Xinjiang riots has the murderous thumb print of CIA on it.

Xinjiang riots a lesson for West
Updated: 2013-06-28 08:33
By Shi Lan ( China Daily)

At least 27 people died in riots that rocked Shanshan county, about 250 km from Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, on Wednesday.

The Shanshan riots were one of the innumerable acts of terrorism since the Sept 11, 2001, attacks, which led the US-led West to label terrorism as the biggest threat to national security. But it's a pity that the Western powers still use double standards when it comes to terrorist attacks on China.

The US and its allies have spent astronomical amounts fighting the war against terrorism. But even more than one decade after the US launched its "war on terror", terrorism is far from dead. On the contrary, it is still taking the lives of innocent people from Asia to Africa, and from Europe to America.

So there is something wrong with the global anti-terrorism policy, and what can be done to fix that? One obvious deficiency is the lack of global consensus on the fight against terrorism.

Of course, the concept of terrorism varies from country to country. It depends on the circumstances and strategic goals of countries too. Nevertheless, three factors can always be used to determine whether a person's or group's action can be defined as terrorism: The use of violence or force, targeting of governments and people, and creating an atmosphere of terror to realize the objective of changing a government or society. The three key factors to define terrorism highlight its political goals, violent action and the damage it causes to society.

Different countries have different definitions for terrorism and adopted different policies to deal with it. Every country that suffers a terrorist attack has its own immediate threat to security and the right to decide its own course of action. But despite their differences, all countries agree that terrorism is evil and has been threatening the stability of global society and, hence, they have to cooperate to fight it.

In central and eastern Asia, for example, the countries that have suffered most because of terrorism have agreed that terrorism, extremism and separatism are the three evils threatening their national security and territorial integrity. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization's member states reached a consensus since the organization's inception to fight the three evils. That is a good example of regional coordination to fright against terrorism.

But even with mutual understanding and the facts being clear, some voices still differ on the issue. Most of these voices come from the West, especially the US, which distort the truth by claiming that the separatists and extremists - who would be condemned as terrorists for committing the same crimes in their own countries - are "heroes fighting for freedom and independence".

Such double standards have hurt the fight against terrorism, and helped the evil cause of terrorists.

People in Xinjiang have suffered many terrorist attacks perhaps because of the region's strategic location near Central Asia, where uncontrolled groups exploit the complicated ethnic situation to plow their evil trade. With Xinjiang making tremendous economic progress in recent years thanks to the immense support from the central government and coastal provinces, some terrorist groups fear their survival and thus launch more attacks to check the march of development.

Worse, some of the Xinjiang terrorist groups get support from the West which loves to call their usurpations acts of "independence and religious freedom", complicating the situation further. The result is deeper fear and greater misunderstanding among Xinjiang residents.

Because of the double standards adopted by the US-led West, the cost of Washington's fight against terrorism has been soaring without much success in rooting out the evil. The US has led the invasion of two countries, Afghanistan and Iraq, since the Sept 11 attacks but, far from being cornered, terrorists have responded with more attacks.

Even after May 2011 when US troops shot dead al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden, who was believed to have masterminded the Sept 11 attacks, attacks against American citizens and troops have not ceased. Just two months ago, explosions in Boston claimed three lives and injured many more.

A deeper look into history will show that the US has also been a victim of its double standards. In the 1980s and 1990s, the US supported terrorists in Afghanistan against its ideological enemy, the Soviet Union. One of those the US supported was Osama bin Laden. In fact, some terrorist groups threatening Iraqi people today were also supported by the US to fight former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

Terrorism is evil not only because of the violence it unleashes on people, but also because it has a political agenda to overthrow governments and thwart development. So it's time the US-led West gave up its double standards and coordinated with the rest of the international community, including China, in the fight against terrorism.

The author is the vice-director of Institute of Central Asia Studies, under the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences.

Uighur terrorists actions incited and supported by the Evil Empire

I refer to the recent Uighur terrorists actions in Xinjiang in which scores of innocent people mainly ethnic Hans were killed.

The hidden hands of the Evil Empire are definitely involved in the turmoil in Xinjiang. Until the Evil Empire sincerely and openly declare that it will not support the Uighur terrorists and close down the Uighur separatists office in USA and other cities of the Western countries the incitement to choas and terrorist actions by Western supported terrorist Uighurs will never end. The White or European Americans managed to solve the native American problems by genocide through systematic mass massacre . May be the Evil Empire is hinting to China to learn from them how to solve the Uighur Terrorists problem. Native Indian American survivors of the massacre were put in concentration camps and so China should take a leaf from the  The Evil Empire and deal with the surviving Uighur terrorists similarly. Of course we Chinese are too civilised to do the way of the barbaric white men.
Just round up all the Uighur terrorists and their supporters and legally sentence them to the gallows or the firing squad and leave without a shadow of doubt that China will not tolerate any terrorist acts from any quarter.


21,000 turn up at Gay Party in Hong Lim

This is surely a very big number for a non govt event or an event organised by the public. It sure beats the 2,500 or 3,000 turn out at the first population protect rally at Hong Lim in February. That was what we were to believe as the right number.

I scrutinised the two photos of the crowd in Hong Lim yesterday and the crowd at the first protest rally and found that they were not much different, at the most a 10 per cent variant. And the first crowd was conveniently tagged at 2,500 with some reports claiming it to be as low as 1,500. And this gay crowd is claimed to be 21,000!

Holy cow, I thought photos don’t lie. So either the first protest number was wrong or the gay party number is wrong. With the two photos as evidence, I kinda think the crowd at the gay party was over stated and that at the first protest rally was understated.

What is interesting is that photos can also tell lies or people with cock eyes can be so screw up in their number guessing game.  Was there an agenda?

Crocodile feeding in Sungei Buloh

A couple of shots taken yesterday at Sungei Buloh Wetland. This guy snapped his jaws so hard that pieces of the fish splattered all over, out of its mouth. There are a few of them at the river next to the entrance and there is no need to trample deep into the park to see them. Timing is crucial and they are normally seen at low tide. The best is one or two hours after the published low tide when the water starts to flow back in, bringing along the fishes for the hunt.

I was there one afternoon when the tide was high and everyone was desperate looking for the crocodiles. Every little movement or shadow in the water would attract attention and finger pointing, 'There, there, the croc is there.'  A little girl in her father's arm was bewildered by the antics of the adults. She was so exasperated and shouted, 'There, there, over there' and pointing to another direction. The daddy asked her where. She said inside the triangle.

There was a triangle sign hanging in the observation shed with a picture of a crocodile in it.

The plight of Singaporean PMETs

Thanks to the internet, the pathetic plight of Singaporean PMETs are getting an airing that otherwise would not be heard. A blogger, SNG’s article in Gilbert’s Transitioning Org blog, dedicated to jobless Singaporeans, is being reposted in TRE. Another article of a graduate Singaporeans who had to hide his degree qualification just to get a temp job and was asked to leave when he applied for a permanent position was also posted in TRE. They discovered that he had a degree and not just a diploma.

Some may denounce him for lying. But why must he lie about his higher qualification? Isn’t that something to be proud of, to be added in the CV to enhance the chances of an application and higher pay? How can the situation become so ridiculous that I can’t even laugh? Singaporeans hiding their higher qualifications in order to get a lower grade and lower paying job? If this is the case, the call for Singaporeans not to pursue university education may be the result of this new reality. And there is no need for more universities unless to cater for foreign students.

In SNG’s case, he managed to work 17 months out of 36 months, and not that he is not qualified and lack experience. He has worked overseas as an expat as well which means he was good enough. And now finding a job here is so difficult for him.

And we have more than a million foreigners happily working here, maybe nearer to two millions if PRs are included. And many more foreigners are happily rushing here as jobs are plenty and easy to get except for Singaporeans. What the hell is going on?

What is happening? Dunno leh. Maybe Singaporeans are really daft. Maybe the local universities, despite their world class rankings, are teaching craps or producing crappy graduates. Maybe Singaporeans are basically unemployable because they are Singaporeans and companies, organisations, institutions and even ministries are finding it more beneficial to hire foreigners or PRs.

