Monday, 31 December 2007

Looking back at 2007

I thought it would be interesting to jote down my thoughts for the past one year.

1) What had went up in 2007?

- NUH's A & E dept increases fees from $70 to $80
- Skilled Foreign Workers levy to increase from $100 to $150

- KK Women's & Children Hospital increases treatment fees
- Eldershield premium to increase by year end

- NUS revises carpark charges
- IKEA starts to charge for plastic bags

- Inflation soar
- Consultation fees for polyclinics to increase

- Prices of eggs to increase
- Wholesale price of ducks to increase

- GST increases from 5% to 7%
- Hospital bills up between 10% to 30% across all wards

- More ERP + extended operational hours
- ERP rates to increase

- Special needs School fees to go up by 100%
- Employers to buy compulsory medical insurance for foreign workers

- Starhub cable TV sports channel subscriber pay $10 more
- Price of flour went up by 30%

- Cost of retailers rental space increases
- 2nd link toll charges to go up next year

- Comfort Delgro raises taxi fares
- Electricity tariffs to go up

Above mentioned were only some that I can remember or at least I'm concerned with, for the complete list view here.

2) Most heart-wrenching video/ most comical video:

It has to be 'Nation Builders' by Martyn See and the video from our guys at MDA respectively.

3) Most ridiculous saying in Parliament:

Well, who else but Prof Ho Peng Kee on his reasons on why WP's cycling event cannot be carried out....

4) WP events that I am involved in and which one is my most memorable one:

-22nd Jan; YW visit to the new Parliament

-10th Jun; Volunteer as bus leader for Hougang 1-day temple tour

-16th Jun; Hougang Community Awareness Day

-28th Jun; Invited guest by Sylvia to her talk at SCWO

-24th Jun; YW Youth Day outreach at Orchard Road

-1st Jul; Volunteer as bus leader for Hougang 1-day Muar tour

-9th Aug; YW National Day outreach at Kovan & Bedok

-19th Sep; Invitation from NHG to the launch of the 'Mammo Bus'

-22nd Sep; Hougang lantern Parade

-29th Sep; Children's Day Carnival at Gracehaven Home

-3rd Nov; WP 50th Anniversary dinner

-22nd Dec; Hougang Christmas Carnival

-29th Dec; WP Year end BBQ

-30th Dec; YW Charity collection (flyers distribution at Seagull Walk)

Of course not forgetting the weekly 'Hammer Sales' as well as 'EAC Walkabout'.

Hmm... the most memorable event for me was the Children's Day Carnival at Gracehaven Home.

5) Most debated Parliamentary issue:

Hahaha...the gay-issue!

6) Most heart-wrenching incident:

The guys who died in the dragon boat accident is etched deep in my mind.

7) Most concerned topic:

Well, in fact I've got two for this... elderly who can barely make ends meet and minority not going for regular breast checks.

8) Most interactive blog:

9) Most time & effort spent on:

It has to be the WP's 50th Anniversary Commemorative Book and event! How to forget!!!!

10) Most look forward to event in 2008:

MY TRIP TO TURKEY, ISTANBUL!!!! Commencing on 18th Jan to 5th Feb...and just in time for CNY back in Singapore :)

Lastly , I would like to wish everyone a very merry New Year!!!

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Worrying news...Good effort from BCF

Women from minority races less likely to go for screening: BCF

SINGAPORE : Women from minority races are less likely to go for breast cancer screening, according to the Breast Cancer Foundation.

Although it does not track figures officially, it said it noticed this trend from its breast cancer screening exercises.

With one in every 20 women in Singapore projected to get breast cancer and five women dying from it each week, early screening can help save lives.

That is why early screening is a big priority of the Breast Cancer Foundation.

But one trend it has detected at such screening exercises could potentially be of concern.

Christine Ang, General Manager, Breast Cancer Foundation, said: "We notice there is more Chinese turnout and fewer of the Indians and the Malays - we don't really know the reason why.

