Archive | April, 2012

Housing issue: A short reply to Minister Tan Chuan Jin who replied to Blogger Gintai aka Langgar

26 Apr

Please read gintai blog here and Minister Tan reply here before reading this rant although I would put it pass you that this is entirely legible and intelligible on its own.

Many PRs own big and nice property in their home countries and yet they are allowed by buy HDBs even though it is against the regulations. There is no way of verifying this with so many PRs around. Some houses are owned by their parents or using companies and trusts. I have said this before, govt should consider a capital gains tax for PRs who sell their HDB and ship out or a lesser capital tax if they upgrade to private property. Perhaps no tax to be levied if they purchase another HDB flat.

Another point, the possible reason why Anak Abu (again read gintai and minister) wants to so call stretch himself, as noted by Minister, and buy a bigger flat is perhaps because he needs the space for his children or even parents. Should he not buy a bigger flat now, when he wants to upgrade later, he would have to cough up the levy or cov or are we so optimistic as to think that Anak Abu can afford a private property to house his entire family? At the same time we are complaining about our TFR and children ignoring their elderly parents when the property policies are not even enticing or encouraging enough to set up decent sized and robust families.

I understand that the grants and subsidies are there to make HDB flat more affordable for citizens. But don’t forget the wages of many of workers have stagnated and their meager savings are being eroded by the high inflation rate. And we haven’t even got down to the elderly singles, divorcees, single parents and second marriage families. What sort of policies restrictions would they face from a housing agency who expects citizens to abide by some prudish moral standards of a single marriage and three children and cooperative parents and wholesome fully obliging siblings?? Can find but damn hard these days.

And if we delve further, we realised that in the overall working environment in Singapore, it favours a straight married couple (who might not have a clue of what is work-play balance) with no or one children, very much committed to their jobs, and entirely cooperative parents and siblings who don’t give too much trouble. Be sure to be able to afford full day child care as your parents might stay faraway because you are living in a new estate. Maybe an understanding boss so that you can leave work on time if not the child care centre will fine you. Pack some unhealthy food from kopitiam as dinner and go back to continue working again. If you have an hour before you sleep, check out the latest handbags, gadgets and new car models hitting town.

Yet, amongst this craziness of what we call a unique Singapore dream, we’re asking our young couples have more live firing sessions and raise the TFR rate (work long hours, stay far away from town, train spoil, taxi in cte catch fire, super jam, go back mother call to say HDB send her letter in English she don’t understand, wife can’t decide what to eat, work long overdue and still must got energy to do monkey business!!). And when some Singaporeans rise to the occassion (no pun intended) and indeed build a bigger family, it is called ‘over-stretched’.

10 reasons why PM should not be on FB

24 Apr

1. Why is he can play FB when I am paying him a fricking high salary??
2. I am not a wee interested in what he had for dinner or if he cuddled his wife in front of the telly.
3. He finally reveals that “mee siam mai hum” is a house special at the Istanan.
4. If he ain’t sharing anything substantial on FB, he is there to “kop” our ideas!
5. PM is not really on FB, he has a bunch of overpaid servants to do that for him.
6. He could lower the wages of these servants if hiring of foreigners was allowed!
7. It would be less fun if PM would stop saying sorry in person and start doing it on FB.
8. It could be embarrassing if he could never gather more ‘likes’ than Nicole Seah.
9. It pains me to see that Singaporeans think that they are making a connection to their PM just because they ‘liked’ and commented on his page.

And the top reason why PM shouldn’t be on FB…

10. His photos are invariably ruined by bodyguards trying to look mean when they actually look damn cock!!

38K Likes and counting up to Nicole Seah's 106K

Josef Hoflehner – Jet Airliner

21 Apr

Josef Hoflehner – Jet Airliner.