I have only one conclusion. Singaporeans are simply disease. They carry a disease that made them unemployable. Or if they are employable, at most up to 50 or maybe lower, about 40. After that their mind will shrivel and their intellect and ability to work just diminished and no longer productive. They should then be despatched to the lepers colony till death comes.

So it is paramount that the City must import more foreigners to boost up the City’s productivity and to replace the diseased Singaporeans.


The haze poll is working fine at the moment

75 have voted. 65 said the govt is reactive and 10 said dunno or blur. The result is quite expected. It would be worst if 65 voted blur and 10 voted reactive.

Being reactive means still trying to do something, whether right or wrong or effective or ineffective is another thing. And don't try to explain this away as not the right thing or the people are misguided. This is the perception of the govt and from the way things are happening daily, you can see that the Govt is reacting on a day by day basis.

The big plan, the proactive part, the thinking ahead to prevent things from getting to such a stage, are totally absent. They may argue that there is a haze plan and every reaction is part of the big plan. How many would believe so?

The distribution of the mask, the PSI, PM 10 and PM 2.5 are all hot issues with everyone contradicting and disagreeing with everyone. It is just like a circus in town.

We still have a few more days for the poll to run and the numbers are still coming in.

Thanks for the feedback.

SMRT free ride trial run

Five days into the free ride scheme for early commuters and things are running smoothly. The number of early commuters has increased slightly but still bearable.

Two factors could contribute to the situation at the moment. One, more trains were added to reduce the waiting time. At times train would arrive at 1 or 2 minute intervals. This frequency helps to get the commuters moving at a faster rate.

The second factor waiting to happen is the presence of student commuters. They will join the crowd on Monday and the picture could change. Whether having more trains and higher frequency could cope with the 300,000 students in the system is yet to be seen.

The strange thing or miracle that has happened these few days is that the trains could be spaced out within a 2 min interval, with some arriving within one min. Now why would I call this a miracle?
How many of you still remember a couple of years back when the jam problem first surfaced and there was a call for more trains on the track. Then some wise guy claimed that in order for the train to increase the frequency for a separation of 2 min interval it would need a sophisticated monitoring system that would cost a few billion bucks. Now it seems that without spending a few billion bucks, the train can still run with a 2 min separation. Is this strange or the public has been hookwinked? Or has SMRT already bought and installed that multi billion dollar train management system?

Another small miracle is that with higher passenger loads, the jams could be reduced or at least minimized by increased frequencies. Why was this not possible or not done in the past? Let me guess. High profits and sardine packed trains go hand in hand. To increase the comfort of commuters by having more trains running and higher frequency are incompatible with higher profits and higher bonuses. Can this be an explanation for the jam packed trains? Just thinking aloud. 

Monday is just around the corner and if not delayed be the reappearance of dense haze, the system will be put to the real test. It would be more crowded for the early birds and the students. It is only a matter of how crowded would it be. This week was a good break for the SMRT to sort out the details and fine tuning for the free ride to prove itself. This free thingy would not have been even considered under the previous regime when profit was everything.


Testing out a new poll on haze

The last time I put up a poll, the result was unmanageable as the votes kept changing and even went missing. I have just put up another poll to have a feel of the perception of the people on the Govt's handling of the haze situation and see if the poll function is working.


Philippines the most powerful American colony

It was only a couple of decades back that the Pinoys exerted their independence and national pride by kicking out their colonial master, the Americans, from Subic and Clark Air Base. Today the Pinoys are reasserting any kind of independence and national pride by willingly offering their military bases to the Americans again and also to invite their WW2 invader, the Japanese, to base in the Philippines. Both the trigger happy cowboys and the blood letting samurais are welcomed with open arms by the equally trigger happy Pinoys.

And the Pinoys can now claim to be the most powerful American colony in the world and are ready to go to war with China. They are now the point man of the Empire, with unlimited supply of military weapons. And the Japanese have also vowed to fight beside them.

Japan is now on a military expansionary path towards Asia and SE Asia. It is pushing ahead with its remilitarization and with the connivance and blessing of the Americans. They are burning their pacifist constitution and shedding the mask of being a decent and non aggressive military power. Japan has rearmed and will resume its military past that it has never given up.

The East and South China Seas are about to go up in flames. And the Chinese are prepared for it. China has announced its interests in the South China Sea islands as non negotiable and will go to war if necessary, even against the combined forces of the Empire, Japan and the most powerful American colony.

The American pivot and intrusion into Southeast Asia is going to bear fruit. How many SE Asian countries will be drawn into this coming war? Wherever the Americans make their presence, be sure war will follow.

Building a Singaporean banking core

Since Tharman came out to speak about building a banking core of Singaporeans, very little has happened really. And from the few skimpy reports, I think the whole thing will be a wash out or at least a big hazy wayang. It fails from the word go.

Just read the comments and reports and what the banks are claiming that they will be doing and how happy they are with the 75% locals in their employ. And no one can escape the dreaded word locals. Yes, a Singaporean core is all about the locals, so they want you to believe. Now, this mischievous word is going to be used very mischievously to undermine the interest of Singaporeans. You all know what it means when someone utters the word local. It is about PRs more than about Singaporeans. People using locals to include Singaporeans and PRs are betraying the citizens of this island. And there is another easier way to betray Singaporean, ie hand the joker a pink IC and lo behold, he is a genuine Singaporean and no question asks.

It is comforting to hear Foo Mee Har urging the Govt to introduce further measures. She had been there and knows what is happening. ‘One way is to put in place a robust labour market test, whereby employers have to show evidence that they have exhausted the local candidate pool before they hire foreigners. The UK, Australia and Hong Kong already have labour market tests in place,’ she said. I say, put her in charge of a task force to build this Singaporean core.

If the Govt is serious in building a Singaporean core from Singaporeans born and bred here, there are many things that it can do. It is all about the intention and the will to do it.

We are all watching the show, be it a wayang or a serious attempt to promote the interest of Singaporeans. We will vote for it in 2016.

Saving Rebecca Loh

I wrote about her case a while back. Many sympathised with her in this cruel, unforgiving and shamelessly rich city. Some assholes even chided her and more or less had her condemned to death for dropping her ‘special needs’ son, Gabriel, to his death.

Kenneth Jeyaretnam has just written another plea for Rebecca and is reposted in TRE. Again, instead of opening out our hearts to this wretched poor woman, another asshole attacked KJ for trying to capitalise on her pathetic case for political objective. But there are also many ordinary folks out there who could feel the pain of this woman in desperation. Rebecca is crying, alone in her cell. Can you hear her?

I am equally lost as to what can be done to save this poor woman from the punishment that would likely be passed against her for taking the life of her son. The law is the law. The judge is there to uphold the law.

Maybe everyone can only wait for the judgement of this case and then make a plea for clemency from the President.

It is so sad, and unforgivable, for a case like Rebecca to slip through the social net. Everyone that came to know her, in contact with her, before the incident, could not possibly fail to see her despair. Or they might have felt it but could not find a way to help her.

Many are crying for Rebecca and the late Gabriel. Rebecca could have stopped crying. She is the living dead, the day she let her hand go on Gabriel. There is nothing for her anymore, unless the conscience of the people extends her a helping hand. The billions or trillions in our reserves are as good as fool’s gold or monopoly notes, that despite so much money there, not a cent could be spared to prevent the tragedy of Rebecca and Gabriel. And there are many Rebeccas and Gabriels out there, lost and waiting for help. Would there be a glimmer of hope, that a few dollars from these precious billions or trillions could find their way to them?

We are the richest country on earth and we are so busy paying millions and millions to the successful and undeserving. And they are still asking for more. But we cannot spare a few dollars for Rebecca and Gabriel.

While everyone is busy with the haze, queuing to buy N95, queuing to buy that condo, or queuing overnight to get a Hello Kitty, would they spare a thought for Rebecca? Would Singaporeans cry for Rebecca?


