Thursday, August 25, 2016

Closest star harbors an exoplanet.

This is so exciting. So near and yet so far. I had often thought we would need to journey much longer distances to see a possible earth like planet. Didn't think that our next closest star to our Sun, Proxima Centauri has a possible candidate.

Perhaps the galaxies are teeming with planets and more than there are people on earth!

See article.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

SR Nathan: Multimillionaire President I never knew

Two minutes after Today broke the news on Facebook my tablet beeped. Why did I think he was well and good, at home in his house which I sometimes drove by? Only the breaking news reminded that he was hospitalized at SGH. I didn't even remember Joseph Schooling visit him. Now it dawned on me he is someone to know personally and not at a distance. When he was President many of those who do not know him felt he was over paid for the work he did. Now I bet as the media and those who knew him tell their stories of their relationships and encounters with him, folks will know it was never the money.

SR Nathan was to Singapore what Shimon Peres is to Israel isn't it? I don't know, this is only my starting point for getting to know him. What a shame I do not know my President but I think I would over the next few days. Rest in peace Mr. SR Nathan.

No personality cults or myths making here. The stories emerge only after they are gone.

Update: Aug 23 12:55pm

I have hoped someone will offer this photo which I vividly remember and I didn't have to wait long :-)

Update: Aug 23 9:25pm

Another special one popped up and also a re-acquaintance with this word, "sui generis"

See the full tribute here.

Update: Aug 23 9:40 pm

Just stumbled upon this, an email from our consulate when we were living in Dubai. We didn't manage to go in the end but I heard from other Singaporeans who were there the President was very tired and didn't spend much time with them.

Monday, August 22, 2016

PM gave us a scare

Last night the PM gave us a real scare. On the minds of many our initial reaction must have been associating what was developing with what Heng Swee Keat went through a few months back. But the PM sprung back on his feet after some rest. We were very lucky.

I don't buy Tharman and his colleagues explanation of the PM's condition. Just look across the world to America. Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are all older. The rigors of campaigning to be President is worse than any political office here. No trite excuses. This is nothing less than a shot across the bow for us not to take things for granted.

What is the difference between LHL and the other names? It is the many years he has toiled. Look at what eight years have done to Obama. Another four more years were that possible would be ill advised. This job takes a lot out of a person.

We have been put on notice.

Because she is one of ours

I wanted to write about this two days ago. I remember the Singaporean doctors who saved her. I have never met them and like most I only followed the story from the media. These doctors went out of their way to bring her back to SGH for only one simple reason: She is one of ours!

Now Megan Loy is paying if forward by training to be a doctor.

This is beautiful. She has such wonderful parents too.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Food: Joseph Schooling gets it

It is the food silly! Food is very serious business and I am just glad Joseph Schooling understood and shared that. His choice: dark sauce carrot cake is personal but the concept is completely Singaporean. Our identity begins and evolves from here and I hope one day we have our version of  Thanksgiving Day as well.

If you understand anthropology, religion and culture then you know it begins here. For ancient civilization it is their bread, the sustainer of life. We are modern and our choice is diverse.

Even Jesus said, "I am the bread of life"

Do not underestimate food even from me who basically eat to live and do not even bother to celebrate Chinese New Year ever since my parents passed away.

Excellent shot Seah Kwang Peng.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Law of contempt remains largely the same?

Law on contempt remains largely the same? Perhaps it is if you are lawyer but to the rest of us who has no time and must look at this briefly and be completely practical about it, day has become night. How so? Because we do not know what we can or cannot do. There are definitely somethings we could but now we can't. So people will play it safe and Lee Wei Ling would be right that this has the effect of muzzling public discourse. We did not vote in a government to make the job easier but to be principled and do things right.

For a few years I did not understand why the AG could not take AHTC or formerly AHPETC to court only to recently discover it had everything to do with how the town council act was drafted and passed into law. Those few years I thought the PAP was simply politicizing the whole issue. It wasn't. As political communicators the PAP has much to learn and improve.

Now I need to find the time to go and read in the original what did Dr. Lee exactly say. Guess I trust her more than the Law Minister. She isn't a lawyer but I trust like her late father her heart is completely dedicated to Singapore. The other ministers I sometimes wonder what is their price. Staying in power at all costs? Party above nation?

Update: 10:50 pm

This might be helpful sometime but it also looks like common sense. I never had the urge to treat the courts with contempt ever.

Here is what is or isn't contempt of court

Looks like Donald Trump would be in contempt if he lives here and behave the way he did against the Hispanic judge presiding over the case brought against him.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Joseph Schooling victory parade

The young athlete conduct was exemplary. He has done Singapore proud like no other athlete ever has. Sports is big these days and so if you score big it is nothing less than huge. It is quite a feat to bag gold with three others runner ups and one of them was Michael Phelps to boot. There is not likely to another Olympian like Phelps for sports just like we have not seen the likes of another Einstein in science.

As I watched and enjoyed the celebration over Joseph Schooling's achievement, I noticed the young fellow never let it go to his head. On the other hand I am starting to worry about ourselves. Have we gone overboard with all these? It is becoming like organizations coming out to out do each other extolling our first gold medalist Olympian. I just saw the photo above and I pointed out to my daughter that this is beginning to look like a victorious Roman general just saved the Empire and is returning to a victory parade!

If you were an American gold medalist Olympian even of  Michael Phelps class you still have your life but Joseph Schooling just unwittingly sold himself to Singapore. This is a very heavy burden on the shoulder of a young man. They better support him very well for the 2020 Olympics. The pressure to do even better would be tremendous and much greater than getting his (should say our) first gold.

I hope we never see war but if are unfortunate to have to fight for our survival, would the returning victorious commander be feted this way as well? Something tell me he/she won't be. Yes, why should the commander necessarily be a man?

Let joy overflow and celebrate for the rest of this week but I think it is important to have a sense of proportion as well.

I think it is a matter of time we will also achieve our first Science Nobel Prize. How would we celebrate that?

Joseph Schooling has shown us that it is possible for this tiny red dot to reach for the stars. Well remember the first ones to reach there but not much heralded were actually our founding fathers who created the socio-political platform to make this and more possible. And we never gave them a victory parade.

Update: Aug 16 11:20 am

Well said! Always prefer others to say it for me. Saves me a lot of time! See article.

But having said so a bureaucracy can never good parents to anyone. So don't try to be but be an enabler. Be more noble and shake that glass is half empty attitude, worse that the grass is greener next door.

Update: Aug 16 10:35 pm

Good article on this topic in the ST today.

Financially for many it is a struggle. The failure rate is very high. Nobody do this for the money but the passion and glory. Compared to the Americans, our athletes are very fortunate.