More cheap thrills: Free Live Music at the Singapore Arts Festival (20 May)

19 Apr

Pennylane

http://www.singaporeartsfest.com/event/pennylane/

Comprising Lin, Isaac, Shane and Alvyn, PennyLane is a group of hopeful romantics with beat-up guitars and broken sticks whose journey began in 2004. Theirs is a meeting place of infectious, solid sounds with strong foundations in old school genres, intertwined with elements of popular music

Made up of hallmates in NUS, listening to them makes me wanna order another beer and think about silly things. Enough said! Check out their website:

http://www.pennylanetheband.com/media.html

And their youtube videos:

This is such a flashback to 1979 when big hair metal was in vogue…this version gets me sentimental

White Noise

http://www.singaporeartsfest.com/event/white-noise-ausg/

The trio, made up of bilingual songwriter and vocalist, Juliet Pang, pianist Didi Mudigdo and bassist Eddie Jansen, transforms jazz and contemporary standards with its brand of dedicated honesty. In response to the festival’s theme, White Noise presents compositions and new arrangements in collaboration with drummer Tan Boon Gee.

I don’t know much about White Noise but Juliet Pang is known for her triple S vocals in the local scene. Sultry, Smooth and Smoky. Sundays just seem better when she’s on the stereo. Check out her rendition of the classic One Fine Day:

 

Check out her website here 

And did I say she is an accomplished songwriter who already has her own albums and kicked up a little fuss in the local Chinese music scene…who say Singapore no talent? 😛

Kim+Sarah

http://www.singaporeartsfest.com/event/kim-sarah-sg/

With just one guitar or two, the Kim + Sarah Acoustic Duo brings together a combination of the male mellow rocker and the girly (and occasionally sultry) sweet country pop princess. You can expect to hear a wide range of genres spanning several eras — from rock to pop, Bryan Adams to Lady Gaga — in simple, stripped-down acoustic sets.

This duo branched out from a NUS band called Sixology and they are now making their own waves in the acoustic scene. If you like effortless vocal with folksy guitar this could be your gig. Check out an original composition of Sixology played in acoustic:

They also do a smacking version of Blower’s Daughter:

 

Last but not least, read their interview with Fever Avenue here.

So many great acts for free…get your butts out there to support these local bands…cuz if you dun who will…

Cheap Thrills: Free Live Music at the Singapore Arts Festival (19 May)

16 Apr

Claressa Monteiro

Singapore’s leading jazz vocalist. Claressa Monteiro, will perform for FREE on 19 May (10pm) at the Singapore Arts Festival. If you haven’t heard her live, it wouldn’t be salah to say that you’ve been missing out! 

 

http://www.singaporeartsfest.com/event/claressa-monteiro-sg/

 

Claressa Monteiro and Pastiche present Tourmaline Dreams. The tourmaline is known as the “muse’s stone”, said to stimulate the imagination. The song Tourmaline Dreams, written to honour the muse, anchors the theme of the collection of songs to be performed. These songs have been chosen for their ability to inspire; songs such as The Look of Love, Isn’t She Lovely and Nancy With the Laughing Face.

In 2009, Monteiro was presented with the Composers and Authors Society of Singapore Artistic Excellence award, making her only the second jazz vocalist to be so honoured. That same year and in 2010, she was presented in concert in Dubai at Singapore Encore and at The Singapore Sun Festival respectively. When performing, Monteiro owns the stage. She is well on her way to becoming one of Singapore’s national treasures.

 

Check out her beautiful rendition of Blue Skies…

Check out her equally beautiful official website:

http://www.claressamonteiro.net/#!

Besides singing those wonderful tunes, Claressa is also a DJ on FM99.5 Lush Evenings Monday and Friday 5.00pm-8.00pm. 

 

Vanessa Fernandez

And if you dig rock music, another renowned local act Vanessa Fernandez will be performing on the same day, same venue immediately after Claressa Monteiro. Two class acts in one night for free!! What more could you ask for? 

http://www.singaporeartsfest.com/event/vanessa-fernandez-sg/

 

One of Singapore’s best female vocalists, Vanessa Fernandez takes on the Our Lost Poems theme with a tribute to the lost souls of the 27 Club — singers who died at the tender age of 27 years. You will hear Vanessa reprise songs by Joni Mitchell, Jim Morrisson, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse and Jeff Buckley. All of them famous, vul- nerable and talented virtuosos and singers who exuded poignancy and poetry, their songs bringing out raw emotions and resonating with audiences everywhere.

