Friday, 27 June 2008

Opposition would ruin Singapore

Yes, that's what MM Lee said at an International Forum. (Report)

It says - Lee, 84, warned Singapore voters against putting the opposition at the helm of government "in a moment of fickleness or just sheer madness" when they get "bored" at some point in the future.

'Bored'? Yes, Singaporeans are bored with the government having to decide everything for them. The government is helping them to manage money (CPF, CPF Life, Means Testing, etc), life (take only public transport otherwise incur ERP, have more babies, etc). Hence, one has nothing much to do and will turn bored.

"When you are Singapore and your existence depends on performance -- extraordinary performance, better than your competitors -- but that performance disappears because the system on which it is based is eroded, then you've lost everything."

Haha! Exactly! I cannot help but was reminded of the extraordinary performance of our security officers at The Budget Terminal which lead to a 61-year old retiree boarding a plane using his son's passport :)

Singapore's small opposition has only two seats in a parliament dominated by the People's Action Party which has been elected since 1959.

Please be reminded that PAP was once an Opposition too before it took power in 1959. Everyone must start somewhere, the same for everything or as a matter of fact any Political Party. If the people of Singapore back then had not taken the first step to vote for this opposition, would PAP had come this far?

Isn't Singapore a city of possibility? What happen to this slogan that was used for last year's National Day?

He said one ingredient for a country's success is putting able leaders in government.

If we can have able leaders in Opposition why can't we have them in government? And if these 'able leaders' were not put to the test, on the job, how would one know if they are capable a not? I would like to stress again, Singapore is a city of possibilities...

Overheard this conversation between two stall-holders while selling 'hammer' newsletter two weeks ago:

Stall-holder 1, " To date, the government of Singapore has done a not too bad job BUT its the way they force policies onto us that I buay tahan!"

Stall-holder 2, " Yes, for example the GST. They want to impose they impose, never thought of us!"

Because of the above, it is important for Singapore to have a robust ‘check and balance’ system to ensure that our system make decisions that should be thoroughly debated on. Hence , voting in of Opposition parties is essential!

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Ok, our fault again...

Passport blunders leave S'poreans stranded
By Jessica Lim

SINGAPOREANS are a negligent lot when it comes to passports, travel agents told The Straits Times on Wednesday.

It is not common for travellers to make a mad dash to the airport with the wrong passport, some said, but added that,more often, they show up at the airport with expired passports or without the required visas.

Some forget their passports altogether.

Travel agencies contacted by The Straits Times say they make it a practice to call travellers before their flights with reminders to pack their passports and check that everything is in order.

Despite this, one in 10 will goof up every month.

At least one travel agency, Hong Thai Travel, has briefed its employees to be more vigilant about passports following an incident on Monday in which a 61-year-old retiree cleared all checks at Changi Airport's Budget Terminal after having mistakenly taken his son's passport.

He realised the error during his flight to Ho Chi Minh City.

Upon arrival and informing the Vietnamese authorities, he was immediately put on a return flight here.

Agents said passengers without travel papers in order inconvenience others. Some cause flight delays; a number miss their flights altogether.

Errmmmm...yes, its again our fault, Singaporeans, you are careless, negligent!

To the 61 year old retiree; its your fault that you got through all four security barriers and eventually reached Vietnam using your son's passport.

Of course, its his fault for not checking his passport but allowing him to go through every security check-point also his fault?

When Mas Selamat escaped, Singaporeans, you were complacent and now of course you are negligent.

So it seems that any blunder that is made embarrassing enough for the country, the blame will be shifted to us, the people of the country.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Ahhhhhhh!!! Like that also can?

Yes, Dad managed to get through check-in counter, security check, immigration clearance and board a plane, by using son's passport!!!

This has to be the greatest joke! We are made laughing-stock again and people are laughing at us...OMG! I can imagine the look the Vietnamese custom officers had on their faces when the Singaporean man informed them about the mistake upon reaching Vietnam.

How could this happen? (Read report)

I was like what WKS said, flabbergasted, when I read the report. Just about 2 weeks ago, two detainees made an attempt to escape while being lock-up at Subordinate Court.