Home / Opinion / Chen Weihua
World owes Snowden debt of gratitude
Updated: 2013-06-14 07:56
By Chen Weihua ( China Daily)
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World owes Snowden debt of gratitudeThere have been raging debates about whether Edward Snowden is a whistleblower, hero, criminal or traitor after the former CIA employee revealed the US National Security Agency's top-secret surveillance program of people's phone, e-mail and Internet records.

But people both inside and outside the United States owe the 29-year-old a thank you for telling them that they are being closely watched by a government that likes to portray itself as a protector of privacy and civil liberties, and a role model for other countries.

Most people, except those at the NSA and a few lawmakers like Dianne Feinstein, chair of the US National Intelligence Committee, were not aware of the surveillance until Snowden exposed it.

Those who want to cast Snowden as a traitor argue that the information he leaked could aid the US' enemies and poses a national security threat. That has been a familiar excuse used in the US since Sept 11, 2001, to scare people into supporting actions they don't necessarily agree with.

Holding prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention center without trial and drone attacks in other countries are all conducted in the name of keeping the country safe. However, the morality and legality of such actions have been questioned globally.

Now Snowden has bitterly reminded people in the US of the surveillance society they are living in.

There is no doubt that the Obama administration has been hugely embarrassed by the scandal since the Democratic president has long campaigned for transparency and against the government's overreach during the George W. Bush years.

The phone and Internet companies that have aided the NSA in mining people's phone and e-mail data have also come under public scrutiny. Indeed, such companies as Google, Apple, Twitter, Microsoft, Facebook, Verizon and AT&T have betrayed the trust of people worldwide.

The American Civil Liberties Union, a Verizon Communications client, has already filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration in a bid to stop the data gathering and purge any storage of its information.

What is chilling is that the Obama administration has not only denied any wrongdoing, it has vehemently defended the NSA surveillance program as legal and necessary. It is also doing everything it can to hunt down Snowden and charge him with treason.

That is what they have done to Bradley Manning, a 25-year-old soldier who was arrested in Iraq three years ago on suspicion of passing classified information to WikiLeaks.

US prosecutors have also targeted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is now living in asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, at the opening of Manning's trial, alleging that he directly encouraged and aided Manning's leaks of classified documents and conspired with Manning in the theft of classified information.

Supporters of Manning and Assange have launched a worldwide campaign to nominate them for the Nobel Peace Prize, and a petition to pardon Snowden on the White House website had already gathered 63,013 signatures by 7:40 am Thursday.

For the past few months, the US has been viciously accusing China and other nations of cyberespionage, yet Snowden's whistle-blowing has revealed that it is the US that has been engaging in a monstrous spying program on people all over the world.

And that's not all. A recent Reuters report showed that the US government has become the largest buyer in a burgeoning gray market where hackers and security firms sell tools for breaking into computers. It said the US intelligence and military agencies are using the tools to infiltrate computer networks overseas, leaving behind spy programs and cyberweapons that can disrupt data or damage systems.

The report claims that much of the offensive cyberwarfare is done by publicly traded US defense contractors, such as Raytheon Co and Northrop Grumman Corp.

It may sound paranoid - like some in the US House Intelligence Committee - to brand those US firms who collaborate with the NSA as a possible national security threat, as they did to Chinese telecom firms Huawei and ZTE. But it is so ironic when recalling Obama's many passionate speeches on freedom, civil liberties, the rights of the individual and government transparency.

Those speeches sound hollow now.

Haze a convenient smoke bomb

For more than a week, Singapore was and still is covered by a thick layer of haze, or smoke. No one can see through the white smoke thrown over the island like a godsend. There was relief in many corners with attention drawn towards NEA, PSI, PM10, PM2.5 and N95. Everyone is grouching about how to get life back to normalcy, how to breathe in a little clean air, and how to blow the smoke away.

People were praying for rain as rain was seen as the only way out to wash away the haze. And I think they prayed too hard. Rain came but in hard form of hailstones. The lesson learnt, pray hard but not too hard. Ask for help but just the right dose. And I think the people learnt and we had a bout of real rain yesterday. The sky was clearer, a bit better.

So is it time to see through the haze and to grapple with the temporary forgotten problems of cleaning hawker centres, of unemployed PMEs, of overflowing foreigners, of internet regulations, and the many unsolved problems hanging in the haze? Let’s hope the haze does not return to throw smoke all over the problems again. Let’s put aside the N95 and forget about the PSI, if we can.

While I was typing this, the air is still looking a bit hazy.

Yudhoyono has to defend his apology to Singapore and Malaysia

President Yudhoyono must have come under heavy attacks from the Indonesian leaders for apologizing to Singapore and Malaysia. What does this mean? The true feeling among the Indonesia leaders is not about right and wrong but about national pride, about being a big power. And it is demeaning for a big power like Indonesia to say sorry to smaller countries. This is the thinking and mentality of many of the Indonesian leaders. Lesson Number One, there are not bothered by being right or wrong.

Indonesia is the acknowledge leader and biggest regional power in the region. There is no reason for Indonesia to fear Singapore or Malaysia. Apologising to these two countries is just the correct thing to do and has nothing to do with bowing to pressure. No country in the region can put pressure on Indonesia, not even the Australians. For those Indonesian leaders to think so is a sign of inferiority complex, that they still did not know that they are the acknowledged regional power and leader. What a joke.

And it takes a greater man like Yudhoyono to say sorry to Singapore and Malaysia as a goodwill gesture. It makes him and Indonesia looked even bigger and more respectable. The criticisms by the other Indonesian leaders in a way have destroyed the goodwill Yudhoyono has done. It reveals the real deep psychic of the Indonesians and something that Singapore and Malaysia have to take note and be very careful about. This is Lesson Number Two.

The sad part is that Yudhoyono is now trying to say things to please his critics and claimed that the Singapore and Malaysian media reports were exaggerating to smear Indonesia’s reputation. Such back tracking will only bring him to be in line with the hysterics of his Indonesian critics. He could ask his ambassadors in the two countries to take a reading or walk in the haze and give him a ground zero report on the situation, first hand reporting, no exaggeration, not from the media, just the truth. Or use their mobile phones to take a picture and MMS to him.

This is Lesson Number Three. No need to know the truth.

Retail penetration encouraged

The SGX is trying another way to attract more retail participation in the stock market. The new scheme is to make blue chips easily available to small investors in small amounts of as low as $100 per entry per month.

Chew Sutat, the Executive Vice President of SGX said, ‘Equity investing is about saving and investing for the long term, not just about trading and speculating. It is not just the just the domain of the rich….A low retail participation is not ideal, because it means our capital market is not doing a good job of allocating savings towards investments, for the benefit of both savers and entrepreneurs.’ Quoted from Today and ST.

All the minor suggestions and schemes are meant to be good, to increase activities and participations by the retail investors. What is missing is the reason why the retail investors are fleeing from the stock market. Does anyone know why or nobody wants to know why? Most retail investors are losing their pants and their savings. How then could they find the money and the encouragement to return to the market?

Anyone wonder why are the small investors kept on losing and losing? If the stock exchange does not want to know the truth and think a little gimmicks here and there would bring back the small investors, I think it is a very serious case of delusion.

Stock markets from New York to London, Hongkong and Tokyo, are operating almost in the same way, with the big funds using their computers to trade against the small guys. Where is the chance for the small guys to make a little profit? How can the ordinary guy trade against the computers that are plugged into the exchanges to capitalize on speed and access to information that the small guys did not have?

Until stock markets are operating a system that is fair to both big and small investors, the small retail investors are not going to bite. Stock trading is cannot be a long term investment or a casino where the big funds are gambling with their computers. The first thing to do is to get rid of the unfair advantages of the big funds. Otherwise the stock markets across the world will be a slow march to certain death. The small retail investors just cannot afford to lose and lose. And the big funds will eventually find that there is just not enough small fish to fill their big appetite.

Govt rebutting false or misleading information posted in social media

A new govt website ‘Follow us on @govsingapore or @e101singapore to #cutthruthehaze‘has started to rebut some of the information posted in social media that are deemed incorrect or not the right thing. Among the sites mentioned and with information that were rebutted or corrected by this new govt website are TRE, Facebook and The Heart Truths.