Fernandez’s sultry and soulful voice is ideal for an acoustic interpretation of these legendary rock standards. Her inimitable grace and warmth will mesmerise the audience.

Check out her beautiful vocals here…raw and live…none of that engineering bullsh*t 

And her soulful rendition of Bleeding Love…makes my hair stand (not much anyway) just listening

There is so much local talent out there, our market is small but our hearts are big! GO SUPPORT OUR LOCAL ACTS!! Cuz if u dun, who will…

Report of the Public Accounts Committee: Wassup with MIB?

13 Apr

Kudos to the govt for releasing the report, you can find it at the link below. However, it’s pointless if the govt releases it and no one scrutinises it.

If you read the report, it wouldn’t be hard to notice that MIB (men in blue or policemen) were singled out for glaring mistakes on various counts. Coming from a force that enforces the law of the land, it is quite a disappointment. One would naturally wonder if they lack the discipline to comply with the rules and regulations of the procurement process or there aren’t enough MIB officers with the adequate comprehension skills to comply? The lapses were serious enough that the Permanent Secretary of Home Affairs had to give oral evidence the Committee when he was only quite recently appointed in Nov 2011. [Kena “tua” sia…LOLz]

The following are the irregularities found with regards to MIB:

– Not maintaining proper access rights and activity logs of system for recording revenue collection, related traffic offences and drivers’ records.

– Administration fees of $7.23mil which should have been charged to a retirement fund for uniformed staff was charge to the govt

– Police Coast Guard was overcharged for construction work done and work delivered was sub-standard. Some materials were not even delivered and inadequate payment control.

– Possible false documents were submitted by the PCG contractor and this has been referred to the CAD and AGC.

courtesy of http://www.facebook.com/pages/thesketchtimes

In the previous edition of this report, Traffic Police was found to be negligent in the management of a contract for the maintenance of surveillance camera systems resulting in payment to the contractor for a number of years when there was no work done. The contractor was jailed for 18 months subsequently.

In the report, MHA informed the Committee of two key difficulties that SPF faced in procurement and project management, namely:

(i) Officers having responsibilities for procurement projects, especially if it is for the first time, may lack familiarity with financial controls and contract management. There is added difficulty if an officer is rotated out during the course of the project and another officer takes over  the responsibility.

(ii) The  officers may also lack the capabilities and technical knowledge necessary to oversee the work of contractors and consultants engaged for the project. 

The above in layman terms is, you don’t know or not sure, you better ask. Scholar or high flier cannot seek help meh? If you think you have many officers new to the their jobs, must train them, mentor them and maintain some form of oversight. And don’t happy happy keep changing the postings to fulfill some misguided management theory, weird KPIs and get them to go through postings so that they can be promoted faster. Wonder what has been the top brass of MIB doing for the past years? Or are they facing a brain drain where their top people have been more than eager to get out of police?

Recently, it was also in the news that the Police Coast Guard Commander retired before the official retirment age. Does it have to do with this report? Quite naturally, no clues were found…just as former Minister Raymond Lim was “phased out discreetly” (in the words of PM Lee).

Thu, Mar 29, 2012AsiaOne

Singapore’s Police Coast Guard (PCG) will get a new commander starting April 1.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (AC) Hsu Sin Yun, 43, will take over the reins from Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police (SAC) Teo Kian Teck, 51, who will be retiring from service.

SAC Teo has been the PCG commander since March 2008. During his tenure, SAC Teo led the PCG in various key events – including operations that smashed seven human smuggling syndicates resulting in the arrests of 15 syndicate leaders and key members, and managing the law-and-order situation at the seas off Pedra Branca during the International Court of Justice rulings.

