For advertisement

Sample

11/30/2005

bronze statue for australian hero

would the australians build a bronze statue to commemorate their newfound hero in nguyen van tuong? nguyen van tuong has now risen to cult status, uniting a large section of the australian population for a common cause. we will have to wait for his statue to be erected in front of parliament house in canberra as the symbol against capital punishment. may he rest in peace.

is badawi facing a mutiny?

an innocent spark caused by a mobile phone camera is raising a flame. will it continue to burn and overturn the govt of badawi? or would he be able to hold his ground and fire the mutineers? when the humiliation of the chinese national was exposed, badawi immediately sent a minister to china to explain that it was not a govt position. not soon after, a deputy police chief said it was standard police procedure. and yesterday a deputy security minister came out to defend the police force and challenge anyone to bring the issue to parliament. he even went to the extent of asking foreigners to go home if they are not happy with the police mistreatment. after badawi and najib had made their stand, now a junior minister openly stood up in defiance of their position. what does it mean? in malaysian politics, the politicians are very street smart and will not make silly statement or take silly position like this. either someone mighty is behind them or there is a ground shift to challenge badawi. an apparently minor misconduct of a police constable could now turn into a huge fire.

the meek shall inherit the world

my rumbling continues. china and india are today a force to be reckoned with, all because of their own weaknesses. a hungry mass of humanity that prepares to work for a pittance. we pride our world best workers and wanted to be paid world best wages. that became our weakness. during the time of the japanese occupation, the weak and meek survived by being compliant with the power of the day. the heroes and fighters died. america today is being dragged to its own destruction because of its might. the weak islamic terrorists and arabs find strength in their weaknesses to take on the mighty americans and the world. the strong is weak and the weak is strong. what a contradiction.

this world is perfect...perfectly flawed.

there are people who believe that this world is perfect and man is or was perfect. but i still believe this world is flawed and man is flawed. and there is no perfection in this world. in the same way there is no perfect political or economic system, no perfect religion or political philosophy. our system of authoritative paternalism has its good and bad points. so does the american capitalism and freedom of speech, so does the communist system of state control and equal distribution of wealth. the strength of each system is also its weakness. the stronger the strength the weaker it is. the world is created for self destruction as a means of self renewal. every system fails eventually. if only we can have a bit of communism, a bit of paternalistic authoritarianism and a bit of freedom and capitalism in the right dosage and combination. but it will not be. all will come to an end and there will always be a new beginning and a new hope. a new hero and a new world. we will be destroyed by what we perceived and believed as our greatest strength.

it is time we cast aside our imitation psyche

singaporeans have climbed the mount everest, crossed the antartic, swam the english channel, etc to follow others in their great achievements, that we have arrived to challenge the world. we want to win the world cup. we want more medals in competitions. but all we did were imitations. we only follow the footpath of others. we are still not there if we dare not beat our own path and find our own ways to the future. why can't we shout to the world that a singaporean has swam from the southern tip of the asia continent to indonesia? we can start from changi to batam....singapore is at the southern tip of continent asia. or why can't we write a page for a man to swim the malacca straits or crossing the malacca straits? forget about feats like being banged or banging chickens. is cheap recognition what we craved for, that we are willing to pay for? lets do something of our own, something that we can call our own. they said we must make a difference. let's make it different.

who guards the guards?

narayana narayana wrote in the today paper raising the question 'who guards the guards' in the case of the sgx. the problem is obvious and permeates through all levels of our society. and nobody wants to know about it. call it whatever names, this sickness is a sickness that we will pay dearly in times to come. we do not need murphy's law to tell us that what can go wrong will go wrong. the cracks are appearing everyday. the next stage of our history and development will be how to patch or coverup all the wrongs that irritatingly keep popping up. when the rot starts, it always starts small, with one or two presumably innocent mistakes or slip ups. but it will pour like torrential rain without warning and sweep away everything. everything that is built on weak foundation or false premises will be torn away.

many angry letters on $5000 fine

the publicly perceived and inadequate fine for a deserter from national service is still boiling from the number of angry letters that have been received and published today. it is like stacking a deck of wooden bricks and someone gently pulled out a piece from the bottom. the integrity of the whole structure is weakened and threatens to collapse if nothing is done to prop it up and the damage corrected. 35 years of hardwork building up an institution for national defence is undermined by a careless decision.

11/29/2005

who did not want van tuong to land in australia?

it was reported that nguyen van tuong was a transit passenger on his way to australia. passengers in the singapore transit lounge are normally left on their own. no checkings required. no custom officers are around parading the transit lounge except manning the entry/exit point. now how would the singapore customs know that a certain passenger bound for australia is strapped with heroin? obviously someone must have tipped off the singapore customs. van tuong is an unknown entity to the singapore customs. who would have known of him and his mission? who would have interest to want to prevent him from entering australia with his poison? our customs are not supermen who have laser beam eyes that can see through van tuong's jacket. neither were custom dogs running around the transit lounge. his arrest is no coincidence. would the australian media and public want an explanation? want to know who did it? now who tell? who told on nguyen van tuong?

two days to go before kingdom comes

in another two days nguyen van tuong will be history. the australian govt has done its best and knew that nothing else can be done. their conscience is clear. time to move on. they have pleaded for the mother to have a last hug of her son before the final moment comes. let us all share a moment of grief with the poor mother for a son that she will see no more. and let us pray that no one will come to our shore with another bag of drugs. please for your own good and everyone's good, do not come here. singapore and singaporeans shall beg all the drug traffickers and drug abusers for mercy, to spare us the agony and let us live in peace. do not put us in a position to be condemned as barbarians again. have mercy on us.

escape from paradise

just read this infamous book about all the infamous people mentioned. one startling revelation is the amount of ongoings in the legal profession that is quite embarrassing. wondering why nobody try to sue the author to redeem their image and reputation. big names and big companies were dragged into the spotlight for less than honourable dealings which nobody thinks will ever take place. do they, or is it all fictions and imaginations?

another round of pocket burning

everyone is eagerly awaiting for some singapore shares to come their way before christmas. but for many their pockets are already burnt, a very big hole. another round of steep hikes in secondary school fees is gonna hurt bad. cannot believe that secondary schools shall charge almost as much as a university education. or they are planning to pay their teachers as much as world class professors? but must say that all these increases are probably well thought out, and definitely affordable.

bush is changing immigration policies

i think he is doing the right thing. immigration policies must be changed and the screws tightened. anyone who wants to move into america must be ready to be an american, live like an american and accepts the values and lifestyle of an american. anyone coming to singapore must accept what we are, including our political system, culture, national service, no spitting, no chewing gum and death penalty for drug traffickers. otherwise get lost. why would a country accept people who are not willing to be one of them and determine to change the system to suit them or their way of life? why would a muslim country want to accept christians or buddhists or whatever who refuse to accept the muslim way of life and wanted to proselytise and build their own community and an alien way of life that is in conflict with the host country. this applies to a non muslim country accepting people of other religion and other queer way of lifestyles. the laxity and generosity of the host countries are always abused by the immigrants and eventually lead to more trouble than the host asked for. europe and america are facing the consequences. australia will be facing soon. singapore will too if it is too careless about the immigrants it is taking in. the american statue of liberty and open arm policies are going to bring along all its problems. all policies are double edged sword and the govt must consciously choose what it wants and bear the consequences.

singapore's death railway?

an infected bird can spread the bird flu across continents. this is a stark reminder to countries who dabble with chemical and biological weapons. things that go around will come around. use it in another far corner of the globe, one day it will come back to you. birds in the wild, in open space, can still catch the flu and pass it around. how infectious will the flu virus be in a packed mrt train? the mrt boasts of carrying 2 mil people daily. one infectious case with one hour on board will infect several hundred commuters. and the virus continues to remain to infect more. the ventilation will not be efficient enough to get rid of the virus. these infected commuters will get to their offices, mostly with centralised air condition systems. and they wait. those who drive their own vehicles will come in happily to share the virus in the system. and within a matter of hours, half the population can be infected. and they will bring them home to their families. an epidemic like this can happen and the whole country can be wiped out within weeks under a deadly strain. far worse than a few terrorist bombs. in a densely populated city like ours, the risk of being wipe out is so high. the measures that we put in place during sars is totally ineffective. too many holes in the net. in a breakout, you cannot afford to have all potentially infected people bringing the virus homes to roost. what is needed is to freeze the moment of people, at least temporarily when a break out occurs. the people affected should be confined to where they are, in their work place, quarantined for the incubation period before they are declared safe to be home. we may need to conduct such a drill, on a small scale and increasingly extend the number of days to test the logistical problems and all other problems that may arise should it need to be carried out. a nation at standstill, at least in terms of movement of people. the home folks will at least be given a break and may live on.

