The selection of books this time round was much bigger than the previous Times books sales.

Tomorrow will be the last day of the two exhibitions, thus if you are book-lovers or yearning for some attractive good electronic buys, do not wait!

Singapore’s Future & Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew urging of Singaporeans not to delude themselves that they are a part of the First World in SE Asia

As much as I love Singapore for its relatively good governance, its security and a relatively good standard of living, of late, I am feeling the stress and ennui of living on this little island we called home.

It is understandable that bereft of natural resources, Singapore’s only resources in its people. Singapore has excelled economically over the past few decades but fast forward to today, it is increasing evident that neighbouring countries have been catching up, and catching up FAST! With China and India, the next super global powers rising rapidly, Singapore is also looking forward to leveraging on the opportunities that these two giants will be presenting.

It has become a trend that Singapore is bidding on international projects to boost its economy. Singapore has bided for the F1 races, Youth Olympics and international exhibitions and conventions to be held locally, this is a phenomenon that is not seen in the earlier years. Singapore has to constantly clinch projects regionally and internationally, explore ways and avenues to work with other countries, even the Middle East to look for opportunities to boost its economy, this has become not an option but a necessity. Just see how busy Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong is travelling round the world to forge international ties. Amidst all these clinching of projects, attraction of multinational companies to set its bases in Singapore, economic pragmatism seems to be the way Singapore is going, from my own humble opinion. But can we afford not to be economically pragmatic? If we are not, our economy will falter and the quality of Singaporeans will similarly suffer when there are no jobs for Singaporeans, etc.

Another route Singapore has explored to survive in this global era is to invest in Research and Development (R&D). A hallmark of this R&D is our Singapore’s most prized innovation, NEWater which has marked Singapore’s self reliance on portable water! Singapore will continue to invest in its R&D to be the frontier in world’s foremost technology and boost its economy.

The twin-pronged measure Singapore has taken to sustain its economy calls for the Best and Brightest talents who could contribute to Singapore, be they foreigners or Singaporeans. This has resulted in a Singapore which is increasingly perceived as Elitist by the average Singaporeans.

I believe Singapore’s future will be to continuously balance the attraction, development and retention of elites in Singapore to grow the economy pie of our island while taking care that the voices of common Singaporeans on the streets are still being heard.

Its makes senses to pay top dollars for top talents, thus as Singapore attracts more elites to booster its industries to grow and sustain its economy for the overall good of the nation, it is increasing discernable that the income divide between the rich and poor is increasing.

The income divide will become a social problem as it may segment the whole of nation into the ‘haves’ or ‘have nots’ and even if Singapore manages to achieve economic progress in this global era, the social dimension of its progress must still not be undermined.

Throw in all these complexities of the issues that Singapore must tackle with, with the increasingly young populace who is internet savvy and who have access to the multitude of different information sources, and I must say the Singapore government really has a formidable task to bring Singapore to the next era.

Thus if we are feeling the stress of living in our island, our national leaders have even a greater stress to lead our country for a continuous economic growth amidst all the other regional countries which have progressed in tandem with the world.

One thing Singapore should do (which luckily it is doing) is to grow its pool of entrepreneurs who can create wealth for the nation! Who knows we have the next Bill Gates in our country?

I believe the tweaking of Singapore’s education system to become more innovative and creative, though a good start, is long overdue.

I find it disturbing that Singaporeans (in my opinions) are just too focused on the bread and butter issues such as some slight increases in transport fees neglect the bigger and longer issues that Singapore is facing. Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew was right when he urged Singaporeans not to delude themselves that they are part of the First-World in South-east Asia.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Breaking News: DBS CEO Richard Stanley dies from Leukemia

I just received the news that DBS CEO Richard Stanley, 48, has passed away from Leukemia.

Earlier in the week, DBS Chairman Koh Boon Hwee has told media that Richard is coping well with the Leukemia treatments though it was also reported in the news that Richard's condition has deteroriated unexpectedly.
With Richard's passing, I believe average Singaporeans could only think of the very good income Richard draws per month as a CEO of a top Asian bank, rather than remembering his contributions to the development of the banking industry in Singapore. This view is not unexpected as the income divide between the rich and poor in Singapore is increasing.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Tampines 1 Shopping Mall opens on 9 April 09

Tampines’ third shopping mall, Tampines 1 opened its door to the public yesterday and already more than 40,000 shoppers have thronged the shops in this new shopping mall since opening.
Today is Good Friday, being a public holiday, super-large crowds descended on the 3 shopping malls in Tampines collectively: Century Square Shopping Mall, Tampines Mall and last but not least, the newest shopping mall which saw the largest crowd: Tampines 1.