"I remember we did an outreach at Little India and the response was very poor. It could be that they are more conservative and do not talk about issues of the breast."

Another group it is concerned about is the less fortunate - across all races.

Ms Ang said: "I think a lot of them fear the worst - what if they contract breast cancer and then what? And treatment is still very expensive."

Thus, for the first time, the Breast Cancer Foundation has tied up with Carestream Health to offer free screenings to such less fortunate women, which finally encouraged more to go for screening.

Examples are women like 45-year-old Madam Tay Hui Leng, who has three young daughters, and 66-year-old Madam Salmah Sulaiman.

Madam Salmah said: "My children have always asked me to go for screening; I would agree, but I wouldn't go. Now, I have been compelled to do (it), so it's okay now."

When asked why she did not want to go for screening earlier, Madam Salmah said that she was afraid.

Madam Tay said: "It's very important for us as we reach this age (to go for) mammograms. I have been trying to ask myself to go many times but I keep having the fear of going.

"But with the help of Care Corner... (they are) very encouraging, (they) asked me to come, and(it is) free, so think I should (go), not just for my sake, but also for the sake of my family."

A mammogram usually costs at least S$50

Friday, 28 December 2007

Shocking News!

Benazir Bhutto assassinated in Pakistan

RAWALPINDI (Pakistan) - OPPOSITION leader Benazir Bhutto died on Thursday from her injuries sustained in a suicide attack, a party aide said.

Mrs Bhutto, 54, died in hospital in Rawalpindi. Ary-One Television said she had been shot in the head.

'At 6.16 pm she expired,' said Wasif Ali Khan, a member of Mrs Bhutto's party who was at Rawalpindi General Hospital.

A senior military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to comment, confirmed that Mrs Bhutto had died.

Police said a suicide bomber fired shots at Mrs Bhutto as she was leaving the rally venue in a park before blowing himself up.

'The man first fired at Bhutto's vehicle. She ducked and then he blew himself up,' said police officer Mohammad Shahid.

Her supporters at the hospital began chanting 'Dog, Musharraf, dog,' referring to Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf.

Some of them smashed the glass door at the main entrance of the emergency unit, others burst into tears.

Sen Babar Awan, Mrs Bhutto's lawyer, said, 'The surgeons confirmed that she has been martyred.'

At least 20 others were killed in the blast that took place as Mrs Bhutto left a political rally where she addressed thousands of supporters to canvas votes for January parliamentary elections.

Bhutto served twice as Pakistan's prime minister between 1988 and 1996. She had returned to Pakistan from an eight-year exile on Oct 18.

Her homecoming parade in Karachi was also targeted by a suicide attacker, killing more than 140 people. On that occasion she narrowly escaped injury.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Electricity bills, next on the list.

The next on the list to go up in prices will be Electricity bills...haiz... Life is getting tougher...I still dont see my increment for this year, bonus also not known yet and things are increasing.......

Electricity bills to go up by an average 5.94% from 2008

SINGAPORE : Households and businesses in Singapore will have to pay more for electricity from next year.

SP Services said tariffs will be going up from the first quarter of 2008.

A statement released on Wednesday showed that the new rates will hit a six-year high for households and small businesses.

SP Services attributed the higher cost of electricity to higher fuel prices.

On average, the tariffs will go up by 5.94 percent. This translates into an increase of about S$1.30 in the monthly bill of households staying in one-room flats.

Residents of 5-room flat units are likely to pay about S$5.50 more each month.

The rates are reviewed and adjusted according to fluctuating electricity costs every quarter, and they have been approved by industry regulator, the Energy Market Authority.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Pre-Christmas Dinner on 21st Dec

A few of the WP comrades had a Pre-Christmas dinner tonight at 'The Mind Cafe', Its a great place to be in with dinner served at reasonable prices and 2 hours of play time. I would strongly recommend this place to all. Its ideal for relationship building and company events.