To me, its the 5th time mistakes as such had happened.

1st mistake: Took Leng Ho's escape.

2nd: Tan Chor Jin, escaped using fake passport

3rd: Escape of Mas Selamat, who is still not found.

4th: Attempted escape by two detainees.

5th: Case of passport mix-up at Budget Terminal.

What could have caused this mistake?

Budget Terminal; budget expenses hence duty officers have to work long hours therefore are not able to stay alert while on duty? But all of them????

From the officer at the check-in counter to the Police officer at the passenger restricted area and of course the Immigration officer who instead of finding out what was wrong, signaled the passenger to the manual clearance queue and lastly the immigration officer who check and allowed him to board the plane. All of them were tired?

This mistake brought about fear in the people of Singapore. With this type of world-class security, we can still make mistakes like that. If someone holding onto a wrong passport can leave the country, I suppose whoever is holding onto a fake passport can enter as well.

Or what if the above officers could had actually let in a terrorist who had got ill intentions, remember 911? This thought is indeed fearsome!

I understand 'To err is human', but 5 times?

Related Link: WKS 's reply

Sunday, 22 June 2008

What's going to become of our children?

I made a trip to JB yesterday with my parents for as usual seafood and foot reflexology :) We made our way there by a private-operated bus from Queen Street. The whole journey was a breeze until we reached the former 'Woodlands Point'. The lane on our left was forming a queue so long that the drivers were coming out from their vehicles for toilet breaks as well as a quick puff. That lane is for the trucks, trucks that were probably making deliveries of food, etc. Fortunately the buses were travelling in a bus lane hence not affected at all.

When it was time for dinner, we headed to Taman Tebrau Pasar for makan. While we were waiting for our food to arrive, besides the usual Chinese Nationals walking around to sell pirated DVDs, this time I saw something different.

There were groups of students in 3s, consisting of mainly gals walking around from table to table in their school uniforms. One of them will carry a donation tin and another held onto a plate of 'Rojak' while the third one looked on.

I wondered what was going on but it does not take me too long to find out, soon they were at our table. The children were raising money for the less fortunate children in Malaysia. That explains the donation tin but what about the plate of 'Rojak'?

The 3rd girl who had nothing on her hands went on to explain that, I can make any amount of donation I want to, in return I will have that plate of 'Rojak' her friend is holding onto. In other words, its for me to judge how much that plate of 'Rojak' its worth and I can donate accordingly.

I was amazed by the childrens' creativity. I had seen many donation drives organised by schools in Singapore but nothing like this type of creativity. Guess what? The 'Rojak' were made by the students themselves. I can see that they had a made-shift stall and 2 students were making 'Rojak' and one can see that people are queuing up to buy it. All sales proceeds will be donated.

On top of that, paper plates were used instead of styrofoam. The students will then collect the used plates and put them into a box, labelled ' To recycle, please do not throw'.

I gave the girls a RM$10 note which is about S$4.20... normally when I make coins donations in Singapore it will not exceed a dollar. But this time its different I can feel their sincerity. The 'Rojak' of course did not taste excellent in fact is was a bit wet which I suppose the girls had been carrying it with them for quite a while. But who cares!

When we see Singapore students going onto the streets to ask for donations were they made to do so or they wanted to do so? Why students who participated in such donation drive were not involved in coming up with ideas on how to get people to donate? Were they not given the chance to do so? They just had to do as they were told to? Or this was the best idea that they can come up with?

I do see some students coming up with balloons for children in exchange for a donation other than the usual stickers. But balloons are only for this case, its 'Rojak', which is suitable for people of all ages. I have to say its an excellent idea!

Our students nowadays are confined to only studies and more studies as Singapore had become quite a 'paper-oriented' society. Parents are loading children with more work and activities such as tuition, speech & drama classes, ballet, piano, taek-wondo, judo, swimming, computer classes and the latest I heard was yoga classes too. I can understand that as parents they want to give the best to their children. However, as children they still need to play.

Long gone were the days where children were playing games such as hop-scotch, zero-point, five- stones marbles, playgrounds, catching, hide-and-seek, etc. I missed the days where we would eat 'ding-dang' candy and the boys will catch spiders and climb trees. I bet our children nowadays will never get to experience anything as such.