I would read this move by the Govt as a positive development in freedom of expression and freedom of the net. It also says that the Govt is serious about what were being posted in the media and in a way helping to raise the standard of social media. All media, main media and social media are prone to make mistakes now and then. And a better way of dealing with such mistake is to right it by informing the media source of the error, or as in this case putting up a site just for such a purpose. But this may not be very effective as not many people will purposely go to visit a site like this to read corrections or errors.

However, it beats having to legislate the social media with licence, fines and imprisonment and all the cumbersome legislative processes. And since a note to the editor of the offending media is so difficult to do so, well, this is ok then. MDA should have thought of this in the first place and avoid the big hue and cry by the netizens with the new regulations on licensing.

Now the Govt is talking. Isn’t this is what communication is all about? Just get any mistakes or errors corrected. No need to bring Sue into the picture.

It would also be nice for major social media sites to set up a section on errors printed in the main media. In this case, it is more meaningful as it is not common for main media to want to entertain social media for their honest mistakes or unintentional professional errors. It is more likely that such a request from the social media may end up in the waste bins.

Major websites like the TRE may want to set aside a column just for this purpose. It will be interesting to chalk up the errors of main media against the errors of unprofessional bloggers.

What do you think?


China’s Shenzhou X returns safely

‘Three astronauts who completed China's longest manned space mission returned to Earth safely Wednesday morning, marking another step forward towards the country's goal of building a permanent manned space station by 2020.

Zhang Youxia, commander-in-chief of China's manned space program, said the Shenzhou X mission was a "complete success"….’ China Daily 26 Jun 13

China again proved that it is making steady progress in space technology and space travel. The 3 astronauts spent 15 days in China’s own space lab, Tiangong 1 before landing precisely in the landing area in Inner Mongolia. The whole mission is a story of engineering feats, science and technology, communications, material science and human endeavour, to do what is possible within the means of human enterprise.

In a mission like this, other than being perfect and precise in everything that needs to be done, anything can go wrong any time and the mission could fail with loss of human lives. The successful return of the astronauts is a big stride forward for China and the Chinese people.

China has now joined the ranks of the Americans and Russians in making space a new frontier for the human race.

Haze: Are you protected

With the haze issue so current and so personal up close, everyone is feeling it and affected by it, I thought it would be good to listen to the CNA programme last evening. Martin, the host, had three other guests, a medical doctor, the deputy CEO of NEA and a social activist. The programme went on quite well with many interested callers as if one hour was just too short.

By the time the hour was up, I could summarise the programme with three words, confusion, evasion and exasperation. If anyone got the chance to review the programme in the net, you will know what I mean. So many things were said and so many questions were asked, but everything was evasion, confusion and the audience got away so exasperated and frustrated. But not all was lost as there were some very valuable points raised that were enlightening but also confusing at the same time. Only on a couple of questions that a simple answer expected were granted.

I will try to summarise a few of the salient points that I could still recall.

1. Buying of a N95 mask. Many people out there would have believed that getting hold of a N95 mask would solve all their problems and fears. Far from it. Buying a N95 mask is the beginning of their troubles. The first problem is how to wear it properly, which many assumed was natural and easy. Then there are questions of when to use it, how often and how long it can last. More confusions. And the myth provided in the media that the mask is reusable is not exactly right.

2. The manufacturer was quoted to say that the mask can be used for up to 8 hours. What does that mean? It depends on the condition of the PSI and how long is the mask exposed to different PSI level. Anyone wiser?

3. As to when to wear, the mother of all answers is to refer to the NEA website and the official advisory. Now what is that? Ah Peh and Ah Ma dunno leh. So for those ‘boh tak cheh’, not computer literate, so how? Dunno leh. Can Mediacorp put it up for easy reference by the laypeople or not? This must be important right? No one ask, but just accept that you want to know you better know how to get to the NEA website.

4. And to my horror, wearing the mask can be a dangerous thing. Pregnant women better seek medical advice before wearing one or risk harming the foetus. Wearing the mask could also lead to more forceful breathing that may end up more harm than good. And for the kiasu and kiasi, please don’t wear the mask for too long or wear it when sleeping.

5. Forceful breathing is also related to the advice by some to use wet towels. The doctor said wet towel only remove more of the bigger particles. The PM 2.5 could end with greater numbers in the body when one breathes heavily through a wet towel.

6. And what is this, buying poor quality imitation mask thinking it is safe and walking around with it and endangering oneself. How to solve this problem?

7. PSI. This is the next most confusing item other than PM 2.5. Forget about the numbers as they don’t mean a thing to the laypeople. But the terms, very unhealthy and hazardous should mean something right? So everyone thinks so. Now what does very unhealthy mean to you? What can you do and not do? Or what is the meaning of hazardous? Hide under the bed, or go to work as per normal, just take it easy, don’t rush, don’t run, don’t exercise? If that is the case why is it called hazardous? How hazardous is hazardous? You know meh?

8. Now the tricky part. PSI 300 is very unhealthy or hazardous? Some reports said only above PSI 400 is hazardous. But then not really leh. Is exposure to PSI 400 for 10 min or 20 min not hazardous, …never mind. So exposed to how long then will ‘not be never mind’? Oh, like that you cannot use the 3 hour PSI. The very unhealthy and hazardous tags are meant for 24 hour PSI. Why like that one? KNN, how are the laypeople to know? Why put up something that no one knows?

9. Never mind, never mind. Samulah. Would 3 hours of continuous PSI 400 be hazardous, if you know what this word mean? Or would 3 hours of PSI 600 be hazardous or more hazardous than a 24 hour PSI 400? Which one is more serious, one hour exposure to a 3 hr PSI 600 or one hour exposure to a 24 hr PSI 400? Really catch no balls.

10. For all the laypeople listening to the programme, do they really understand what the panel was talking about? I am sure they would want a few simple answers as a guide to their daily activities. I think it will be very helpful if an answer like when 3 hr PSI is 400, this is what it means and what the people should avoid doing. Or when the 24 hr PSI is 400, can’t imagine that happening with a constant 400 average over 24 hours. I would imagine an emergency will be declared and everyone be told to stay inside the bomb shelters and wear their N95s at the same time.

11. And, this one the GPs will all be very happy to know. When experiencing any difficulties or not sure, go and check with the GPs. You think seeing a GP is for free ah?

12. One interesting point for smokers. When the haze is dense outside, and when all the doors and windows are closed, please do not smoke inside the house. Not even when the aircon is on. I think no need to explain why for this. And watch what you are cooking if they add to air pollution inside a closed home.

I must say many things were spoken, many questions asked, many were ‘elar’ or the answers were evasive. And if not sure, refer to NEA website or refer to the 24 hr PSI. What if a person wants to go out to do something and the eyes say don’t go? Refer to the 24 hr PSI. What nonsense!

It would be good that a little time should be allotted for the panel host to summarise a few key points in simple forms for the listeners so that at least they can pick up a few pointers of the do’s and don’ts and not the maybe like this, maybe like that, or it depends on this or that or how long or how high the PSI.

Damn confusing and damn ‘pek chek’ when the programme came to a close. If I can feel jialat, dunno about all the aunties and uncles.

China and Russia must do the ball squeezing

The Americans are threatening Russia and China for not toeing the line to the Empire. The Empire wants the whistle blower Edward Snowden back, to be handed over to the Imperial Guards for execution. Russia and China are playing dumb, the way the Americans had been doing when they were smuggling away Russian or Chinese dissidents to the US. Russia and China are just returning the favour and doing what the Americans have been doing best.

Now what? The Americans are warning of consequences like they are going to wallop Russia and China or to punish the two countries. China was told that for not obeying the Empire, it would affect the building of trust by the Americans. This is the same thing the Americans have been accusing China for all the donkey years, that China is untrustworthy, China is a violator of human rights, China is threatening its neigbours, China is a bully, China is getting aggressive towards its neighbours. So what else is new?