11/28/2005

australian union threatens sanction

the australian trade union is threatening trade sanctions against singapore. they are ready and waiting for the general mood of the public. and the australian govt is undersieged and trying its best to justify itself that it had done its utmost. this is australian democracy at work. the govt at the mercy of the people. what we have is a very vocal group of australians pressuring its govt which in turn put on the pressure on the singapore govt. who is actually behind the movement? it seems that some very powerful forces are pulling all the strings they could to embarrass the singapore govt. definitely not the parents of the vietnamese young man. vietnamese is still kind of an outsider, troublemakers for australians. unlikely that a nation can be moved by a vietnamese woman's plea. matilah, are you on the front seat watching the show? the climax is approaching.

conducting search on female private parts

there are rules and regulations on such a search on a female detainee. and the search can be quite thorough. but before such a search is conducted, there must be good reasons to do so. without strict procedures and authorisation to conduct such searches, it can easily be abused. who is to decide when and on who should such a thorough search be warranted and on what grounds. and making detainees doing ear squat and hoping for things to fall out of female orifices is totally disgusting. it can only happen in primitive countries and in the mind of primitive people. all national tourist agencies should warn their female travellers that such a thing is happening in malaysia, and a standard police procedure.

let's do something before they messed up ecp

suchen christine lim in an article to the today paper forum is calling for a mass protest against the hideous work and money going to be spent on east coast park. she is calling for all nature lovers who want a nature park to be a nature park and not some monuments to stand together to protect the park from being destroyed. she shared the idea that we need oasis of quietude and serenity for the people to escape from the rowdiness and stress of a congested city. we really need to protect our environment and retain some natural features before our money centred mind and perception change our natural features into something else. our relentless pursuit for a 8 million population will leave us with nothing except concrete structures. phuket and bali do not need any theme parks or humanly created imitations of disneyland to attract the visitors. neither do we. we love the parks as they are. a visit to the east coast of west malaysia will easily wow any city dwellers on the beauty of wide expanse of sand and sea and greenery.

musa hassan, deputy police chief of malaysia

musa hassan actually defended the police constable's humiliation of another human being as standard police procedure. if this is acceptable to a presumed innocent till proven guilty civilian, then abu ghraib should be prefectly ok as the americans were fighting a war. how could the meaning of human decency be corrupted to such an extend that such disgusting acts are seen as acceptable by a deputy police chief. no wonder they beat up a deputy prime minister in their custody. anwar should be the man to clean up such an obnoxious system approved by these disgraceful men. if musa is on the other side of the fence, would he agree if his wife and daughters be similarly dealt with in america during a social visit? the outrageous part is that musa hassan put the blame on the person who filmed the video and wanted him arrested. what was in his mind, coverup and continue with such abuses as long as nobody knows about it? is he running his own concentration camp of human rights abuses? he needs to be sacked immediately.

gough whitlam appeals to lky for clemency

after his racist remark about singapore, gough whitlam actually wrote a letter to appeal for clemency for the drug trafficker. under normal circumstances i would suggest lky to give him a lesson on diplomacy, racism and good manners. in this case it is better to throw away his letter into the bins. lky should not waste his time to reply to this bum. yes he is a bum.

11/27/2005

frontpage headlines in the sunday times

two main issues covered the front page of today's sunday times. one on a survey of commuters using public bus services and complaining about long wait and over crowding. the next important and interesting article is about vietnam brides with a beautiful colour picture of three beautiful vietnamese ladies. and they were so beautiful that the same picture were printed again inside, another quarter page and a full page of news on them. for a moment i thought i was reading a tabloid, the sun or the mirror, or some easy sunday morning stuff. the transformation of a serious paper on weekdays into a light and easy read on a sunday is a good change. after all everyone needs a break. but no, the serious stuff are inside. what a twist. but on a sunday morning, it is better to start off with lighter moments like looking for a bride for sale or go bride shopping.

reversing technology

technology is not the only way forward. at a time when jobs were aplenty, when manpower was short, we need to mechanise and computerise to save on manpower. those days were gone. as days go by we are going to experience more and more people exiting the job market and unable to find a job. and these people have 20 to 30 years of time to spare. they need to keep themselves occupied. any jobs will do. we need to reverse technology to provide some forms of jobs for these people. so far the ideal jobs for them are cleaners, sweepers, chambermaids etc. we need to think more deeply and be more innovative in job creations. all the expensive machinery and computerised systems, satellite tracking, touch and go stuff must make way for cheaper means of doing things. they are actually not cost effective. bus conductors can do a better job and cheaper and provide jobs too. like it or not, 20 or 30% of the population will need simple and not so talented jobs. these people will not go away. they are our problems. we cannot keep on creating talented jobs for talented people and ended up inviting more foreign talents to replace our no talent citizens. the pool of this no talent citizens is going to balloon by the years.

please come home

it is time to wave the banner for singaporeans overseas to come home. just bring $5000 along too. that is what they will need to pay for the fine. many singaporeans who have evaded national service for whatever reasons should consider returning home now that the govt's stand is clear. and they need not be a super talent or there will be accusation of discrimination. we need to welcome the return of the prodigal sons. no more angst and fear of the uncertainty. and if they are talented better still. with our definition of foreign talents equated to anyone who can secure a job of more than $2000, or with a diploma or degree, everyone shall be qualified. our system of justice is fair and transparent and consistent. we cannot rule in favour of the rich against the poor. and not against the untalented in favour of the talented.

11/26/2005

yasukuni, a japanese truth

the japanese embassy in singapore protested to lianhe zaobao for reporting on koizumi's visit to the shrine negatively. they explained that koizumi went there to pay respect for the soldier's sacrifice for the peace and prosperity of japan. from the japanese point of view, this is true. the soldiers fought and died for japan and the emperor. from this issue one can clearly see that truth is different when seen from a different angle. all the east asian countries who suffered japanese occupation and atrocities would not forget what the japanese soldiers had done to them. the british and australian and other allied soldiers who were imprisoned in changi and those who survived the burmese death railway are still seething with pain and anger. then again, in japan today's forum there was an indian national who praised the japanese invasion in india and for helping the indians fought the british. there was also an indian independent army supported by the japanese. according to this indian national, india was grateful to japan for weakening the british raj. so at least there is someone who is thankful for the role of japan during the second world war. the yasukini visit is a glorious event to the japanese and their leaders, especially those who seek to revive japanese militarism and japanese glory. for the victims, it is a totally different story, a story of pain and suffering, of shame and humiliation. the japanese would want to relive those moments of their glorious past. the rest of asia, maybe except india, would like to forget that period of their history if they could. japanese visit to yasukuni is a painful reminder of what the asian countries had suffered. would koizumi and other japanese leaders want to continue to remind the rest of asia of their 'great adventure' to liberate the asian countries and bring peace and prosperity to the east asia co prosperity sphere?

singapore a chinese rogue port!

this is what an ex australian prime minister, gough whitlam uttered. despite the years of education by lky, this racist could not distinguish between singapore and china. but actually, this is his real feeling. to him, singapore has always been chinese. all his show of being civil, being diplomatic when he met lky and other singapore ministers were all an act. this guy is nothing but a ku klux klan in disguised. his modern suit, his former stature as a prime minister, all blown away by his stupid and insensitive statement. he his baring all, naked, to show who he really is. the singapore govt shall demand an apology from him. all singaporeans and politicians should be aware of this racist when they get into contact with him. he might come round in the middle of the night with his hooded gangs and lynch the singaporeans. and how many more such gang members are there down under, in disguise? perhaps this is the only good thing that can come out from the hanging of the drug trafficker, the unmasking of the racists in australia. it was not too long ago that only whites were accepted to migrate there. a land belonging to the aborigines that they grabbed and stopped other coloured people from going there. this high and mighty attitude is similar to the americans. after they have lynched enough niggers, after they have benefitted from slavery, after they have practically killed off the red indians, incidently the aussies only did away with hanging in the late 80s, they feel that they are civilised enough to lecture to the world.

malaysian police and china girls

after the anwar episode when the police chief thought it was ok for him to beat up a deputy prime minister, is there anything else that can be more shocking? after that embarrassment, when senior police officers no longer uphold the law but became pawns of politicians, many may think that there will be some soul searching and a transformation of their roles vis a vis the people. but it seems that the rot continues. and this can only come from a lack of leadership, a lack of moral and ethical values being instilled into the officers and rank and file. the revelation of the tape on how the malaysian police treated the chinese girl is just indescribeable. even if she is an illegal immigrant, even if she is involved in undesirable trades, she is only a suspect, is there a need to strip her naked, and made her do ear squat ala the americans treating the iraqis. and with the verses of the koran blaring in the background as if to exorcise the devil. is the job of the police to ill treat and punish would be offenders of the law before the due process of the law? it only reflects a very backward kind of thinking behind the police officers involved, like the feudal days, or in some little fiefdoms in the middle east. that was how people were treated there and then. or like in guantanamo. the americans were no better. so the malaysian police can shake hands with the americans and waltz in their own hall of shame. it is unbelieveable that human beings can allow themselves to treat another human being that way all because they are given some authority over another human being. rightly badawi saw the issue as something very sick in the malaysian police force and has personally intervened to right the wrong. he even sent a minister immediately to china to apologise for the misdeed. we need decent men like badawi to bring some sense of goodness into a society of misplaced values.

singapore accused of contempt

kevin rudd, an australian opposition mp, accused the singapore govt of contempt for australia and the australian people. what a sweeping statement he is making. he assumed that australia and all australians are on his side, sharing the same view. didn't he know that many australians have expressed their support for the death penalty or at least that australia shall respect the rights of singapore as a sovereign state? it is pure arrogance on his part to think that he represents all australians in this case. and what was the cause of this accusation of contempt? all because singapore could not yield to his demand not to hang a drug trafficker who happens to be an australian, and that singapore refuses to change its policy and law to accommodate the wishes of the activists who wanted singapore to? would such attitude be a contempt of singapore and the law of singapore and all singaporeans? many singaporeans felt so and have stood up to rebut such haughty and callous attitude from leaders of a nation who deemed itself more civilised. yes, this group of people have actually accused singapore and singaporeans as barbarians. the issue now is not a law that provides for death penalty but a clash of ideas and values and a smugness that 'i am more civilised than thou.' when things take on such a tone, then it is unlikely that any good can come out from it. it is no longer learned and cultured and civil men, leaders of nations, engaging in a discourse or debate on issues and policies. it is like bushmen and cattle breeders yelling across the fence that i will shoot your cattle if they cross over. do we need to visit the circus when parliamentarians behave like clowns? we shall all have a good laugh at these silly men who are trying to say that 'i am holier than thou.' and they think the world will believe in them. it is all spoken and acted on for their own selfish egos and interests.