Speaking on his 25 years of his service with the Singapore Police Force (SPF), SAC Teo said, “It has been my privilege to work in an extraordinary organisation which provides uniquely enriching experiences.  I will  always cherish the fond memories and experiences working with the men and women of the SPF as they have helped to mould and develop me to who I am today.”

Granted, other ministries were just as bad. For example, our “favourite” LTA awarded a contract for a road camera system to the sole tenderer when the offer did not meet a number of technical requirements specified in the tender. And the report did not even state the dollar amount of this contract. Another agency (Maritime Port Authority) under the Ministry of Transport, helmed by one of our “favourite” minister, did not change their agent for “sale of water to vessels using water-boats” since 1996 and has not called for a competitve tender since then. This agent must be sibeh huat/rich now. MICA awarded almost $3mil worth of tenders when they did not even meet the critical evaluation criteria.

To be fair to the zheng hu, which employs more than 120,000 people and purchases billions upon billions of equipment and services every year, the Auditor-General (ony) made 22 observations. Govt should strive to do better and Auditor-General should have the moral courage and integrity to point out mistakes for the benefit of Singaporeans. Govt should continue to make such reports for public consumption and if reveal as much details as possible.

Lastly, it should be noted that the Public Accounts Committee which consists of 8 MPs convened 3 meetings from Nov 2011 to Mar 2012. One of the MPs, Christopher De Souza, was absent for 2 of these 3 meetings.

Where got Everytime call POLICE?? An afterthought on Cherian George

4 Apr

This is not a note to ridicule Cherian George’s article publlished in the Straits Times last Sunday, 1st Apr, titled “No need to call police everytime”. In fact, Cherian wrote a brilliant and much needed article to state that civil mindedness is as important, if not more important than law enforcement. He reminded everyone of us  that not only do we have to be tolerant, respect differences of others and take responsibility for our speech and actions BUT ALSO gently pressure others to do likewise and this does not necessarily involve calling the men in blue.   

 

No need to call the police every time By Cherian George 

 

Evidently, many netizens reserve their zero-tolerance stand against racism for cases where the perpetrators are foreigners. Singaporean-on-Singaporean racism is often met with ambivalence.

 

Citizens should do more to assert vigorously the norms of civility, tolerance and respect for diversity. This is a job for journalists, bloggers, parliamentarians, community leaders, activists and other opinion leaders.

 

Full article: http://ifonlysingaporeans.blogspot.com/2012/04/no-need-to-call-police-every-time.html

 

Discrimination, whether against a race or religion or a group of people, is discrimination. It reveals a human tendency to be intolerant towards people who are different from ourselves. Some conceive it as a notion in our brains, other act it out on their targeted group, such as not giving up the bus seat, filming their gay roommate making out or discriminatory hiring policies. In worse case scenarios, cumulative actions against a backdrop of worsening socio-economic conditions are known to have contributed to mass violence. However, not all forms of discrimination are legislated to be illegal under the law. In Singapore, for obvious reasons, race and religion are in our law books but discrimination against gays and foreigners are not so explicitly stated.  

 

Nevertheless, I thought it would interesting to look at some of the recent cases of discrimination where police reports were made or not:

 

Case 1

 

 

 

Nov 2011, YPAP member Jason Neo took a picture of Malay Muslim kindergarden children and branded them terrorists. Apparently, he had taken the picture quite some time ago and one his FB friends dug it up and circulated it again. POLICE REPORT MADE. BIG HOO HAA. 

 

Case 2

 

 

 

Also in Nov 2011, Christian Ratnam made inflammatory remarks on his FB about Islam. POLICE REPORT MADE. OK HOO HAA. 

 

Case 3

 

 

 

Again in Nov 2011 (men in blue working hard to earn their year end bonus ;), blogger Donaldson Tan posted a picture which depicted a pig sitting on top of the Kaba, the most holy Muslim structure in Mecca. POLICE REPORT MADE. BIG HOO HAA. Tan kinda also said that it was right (ie free speech) to post such material and nearly refused to take it down. 