China should tell the Americans to go fuck off. No matter what China does, for no matter how long, the fucking Americans will still condemn China for all the things they have conjured up all these years. The Americans are using these accusations to harass China for as long as they want to. In fact the Americans have been creating mistrust against China, with a continuous campaign to brand China as a untrusting nation. China should not bother with this international bully and its deceit.

China and Russia should just do what they deemed best, hide Snowden and ignore the threats and warnings from the Americans. By delivering Snowden on a platter will not minimise the accusations by the Americans or improve the ‘trust’ the Americans are talking about. The Americans are using all these jingos to threaten and blackmail China and Russia. Even with an extradiction treaty, it got the cheek to demand that the Russians return Snowden to the US or face consequences.

It is better for the Chinese and Russians to hold this Snowden card close to their chest and squeeze the American balls as hard as they can and let the Americans know how it feels for being squeezed. There is no reason why the Russians and the Chinese should always be on the receiving end. Play this Snowden game well, make it lasts and make the Americans understand that all can play the game of ball squeezing.


US, biggest human rights abuser

The below article is posted at Where Bears Roam Free

Tuesday, 25 June 2013
US, biggest human rights abuser, fingerpoints Sinkiepore for rights abuse - ha ha

at 07:39:00 by Barrie

Imagine the biggest thief in town telling others to make an honest living. Imagine the biggest womanizer telling other men to watch their lustful behaviour. Imagine the worst alcoholic telling others to drink in moderation. That's Americuh we're talkin' about, folks.

Americuh, the biggest human rights abuser, telling Sinkiepore to clean up its act on human rights issues. Ha ha.

Sinkie govt rebuts - MFA rebuts US report on human rights

MFA said it noted with disappointment that the report once again includes the same gross inaccuracies and misrepresentations of the Singapore Government's laws and policies.

MFA said it has rebutted these points in detail year after year.

At the 2011 United Nations Universal Periodic Review in Geneva, Singapore had made clear that human rights cannot be considered in isolation from the circumstances of the society in which they are embedded.

MFA said it continues to be disturbed by the double standard applied by the US' criticism of Singapore's Internal Security Act, which is meant to address grave and serious threats to internal security.

That's right. Singapore uses the ISA to fight the "war on terror". The US uses the Patriot Act, eavesdrop on people's emails and of course, the dreaded Gitmo Bay treatment.

Human Rights abuse par excellence a la Americuh -

Gitmo prisoners. Blindfolded, ear muffed, gloved and bounded. Not only physical mobility is restricted, the sense of sight, sound and touch are also cut off.

Detainees caged like animals, where the space is so confined, limbs cannot be stretched fully. What kind of animal approves and endorses such inhumane treatment?

Need more be said?

Conclusion -

The fact that Americuh, the biggest human rights abuser even dares to tell others to clean up their act, shows that nothing beats Americuh's arrogance and self-righteousness.

Labels: Human Rights

Rugged society

Some of you may recall this familiar term of yore. The younger generation X and Y may not have heard of it. We were once psyched to be a rugged society. Those were the early days of nation building and national service. Goh Keng Swee would chide the Singaporeans for being soft and schools were instructed to introduce more sporting events to toughen the little school boys and girls. Today this term sounds quite alien and unnatural.

Every Singaporean kid is the perfect model of a nerd, wearing spectacles, ear phones and a mobile phone glued to his hand, inseparable. After school many will be stuck to the computers banging away, to exercise the dexterity of their fingers, the strongest muscle of their bodies.

And Indonesia is right to call us childish. Just a little haze and we cannot tahan. It is only 400 on the PSI and all demanding actions, stop work, declaring a state of emergency. Eng Hen is right. What is a little haze, what is PSI 400. On the 24 hour scale it will look at most 200. Come on, get use to it. After a few more days of acclimatization and getting use to, life will go on as normal.

It is time to remind the Singaporean on what a rugged society means. Be strong, take the haze and live with it. Stop whining. The people of Riau are living in the midst of the haze and still alive and kicking. We are so far away. At the most we will have to live with it for a few days now and then. Use the mask if needed, just a little inconvenience.

We will become stronger, our body will develop an immunity to haze, and we will become more rugged. Start complaining only when the PSI hits 700 or when the 24 hour PSI stays at 400. Grow up and be a man, be tough, be rugged. If we can live with a hazardous PSI 400, living with a PSI 700 will be much easier.

Decent men stood up from the haze

It is reported that the 1997 haze that lasted 3 months cost US$9 billion to the countries in the region. And the current haze is expected to cost more. Compare this with the little savings made by the plantation owners, it becomes quite silly. Saving a few millions just to wreak havoc around the region, affecting lives and social and economic well being of the people just do not make sense. With the kind of numbers, it tempts the affected countries to just throw the money at the plantation owners to avoid the woes if it is that easy. The thing that is holding them back is likely that the act is criminal, illegal and not to be committed, and there is a law against it. The Indonesian govt could put all the culprits behind bars.

And why are the Indonesian govt leaders defending the offenders that are causing so much harm and destruction to innocent people of other countries? Why are they making wild comments like it is wrong to condemn the act? Singapore was called childish. And both Malaysia and Singapore were accused of making unnecessary public outcries to attract international attention, to discredit Indonesia.

The thinking of these Indonesian leaders is that we owed them a living. We owe them the oxygen from their forest as if we don’t have our own forests. We owe them for their generosity to sell us gas and we must tolerate and accept the haze as part of the deal. Complaining is ungrateful. And there is nothing wrong with the burning and the haze hazard.

Fortunately this kind of tribal chief thinking is confined to a few leaders. The President of Indonesia has honourably accepted responsibility and acknowledged that the act is offensive, unfriendly and unacceptable. ‘For what has happened, as President, I say sorry and seek the understanding of our relatives in Singapore and Malaysia.’

In a crisis like this, the men separate themselves from the boys. The decent and honourable will act and behave honourably. The peasants or tribal chiefs will behave accordingly. There is a saying, ‘人讲人话,鬼讲鬼话。President Yudhoyono is an exceptional man, a rare find in the history of Indonesia. Indonesia is blessed to have him as their President.


When PSI hits 700, work from home

When PSI 300 is very unhealthy, when PSI above 400 is hazardous, life goes on. No emergency will be declared. Put on your masks and soldier on to keep the economy going. For those vulnerable groups, put on your H95s when outdoor.

At what level of PSI would there be an emergency declared, 700 or 800? Or is it 700 on an hourly reading or 700 on the 24 hour average? Would haze kill at 700 or 800? Maybe not, maybe not immediately. Maybe the symptoms will show in 5 or 10 years down the road.

Assuming that the medical specialists have worked out a number to declare an emergency and all should stay indoors or at home, the best thing then will be to work from home. Some may want to work from their Johore or Iskandar homes. Unfortunately the haze situation there could be much worst than over here. For those with homes in Australia, New Zealand, UK or France, working from home could be nice.

With today’s technology and communication, internet, mobile phones, satellites, working from home in any part of the world can be a reality. A speech on TV from the Istana or from Perth or London would just look the same. 3 ways, many ways live conferences can always be hooked up. And if one has a home in Paris, can sign up for a cooking class at the same time. In Australia, one can park in a vineyard and work from there. Really nice?

Working from home will take on a new meaning, for those with the means. We can even locate our govt overseas temporarily if the haze situation gets pass the emergency level. Come to think of it, I quite like the idea. The Govt should start to explore this idea of an office in one of our overseas training venues and the whole cabinet cum permanent secretaries can be relocated when needed. The world is our oyster.

Science fiction? Not really. Obama’s office will be in Air Force One when the US home land is under attack. In the mean time we can teach the Indonesians that they can arrange meetings with the plantation owners and work out something on a win win basis, maybe with Singapore and Malaysian participations. Singapore and Malaysia can bring a few blank cheques along just in case. There must be a way where money can do the trick for a more permanent solution. With money, all problems can be solved, and haze is not something that is so formidable that money cannot help. Any problem that can be solved with money can be solved. And we are damn good at it. Tiok boh? Even the Indonesian ministers have admitted it. It is only how much. We must not insult them by offering peanuts. Make it meaningful.