11/25/2005

a little humanity

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning disabled children, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question. "When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do." "Where is the natural order of things in my son?" The audience was stilled by the query. The father continued. "I believe, that when a child like Shay comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes, in the way other people treat that child." Then he told the following story: Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, "Do you think they'll let me play?" Shay's father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a such-needed sense of belonging. Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and, getting none, he took matters into his own hands and said, "We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning." In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the outfield. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat. At this juncture, would you let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible 'cause Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly much less connect with the ball. However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least be able to make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game. Instead, the pitcher took the ball and turned and threw the ball on a high arc to right field, far beyond the reach of the first baseman. Everyone started yelling, "Shay, run to first! Run to first!" Never in his life had Shay ever made it to first base. Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second!" By the time Shay rounded first base, the right fielder had the ball. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions and intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head. Shay ran toward second base as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases toward home. Shay reached second base, the opposing shortstop ran to him, turned him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to third!" As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams were screaming, "Shay, run home!" Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as hero who hit the "grand slam" and won the game for his team. "That day," said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, "the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world."

why can't the australians get their acts together

they cursed singapore, drummed up the media, engaged in an international campaign, threatened not to come here, threatened to boycott singapore and our goods, pm to pm talks and sent envoy to meet our govt. so much publicity which could only generate heat without results. there were two avenues available to the australians. engage a queen's council and try to fight the case in court. if they win legally, the court will have to amend its judgement or sentence on nguyen tuong van. this is the only proper thing to do. the next route is to ask for clemency. and when you pleaded for clemency, you either get it or you don't. that is the end of the story. the more pressure and the greater the publicity on this case, the less likelihood will the govt change its position. as a sovereign state, they cannot bow to foreign pressure and change a court's decision or treat a foreigner more favourably than its own citizens. if singaporeans are subject to the same law, no amount of australian pressure change this case. the approach the australians are taking is to undermine the authority and position of the govt in the eyes of singaporeans, and that is totally unacceptable. maybe this is the intention. appear to be fighting like hell for the drug trafficker but actually tightening the noose at every step they take. they are just forcing the hands of the singapore govt and making the singapore govt look bad to the australians and the world. they are now the morally virtuous people while the singapore govt are the bad guys, the inhumane people.

my island in the sun

as a kid, i used to go to blakang mati through jardine steps. hopped onto a ferry for a few cents and the island is mine. i could roam freely there, did whatever i want, spent as long as i want, in my island in the sun. today, my beautiful island in the sun is not mine anymore. i will have to forgo 3 meals just to be allowed to visit the island. all because they erected all the ugly and unsightly things all over the place, changing it into a mess of rubbish concrete. the natural beauty of the laid back island, where the warmth of the sun and the free fresh sea breeze, are now commercialised for gaudy human created things that people thought were what you need. and they demanded that you pay for it. and the same concept is going to take place in east coast parkway. they are going to spend $160 million to add all kinds of artificialities to a coastal park whose main attraction is the sun, sea and the sand. who needs all the creepy things that you can find in orchard road or any amusement parks when parents conned their kids to give themselves a few minutes of freedom? and don't be surprised that walking in the park may no longer be free. they need to recoup the $160 million spent. huh, another causeway bridge in the making, collecting park tolls?

adil hakeem tops psle

adil hakeem is not a flash in a pan. many brilliant malay students have done as well as him in the school examinations. no doctoring of their grades to make them look good. the achievements of these malay students tells simply that they can make it in the toughest environment without a crutch. they have levelled up in the face of competition. maybe mahathir may want to relook at his formula of levelling down, with the assumption that his bumiputras cannot compete and must be helped, even with the doctoring of their exam results and quotas for university places. the new elite of the malay world is mushrooming in the little red dot, fighting for a place in the brave new world like everyone does.

profits from drug trafficking could go to osama

the drug trade is big business. afganistan was and still is a producer of drugs. who knows where the source of the drug found in nguyen tuong van. it could come from afganistan or bought from people working for osama. and the profit from the sale of this drug could end up financing the bali bombings or more bombings of australian parties in indonesia and, god forbids, australia one day. now, would the australians still be so vehement in saving the lives of drug traffickers?

what can singaporeans do best that others can't?

practically in every area, what we can do others can. we had our little advantage as a result history and our location. but the changing of winds is taking the wind out of our sail. our advantage is fast disappearing. there is one area though, that we still seem to excel. we are still admirable by the world in terms of govt. i am not referring to political system. our civil service and statutory boards are perhaps the best in the world, as long as they keep their fingers away from private enterprises. planning, coordination, organising and developing infrastructures and systems of township are our expertise, so far unmatched elsewhere. and of course, our incorruptibility. other than a few stray cases, our govt services are still probably the cleanest in the world. maybe we should think of exporting our expertise in these areas to the world. many countries need great planners to develop their infrastructure and town planning, and in economic development. and we have many experienced and skill people that are highly regarded in these fields. just in the prime minister's office alone we can carve out two teams, one headed by lky and anther by choktong, to be made available to the world. we don't really need a prime minister's office with 3 prime ministers, 2 deputy prime ministers and another 2 or 3 ministers. their skills and experiences can be marketed. they have great value to offer to others who are struggling to get their countries in order. and we need to do it now with lky around. he will be the prize catch for any country who is willing to pay for his service, plus those experienced civil servants. this is a field that we are unparalleled, and we have many able bodies to offer to the world, some retired, some about to retire, some hanging around waiting to do something useful. the singapore government consultancy service!

we shall ride on the chinese indian locomotives

our success formula was to be ahead of our competitors. we did that very well in the last 40s. we were lucky that our competitors were less tenacious as us. it was easy to stay ahead. can we apply the same formula to the compete with the chinese and the indians? two huge economies with equally intelligent and hardworking people? can we stay ahead of them? at the pace that they are catching up, soon we will be left behind. these are hungry people but with a will to succeed. they are as intelligent and hardworking as us, and better. they are prepared to work for less. they can do what we can do, and cheaper and faster. what do we mean by riding on their growths? can we supply them with our labour, supervisors and management? fat hope. labour and skill labour they have plenty. what we could perhaps contribute or add value to what they are doing is capital, which they will welcome at this point in time, and some senior management staff. other than these, they have no use for us. can we afford to raise the cost of our labour? if not, how are we going to improve and raise the quality of living of our people faced with such competition that we have no comparative advantage? the future looks pretty dim and gloomy. will we be returning to where we were? back to the future?

back to square one in 40 years

70% of cleaners in kopitiams were foreign workers. then came the charge of the ah pek and ah ma brigades. today 80% of cleaners are singaporeans. shall this call for a celebration? that singaporeans have fought and won back the right to work, as cleaners? 40 years ago, this batch of now ah pek and ah ma were in their 20s and 30s. they had followed the success story of singapore, through the tough years of the 60s when they were cleaners or odd job labourers, through the years of growth in the 70s when factory jobs were abundant, through the years of feeling wealthy in the 80s when the value of their hdb flats skyrocketed and some retired with a handsome cpf nesteggs. and then the golden years of the 90s when all their monies were reinvested either in bigger flats or in the stockmarket, which was followed immediately by the crash and bust years of today. these ah pek and ah ma are now as poor as they were before. and now they came marching out to start all over again, as cleaners and odd job labourers when they should be retiring and enjoying the fruits of their labour. will we see the ah sohs returning to the job market too, as maids? there were many singaporeans who worked as maids in the 50s and 60s for the british forces. will we see the uncles coming out of retirements to work as security guards or petrol pump attendances? some have already joined the cleaner's squad and as sweepers and gardeners. but with job redesign and job title changes, they could call themselves as hygiene technicians or environment inspectors or horticulturists.