It suddenly rained around 3pm and I must tell you that it was real chaotic between Tampines Mall and the MRT station. Hundreds of people were jamming the limited area outside Tampines MRT station, walking in both direction (to the station and away from the station). This stretch of road was already congested with human traffic on a normal day and the crowd got even worse when it rained today!

As anticipated, Tampines 1 shopping mall was choked with people and more people. The most popular shop in this new shopping mall seemed to be UNIQLO, Japan’s number 1 casual wear brand which has its flagship store in Singapore at none other than Tampines 1. Many people were just queuing up to enter the shop!

Shopping in this giant mall was tiring as my Dear and I had to navigate our way through the maddening crowds.

The most unique feature in Tampines 1 shopping mall was its sky terrace from where one could see the skyline in Tampines.

To me, Tampines 1 seems so much like any other shopping centre. There is not much distinguishing factor that marks the mall different from Tampines Mall or Century Square. Even the newest shopping centre in Bugis, Iluma bore the same features as other shopping malls in Singapore when my Dear and I visited it last week. I yearn for something a tad different in these new shopping malls, but I am disappointed once again. Singapore should not use its limited land to build another typical shopping mall which do nothing much to improve the intrinsic quality of Singaporeans’ lives. Shopping malls just promote consumerism.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Mass food poisoning case in Singapore claims second victim: another death in Geylang Serai Indian Rojak mass food poisoning

Norani Kassim, 59, whom I blogged about yesterday fighting for her life in hospital after eating the Indian Rojak from Geylang Serai which was poisoned has passed away.
Second death in Singapore's latest massive food poisoning case! How an innocous Indian Rojak can kill a normal person! It is not the rojak that kills, it is those deadly virus.
I shudder to think that though we humans are billions of times much bigger than viruses, all it takes is for a single deadly virus, measuring less than nanometres to penetrate into our bodies to wreck havoc!

Meanwhile, Indian rojak stallls in Singapore have been hit by this latest food poisoning case. Its a double whammy for them, as having already been hit by the economic recession, their livelihoods are now broken by some other people who failed to keep their food safe for others.
To foreigners reading this blog, a Rojak is an uniquely Singaporean dish... made up of a fusion of different food, fruits and sauce. You may want to come to try it next time you are here, by then it should be safer.

Sim Lim Square Shopping Experiences

Just a few days ago, I have reproduced in my blog on a reader’s horrible shopping experiences in Sim Lim Square. I have searched the net and uncovered just 2 of the many hundreds of unpleasant stories told of Sim Lim Square in the cyberworld:


I miss those good old cookies that are housed in a jar, which my relatives used to bake for me. Its not only about the delicious yummy cookies, its all about nostalgia as well as the kind and warm family bonding.

Having discovered nam's bits recently , the intricate feeling of bonding and warm ties welled up in me once again. The delicious look of the chocolate cookies, neatly presented in a transparent container, aroused my appetite once more. These nam's bits cookies , together with customized gift are also great gifts for friends as these gifts are not only ordinary gifts, as being customizable for your friends, they embody the friendship you treasure to your friend recipients.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Singapore Fashion

Ink Stamps

I have always written on the quick passage of time and how time and tide waits for no man. It is always good to finish our work fast so that we have more free time to pursue our own interests. It is with this thought that I decide to buy some personalized ink stamps for my work. One just needs to chop the stamp, saving the time that will be involved in the actual writing of the text required.

The personalized ink stamps and psa essentials ink stamp enable one to customize the text he wants on the ink stamps, and there is no other better place to get these ink stamps than at Besides offering these attractive ink stamps, the website also sells nam's bits chocolate chip cookies
for chocolate fanatics and lovers.

Geylang Serai Indian Rojak Mass Food Poisoning in Singapore Kills One Woman, Miscarriages Another Woman, Causes Hundreds to be Hospitalised !!!

Singapore experienced one of its worst massive food poisoning cases in recent years when hundreds of customers who patronized the highly rated food stall suffered mass food poisoning. Hundreds were sent to hospital for poison-related symptoms; a woman was killed and another woman miscarriaged as a result of the poisoning. At this time of writing, another lady was fighting for her life in hospital.

I remember the last case of massive food poisoning was the Prima Deli Bread incident, however the magnitude of poisoning was not as great as in the latest case.