Putin, the one man in the way of the Western Mafia

They wanted regime change in Syria. They wanted President Assad out, replaced. They wanted to arm the rebels, send in Nato troops, bomb Syria. The only thing or man standing in the way is Russia’s Putin. He is a one man show, a Rambo in his own way. He told the Evil Empire and its cronies to lay off Syria.

Putin will support Assad and will not have him removed. The fabricated evidence of Assad’s troops using chemical was bluntly brushed off as nonsense. Putin is not going to let the western mafia push him around and intervene, invade Syria and replace Assad. He stood by Assad as the legitimate leader of Syria.

The G8 ie the western mafia plus Russia, held a meeting to push through their agenda, to remove Assad but ended with red faces when Putin alone refused to budge. Assad is safe with Putin. Obama and his Evil Empire just cannot bull doze through this Russian Rambo.

Actually not really true. Though the West could not get the G8 to come up with a position and stand to intervene in the Syrian War at the meeting, they are still going to bull doze their way by training and supplying arms to the rebels.

Are we prepared for a haze emergency?

This has been the question in everyone’s mind. And the answer is obviously no. There was no standing committee on standby for such an eventuality. The only committee to deal with a haze crisis is still in the pipeline with Eng Hen being appointed to look into it. The distribution of N95 masks in the stockpile is another piece of evidence that even this is an issue. They are still distributing the masks after one week. If it is a deadly epidemic, a few days are all it takes to take down a big portion of the population. Perhaps no one sees this as a crisis. The crossing of the 400 PSI was still treated as normal. And to minimize the concern, the people were told to look at 24 hours average than the real PSI at the moment. And many have pointed this out as a major flaw and mistake in thinking that an average reading is more relevant than the actual situation. Unbelieveable, really!

So, how proactive are we in tackling such a national crisis? There was no emergency procedures on hand and everyone was looking at one another second guessing what should be done next.

On the other hand there could be some emergency procedures in hand but not realized or understood. Everyone was looking for a haze emergency procedure. What about the SARS emergency procedure? Could not this be activated? The similarities are there and the procedures and steps needed to be taken can be quite similar with some modifications or omissions.

But Singaporean thinking is such that they are looking for a specific sign, like a U Turn sign to make a U Turn. So if the emergency procedure does not have the word haze on it, and worst, if it is stated clearly for SARS, then it cannot be applied to a haze problem.

The way the masks were distributed, it makes people wonder whether it is a new procedure that was worked out in the morning or was is an emergency procedure that has been thought through and planned well in advance. The execution was slow and inefficient in every sense. It was a few army boys trying to do some logistic delivery tasks.

The obvious is that all the medical and grassroot institutions could be mobilized into a distribution network. The CCs, RCs and the Neighbourhood Police Posts, NTUC FairPrice or even Seven Eleven could make reaching out to the people more penetrating and extensive.

And why are the men from the Civil Defence not activated? This is a job cut out for them. And the air raid siren would definitely come in very useful to sound the alarm when the PSI hits 300 or 400, to tell the people to go indoors. The tricky part is whether it should blare at 3 am in the morning to wake everyone up from their sleep.

Maybe all this will take shape after a haze emergency task force is formed and the details worked out. For the moment we shall thank God that we had a near miss, a lucky escape. We are given a second chance to sort things out, to get things right and to protect our backside safely the next time round.


PM Najib declares emergency in Muar and Ledang, API surpasses 750

Author: Online Press
(KUALA LUMPUR, 23 Jun): Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has declared emergency in Muar and Ledang districts with immediate effect after API readings in the two areas surpassed the 750 mark.

Earlier, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G Palanivel earlier this morning had said Muar recorded the highest with 750, followed by Bukit Rambai, Malacca (357) and Malacca City with (364).

The highest API ever recorded in Malaysia was in Sarawak in 1997 with reading of 860….

The above is reposted in TRE. The Malaysians are using the API system. I am not sure of the equivalent to the PSI. Whatever, the situation is dire. If this were to hit us today, many of us will still be having problems getting our N95. But staying in doors and using wet towels should help at least.

The respite we have may not last and the PSI could go north again, like in Muar. Be prepared.

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Foreign sportsmen - Paying for whatever we want

This is a follow up to the ‘pay solution’ to solve the haze problem. Either we pay the plantation owners on the ground or the regional commanders or those in Jakarta, the idea is to pay as little for the best result. Paying the plantation owners to clear the land without fire is likely to be the cheapest option.

This is the mantra to the success story of Singapore as a City of international citizens. Everyone is welcome as long as he/she is a talent. Our latest talent is the short putter from China in a non revenue pursuit called sports. Why would a country, sorry, I meant city, want to spend so much money on an unnecessary and wasteful pursuit, all for some fetish glory really beats me. I thought those were the days when we were kids and anything that could boost our ego a little was worth pursuing. We flew kites, fought spiders, played all kinds of games to be the winner. That damn shiok feeling for a fleeing moment was enough for all the effort.

As a first world city, should be sikit atas in the head, are we really thinking or sick up there to spend millions on such silly things when the money could be better spent on training our own citizens instead of international citizens? So what if our citizens could not win medals, at least the money is well spent to encourage and promote sports as a healthy lifestyle? And to think that the money could be made available to help the needies, it is quite a sickening feeling.

Would the MPs, or would the non ruling party MPs, raise this issue in Parliament, that the Govt must account for spending on the unnecessary and the wasteful, like paying international citizens to win medals? If they are desperate for medals, it would be cheaper to buy from Sungei Road or from those past winners of third world countries on hard times.

There was a photo of several ATM machines being destroyed in the Today paper last week with this caption.

‘This bank of ATMs was destroyed by vandals during clashes in Rio de Janeiro on Monday. Youths clashed with police in Rio as over 200,000 people marched in Brazilian cities to protest against the billions of dollars spent to host next year’s World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, while areas such as education, hospitals and security see little improvement.’

The Brazilians are angry with their govt for wanton spending on the unnecessary while education, hospitals and security of the country and people are neglected. They want their govt to prioritise and spend public money wisely and not on gimmicks and fantasies.’

Our people are more civil and restrained and would just go as far as Hong Lim to sign petition and sing songs of protest. It is still a very long way to agitate and anger our people to force them to march through the streets and run riot. We can still have the few MPs in Parliament to raise question, of course nothing would come out of it except to make a few red faces for unpopular policies. Let’s make this wasteful spending of public money an issue in Parliament and put a stop to it once for all. The money of the people must not be foolishly spent by adolescents to satisfy their fetish craze for a few sports medals. Our public money must be carefully distributed or used to benefit our citizens and not international citizens.

Demand that this issue be put to a vote and those who voted to pay foreigners to win medals should use their own money to support their crazy hobby and not to touch public funds.

Solutions to a hazy problem

We are getting a little reprieve from the full onslaught of the haze problem for the moment. Last week was frightening and if the haze did not subside yesterday, we are in for big trouble when our logistics and great contingency plans failed to react fast enough. A simple thing like 9m masks could not find their way to the people who needed them. They are probably kept in the deep silos or high security bank vaults and no one has the key to open it.

The economic cost of the haze can come into hundreds of millions, or as one analyst guessed, could even hit a billion dollars. And that is not counting the damage to the health of the people, the ecological system and the cost of medicare. And the numbers did not include the cost to our neighbours in the north. The cost to the people in Riau is their own problem and for them to take care of.

Can there be a long term solution to the haze problem? The plantation owners, big and small, are going to clear land as economic growth and making money are the end alls of life. So they will continue to burn, like an annual religious ritual. There is an almost simple and effective solution to this problem, that is to allow them to do as they pleased as it makes economic sense to the companies to do so. For the cost of a match, they could bring down thousands of hectares of vegetation. Why pay for the bull dozers and the manpower to do the hard and expensive way? The hundreds of millions or billions of losses to Singapore and Malaysia are not their concern.