11/24/2005

nguyen tuong van versus melvyn tan

both issues are hot topics for the moment. in terms of response and participation, nguyen tuong van has a greater audience, including international audience. but in terms of views, there is probably a 50:50 divide on both sides. some support the death penalty and some against. in the case of melvyn tan, it is domestic and apparently more subdue. but the anger is there. the group in channelnewsasia perhaps is more expressive. the response from mindef is atypical, trying to adopt a calm, composed, no opinion, official statement. and thinking or hoping that the subject will end by itself. unfortunately it will not go away. every year you will have new ns men coming on line. the issue is simmering now and will affect all ns men, currently serving or have completed their liabilities. how serious are its implications only time will tell. remarks in the channelnewsasia forum revealed very sore sentiments. some feel cheated, their sacrifices to the nation cheapened, that they were treated like fools. the psychological impact on the morale of ns men and ns as an institution are being questioned and shakened, by the homecoming of a pianist. there must be some damage assessment and damage control before the issue runs out of control. many are not saying anything, very typical of singaporeans. and many are thinking or cursing within. it is crazy for inter state relationship to be held ransom by a criminal. it is just as crazy for a critical institution like the national service to be rocked by a pianist.

singapore must be seen to be consistent and fair

this drug trafficker case is now the talk of the town. it is splashed all over newspapers, tv media, websites and blogs. many old cases of drug taking and trafficking were also raised to question the consistency, transparency and fairness of the law. the case of the german girl who escaped the gallow and how some absconded after being out on bail. another issue that is repeatedly mentioned is the sovereign right of a nation to maintain its law and that the law must be applied equally to all, citizens or non citizens. to treat foreigners and citizens differently will undermine the authority of the law and govt. if the singapore govt is seen to be transparent and applies the law justly, fairly and consistently to all, without exceptions, people may criticise, appeal, plead, but they will eventually back off after letting off steams. the ugly part that will stain our reputation is for the govt to be seen as unfair, showing favouritism, or treating locals and foreigners differently. if such an accusation sticks, then we will face a credibility problem. no amount of explanations can wash away the sin once the perception of unfair practice sticks. the authority needs to be very mindful of such eventuality and not be compromised by pressure from any quarters.

do we really know the truth?

just a hypothetical case. nguyen tuong van is an australian. very likely the australian police could have been monitoring his movements. there is always a possibility that the australian police tipped thir singapore counterparts and let the singapore police stop him from reaching australia. the outcry could be just a show to tell the australian public that the australian authority has nothing to do with nguyen's arrest. but imagine the kind of damage nguyen would have done to the australians if he could unload his goodies there. we just would not know the truth...

mindef has spoken on melvyn tan's case

mindef takes a serious view on ns defaulters. and melvyn is still liable for ns and had been dealt with under the law, fined $5000. presumably melvyn is still a singapore citizen and that's why he is still liable. does it mean that he holds two citizenship? thought i read somewhere that he is a british citizen. assuming that a young man has denounced his citizenship and taken another citizenship, presumably he would no longer be liable and thus not be affected by the enlistment act. so someone before reaching 18 denounces his citizenship, he is free from our ns liability. and he could come back anytime as a citizen of another country, even work and stay here as a pr. this is a route that some might take. another possibility is for him to come back, say in his late 30s or 40s and reapply for a new citizenship. of course assuming that he is now world renowned and a prized talent. i think the state will welcome him with open arms as a new citizen. but for the less talented, they might not be so welcomed. as the case for dual citizenship, not sure if this is accepted by our govt.

hanging of drug trafficker - what is my stand?

it all depends on what hat i am wearing. if i am the law enforcer - hang him if i am a moralist - save him if i am a victim of drugs - hang him if i am his lawyer - save him if i am a populist - save him if i am his family member - save him if i am a drug trafficker - save him if i am a busybody - save/hang him, depends on which way the wind blows if i am a reporter - sensationalise it to increase readership if i am a politician - make a lot of noise to gain political capital

changi prisioners are saved

it may be providence. joachim kang is reported to be very jovial and kind of happy in changi. his holy presence may be an act of god, to bring salvation to the prisoners and sinners in the gloom of changi prison. light has shine on changi.

singapore has resurrected an australian hero

drug trafficker nguyen tuong van is the latest australian hero, with compliments from singapore. probably his photo will grace the cover of the times magazine or all the popular magazines in australia. the australians may even build a monument in his honour, dying for australia. australian drug traffickers are now world famous. the australian people are all behind them, in the courts of singapore and jakarta. soon the world will get used to australian faces as synonymous to the new breed of drug traffickers. the world may see a new version of opium war between australia and indonesia. hail to the great australian empire!

illegal immigrants

the rounding up of more than a hundred illegal workers is only the tip of the problem. there could be thousands of them around. and the problem will be more severe with the days gone by. when they become hungry, crime is a certainty. the sickening thing about this problem is that it is so easy to solve. these are workers who need work and need an employer. without an employer they are dead duck. they are different from the freelancers who solicit for business in the streets. that is a more difficult problem. how to deal with illegal workers who need to be employed? go for the accomplice, the employers. jail them or fine them heavily. the social problems that these employers are creating can be very serious in the long run. the law must come down hard and swift on these irresponsible employers. when there is no employer, the illegal workers will have no work and must return home. it is so tardy and so unbelieveable that the problem is allowed to fester and grow in a city reputed for efficiency in solving problems.

i am the light of the world

in the darkest hours of human civilisation singapore stands out like a shining light. when humankind is running out of ideas to save itself, when terrorism and inter racial strife find no solution except to kill and destroy, singapore is offering to the world an ingenuine solution. a racist blogger, one who showed hate and contempt to another race, was found guilty. and the solution to remove his hatred is to make him do more community time with the community he hates. the immersion with the other community will help him understand better and make him hate lesser. it is time the world listen to this shining light. we have the answer to the problems of the world. all the arabs/muslims who hate americans must be sent to the usa to live with the americans to understand the americans better. all the americans who hate the arabs and wanted to kill them shall be made to live with the arabs to understand the arabs better, and they will change their mind. and husbands and wives in a bitter struggle to divorce, lock them up in a hotel room together for two weeks and they will reconcile. more time together, more familiarity will lead to more understanding and acceptance. the americans did a grave mistake by locking up those iraqi prisoners in guantanamo prison. they should put them on parole and attached each one of them to live with an american family. after a few months they will love the americans and their way of life. we are the light of the world.

11/23/2005

lky wants singaporeans to take more risk

who would risk losing $100k to make a commission of $120 without collateral? who would take an order for $500k without collateral? who would take such risk based on trust, personal assessment and calculated risk? the remisiers are the most misunderstood and abused professionals in the finance industry. during the 1990s bull run, many people begrudged the remisiers for making huge commissions without a clear understanding of what were actually involved. people only saw one side of the coin, the enviable side. no one knew that for every $1 a remisier made, he stands to lose $100. a remisier who made $100k in commission stands to lose $10 mil in losses when the market turns against his clients. after the market crashed, many remisiers ended with huge bad debts and had to pay for them when their clients ran away. many went bankrupt or were unable to continue with their business. the job of remisiers is not merely offering professional advices to their clients. the job of remisiers is not simply keying an order and collect commission like a toll collector or key punch operator. a remisier is a risk taker. he stood as guarantor for his clients and will have to make good the losses if clients defaulted. a more important role that many people could not understand is that of a multiplier. our market is too small and did not have the critical mass of investors to provide a decent trading volume. without the remisiers, the banks or broking houses will not extend the kind of limits a remisier will extend to the clients without collaterals. the remisiers as the middle men are in a better position to assess the risk profiles of their clients. this requires intimate contact with the clients and knowing the clients. many clients were relatives, friends or friends of friends. the banks will not be able to do this effectively without a large pool of credit officers. even if the banks are willing to employ them, the reliability of these officers will always be questionable. it is not their money. remisiers are risking their own money. the benefit of remisiers in this role is to multiply the trading volumes by 10 to 100 times which otherwise will not be achieveable. we will not be able to have a healthy and active stockmarket without the remisiers. remove the remisiers and our market will collapse. we can kiss goodbye to our stockmarket or our dream of being a financial centre to rival hongkong. a remisier is a risk taker, a big risk taker that is most misunderstood. we are not like america or some big countries. we are very small but with a huge ambition and a huge appetite to be a regional financial centre. the remisiers play a very unique role to complement our disadvantage in size.

singapore-drug trafficker-australia relations

it is unbelieveable that a drug trafficker could be the wedge that threatens to undermine the special relationship between singapore and australia. even howard admitted that they is a ground swell on the hanging of the australian drug trafficker. singapore is the strongest ally of australia and the link for australia to asean and the region. and australia is always very well regarded here and also a choice country for singaporeans for investment, education and migration and many other things. would such a strong relationship not withstand the hanging of a criminal? would the australian call hsien loong recalcitrant? many unpleasant words have been uttered by the australian public and some interested parties. the australian govt is also under some pressure to play to the gallery or they too would have to do some face saving for stubbornly insisting to appeal in this case. hopefully the australian leadership is not as frivolous as the public and have some sense to look at the issue from a different perspective. what about the other side of the view? are there australians who think that the drug trafficker deserved to be hanged? obviously there are except that for the moment the media is playing up the feelings of antagonism and anti singapore sentiment. responsible press or free press? eventually it will be another flash in the pan and everything will return to normal. they don't have many friends in the region and don't thing they would want to jeopardise their relations with a close ally and a staunch supporter of australia. otherwise they will look more silly than the drug trafficker.

chee soon juan called for global protest

chee soon juan is calling howard to lead an international protest on the hanging of an australian drug trafficker. what good does this internationalising of the hanging of a criminal going to do to chee soon juan's political career? is he courting recognition to prepare him for the next general election? or is he fighting a personal battle with the pap? though many singaporeans may be compassionate to the plight of this drug trafficker, many also understand the harm he is causing, and our law on drug trafficking. the death penalty for drug traffickers is as institutionalised as national service for our men. we know the law and we know that it is something we should stay clear and far away from it. but do we want our laws to keep drugs away from our shores be undermined by all the drug traffickers and their supporters? would singaporeans view chee's position as a plus for his righteousness and compassion? or will singaporeans look at him as an unthinking opportunist, recklessly taking on any issue that crops up? will he gain more credibility from this or do himself and his party more harm? the implications of going soft on drug traffickers is a subtle way of saying it is ok. not that singaporeans are murderers and cherish hanging another man. maybe the govt should put up a huge banner at all the immigration points begging all drug traffickers to stay away from singapore. and maybe the govt should put up a worldwide advertisement to beg the whole world and their govt to tell their people not to bring drugs here. it is very painful and makes us look so merciless and barbaric to take people's life. please help us not to do it. singapore must go down on its knees and say 'please please don't come here.'