I pity the woman who died and the woman who lost her baby as a result of the food poisoning. How could they know that the food they consume was contaminated or even poisoned? They have just gone as usual to eat their favorite dish, Indian Rojak at a popular stall, a stall they have always trusted. Some of those who had eaten the contaminated rojak and survived to tell the ordeal claimed that though they had detected a foul smell in the rojak, they continued eating the rojak anyway. This reminded me of a personal incident which I have also blogged about here last year. I have bought a sugarcane drink as part of our dinner for my Dear and I at Haig Road Hawker Centre, just next to Geylang Serai Hawker Centre where the poisoned rojak stall was located. The sugarcane drink tasted funny and we stopped drinking it immediately. I rue about the waste of my precious money spent on buying this sewage drink. My Dear and I ran to the nearest toilet after our dinner and had diarrhea instantly!

This latest food poisoning has claimed the lives of 2: the old woman and the miscarriaged baby, with another woman fighting for her life in the hospital. Hundreds were hospitalized for poisoning… what a carnage this Indian Rojak incident has caused.

I would like to call this latest mass food poisoning incident as an act of ‘food terrorism’. While Singapore has hundreds of soldiers and policemen protecting key installations, Singapore must always be on its guard for unconventional matter that terrorists can strike us. I am not saying this latest Indian Rojak incident is an act of terrorism, but it can be one of the ways terrorists attack us by poisoning the food we eat and the drinks we consume.

I hope the relevant authorities can investigate thoroughly this latest food poisoning case and prosecute those responsible!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Beauty and Health Care Fair

My Dear and I visited the Beauty and Health Care Fair held at the Suntec City Exhibition Hall last weekend. We were on our way to some other places around the city when we spotted a signboard at the lobby of Suntec City featuring the exhibition, thus up we went the escalators to 'jalan jalan' (visit). There were 3 exhibitons: a warehouse sales, a Bridal exhibition and not to mention, this Beauty and Health Care Fair.
It seemed to me that exhibitions and fairs have become all the rage in Singapore as I have visited a number of fairs and exhibitions in the past few months or weeks .

The Beauty and Health Care Fair was a well-organized event, with all the different areas of Health being represented: Health Prevention, Health Cure, Health Diagnosis. There was a raft of stalls offering things spanning from Hair Loss treatment to Skin Care.

There was also a health talk where health professionals spoke on topics such as skin care and hair care. The turnout at this event was impressive though I am not sure how many actually bought what were on offer.

The Bridal Exhibition, as my Dear and I found out later, was held in a very small room, not a hall! It turned out to be a solo exhibition by a Wedding Planner company, oh it was so misleading! We had to retreat when we saw only few tables and chairs and little exhibits in the room amidst a salesman's constant touting of his 'exhibition'.

The warehouse sales was Good too as we bought some items at Great Bargains, capping off a Great Sunday for the Two of Us!


“The sweetest music to one’s ears is his name”, how true is this adage! Everyone likes to be called by his name (provided he loves it, of course!).

A Name is very important to an individual, as he will be always addressed by it in his lifetime! Parents must pay great attention to the choice of name for their children lest the latter end up being teased or even insulted by others with a wrong name. Just some months ago, the world learnt how a Western couple gave the name ‘Hitler’ to their son, and back in Singapore, we have in our accompany a Singaporean ‘Batman’ while the ‘Batman’ father’s name (Supraman) sound like Superman!

A good name must one, which is meaningful to the bearer of the name, having said this, do you know the meaning of your name? How nice it would be if someone comes up with a sort of encyclopedia on all things related to names: the meaning of names and the origin of names, etc I thought. While surfing the net to find out whether such sites do exist, I found this names site which is really a repository of all things related to names!

The site enables one to find out more about a myriad of names grouped under different categories like Language / Origin , Gender, Location and Thematic. Such features can be useful if one is curious to find out the meaning of the names of his or her friends. Take for example, you have a Russian colleague called ‘Lada’, a search on this name under the Russian category will enlighten you that this name has a mythological theme behind it as it means the mythological goddess of Beauty.

Apart from being a repository of names, readers can also contribute name meaning or meaning of names to the website. Know what your name means? Would like to share with the world what your name means? You can do this great sharing of your name, one of your most important asset that accompanies you in this lifetime on this website!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Lee Wei Ling: “Why I choose to remain Single”?