It only takes the Indonesian Govt to decree that burning can only take place in the month of October after the North East monsoon has started. The haze will go to the Indian Ocean instead. How the Riau people going to live with it by being in the centre of the haze is still a problem but not ours to care.

Another way is to pay for the solution. With the damage done to Singapore and the Malaysian economies in the hundreds of millions or billions, it would be pragmatic and economically expedient to pay the companies what they need to clear the land. This could be only a few millions dollars. Why not, it makes economic sense isn’t it? It is a win win solution. The plantation owners got their land cleared and we have clear skies, and the cost is only a fraction of the damage that the plantation owners would have inflicted on us in Singapore and Malaysia.

Yes, it is like paying a ransom to the thugs to leave us alone while they feast on the loot. Isn’t this the thinking of the day, that as long as it makes economic sense, just do it. We gambled by bringing in millions of foreigners just to increase our economic numbers with not a care about the dire consequences now and into the future. We allowed our banking and finance industry to indulge in all kinds of unacceptable high risk ventures for short term profits, employing the crooks from New York, London and Mumbai to run our financial institutions to the ground. Some may not think so as it is still looking like a rosy apple from the outside while the worms are growing within.

The cost of the solution to pay the plantation owners for clean air is nothing. It only costs a few million bucks which is small change really. The pay of a top banker is enough to foot the bill with change to spare.

What do you think? Oops, I know, talk is free and talking nonsense is a good weekend escapee.


My advice to Vivian Balakrishnan

Ever since his infamous reply to Lily Neo in Parliament, ‘You want to eat in hawker centre, in food court or in restaurant’, these words have been carved in the stones of cyberspace, Vivian seems to be having a pretty rough time. These words were the beginning of his seemingly unending problems as a minister.

While as a minister of Youth and Sports, he chalked up an excess bill of several hundred millions during the YOG held here, for under budgeting or overspending. The netizens were not kind to him and would remind him of these hundreds of millions overspent for some children against the $50 requested by Lily Neo for those dependents on public assistance scheme.

Thank God, Hsien Loong quickly moved him out of the ministry into a safer ministry like Environment, now called Environment and Water Resources. Things should be quite safe in this new ministry with flooding happening only once in 50 years. It turned out not to be the case and flooding has been mischievous and hitting places most unthinkable and in the most unlikely time. But the flooding is only flooding and should not be too big a problem to mess around with.

Vivian must not have thought that dengue and chikungunya will be his new nightmares. The virus carrying mosquitoes are breeding quite freely, maybe flooding has something to do with it, and dengue has hit an epidemic level. As they said, when they breed you bleed. And yes, Vivian is the Minister of Environment and is expected to tackle this mosquito breeding problem. This ME and ER is not going to be a honeymoon posting after all.

And while struggling to contain the dengue epidemic that seems to be getting from bad to worse, our air quality is hit by a haze problem that has reached hazardous level and life threatening to some of the more vulnerable citizens. It is the worst haze problem we have seen for 50 years. And the people are expecting Vivian to tackle this as well. And poor Vivian already got his hands full with mosquitoes and now the haze is going to engulf him like smoke grenades.

He is now in Jakarta with a personal letter from Hsien Loong to Yudhoyono pleading for help. From this comments and expression seen over the news, this messenger boy role is not smooth going. And nothing is likely to come out of it.

Those who believe in fortune telling and geomancy will be saying that Vivian is hitting a bad patch. Troubles seem to be visiting him more than other ministers. The first thing I would recommend to Vivian is to go bathe in a bath tub fill with flowers. The next thing is to find a good geomancer and shift the furniture in his office and also his home. And finally, carry a lot of one dollar coins to ward off the bad feng shui following him around.

Try it and pray for all you can. This is better than just talking and do nothing.

Don’t worry, the haze will go away

This I can assure you, while I look out of the window and see a condition very much worse than yesterday. And I heard in the news that the Indonesians have declared emergency in the Riau Archipelago. And we can keep talking, and talk the haze away. It will go away, one week, one month or three months, when the burning stops, the haze will stop coming. In the meantime keep talking.

Some quarters have spoken that this is a domestic issue and got nothing to do with us. We can’t tell our neighbours what not to do. And our neighbours also think so.

Really? Allow me to remind people on the basics of human rights or individual rights. Everyone has the freedom to do as he pleases…as long as it does not affect others. The freedom stops when others are affected by it. When an act of freedom invades into the privacy of anther person or causing harm to another person, it is no longer an act of freedom. J S Mills called this ‘others regarding action’. Your freedom to act goes as far as the next person you are going to hurt.

If the Indonesians can contain the pollutants within their borders, who cares? They can burn for all they like. But the problems it is causing to the neighbouring countries have made this bush burning an ‘others regarding action’ and is no longer a private domestic affair. Be responsible and do something about it.

This be responsible and do something about it have been spoken for many years and I assure you every year this time Singapore and Malaysia will be telling the Indonesians the same old thing. And come next year or the years after, this time of the year, we will be scrambling as to what should be done, and all equally lost, forever lost about how to handle this annual haze migration problem. Did we have a department monitoring on the haze situation? Didn’t we have sophisticated instruments and satellites in space watching over the hot spots? Did we see it coming?

But don’t worry, keep talking and the haze will go away. It may go away before the masks we ordered arrived. It may go away before we have the chance to distribute the masks to those who needed them. It will go away for sure and talking is good enough for this problem. I am one hundred per cent confident that in a few more days or weeks there will be no more haze around.

No need to do anything. We can talk the haze away.


Silent protest against haze invasion at Hong Lim

Dear Fellow Singaporeans,

There will be a short silent protest against the worst haze invasion by our neighbor Indonesia at Hong Lim Green tomorrow at 5 pm.

We need to stand up as a people and send a clear signal to Indonesia that we will not tolerate this harmful incursion to our health and economy.

This is also to demonstrate our solidarity with our government which is trying its best to bring pressure on the Indonesian government to stop the forest burning.

As haze condition is getting hazardous please just pop by wear black, wear mask and bring some water for the short duration you are there....

This is a called by Patrick Low posted in TRE.

Banking malpractices

It took so long for the ST editorial to come out with an article to chastise the wrongs of the robbers in the banking and finance industry. While the noose is tightening in the West to rein in the wild and reckless behavior of the bankers and their fraudulent ways, nothing of such nature is happening in Asia. Many Asian countries are still gulping in all the toxic products and practices of the West and think, like one western bankers stationed in Hongkong said, ‘If it is ok for London it must be ok for us.’

How many Asian bankers and govts really scrutinized the faulty and dangerous products and instruments coming out from the west, from derivatives and deregulations to computers plugging into the exchange system and hi speed computer trading, and dare to say no them? Or how many really bother to assess the suitability or the unacceptable risks that these instruments and products will cause to their financial markets?

The regulators of stock exchanges have a basic and fundamental principle to uphold, of providing a level playing field and fair practices for all investors big and small. By allowing the big funds to plug their computers to their exchange system and allowing them to gain advantage in speed and information is a clear violation of this principle. The use of hi speed computers, something that many decent finance experts and lawmakers in the West have acknowledged as cheating, is blindly being accepted by Asian govts and stock market regulators, likely believing the same, that if London and New York allowed it, then it is ok to accept them.

Asians will always be condemned as foolish if they continue in their silly ways to accept all the rubbish and snake oils from the West without questions asked and risk destroying their financial markets and the savings of their investors. It is not only illegal, it is irresponsible and immoral.

Are there any Asian experts or thinking persons in the Asian finance industry, strong and with the conviction to keep their financial system clean, fair, and healthy and not be corrupted by the wild Western ways out there?

The little piece of editorial in today’s ST titled ‘Checking banking malpractices’ is just too little and too flimsy to mean anything. More serious work needs to be done to keep check on the wayward and reckless ways of the western bankers before it is too late.