no election rally

it started as a joke. that there will be no election rally in the next general election. too risky to have a few thousand people in the open in view of the threats of terrorism. this is no joking matter. just think about it a little. it is so easy to blow up a few bodies in such a crowd. our security people must be having a big headache as to how to manage all the election rallies. the resources are limited and the terrorists are so unpredictable. would there go ahead to ban election rallies? doing so will instantly bring about all the expected criticisms. not doing it, they will put their necks on the chopping blocks should the ugly thing happens. only one incident is all that is needed to bring hell to everyone. the close proximity of so many people together and in an election rally! who is going to shoulder such a heavy responsibility? will we have election rally then?

how to become a laffing stock

the times higher education supplement(thes) has ranked nus and ntu at 22 and 48 positions. this places nus ahead of many reputable universities in the usa. and if we work on it, it is so easy for nus to be the top university in the world. singaporeans really excelled in the area of examination. we are exam smart. just let a singaporean go through the exam for a few times and we know exactly how to score in every area. the criteria set by thes is no different. we will learn quickly and overcome them, and score As in every section. another few years and we will be there, the top university in the whole world. but being at the top comes with a price. financially this is chicken feed. we have the dole. we can afford it. if not enough we can raise fund. if necessary we can raise tuition fees. as simple as that. but the financial cost is nothing. today nus is 22. even at 22, many people are already sneering at nus. how could nus be better than such and such a university in the states. these universities are well established and with records of producing brilliant and successful graduates. what is the track record of nus? just imagine when we become number 1. we out ranked all the top ivy league universities in the usa. we are on top of harvard, mit, carnegie mellon, princeton, stanford, yale, ucla...etc etc we may become number 1 on paper. but nobody is going to take us seriously. we may work very hard to be tops in the thes ranking. but we will only work ourself to become a laughing stock. a really good university is not just because of its ranking by some superficial survey. there are more to it than having how many foreign students, how many papers published, how good are the facilities and how many reputable professors. it is a history of many things in combination. and most important thing is the x factor. people just know and recognise it as the best. do we want to work so hard to be number 1?

11/22/2005

handcuff is a must even for minor offences

lionel de souza, a former police officer, still maintained that a crime is a crime and handcuff is a must. big crime small crime, seizable offence, non seizable offence doesn't matter. better to play safe than to let an offender run away. i hope he will suggest to mrt and the bus company to equip all bus and train captains with a dozen pairs of handcuff for each train or bus. all these fare cheats must know that they are committing a crime when they cheated and must be handcuffed to prevent them from running away. otherwise the poor policement will have to submit a report, subject to investigations and may lose his jobs. this is how serious an offence for a police officer for letting a criminal escape. and don't forget those drivers who went in to jb to top up their tanks but broken the 3/4 tank rule. these drivers must be handcuffed quickly in case they drive their cars into jb and don't come back. i am going to import handcuffs for sale to these companies and quote lionel de souza as an authority. i like this lionel. good for handcuff business. the next tourist attraction in this island will be to look out for minor offenders being handcuffed. there will be plenty of opportunities given the abundance of fine rulings in the island, spitting, chewing gums, kicking footballs in void decks, jaywalking or running across busy orchard road, etc etc and don't forget our professional visitors soliciting for business. is this a good insight to the thinking of our govt officers? kiasu and kiasi and the public pays the price for it. now i know where the term pgo originates.

the desperate middle class

irene ng raised the plight of the new poor of singapore. lost job, sold hdb flat still no money to survive and pleaded for cpf to let them retain some portion of the money needed to return to cpf. gan kim yong replied, 'allowing homeowners to keep part of the proceeds from selling their flats will "deplete their cpf savings and undermine their post retirement needs...this might help them meet their daily needs for a while, but we will be storing up bigger problems for the future...arranging loans from cpf is also not practical because they are unlikely to repay their loans even through instalments."' the answer will come, said gan kim yong, when the ministerial committee on low wage workers releases its final report in january. so meantime do nothing. the problem will go away by itself. or can comcare fund help to tie them over in the meantime? do people understand that there are people who are desperate for help now and cannot wait?

privatisation is a 4 letter word

whenever the word privatisation is mentioned, it means several things, improve efficiency, improve profits and higher price or cost to the users. the problem here is that improve efficiency may not take place. but higher profits and higher price/cost can be guaranteed. the reason is simple. it is now a private organisation and is answerable to shareholders and must return profits to shareholders. and profits is never enough, be it $10 mil, $30 mil or $100 mil. every year the profit must increase by a certain percentage to show growth. so $100 mil profit this year, next $100 mil again is no good. it must be $110 mil at least. what it means to the consumers is very simple too. you have to pay more. that is only a natural thing in privatisation especially in a monopolistic business. the other problem associated with privatisation is the change of priority. the business objective is no longer the service or products but profits. hospitals now find it their business to generate revenue and profit. not to provide medical care. no money...just too bad. you must pay for your medical service which comes at a level equivalent to how much you pay. the reason and objective of public transport is not public transport per se but profit. if education goes along the same path, then educating the young of the nation is not important but profit. can't afford to pay for quality(ie expensive) education, go elsewhere. and the cost of all these quality stuff must only go up. privatisation is a word to be fear in the singapore context. is there such a thing called 'not for profit' organisation in the private sector? even charitable organisations talked about revenue and profits to motivate their stuff and pay them well. it is only a matter of time before we privatise the govt and the whole country.

taro aso a very dangerous man

taro aso defended koizumi's visit to yasukuni shrine and made his stand on japan's role during the second world war. in his view, japan's invasion of east and southeast asia was to defend itself against western imperialism. how does defending western imperialism led to the invasion of china, korea and the greater part of southeast asia? these are not western countries and have done no wrong to the japs. this is a sick and deluded japanese man who only thinks about japanese interests and is prepared to distort history to support his private views. together with koizumi and abe, they make an unholy trinity that could lead japan to another war with its neighbours. and with the encouragement of the cowboy in the white house, war with its neighbours is not a remote possibility.

inter state relations affected by a criminal

would the relationship of singapore and australia be affected by a drug trafficker, a criminal. looks like it will be. what is this world turning into? criminals are now important enough to waste the precious time of statesmen, professionals and the public as if they have nothing better to do. howard, though trying to take a milder stand, is seen to be affected by the mounting pressure from an aroused public and a small group of activists and has also commented that the execution of the drug trafficker will not go unnoticed. how ridiculous can things be?

nus/ntu -another mrt in the making

the corporatisation of the two universities, autonomy, merger and acquisition, to be the best we can be, to generate revenue as a business organisations...are these the goals for the future? are we taking the same route as the privatisation of our public transport system and our health services? i hope i am wrong. that we are not turning the two universities into private organisations for more efficiency and better results and profit generation. if these are the goals, we can expect the universities to embark on a trail of acquisition and expansion, recruiting the best among the professors, acquiring the best facilities that money can buy, to make the two universities a brand name, to attract more paying students to generate more profits. look at the busines model. where are the sources of income to support such a grand design? raising funds from the public/shareholders, selling bonds, joint projects with commercial enterprises etc etc but finally up tuition fees. an ambitious plan to be the best would demand a very big appetite and big funds to keep it going. raising funds from the public has its limits. selling bonds is a debt that must be repaid. commercial projects, selling books, publications, research works will not be enough to sustain a branded organisation that wants the best in everything. ultimately the tuition fees must go up. just like the mrt. the commuters, in this case the students, will have to pay. which student is going to pay and carry the burden? foreign students would be given scholarships. the super rich students, no problem. the bottom 10 to 20% may have grants and subsidies. it is the middle crunch. depending on the financial ability of these parents, the lower half will bear the biggest brunt of ever increasing tuition fees. the squeeze will always affect the neither here nor there families. fees will be increased but affordable. affordable to who?

nus/ntu corporatisation - another world cup dream

i don't really know what corporatisation of nus/ntu mean. is it privatisation or a different animal? but looking at the broad direction and goals that these two universities are heading, we can expect them to aspire to be the best in the world. this is like our world cup dream. there is nothing wrong with big dreams and big ambition. both universities are highly regarded and highly ranked among the world best. but we need to touch ground and not get too swell headed and get carried away. how far shall we go? do we want to be better than harvard, yale, mit, princeton, cambridge and oxford? yes, for sure. but at what price? we can bring the world cup home. no big deal. just pay for it. but for what? to make all the football fans in the kopitiam happy? in the case of being the world number one in education, the formula is not that simple. even if we are willing to pay, we can only buy all the facilities and the best professors. but the input, the quality of the students is not going to change much. unless we go for the world best students and tell our own students to go elsewhere. the world best university needs world best students. because of our own national interests, ie to educate our own students, we cannot be a harvard or the equivalent of any top ivy league universities in the usa or uk. our talent pool is just too limited. but we can get the best from the region. so what? what are we trying to achieve? do not let this over exuberance to want the best lead us astray. we need to set a more realistic objective. be the best in our region and among the best in the world. our current ranking may be good enough. yes we can push for a higher ranking, at what price? who is going to pay for it?

comcare fund update

about $9 mil have been given out to help 20,000 needy families. this works out to about $450 per family. just wondering what $450 can do to help a family in need and for how long? are their problems solved by $450? if that be so, then their problems are very minor. families in financial difficulties are unlikely to get away from their problems with $450. why can't the comcare administrators deal with the problems on a longer term basis? i reckon most of them would probably be able to ward off and be relieved of their problems with a $10,000 grant and only for one year, unless there are other means like employment and income to keep them going. tackling hardship problem must be done more thoroughly and as a package. i must still amused to think that 20,000 families were helped by $450 each. if that be the case, we don't really have any problems at all. and we don't need a $500 mil comcare fund. let's be serious in helping people who are in need and don't treat them like we treat beggars on the street. throw them a couple of dollars and all is well.