Play time consists of board games which is made available by the cafe. There were different types of games for different no. of people. We had a round of 'Sequence' and 'Charades'. Food served wasn't too bad. For $16.90++ per pax you can have an appetizer (soup or salad), main course (lasagne, pasta, chicken cutlet, fish & fries), dessert and a drink of your choice. Service was excellent too!

Don't know for whatever reason, Bernard decided to go for vegetarian lasagne...and when he saw other main courses like chicken cutlet and cheesy fish & fries, he deeply regretted his choice of food. Hahahahahaha! We really had lots of fun while playing those board games :) We spent 2 solid hours there.

(From left: Song Han, Clara, Jacky, myself, Bernard, Gordon, Jane, Swee Bee & Frieda)

Next we headed to 'Duxton Blue' along 'Duxton Road' for a drink. Apart from drinking, Song Han and I also sang a few songs. Some of them played a round of pool too.

It was an enjoyable evening.

(From left: Frieda, myself and Swee Bee)

Friday, 21 December 2007

This is really hilarious! Classic piece of work from

They look great! Don't you think so?

Wednesday, 19 December 2007



The Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) and Riding for the Disabled Association of Singapore (RDA) are working together to raise funds for two worthy causes and we need your help!Your contribution in this flag day will determine the success of our fund-raising effort.

There are many ways you can help out:

-Make a donation

-Volunteer your time on Flag Day 16 February, 2008

-Adopt a tin for $100

-Ask your co-workers or fellow students to make a joint donation with you

All donations are eligible for double tax exemption.

Click here for more information.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Cost of sms in Singapore...

I was being highlighted to this post 'Indonesia Agency says wireless carriers may have fixed prices.'

With that, a Telecom Specialist gave his comments below:

In Singapore, the price per SMS is 5 Singapore cents which is equal to 3.33 US cents. This is equal to 322.9 Rupiah.

Based on the recommendations by the Indonesia Telecom authority, this is about 4.3 times the limit for a fair and competitive price to pay for an SMS.

The telecom authority in Singapore is IDA. Hence they should look into this case of overcharging and monopolistic behaviour in Singapore.

The cost of deploying a wireless network in Singapore is much cheaper than in Indonesia and generate more revenue and profits per base station due to:

1) small land area of Singapore
2) the density of the subscribers
3) the sophistication of the subscribers and the revenue generated through the services they use
4) the easy availability and accessibility of sites to install the base stations
5) the non-existence of legal challenges to the locations of the sites
6) far superior existing infrastructure to support the wireless network

Therefore, Singaporeans should be paying lesser than what the Indonesians are paying per sms.

This is because the victims of overcharging and monopolistic behaviour in Singapore is ultimately the Singaporeans.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Something to ponder...

Catherine Lim's thoughts on Singapore's politics:

A climate of fear that stops citizens from speaking out against the government could eventually lead to the decline of Singapore, novelist Catherine Lim says.

Lim, Singapore's best-known writer, praised the government for its economic achievements but said its Achilles' heel could be its suppression of criticism, such as defamation suits against opposition politicians and bans on protests.

"A compliant, fearful population that has never learnt to be politically savvy could spell the doom of Singapore," Lim told Reuters in an interview.

Lim, 65, is one of few dissident voices in Singapore and has criticised the government in opinion pieces in the local press.

But her latest article, an open letter to the prime minister in which she pleaded for a political opening up, was rejected. She has posted it on her website

She said the worst-case scenario would be for a future leader to get away with corruption "because of the ingrained, unquestioning trust of a fearful, overly dependent people".

Another factor is that the current generation of young people are exposed to views from around the world and discussion on political freedoms on the internet, she said. Her latest article has generated a string of comments in Singapore's active political blogging community.

"You could have a case of younger Singaporeans creating unrest because they do not have an outlet," she said.

Lim also argues that the tight political control could hurt Singapore's aim of attracting the talent needed to retool its economy from manufacturing to a hub for research and services.