Hi speed computer trading is so foul, giving big funds and their hi speed computers to much unfair advantage over the innocent small investors that it is unbelieveable for it to get a green light to create havoc in the stock markets of Asia. No one can see anything wrong with hi speed trading? If they are so dumb, so speak to the experts in the West of their concerns and misgivings. No need to work too hard to sweat the small stuff. The amount of work and research done to tell how unacceptable hi speed trading is are all out there for all who wants to know, who needs to know.

We need to bring back the likes of Koh Beng Seng.

New trend in begging

Some data showed that at 9 pm last night the PSI hit 452. Before at 8pm it was 224 and after at 10 pm it was 287. For that one hour the PSI went into very dangerous level. And many people have been storming the pharmacies trying to buy N95 masks but all sold out. What contingency plan to stockpile such masks for emergencies just like this?

If the situation gets worst, and the N95 masks are not available, we could see beggars begging for mask along the streets. Please give me a mask, I am suffocating.

Hazy and dazed

Work up this morning, took a peep at the window. Just as bad if not worst. Turn on the TV for confirmation. PSI 95! Real or not? I like to believe that it was 95, but my eyes were telling me that it could not be. An hour later, walking down the same path towards MBFC from Raffles Place, took a look at the MBS three pillars of strength. They were barely visible unlike yesterday morning. My eyes confirmed that the air quality was worst than yesterday and the PSI yesterday morning was near to 200.

Something was not right, must be my eyes, watery and starting to hurt. The machine reading the PSI could not be wrong. But I still chose to believe my eyes and the pain and discomfort in them.

When I stepped into the office there was an uproar. What 97? Bullshit. It was worst than yesterday. And this was what everyone commented. No one believed that the PSI had suddenly dropped below 100.

What is the point of having a national reading that no one wants to believe in? And how could anyone believe in something when they could see, feel and smell the air and know that the situation is getting worst or not better?

Recalibrate the machine or go for an eye check?


PSI above 400 is life threatening

‘PSI levels above 400 may be life-threatening to ill and elderly persons. Healthy people may experience adverse symptoms that affect normal activity.’

The quality of our air hit 371 on the PSI scale on Thursday. This is 29 points short of 400. According to the PSI definition, above 400 is life threatening. How threatening is this? Is it more serious than the dengue situation at the moment? Is it more serious than during the SARS crisis? What kind of adverse symptoms will hit the people?

What are the measures or plans that will be rolled out by the govt when 400 is reached? There were reports that more measures will be taken when the haze condition worsen. So when and what will be the measures that the people can expect? Would there be hospitals with special setups to take care of those having respiratory problems or other problems caused by the haze? Would there be field camps set up for the sick that are overflowing from the hospitals or are deemed dying?

How serious is a PSI of above 400 and what will the situation be like? Would all economic and social activities be halted and everyone be told to stay indoors? Would people be falling down along the roads?

Could the govt or the main media with their experts enlighten or educate the ignorant masses on how critical the situation will be like and what can the people do to protect themselves? We have fire drills, bomb drills, would there be a deadly haze drill?

When will it hit a crisis state or a national emergency be declared?

Do we need foreigners to win medals?

The Singapore Athletic Association SAA has brought back Chinese sports woman Du Xianhui to don Singapore colours to win medals for Singapore. The shot putter is definitely a medal hopeful and will keep Singapore flag flying. The question is whether this is the way to go, spending public money on foreigners to win medals and glory for Singapore. Are we so desperate to win medals to the extent of buying athletes and sports people to do that for us? Should we not use the money to develop and train our own citizens to mount the winner’s rostrum?

Are the money well spent? Are the glories well earned, something that we can be proud of? When would Singapore grow up from this third world mentality of winning glories in sports to claim honours for the country, that we are also good in sports? So what if our own athletes cannot win medals if they are not good enough. So what if these foreigners win medals for us?

Where is the achievement? What is so great about such medals? Why spent such money when money can be put to better use for the betterment of our own citizens? How much is the total spent annually on foreigners to win medals? Would it not be more meaningful to pay for coaches and trainers to train our citizens instead? The way we are going, we are going to be dependent on foreigners forever, as this is a sure short cut for medals.

Are we so hard up for medals?

SPCAS is needed

We have many civic societies to protect animals, dogs and cats, birds etc from cruel and vicious inhuman acts against them. What is lacking in this gracious and compassionate country is a society to prevent cruelties against Singaporeans.

One group of poor Singaporeans that needs protection is the taxi drivers. This group used to be able to fend for themselves when they were young and strong. The new breed of taxi drivers are the oldies, the retired, the retrenched and the white collar workers. They would not stand a chance against the violent type and worst against the big FTs. Hardly a day passed when there will be an incident of a taxi driver being beaten up on the job.

Another group that needs protection is the oldies, the old uncles and aunties that should be happily retired and enjoying their twilight years. Some are living alone, some abandoned by their children, some have little or no CPF savings, and they ended up working in hawker centres and food courts cleaning tables and washing crockery. They are becoming news in the social media, and catching the attention of tourists as an anomaly in this super rich country of millionaires or half a millionaire. Shouldn’t this group be protected as well, from hard labour?

I think there are laws on child labour, protecting children from unlawful employment because of their tender age and weak physique. I think the physical bodies of the oldies are equally weak and need to rest than doing back breaking manual works. There used to be a saying, protect the weak, the young and the old. The oldies fall under the weak and old and rightfully deserved to be protected.

We also need to protect the sick when medical treatments are costly and they cannot afford to pay for it. We also need to protect the workers, especially the interns, from being beaten up in their work place by their supervisors.

There is a need to protect Singaporeans, especially PMETs from being discriminated in jobs and employments by foreigners. It is very cruel as these people have families to look after, including children and a big housing loan to clear. They need a job to pay for all the expenses. Without an income they will have no dignity to talk about.

And another group, the NS men. They are supposed to defend this country and paid a pittance. But many have no homes to go to and have to squat with their parents or rent expensive private apartments. And their attractiveness to employers is not too good given all the reservist duties and commitments that will take them away from their jobs. And if they end up jobless or underemployed, with the high cost of living here, life can be quite a struggle, which also means struggling to maintain their dignity as citizens of this super rich country of millionaires.

We need a society, a Society for the Prevention of Cruelties Against Singaporeans, SPCAS. What do you think?

Oh I forgot, there is another group that needs protection, the bloggers. Every now and then the bloggers are being threatened by Sue like it is damn fun. People got money or power can always send Sue to visit the bloggers. And there is the new regulations lurking behind the corners waiting to pounce on them. $50k or $200k or jail if suay suay Sue came a calling. Poor bloggers.

Boycott against Citibank

There is a thread in TRE titled ‘Singaporean should boycott Citibank’ by a blogger calling himself, Angry Singaporean Customer. He is unhappy with the knowledge that Citibank is one of the foreign banks that employed a predominant number of foreigners as staff of the bank. 40% of the banks staff is foreigners or it is more? Some banks regard PRs as locals and lump them together with Singaporeans. If this is the case, then the percentage of foreigners could be much bigger.

With the influx of foreigners into the little island and with many PMEs being replaced, and with foreigners and foreign banks found to practise discriminatory employment policies against Singaporeans, the anger is growing among the Singaporeans against foreigners and foreign institutions. Citibank has been quoted in many places as one of the biggest culprit in favouring the employment of foreigners.

In the thread concerned, the author is calling for Singaporeans to boycott Citibank and not to do business with the bank. Many bloggers have responded positively to the call and some claimed to have cut their credit cards from the cards and stop using them. Some have been urged to bring away their deposits or business elsewhere.

This is probably the second time in recent months that there were calls in social media to boycott foreign businesses. The first was against Jollybeans that was not much of a success. Would this call to boycott Citibank end with similar result that it was all noise and nothing much will happen?

How would Citibank head office in the US view this threat of unhappiness against Citibank here? If the anger grows and becomes widespread, it would definitely have some negative impact on Citibank and also affect the reputation of the bank as one that is anti Singaporeans or even a racist bank.

The thread just appeared today and still gathering responses from netizens that are unhappy with the situation created in the bank. Maybe it will just fizzle out in a couple of days, like all protests in this little sanitised island. A little noise is all there is to it.