An article written by Dr Lee Wei Ling, Director and Senior Consultant of the National Neurology Institute, who is better known to Singaporeans as the daughter of Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew appeared in “The Sunday Times” today. The article was titled “Why I choose to remain Single?” in which Dr Lee shared with readers the reasons for her choosing to remain single.

Dr Lee began her article describing the great love, care and bonding between her parents, especially during this period when her mother’s health is not as good as before. Few paragraphs later, she brought readers back to her reasons for choosing to remain single, though it was mentioned Dr Lee has suitors and dated before.

As gleaned from the article, the two reasons Dr Lee gave for choosing to remain single are:

“Firstly, my mother set the bar too high for me. I could not envisage being the kind of mother and mother she has been” … Statement 1

“Secondly, I am temperamentally similar to my father. Indeed, he once said to me: “You have all my traits-but to such an exaggerated degree that they become such a disadvantage to you.” … Statement 2

Dr Lee further mentioned in the article that:

“I knew I could not live my life around a husband; nor would I want a husband to live his life around me …” … Statement 3

“I have always been set in my ways and did not fancy changing my behaviour or lifestyle” … Statement 4

I believe the two reasons Dr Lee gave are something she could resolve. Firstly, Dr Lee needs not envisage being the kind of mother and mother her mother has been. Dr Lee could take some of the good attributes of her mother on being a good mother and wife and weaves into her (Dr Lee Wei Ling’s) very own style of being a wife and mother. She needs not envisage being 100% the kind of mother her mother has been. No one is identical in the world, Dr Lee could just carve out her own style of being a wife and mother, learning from and sharing with the senior Mrs Lee at times when needed.

Next on temperament, the second reason cited by Dr Lee. I do not know what her temperament or Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s temperament is as I do not really know them well except seeing them in the news and newspapers regularly. But such thing as temperament could be worked out by finding a partner who could accommodate one’s temperament and accept one for who he or she is.. this is Love. Lets face it, a couple, no matter how close they are, will always have each’s differences and weaknesses for which they will accommodate, assimilate between them and complement with the other’s strengths.

Analysing the entire article, I believe the main reasons for Dr Lee’s choice of singlehood stems from the third and fourth statement which I have outlined above, though in the article, these two latter reasons were brought in only subtly, the third and fourth statement read:

“I knew I could not live my life around a husband; nor would I want a husband to live his life around me …”

“I have always been set in my ways and did not fancy changing my behaviour or lifestyle”

Dr Lee has shared candidly with readers her two above-mentioned perspectives, which I believe are also reasons for a bulk of local women choosing to remain single for the rest of their life. But what I must emphasize is that it is not THE reason per se for women in Singapore remaining single. A clear distinction must be made when we talk about the reasons for singlehood of local women: some women crave for companionship but due to certain reasons or circumstances, they are not able to find partners or are divorced; the other half of the equation is women who CHOOSE to remain single. It is in the later context that I believe the third and fourth statements hold true for a number of local women who choose to remain single.

The whole issue of local women or women in general choosing to remain single boils down to her frame of mind: her preferences to remain single for certain reasons for which Dr Lee has given two (statement 3 and 4). Reading this article by Dr Lee Wei Ling, I found myself reading an article similar to that written by Ms Sumiko Tan, one of the editors in The Sunday Times, for which she dishes out her experiences of remaining single, choosing to be single or her experiences as a single regularly to readers.

Lets face the fact, everyone has just one life on this earth, and all of us have limited time, we have absolute control or choice on how we want to live. I believe one’s choice of remaining single or married is entirely his or hers… the most important thing is when making this choice of singlehood or marriagehood, one must be happy with this decision. For me, personally, I find it more meaningful to have a life partner, my Dear who will walk with me, our lives together and share in the fun and together tide over challenges that life will dish out to us at times.

I would like to salute Dr Lee when she concluded her article with an encouragement to all single Singaporeans to get hitched and procreate early when the ripe time comes as late parenthood may have implications in fertility or in the off-springs as she has so rightfully cautions. To conclude, this article, coming from what is often seen as the First Family in Singapore, would, I believe, touches the heart of many Singaporeans for Dr Lee Wei Ling, daughter of the distinguished Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew still shares the same common experiences of the some of the single average folks on the streets….of course, you may say Dr Lee Wei Ling, is after all still a human being, but what I must applaud Dr Lee is the fact that she dares to bare all her thoughts and experiences of a topic which may still seem taboo to many older single ladies in this modern era, in full public view.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Sim Lim Square: True ridiculous shopping experiences!

Just a few days ago, I wrote about some of my experiences while shopping for some IT gadgets at Sim Lim Square, today I received a letter from a reader on his real life ridiculous experience there.