"What Singapore wants is managed creativity. So not only would those really creative people not want to come, but those who are here want to get out," she said.

Lim, whose works include The Bondmaid, said Singaporeans had been conditioned to believe that material prosperity and messy politics were mutually exclusive, but she pointed to Scandinavia as evidence that this is not the case.

"Singapore needs to develop our own model of political freedom and Singapore has the maturity, expertise and institutions to move forward," she said.

Lim's thesis is that the Singapore government has instead made "systematic use of fear" to silence dissident voices, through "out-of-bounds markers" to stipulate what Singaporeans can and cannot say should they choose to criticise the government.

She points to examples of people not voting for opposition parties for fear of losing their homes, promotions or jobs, and defamation lawsuits that can result in permanent financial ruin.

Singapore's leaders have filed and won numerous libel suits against opposition politicians and foreign media organisations, saying this is necessary to protect their reputations.

The Home Affairs Ministry did not respond to a Reuters request for comment on Lim's statement.

In a 2005 newspaper interview, Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng denied that there was a climate of fear in Singapore, and said that its citizens had spoken up at public forums without reprisals.

The People's Action Party has ruled Singapore since it separated from Malaysia in 1965, shunning what it has termed "Western-style" adversarial politics.

The city-state's founding father, Lee Kuan Yew, still holds an influential position in the cabinet of his son, current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

"The Lee Kuan Yew model was superb for its time. But it may collapse, not immediately, but 20 years down the road," Lim said.

In recent years, Singapore has attempted to shed its conservative image and tried to generate "buzz" by introducing casinos, promoting its arts and education scene, and hosting a Formula One race next year.

In October, the city-state legalised oral and anal sex between consenting adults, although it kept a ban on gay sex, after a rare debate on the issue in parliament.

"They seem to have drawn a line when it comes to opening up politically, and that to me is dangerous," Lim said.

But Lim said she does not intend to enter the political sphere to push for the changes she advocates.

"I like my independence," she said with a laugh.

"It's okay to be an armchair critic."

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

More on taxi fares...

A day after ComfortDelGro announced their taxi fare changes, other taxi companies have taken the first step to adjust their meters too.

Smart Taxis, with 800 vehicles, is aligning its new fare structure with that of the market leader. Besides raising meter fares, Smart said it would triple the city area surcharge and impose a 35-per-cent peak period premium to replace the flat surcharge.

I suppose the rest of the other companies will do so gradually, that is to follow the leader. the dilemma they face will be: Lower the price, and a passenger may still not bother to wait for that particular taxi to arrive; raise the flagdown fare but keep surcharges lower, and passengers may boycott these taxis. Therefore, the possibility of everyone following the leader is very high.

I have to say that I'm a rather frequent taxi-commuter especially so for the wet weather nowadays. With all these changes, I really got to think twice before flagging for one...

And if everyone starts to think like I do, is it true that the businesses of these taxi drivers are going to be even worse and hence has the problem been solved?

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Latest taxi charges for Comfort Delgro

"ComfortDelgro overhauls taxi fare charges"....

I read on, below are the new changes that Comfort is offering to its commuters:

1) Current flag-down rate, $2.50 increases to $2.80

2) Current $0.20/ 385 metres for every first 10 km adjusted to $0.20/ 330 metres for 10 km and beyond

3) $0.20 jump per 45 secs waiting time

4) Current CDB surcharge of $1 increases to $3

5) Current $2 surcharge during peak hours will be replaced by 35% increase on metered fare

6) Current midnight to 6am staggered charges will be replaced by 50% increase on metered fare

7) Current peak-hour booking fee of $4 to decrease to $3.50

8) Non-peak hour booking fee remain the same at $2.50

Monday, 10 December 2007

Manila's new rule


MANILA: Manila authorities have banned Christmas carol singers from the streets for safety reasons and warned on Sunday they would round up any who flouted the new rule.

Bayani Fernando, who chairs the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, which overseas traffic and road safety, said the ban would take effect on Monday and was due to concerns about road traffic.