 

Case 4

 

 

 

Sometime in late Jan, early Feb 2012. Former NMP Siew Kum Hong posted a picture depicting Jesus that said “F-ing lag, took 3 days to respawn”, he quickly removed it and apologised after some criticised it on his FB but also indirectly argued that his action were justifiable under free speech. NOT SURE if POLICE REPORT MADE. VERY VERY LITTLE HOO HAA. 

 

Case 5

 

 

 

Feb 2012, photos of UOB D&D leaked and it showed their staff belittling the Indian race by painting their face black. UOB issued qualified apology if public was offended. NO POLICE REPORT MADE. OK HOO HAA. 

 

Case 6

 

 

 

Feb 2012. Sun Xu called Singaporeans dogs. SUPER BIG HOO HAA but NO POLICE REPORT MADE. NUS fines him $3000, revoke his scholarship for the last semester and made him do community work amongst other things. 

 

Case 7

 

 

 

Mar 2012, Lai Shimun suggested a separate train carriage for Indians. A friend apparently saw the tweet, didn’t tell Miss Lai it was inappropriate but decided to leak it online so the mob could get started again. QUITE BIG HOO HAA. POLICE REPORT MADE. School (NYP I think?) said that they would investigate. 

 

Case 8

 

 

 

Mar 2012, Former WP and NSP politician, Abdul Salim Harun on his FB wall, calls PRCs locusts and asks for insecticide to spray them. NO POLICE REPORT MADE and ALMOST NO HOO HAA. 

 

Case 9

 

 

 

Mar-Apr 2012. Event organiser planned for a cheongster event where the publicity campaign carried photos of girls dressed as provocatively as nuns. Event eventually cancelled. BIG HOO HAA, POLICE REPORT MADE. 

 

Case 10

 

 

 

Mar-Apr 2012. Hardwarezone forummer “Horacio” made racists remarks against Malays but it seem to stay within HWZ and apparently there doesn’t seem to be a police report made. Some forummers also say there are many racists around just that this fella articulated it. 

 

Conclusion

 

1. Sometimes police reports are a result of individuals exacting revenge on their erstwhile friends.

2. It was almost certain if you uttered discriminatory speech against foreigners, no one would make a police report, we have seen so many of those on the internet. Ranting against gays and lesbians is also most likely police report-free. 

3. If you are popular enough online, or a big corporation, or an opposition politician, you might not get so easily slammed with a police report. 

4. If you are trying to make money from religious controversy, you would most definitely get slammed with a police report. If you are linked with to PAPpies, get ready to delete your life online.  ;p  

5. After all the police reports, there doesn’t seem to be any updates on what the police are going to do as a standard procedure (I think both Jason and Donaldson were warned).

6. Ironically. Thus far, the only person who really received any punishment was Sun Xu where there wasn’t a police report made directly against his dog comment. (talk about karma huh) 

 

All the above cases aren’t really malicious in intent. Most if not all were just joking, granted it wasn’t funny to others, or they were really angry and frustrated and social media was at their convenience to vent. And really, those who argue that such postings, as we have seen above, could set off mass mayhem should get their brains checked because it sounds like Singapore is filled with crazy dinosaurs waiting to act on their violent instinct. 

 

If we really look at it, the laws are there to deal with people who really act out their discriminatory perceptions or incite mass hatred and violence, not so much minor utterances and slips of tongues. Singapore has come some way, not long way, but some way since independence and the early race riots. We cherish our communities more and understand that the destinies of different races and religions are inextricably linked together as nation.

 

But over the decade of immigration policy, it seems that the new flashpoint is between locals and foreigners. If that is so, why are we so nonchalant with “discriminatory-speech-actions” against foreigners? What are the real intentions of those who make nonchalant police reports? In knowing how to protect ourselves and asking the state to protect us (Singaporeans), when we do not show at least some semblance of equal treatment to them (foreigners), what does that speak of us and our society? We will reap what we sow. 

 

p.s. I am not being pro-foreigner or pro-pap or anti-anything, I am just stating my plain unbranded views. The different levels of HOO HAA are my own experiences.