11/21/2005

australia: the new drug capital

seah chiangnee wrote an article in littlespeck revealing something that many people did not know, that australia is now the new drug capital of the world. many australians have been arrested across the world for drug trafficking. it is no longer the golden triangle or afganistan. who knows poppy fields are cultivated in the australian outbacks. the australian govt has been very firm and stringent in protecting australia from all the diseases of the world. they have one of the strictest quarantine system in the world. they have practically kept everything bad abay. but drugs? well it is something else and they need to look carefully at their backyard. they do not want another opium war, this time with their indonesian neighbours do they? the proliferation of drug traffickers of australian origin is something that the world did not expect. but it is taking shape. the new breed of drug traffickers are not asians, but yes, australians. the hair dresser corby is not the only australian arrested in indonesia for drug related offence.

the right of reply

singapore only ask for the right of reply. that is what hsien loong told the foreign press. it is a simple and legitimate request. why is it so difficult for the foreign press to comply? are the foreign press thinking that they can say anything they want without the aggrieved party telling his side of the story? is this the western standard of press freedom? even i think that this is absolutely unfair. you just can't tell your side of the story, especially when it is distorted and with your own agenda and refused people the right of reply. what then is the motive of western press? isn't providing objective, analytical reports and the truth important? with both parties explaining their views, isn't that fair? and further, if the press is concerned with revenue, i bet, a highly charged press engaging in a discourse with the authority will be in hot demand and readership will definitely soar. isn't that good? but in reality the western press has been monopolising the media to shape the minds of the world, telling the world their distorted views and getting away with it. we may admire press freedom in the west. but make very sure that it is press freedom and not something else. make sure that it is press freedom for the truth and not concocted truth.

singapore on watch list of reporters sans frontieres

15 countries were declared as enemies of internet freedom of expression by the reporters sans frontieres (rsf,reporters without borders). these are countries who are deemed to have cracked down hardest on internet freedom, censoring, monitoring, harassing, intimidating and even imprisoning internet users and bloggers. the countries are belarus, myanmar, china cuba, iran libya, nepal, north korea, saudi arabia, syria, tunisia, turkmenistan, uzbekistan and vietnam. gosh, aren't we lucky not to be included despite our low ranking in press freedom. but we are not totally out of danger so to speak. we are in their watchlist. the watchlist are for countries deemed to be bothering freedom of expression on the internet. but we are in good companies. hey, the usa, the european union, malaysia and thailand are also in the same category as us. not bad huh? this group being watched includes bahrain, egypt, kazakhstan, south korea and zimbabwe, plus those mentioned above. to be in the company of such great luminaries for press freedom like the usa and the european union means that we are doing ok. we are within the acceptable norms of civilised western societies. george bush and tony blair will speak for us as their equals. it is indeed a nice feeling.

sex is in the air

we failed so miserably in this vital area. our manhood is at stake. we really need help. the media has been advocating more sex. slogans like 'its time to flirt' are everywhere. and the govt is also helping out, but for different reasons. the govt is only interested in what comes after consumation. they need more head counts. but the message is filtering down. we have our great sexpo in our sterile and no erection city. is there a walkover whenever a singaporean is called for an erection? does erecting annabel to the status of a national hero work? maybe singaporeans have found something greater than sex. for the computer buffs, they think of nothing when they are banging away on the screen. no sex please. no time for that. it is serious business in computer games. it lasts longer, hours even without sleep. better than marathon mahjong. who needs a few minutes of erection? with such dedication in their hot pursuits, who got time for sex? but sex is just a personal preference. some, despite whatever incentives or no incentives, sex is all they live for. some will only have sex if it is worth their while. they need to calculate what it costs in the long term. it is a matter of money, to want to have a go at sex. are there any sex symbols around to excite people to live sex? watching the local tv is for people who need to be bored to sleep. a substitute for counting sheep. sex is in the air everywhere except the box. the people passing shows for screening needs to be......sexed up a little if we really want to have sex in the air. even ypap forum is taking the cue. it might be discussed in parliament soon..... sex in parliament.

11/20/2005

1965-2005 - the pace of change

egg 10c-15c 1.5x bus fare 10c-60c 6x newspaper 20c-80c 4x bowl of mee 30c-$3 10x kopi o 10c-70c 7x barber 50c-$8 15x taxi 40c-$2 5x luckystrike 90c-$10 11x small car $6,000-$60,000 10x mercedes200 $12,000-$170,000 14x 3 rm flat $7,500-$100,000 13x 4 rm flat $12,500-$200,000 15x semi d $20,000-$1.4mil 70x big sweep $400,000-$2 mil 5x worker salary $100-$600 6x starting salary grad salary $800-$1,500 2x starting salary minister salary $5,000-$80,000 16x number of babies 6-2 -3x the above are just very rough guesstimates. it was a time when earning a 4 figure salary, ie $1,000 was a big deal. today the expectation of a big deal is a 5 figure salary.

right today wrong tomorrow

can anything be so right today and so wrong tomorrow? before the nkf fiasco, it was a shining example of what a well managed charitable organisation should be. it was the paragon of all virtues. every charitable organisations, national leaders and private citizens only have good things to say about it. efficient and professional management led by an extremely hardworking and committed ceo who even slept in the office. a team of emminent and well regarded board of directors that no one can fault. devoted and caring staff that were rewarded handsomely for their services to the people. and above all, a well oiled machinery that could raise fund for its needs and for the needs of other organisations. if things did not happened the way it was, today nkf could be the national institution that singapore may be marketing to the whole world. the pride of our nation. nkf show was the show where everyone feels so good to be a part of it. you could see it in the faces of mediacorp artistes and the faces of audience spuriously banging away at their handphones. but today, even the new auditors could dig out, not a can of worms, but a whole organisation full of worms. funny that no one knew or could see anything wrong before. and the previous auditors were doing such a fine job. and the new management could only shake their heads at every turn of a page or a corner. they could not believe what they are seeing. and every organisations that were once connected with nkf, ...singtel, mediacorp, the artistes, the fund raisers, etc etc, are now under public scrutiny for everything they did, things that were so right and now so wrong. how could such a perception of right and correctness be perpetuated for so long and believed for so long without anyone, inside nkf and outside nkf, knowing that it was all false, and that the problem is so pervasive and glaring? and people were sued and paid heavily for making remarks about wrongs in the nkf. and suing people seemed like a past time, a sure win case. are singaporeans so dull, so innocent, so naive, so deprived of information, so unable to think, that they could live with a myth? what are the contributing factors that could lead to such an unfortunate situation, when no one really know that things have gone so wrong and seen to be so right by everyone? yes by everyone...until a contractor was pricked by his conscience to spill the beans, and a young girl who bravely stood up to bring it down. or is it that we have become a blinkered society?

ns photos on the blog

mindef has taken actions to remove photos of nsmen and their training stints in the blogs. it may affect the exuberance and enthusiasm of nsmen who are proud to share their experience and time during ns. but it is a necessary step to be taken. so far mindef has been handling the issue quite sensitively and sensibly without ploughing down everyone along the way. the bloggers have been informed and told to take the pictures down. they need to be vetted and clear before posting. now that is only proper and the right thing to do. we have seen mindef maturing and handling such affairs professionally and respecting the views of the affected nsmen. there are dangers of unintentional leakage of vital information from photos. no one, without carefully scrutinising what is being shot and posted, would know that they have inadvertently done harm to the services and even to individuals. we do not know what the other parties are looking for or intending to do with the photos and information available. during the cold war years, the russians and the americans were very active in taking pictures of anyone they came into contact with. a seemingly innocent picture taken with a tourist or in a social setting could turn out differently after being doctored. and with today's technology in image creativity, you can't imagine what can be done. in the sinister world of espionage, in our war on terrorism, it is better to be careful than be sorry.

awol from ns, $5000 fine

painist melvyn tan defaulted and ran away from serving national service, and returned after 30 years. he was found guilty and fined $5000. compare this with what a nsman has to go through and sacrificed for his 2-2 1/2 years fulltime service and his reservist liabilities, and the income lost, what message are we telling the people? is there a miscarriage of justice and fair play? the nation demanded by law that all able men served national service. now running away from such a liability deserves only a $5000 fine. it is a precedence that will erode the discipline, value and perception of not serving ns. it is a very attractive price to pay. melvyn tan has achieved fame for singapore. is that a consideration? melvyn tan has suffered for 30 years for not being able to return home? did he really suffered for being away from singapore? we can admire his achievements. we need not lambast him for not doing his national service like all dutiful male citzens. we need not be unkind or rude to him. but he has to pay a price that must be equitable to the sacrifice of other nsmen. otherwise we are unfair to all nsmen, all the several generations of nsmen that have gone through the harsh training to defend the nation. it may not be feasible or practical to expect melvyn tan to go through the same process and regimentation like any young nsmen. rightfully he should be jailed for the maximum of 3 years. that is what the law provides and there is no reason to do otherwise. if he is to be let off lightly, an alternative way must be considered to be seen to be fair to the nation and all nsmen. he could serve time with the music and drama company, full time for at least two years. in this way we are not wasting his talent, but to give him a chance to repay his debt to the nation. we will also tell the future defaulters that no way anyone is going to escape from his responsibilities to the nation. a singaporean male must serve the nation like any other singaporean, with no discrimination of your birth, your race, language or religion, or your talent. for the latter, if the state chooses to use an individual's talent in another way, it is a considered decision of the state, not the choice of an individual.