"The plan, controversial as it might be, is not done out of whim but rather for the safety of the children and the motorists," he said.

Singers, including children from surrounding slums, have been converging on major Manila street intersections, knocking on vehicle windows for cash while carolling.

Last year, a child was killed when he was run over by a speeding truck.

Fernando said groups of carol singers would still be able to go from house to house in suburban areas where they would not affect road traffic.

"What we are against are those who dart across thoroughfares knocking on vehicle windows to beg for alms since this is a sure way to get maimed or killed," he said on radio in response to criticism.

He urged people "not to give alms" to street children and singers, saying doing so encourage them to stay on the streets where they were in danger. "Let us just give to charitable institutions which can help more."

Fernando said those rounded up would be handed over to the social welfare department.

The Philippines is Asia's bastion of Roman Catholicism, with more than 80 percent of its 87 million belonging to that faith.

It also celebrates arguably the world's longest Christmas season, starting officially on December 16 with dawn masses.

Friday, 7 December 2007

My Niece - Shirui,诗蕊

My sister had given birth to a lovely baby girl, Shirui on 6th Dec 6am plus.... I wanted to rush down to the hospital to carry my 1-day old niece, but when I saw her, I was too scared to do so.

She looked so delicate and fragile, I'm afraid that I will hurt her.... hence I never did carry her :(

At birth: 3kg, 48cm (more on Shirui)

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Support Al Gore

Al Gore will be going to Bali, Indonesia to address the UN Climate Change Conference.

I've signed an important petition showing I support his important call for a visionary treaty to address the climate crisis. I hope you will too.

Please sign the petition today. Click here.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Had read the article below from

I was caught by the headlines but it was the spelling and punctuation mistakes that got me thinking.... this is not any personal blogs, etc... Was there no one to do proof-reading before posting it up?

Mistakes are highlighted in 'RED'.

3-room HDB flat goes for $380,000

A 27-year-old three-room Housing Board flat in Upper Corss (wrong spelling) Street was sold for $382,000 last month - some $100,000 above valuation.

That same month, a 31-year-old unit at Marine Drive was sold for $350,000 - about $75,000 above valuation, according to a report in The New Paper on Tuesday. The owner had bought it for $250,000 about five years ago, and forked out another $70,000for renovation.

The unit, with a sea-view is on the ninth floor of a 13-storey block.

The buyer, who was downgrading from a private property, bought it as her retirement home (no full stop)

Industry watchers said they are believed to have set a record for three-room HDB prices here, and are more expensive than many five-room flats in the market.

For comparison, a five-room flat of about 31 years old in central Toa Payoh was sold for $337,000 in November.

PropNex's chief executive (should 'Chief Executive' starts with Capital letters because it is a title?) Mohamed Ismail told The New Paper that these prices are even higher than those sold during the property peak in the mid-1990s.

Generally, prices of three-room flats rarely fetch more than $300,000, he said, but added that the new record-breaking prices are not a benchmark of the entire and are "an anomaly." (full stop should come after the ")

Last month, two five-room flats in Marine Parade were sold at record breaking prices of $750,888 and $730,000.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Another public transport fare hike!

This is infuriating!

The surcharge had only just been passed and now they are asking for increased in flag-down fare and faster meter!

I'm simply at a loss of words! I don't know what had become of our country! Our inflation is going to hit sky-high!

"My monthly income of $1500 gross, is only left with $100++ every month after deducting all charges and bills," a woman in her mid-40s was complaining to me during last week's Hammer sales at Clementi.

"Do you know that both my wife and I dread opening the letter box? Every time when you open, its a bill, mountain of bills, money to be paid!" , said my neighbour.

Papers had been reporting that pay increase this year was seen the highest in percentage, but is it true for all? Especially the more needy ones?

I wonder how many more educated and doing fine people will be leaving Singapore....

From Taxi fares likely to go up soon

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Thank you for visiting