Here is his story:

“When I entered Sim Lim Square this evening, I casually walked into the Song Brothers shop on the first floor and was served by a young salesman, who would later provide me with the worst form of insult and threat that a shop could possibly give to a customer at all.”

“I was talking with this young man on some camera models and when I asked him about the expected life expectancy of a particular brand of camera, that was when he went offensive. To my utmost surprise, he insinuated that I did not take care of my camera at all, and subject my camera to dropping etc! I was utterly shocked at such transgression of good customer service! Later on, I asked for the manager of this shop and to my another shock and utter disappointment, he actually defended his staff by saying that this young salesman has been with them for half a year and so far he has no bad experience with customers, immediately, hearing his words, I retorted that I have never met with such unkind comments coming from the mouth of a salesman. The manager was totally unapologetic and kept defending his staff, and said ‘Sorry’ unreluctantly, he even said, “I have already said ‘Sorry’ to you 3 times, what more do you want?” I let the matter rest and moved on to another shop.”

“I went on to the second floor and again saw another Song Brothers shop again. I wanted to see whether there is another redeeming factor in their staff and to compare the prices offered between the two shops (the early one was in level one). The customer service officer who served me this time round was kinder and the price offered by her was lower than the price quoted by the rudest customer service officer who has served me. While enquiring her about some features of the camera I was interested in, I noticed that some of the staff from the Song Brothers shop on the first floor came and told some of their staff what has happened earlier, one of the young customer service officers even gestured me to his colleagues (he must have seen me talking with the manager earlier in the shop below) and what transpired later was that I overheard one of them saying “Just find some guys to beat him up!” I was utterly shocked and found it ridiculous of the service Song Brothers provided me: earlier was a rudest remark, insulting me and here was some indirect threats to me… I could have lodged a police report against these young people Of course, I left the shop without buying another thing, even if they cut the price down… first was a customer service officer who insulted a customer, then there was their manager who defended his staff and apologized unsincerely, next my life was being threatened!”

“The next shop I went was Canon Cameras Talk which also rendered me a horrible service. After I have asked the price of the camera, the Indian customer service officer who attended to me was arrogant, saying that their shop offered the best price (of course it was not, as I have compared the hefty price it charges with lower prices offered by some shops)… further when I told them customers still have choice to decide which shop to buy from, he went even further insinuating that good customers are those who buy from them! I left the shop, remarking that the prices it charges was high, I just want to ignore these horrible sales persons!”

“I am super angered by these two shops! How could they treat a customer like that? I left Sim Lim Square without buying any cameras at all, but with a stomach full of anger!”

Singapore Short Stories: “Don’t be sad, customer is always right! These two shops are really too much! No sense of customer service at all! Sim Lim Square’s reputation as a great bargain mall for IT gadgets would be tarnished if shops there adopt such an attitude towards customers. I have observed many students being hired as promoters or salesmen in Sim Lim Square. Customer Service officers and salesmen should be properly trained to handle customers. Can you imagine if tourists come and experience what you have experienced? They will never come and worst, words of mouth about the bad service will spread fast and I believe Singapore’s shopping industry will be hit! Thanks for sharing the story!”

Singapore's Hottest Night

Tonight is a super hot night! My body is sweating profusely as I type this post!

Day is hot, night is also hot! I predict the temperature now (both day and night to be 30 degree Celsius!)

In this case, I prefer to be in some desert like Arizona where though the day can be unbearably hot, the night can be super cool as well! Might as well consider to migrate to Arizona, staying in Arizona real estate .

Some home developments there look pretty interesting, Singaporeans should have no problem staying in Arizona’s hot climate (we can choose either the desert or the mountains) as we are so accustomed to the heat and humility of Singapore!

Note: I can withstand the heat, but it is the humidity that kills me…. My skin is so sweaty, as sweat cannot evaporate! Arizona seems to be a nice place to get away from the stressful city life of Singapore, we will be overlooking beautiful deserts and mountains, and leading a simple and rustic life!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Every Singapore Dog has its Day

In Singapore, to own a dog as pet in HDB, one needs to register his or her dog prior to bringing the little animal home. It is generally not allowed for HDB (Housing Development Board) dwellers to own large dogs as pets in their homes. But many HDB dog owners would circumvent this law by registering the address of their friends or relatives (those living in landed properties) for their dogs instead.