11/19/2005

singapore australian union

a new malaysia or a reunion with malaysia is never going to be. both countries have gone their separate ways and have developed two different polities that are too diverse and no longer have a common platform to talk about. the common history and a common people with interlocking relations are all that is left. on the other hand, though separated by oceans and distance, there are more commonalities between australia and singapore than singapore and malaysia or singapore and the rest of asean countries. and very important, both share the same language, goals, interests and an international culture and value, and very similar govt service, legal and political systems and culture. and both are in about the same stage of economic and social development. we understand each other much better. perhaps a kind of union, similar to the european union, can be a new agenda between australia and singapore. new zealand too may want to be the next partner. all the three nations have very little to fear each other, very little contentious issues and differences and unlikely to mess up the domestic policies and stability of the other nations. a union of the three nations will be far easier to reach and can be something to look forward to.

minister sure win card

heard this in the kopitiam. the new mps will be very weary of which minister is going to carry the weight in his grc. it is no longer a sure win card. everyone is keeping his fingers crossed.

corporate governance and accountability

the usa regulators have completed a report on the accounting and auditing firms and have highlighted audit deficiencies by ernst and young and pwc, 6 cases in ernst and 30 cases in the latter. they are saying that they will take the findings seriously but short of making these firms being made accountable for their shortcomings. in singapore this seems to be the way authorities are treating professional incompetencies and fraud. we have yet to see such big boys being held responsible for their misconduct, not meeting professional efficiency and doing their due diligence. the question is why are these big boys allowed to get away often scotfree from mistakes that have huge financial impacts and often affecting many innocent public investors. it is way long overdue to bring the big boys to task to restore some credibility to the corporate world and make corporate governance meaningful instead of mere lip service.

singapore australia relations

hsien loong's quick apology to howard was well received and the latter also came out immediately to confirm that our relations with australia was not affected by the little hiccup. our relations with australia has never been better. we can count on many areas of common interest and collaborations. we share a common history in some way, the legacy of the british empire, we share a common language and many values. and we can compliment each other in regional and international affairs. the australians are trying to get back to the asean and east asian markets after several decades of eurocentric policies. and singapore is well place to open the doors for australia. economic and political considerations in these areas will provide numerous opportunities for the two countries to work closer to each other. our common perception and concern for terrorism, australia helping us in our military training, and we helping to explain australia's position to our neighbours. there are so much at stake and so many common interests for our relations to turn bad over a criminal. singapore should capitalise on this good relations to expand into australia, especially the northern territories. australia has plenty of land but little people. we have people but little land. our people speaks australian, oops, english, and can easily integrate into the australian society. it may be worthwhile, instead of investing in unpredictable and finicky environment, to invest in australia in farming to be self sufficient in vegetables, fruits, eggs, poultry and meat. move into northern australia in a big way, with australian approval, and the benefits are mutual. investment and development will be good for the australian economy. we can turn northern australia into our twin city. singaporeans as prs or employment pass holders in australia, employed by our own companies and also creating jobs for the australians, must be more welcome then people from unpredictable and uncommon background. looking into the future, half a million singaporeans in northern australia, commuting daily by our own airlines, from home to office and back in the same day. this will relieve us of the pressure on our land and limited resources, and singaporeans who love the big space and country would find australia a nice alternative. we can then comfortably think of a 8 million population, half in australia and half in singapore.

11/18/2005

a more humane alternative to hanging drug traffickers

since the death penalty is so repulsive to the civilised nations, maybe we should consider not to apply it to international drug traffickers. but drug trafficking is still a serious crime and they cannot be let off without punishment. a more humane punishment will be for them to consume whatever drugs that they are caught with. and then they shall be handed over to their respective government to do as they please. is this worth considering?

execution of a drug trafficker

no one will have said with glee on the execution of a man, no matter what crime was committed. the execution of the vietnamese australian drug trafficker is no exception. the act, the law, the judgement and the coming execution are all impartial, transparent and well known. they are there exactly to serve such a purpose. otherwise there is no point having them. the mother's anguish, the australians are angry, the appeal lawyers are even more angry, and the australian prime minister is very disappointed. and hsien loong has to apologise for a diplomatic hitch. all because of a drug trafficker. will our relations with australia suffered because of a criminal? why is a crime taking centrestage in state to state relations? we are not disputing over our claim for christmas island nor are we disagreeing over national issues. and it even gives the impression that the australian is trying to bully us into accepting their positions because it is politically correct in their domestic politics to do so. whether it is morally right in this case is subjective really, but never wrong to plead for the life of a dying man.

sim wong hoo's miraculous achievement

sim wong hoo may seem to be losing to apple in the battle for mp3 players. but he is clinging in there, fighting for every inch of the mp3 pie. and his target is only apple. what happens to sony, panasonic, toshiba, jvc and other notable japanese world class players? the fact that all the japanese makers did not feature in the game plan of sim wong hoo tells an amazing story. hey, the singapore brand is now a head above all the japanese brands. the japanese brands are inconsequential in this battle. whether it is real or perceived, the fact still stands, that it is a battle between two giants, an american and a singaporean brand. move aside sony, panasonic, toshiba etc etc. it is creative versus apple. anybody ever thought that a singapore brand can elbow out the established japanese giants. the thought of it sounds crazy. but it is happening.

is japan a modern day colony of usa?

after the americans were forced to vacate clark air base and subic naval base by the filipinos, they held on tenaciously to the last two military bases in east asia, in korea and japan. the realignment of us-japan military alliance and the greater freedom for american troops to be stationed in japan, have given the impression that japan is becoming a forward base of the american empire. the japanese people have been reported to be angry with the new move. the proud and nationalistic japanese may find it hard to swallow, that a once empire maker, is now relegated to the status of a semi colony of the usa. and the american nuclear fleet will now be a common feature in the sea of japan and american soldiers' presence in ginza and shinjuku will also become a common sight. will there be more angry japanese protest to this alliance when japan allows itself to become an extension of another nation's military reach into east asia? long gone were the days when japan was fighting to be an empire. it is now a part of another empire.

recognising ns men

the life and time of ns men are in a way acquired by the state like the acquisition of land. during those ns days, including reservist training, the time and life of the ns men belonged to the state. and in turn they were given a miserable stipends. when the nation was less well off, everyone understood and would not dare to put too much demand on the state. today the state is rich, very rich. and rightly the state too thinks that it should show some real recognition and reward those who have given their time and life to the nation. for should there be a crisis, these young men will be the one to defend, fight and die for the nation. the current procedure of sending a letter to a nsman informing him of his completion of all his ns liabilities need to be done better to recognise the contributions of the nsmen. a proper certificate, a medal, and perhaps some monetary incentive will not be inappropriate to those who reach 45 or 50 and no longer need to serve the nation through ns. it is a big moment in the life of an nsmen who has served his country in the most honourable way that is expected of him. the occasion, the moment, must bear some significance to an equally important event. ritual is something that is lacking in our young nation. we need to create and develop more rituals to remember significant moments of our lives and history. and with all the pioneers and earlier batches still alive and kicking, their sacrifices must also be recognised and be rewarded accordingly.