I remembered having read an article on Straits Times Forum.. The lady who wrote in was hoping that the playgrounds like the ones she saw during her childhood days will be preserved and not replaced (eg: Those with the dragon head). Even finding a picture of this playground on the internet took me quite some time and I still cannot find it :(

The other day I happened to be waiting for a friend at theplayground near my place, I was saddened by what I heard....

"Mummy, its boring and hot here, can we go home so that I can switch on the air-con in the room and carry on with my online game?", a boy who looks barely 7 years old said this to his mum.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

New Look!

Yes, if you had been observant, 'The Itch To Write' had sported a new look :)

Well, I got a bit tired with the old layout and decided to do a re-vamp over the weekend.

Hahaha! I don't know when the next re-vamp will come, probably after I got sick of this layout!

I do hope that visitors to my blog like what they are seeing :)

Saturday, 7 June 2008

YouthQuake - A Transportation Road Map by Youth in Singapore

WPYW YouthQuake 2 is again successfully done :)

In the group of audience we have people such as Goh Meng Seng and Alex Au. It could be due to the topic as its something everyone can relate to, the crowd was very engaging and spontaneous!

This time the photographer is not the one we had for YQ 1 as he is not in town hence the photographer this time is me :) hahaha! I'm definitely not as good as the previous one (I had received a fair bit of comments that the pictures taken previously was well-done) but nevertheless here are some of the pictures:

Look out for a write-up on YouthQuake 2 on the YW website!

Its up, here.

Or catch up with the report from TOC first :)

Friday, 6 June 2008

Simple analogy on how tax-reduction are not helping the poor

For those who understand, no explaination is needed. For those who do not understand, no explaination is possible!

Let's put tax cuts in terms everyone can understand.

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this: (Note: below its just an illustration, actual tax percentage is not used)

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.

The fifth would pay $1.

The sixth would pay $3.

The seventh would pay $7.

The eighth would pay $12.

The ninth would pay $18.

The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with thearrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. "Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of yourdaily beer by $20."Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so thefirst four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But whatabout the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the$20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?' They realizedthat $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that fromeverybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.

So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's billby roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).

The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).

The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).

The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).

The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).

The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to comparetheir savings.

"I only got a dollar out of the $20,"declared the sixth man. He pointed tothe tenth man," but he got $10!"

"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too.It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!"

"That's true!!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!"

"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"

And that is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Congratulations to Obama! Kudos to Hillary too

Finally after a long 17 month campaign, Obama became the first black nominated for President.

Both Obama and Hillary had been through what is believed to be the most fought battle :)

Both did remarkably well, they truly understood the spirit and character when it comes to fighting in politics. Both of them spoke with so much charisma and flair, I was so deeply touched affected by their speeches.

This is what our leaders lack, at least to me. How many of our Minsters had actually fought and achieved what they have today? Did they fight to win that GRC when most of them were walk-overs?

Whenever I see, not all but some of them speaking on National TV, I cannot help but felt that it was read off from a script. The delivery of speeches were disappointing and not convincing. A good speech should be one that makes people involved and hungry for more. Sad to say, I don't have that experience at all.

Gone were people like Goh Keng Swee, Chia Thye Poh, Lim Chin Siong, etc, who really fought and made what Singapore is today. I don't deny that Lee Kuan Yew has a part to play in the success of Singapore however, we must not forget the rest who made it possible. LKY cannot be the only who did it! He is no Superman!

The question now is, how is Singapore going to maintain and continue to prosper under our current leaders who have got no or minimal fighting experiences? A country whereby as long as you are academically inclined, you can lead, is this right? Is this the kind of leader qualities that we are looking at?

I'm aware that this post was written in a pretty disorganised thoughts were all over the place. Well, that's what a blog is all about, isn't? You pen down what you feel and just let your thoughts flow :)

Back to Obama :) Related links:

Obama makes history, clinches Democratic nomination

'America, this is our time,' vows victorious Obama

Ecstatic supporters celebrate Obama's historic victory
Thank you for visiting