As we know, dogs need to be walked. I notice, and not sure whether you notice too, that at around 9pm or 10pm, where there are fewer people, all the large dogs come out from the confines of their HDB flats as the owners walk them around the void deck or park! Part of the reason is due to the fact that at such late hours, with fewer people outside, it is generally ‘safer’ for them (the owners) not to be caught! But poor doggie, I think at such hours, they would be dead tired!

Anyway doggies now lead such wonderful and cosy lives, especially so if their owners are rich enough to pamper them! Just look at the wide range of doggie comforts that are in store for them: Elevated Dog Feeders , Dog Clothes , Dog Carriers etc! Some dogs can be plain lucky! (as compared to those strays in the streets!)

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Singapore Cameras and Sim Lim Square Stories


Just two weeks ago, the camera, which I bought in year 2007 and have since been using it suddenly passed on. The ‘zoom’ feature failed to project out and with this failure, it does not take an ordinary folk to deduce that the camera ‘died already!’.

What a lousy camera, I thought to myself. The 1-year warranty has since passed and hence any repairs would therefore be chargeable! I bought the camera at Sim Lim Square at a cost of $240. Talking about my purchasing experience of the camera, it was an unpleasant one as I was hoodwinked by the seller, into getting the camera after he gave me a ‘good discount’…down from his initial quoted price of $280! I have before patronizing the shop, visited another shop and learnt that it was selling at $300 plus there. Thus it did not take me long to accept the shop owner’s offer and bought the camera.

I thought I have a great discount and went on to another shop to compare prices again, thinking I have clinched an unbeatable price. I was shocked when I learnt that the same camera was sold at $199 there! I was tricked, I called the owner of the shop where I bought the phone and told him his price was exorbitant. He gave a flimsy excuse saying that the other shop owner just wanted to commit in ‘mouth’ only and to spoilt the market… anyway the rest, as the cliché goes, is history..

Sim Lim Square has received a host of complaints levied by the consumers against some of the shops there for selling low quality or even spoilt goods (and at high prices somemore) over the years… foreigners are easy preys for the unscrupulous sellers. I welcome the recent news that the Consumer Association of Singapore (CASE) is embarking on an initiative to accredit the shops in Sim Lim Square with a consumer trust. Thus if you are a foreigner yearning to visit Singapore and grab some good electronic products at great prices in Sim Lim Square, do look out for these CASE trust shops …

Oh, so I need to fork out some money for another new camera! I called the camera service centre and my brother helped me to send in the camera for diagnosis of the repairs. The price quoted for the repairs was $64 +++… not excluding the administration charges of $10.70 (with GST), which was compulsory. The price was madness! With a few tens of dollars more added to the repair cost, I could easily buy another (better) camera! As such, I declined the quotation and blamed myself for stupidly sending in my camera for diagnosis, as the $10.70 could be at least saved!

The camera service centre should have just waived the admin charge off! Imagine 100 people were to send in their cameras for diagnosis daily, the centre could easily earn $1000 without doing anything much.. its also likely Singaporeans will not proceed with the costly repairs.

Singapore Kindness Movement 2009

Singapore Kindness Movement 2009 will kickoff on Sunday 5 Apr 09. Yesterday, I experienced a kind act from a fellow MRT passenger.

It was morning MRT travel to work as usual. As I was just about to ‘land my bums’ on a vacant seat, a woman signaled for me not to do so, pointing to a spot in the seat. I took a quick look and was disgusted that a small chewed up sweet was stuck on the seat.

I thanked the woman and am relieved that there are still kind souls among Singaporeans.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Death of Singa, our courtesy lion mascot

Just two days ago, a group of students in the Singapore Management University put together a wake with a coffin and laying inside the coffin was none other than Singa, our courtesy lion.
The students have wanted to send a shocking message to Singaporeans, warning them on the declining courtesy standards of Singaporeans. This prompted the Chairman of the Singapore Kindness Movement, Mr Koh Poh Tiong to express surprise and shock on this publicity blitz. He was quick to clarify that Singaporeans are still courteous and kind, just that they are less adpt to express it.
Personally, I find the publicity blitz creative though it is an insult to put a lion into the coffin, though it is a courtesy lion.....for the lion symbolises Singapore and to put a symbol of Singapore into coffin is a foolish thing.

Singapore April Fools' Day

Today is 1st April, April Fools' Day, a day for all the fools in the world! In Singapore, this is also a day for Singapore's Fools.
This day belong to me, I am a fool for I am always being made a fool. When you have meet with some fools everyday, its hard not to be a fool!

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