11/17/2005

charity fund raising

there is a limit of 30% for the cost of fund raising for charitable organisations. the nkf had exceeded this amount. others claimed that they were able to keep cost to 30% which is well and good. in the case of a charity fund raising show like those on tv, many of the cost will have to be incurred up front. and then the donations from the public will come in during the show. how could the organisers of such charity shows maintained that they can keep cost down to 30% of fund raised when the cost is a pre show expenditure while the donations is unpredictable and depends on so many variables? an expenditure of $1m must bring in a donation of more than $3.5 mil to keep cost down to 30%. what happens if the donation does not come in? in a charity show, there is no way to guarantee that the cost will be less than 30% unless the organisers can guarantee a minimum sum before the show starts.

malaysian/singapore education system

the main difference in the approach towards education in malaysia and singapore, other than the emphasis on different language used in teaching, is the quality of the student intake and output. the malaysian system, affected by political interests, resulted in a levelling down in the academic standards of its products. on the singapore side, because of the emphasis on quality and economic interests, the result is more of a levelling up, catching with the best. outstanding students from neighbouring countries were given scholarships to the schools and universities. and the local students have no choice but to compete with the best foreign students. in malaysia, the best would have to slow down in a cohort made up of many very average students. the best students thus would hardly be challenged and probably got the impression that they were already outstanding with minimal effort. from another perspective, the general perception of all students, including the outstanding students, is the constant doubt whether their good results were real. this kind of image is unhealthy and unfair to the really good students and the whole education system.

how rich are singaporeans?

according to the statistics dept, there are about 3.5 million residents in the island, ie citizens and prs. a guess, our population for citizens may not be more than 3 million. this will give an adult population of maybe 2 million ie above 21. if we divide our reserves of $200 billion it will mean that we have $100,000 for each adult singaporean in the reserve alone. and if each poor household is still owning an asset worth of $100,000 plus another $50,000 est in the cpf, i think on a per capita basis, singaporeans must be one of the richest people in the world. given that, it is unthinkable and perplexing to see so many singaporeans in financial difficulties. is it because of our wrong policies in the allocation of wealth or the management of the wealth of the citizens? why are singaporeans not able to live more comfortably like the rich nations in europe? with the wealth that we have saved, how can we account for 200,000 families looking for state assistance. where is the problem?

western view has made china into a hostile expansionist state

the western media, scholars, analysts and leaders have been constantly painting the picture that china, as the emerging superpower, is hostile, aggressive, expansionist and dangerous. on the other hand, the current number one superpower, the usa, is friendly, benevolent and deserves to bash everyone around, and is not dangerous. let's see where are the chinese military forces and which country they have invaded and which country they are planning to invade. taiwan, yes they threaten to take taiwan by force. now next? where, which country? are they going to attack the usa or japan? by the way, taiwan is a renegage province of china and china has declared that it will try to reunite taiwan peacefully as long as taiwan does not declare independence. in other words, they will not attack unless taiwan provoke china. and taiwan is not a sovereign independent nation. let's see what the friendly usa did. they invaded iraq. have their forces fighting in afganistan and some east european states. they are planning to attack north korea, demanding that north korea accept their terms on nuclear disarmament. they are planning to invade saudi arabia, syria, iran, sudan. all these are on their cards. how many countries in the world today has invaded another country and planning to attack a whole list of countries? now is china a dangerous expansionist power or usa? on what basis is china expansionist and on what basis is usa not dangerous?

general election - the image of invincibility

there was a time when a grc was as good as won the moment a minister's name was entered for the grc. and after the walkover, all the new mps were be so jubilant but lamented that they would love to have a contest. big names like lky, choktong and tony tan were sure win tickets. and so were the names of several other ministers. this image of invincibility seems to have lost some of its glitters. today, only a handful of ministers are still able to carry this badge around. hsien loong, chee hian and george yeo are the few countable safe bets. wp better stay clear from aljunied and george yeo. for the rest of the new ministers, they have yet to develop that kind of authority and aura around them. all of them are still finding their footings and will have to fight for their own rights to lead a grc. they are yet to become the sure win candidates, wearing the badge of invincibility. then we have the proven ministers who have jaded or are fading away. with some controversies and controversial decisions and policies, some appear quite vulnerable and may lead to some unexpected results, provided of course, the oppositions are able to put up some respectable challenge. this general election is going to be fought with many new faces and new challenges. all the old myths and paradigms, and all the things that were taken for granted will now be seen in a new light. the old belief that you can hang the pap badge on anything and it will be elected no longer sounds convincing anymore. this could prove to be a watershed election, a change that is waitng to happen.

11/16/2005

recognition and rewarding ns men

while the govt is reviewing the incentives to reward ns men today, it is still not too late to look from the very first batch of ns men who had made the greatest sacrifice and suffered the most under the worst of all conditions that all ns men had gone through. they are still around, having braved through those days of really tough training and almost inhospital conditions and terms of service. perhaps mindef can work out something to recognise all nsmen who have served the nation and offered the best part of their lives to the country. we are now a fairly rich country and can afford to be a little generous or even frivolous with our men who went through the whole works as dutiful soldiers and defenders of the nation. being frivolous is the privilege of the very rich. bill gates is giving his money away everywhere. our super rich are also doing so. and often money were given away without having to go through hard cold calculations. a rich nation too can afford to be frivolous at times. if we can spent hundreds of millions on parks just to beautify the landscape, it would not be asking too much to allocate $20 or $30 million annually to reward the greying ns men. have something for those who have completed all their ns commitments starting with those in the 50s. it will be seen as an incentive and something to look forward to in later years for the young ns men.

appeal for free hdb parking on sat

the ura and hdb in a joint letter turned down a public appeal to let visitors park for free in hdb carparks on sat. two reasons were given for the rejection. sat is a weekend and they did not want residents to be deprived of a carpark when they returned home. the second reason is the lost of revenue. allowing free parking on sat will mean having to raise parking fees on other days to maintain the same level of income from carparks. by now many hdb dwellers must be awared that every time they park their cars in another hdb car park they are actually paying double. firstly they have paid for a season car park at home. when they move out, someone is going to park in their lots and pay while they themselves would have to pay again in another carpark, very likely hdb. actually it is a game of musical chairs for hdb dwellers. and 80% of singaporeans are hdb dwellers, travelling from home to inlaws or friends and relatives in another hdb estate. and for this reason, even if sat is free, like free sunday parking, the pattern of cars changing carparks will still be the same. except now they need not have to pay double and hdb could only earn once. saturday night is also an evening out where many will go dining or clubbing and will be home later. so the free parking till 10 pm should not be too much of a nuisance in depriving residents of their carparks except for some hot areas. for these two reasons, allowing free parkings on saturday may not be a hassle provided hdb is willing to forgo some revenue for the double parking fee which they are making from hdb dwellers. if they are prepared to think a little, or put the scheme on a test basis, some fine tuning may be all that is needed to minimise problems coming from it. and it will definitely enhance the quality of social life and families or friends visiting each other more often. but profit is always the prime concern in this money crazy society. it is like asking hdb to cut a pound of flesh from their butts to give away. if only they could think otherwise, saturday will be a whole lot more different to all hdb dwellers. but for those who prefer a quiet night in their flats, they must be prepared to bear with more noises and movements of people around them.

malaysian mps airing unhappiness in parliament over crooked bridge

the new straits times reported on the unhappiness of malaysian mps in parliament over the soft approach adopted by malaysia on the bridge issue. in their views, the bridge is for mutual benefits and there should be no conditions attached to it, citing singapore bargaining for the use of malaysian airspace. what they did not consider is the cost involved. it will be a different issue if malaysia would to offer to build the whole bridge and absorb the full cost. without that, for singapore to agree to build the other half of the bridge, it will have to cough out $500 mil at first go. then the other costs will come in, demolishing of the causeway, disconnecting and re laying of the water pipes, dredging the seabed, relocation of all the ciq facilities in woodland. our newly built ciq will be wasted and a new one will have to be built. all these may cost singapore another $500 mil. and all for an unnecessary bridge that will give more problems than the existing causeway. and all the users of the bridge are going to pay all the way. then there will be complaints and problems from the shopowners and businesses in woodland centre for lost of business. it is not simply building a bridge. a billion dollars are at stake for a superfluous project which can be done without. would they think it is a small issue if they understand the cost and problems involved?

mas...heading for bankruptcy?

i was shock to see this headline in soc.cul.singapore site. for a moment i thought we are really in deep trouble. for as i read on, 'mas is losing big bugs again...in record sum...could be as much as rm$1 billion. the letters 'rm' brought me some relief. in malaysian ringgits? can't be our mas, the monetary authority of singapore. indeed it was not. this is another mas, malaysian airline system. two identical initials that can be easily mistaken. one on solid ground, one in the clouds.

speak mandarin campaign, a tentative moment

every year around this time when the speak mandarin campaign is launched, my non chinese friends would feel a little uneasy. there is a little tentativeness in our daily contacts. to the minorities, a speak mandarin campaign always evokes that kind of unfamiliar feelings, that the majority are at it again. singapore is going to be a chinese country. mandarin is emphasised again. and who knows, it may become our national language, replacing english. the sensitivity and apprehension over the speak mandarin campaign is expected. can't say it is understandable after so many years and explanations of why there is a need to conduct this campaign. it is to rebuild the cultural ballast into a people that has lost it. many chinese in singapore have lost that chineseness in them. from a certain perspective it is good, becoming more singaporean and more international. but from another angle, it undercuts all the roots and history of that person, what he is or was. this, among all races, not looking at it from a racist viewpoint, is not a welcome thing as the person no longer knows who he is. he loses his bearing once he has lost his anchor to a fixed point, like a ship floating aimlessly in the ocean. it is ok as long as it is moving and heading towards a destination. but a time will come when it has to come to rest and not able to settle down in a place. the 'who am i' question will pop up sooner or later. the majority of the chinese in the republic are very comfortable in the english language and western culture. and this is seen as undesirable if it goes too far. the govt feels that it is important to arrest this slide and a speak mandarin campaign becomes a tool to serve this purpose. there are also other reasons for it. the economic reason for facilitating communication and commerce are most often quoted. but speaking mandarin will only be a social and commercial interest. singapore will forever be an english speaking nation, a language that is a leveller to all the races. the minorities should have no fear on this regard. they are not expected or force to speak mandarin. why no speak tamil campaign or speak malay campaign? if there is an erosion in the two communities with the same problems facing the chinese community, i think their leaders will raise the issue at the appropriate time to protect the identities and cultural ballasts of the respective comunities.