Thursday, July 31, 2014

SQ profit plunge

When I saw this in the ST paper early this morning, I told myself as long as they have to watch the share price and restructure the company in ways short term and money minded investors cannot understand, they are better off taking the company private. SQ needs a complete rethink. One of its key competitor Emirates isn't a listed entity. They can indulge in funny numbers but most important have lots of flexibility to act boldly and long term. Furthermore Dubai is investing till kingdom come to turn itself into a world class destination. We can't do the same for SQ.

But the most important factor for SQ under performance isn't the harsh business environment but its cautious and fearful leadership. They have become more at home with running after trends than setting them. It is no longer the airline that other airlines talk about. It lacks imagination to invent the future and cannot be the industry leader.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Swapped the Draco Set Top Box

Finally I brought the failed Draco set top box to the agent today at Kallang Pudding road. Never liked going there because it is often hard to find parking but I was fortunate today.

There is not much customer service but who cares as long as the problem is solved. She gave me a new box.

I asked her what does, "ASH" status means. She didn't know. I told her Google returned nothing useful but she didn't seem interested.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Grossly underestimating Chen Show Mao

I had suggested in several posts previously that many people are misjudging and underestimating Chen Show Mao. As usual those who know almost nothing abut the man were generous to offer their jaundiced opinions. I also do not know him but I put in the effort to think more deeply and arrange the far flung pieces together to obtain a better picture.

What a monster: Asus ZenFone 6

What have I done? I collected this monster size Asus ZenFone 6 yesterday and had spent much of the weekend setting it up. Phones have become like PCs.

Because it is narrower than the Kindle, it will still slip easily into my pocket. Helps a lot that they make them so slim now.

I didn't want to wait for the Note 4. It would probably have many features I don't need or want judging from how they have built the S5. At $299 (purchased online) I would already be happy if this phone is good for a year.

I like two things about this phone. Its camera is notieably superior to the S3 and it is big enough to read my ebooks without taking away from the Kindle experience. In fact, I am beginning to wonder if the Kindle is obsolete for me. I often find myself reading a book with my S3 instead of the Kindle because I didn't have it with me. Those times I brought along my Kindle, I mostly didn't have the chance to use it.

Nevertheless the Paperwhite ebook software is superior to the Kindle app for Windows, Android and iOS. When I need to survey a book, the Paperwhite is unbeatable.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hong Lim Park event for Gaza

I suppose most of us didn't know an event protesting the killing of civilians especially children by the IDF was held as Hong Lim Park yesterday by From Singapore to Palestine (FS2P). In fact this is the first time I have heard about this group.

According to the ST the event attracted a few hundred people. I could tell from photos that they were many Malays Muslims. After all the Gazans are mostly Muslims too.

Israel has reduced an unimaginably complex issue for us into very simple black and white terms. If you kill children, so young that they can't even tell between right and wrong so that Israel might feel secure, Israelis have to ask themselves if living has any meaning left. What is the difference between killing them and eating them in order to live? This is evil. Keep this up, you can win every battle but eventually you will lose the war and if God does not protect you, Israel would be wiped out.

Do you think killing more Hamas members will cause them to give up? Israel is not fighting militants but an idea which will not die. Even if you could kill all Palestinians, a crime of genocide tantamount to the Holocaust, Israel would not survive either. It would simply just be mutually assured destruction.

Seek peace, the price everyone is paying now is so high and will get higher that even life is too cheap. And if you don't survive in the end, what use is achieving peace through killing people?

Israel has learned nothing from the Holocaust.

The conundrum is the moment the IDF stop killing children, a simple issue immediately becomes horribly complex again. But you simply can't be killing kids. Courage and character must win over bravery and strength. Love must overcome hatred.

Update: 11:15 am

So Hamas hit the UN school killing the fifteen children and not the IDF? What does it matter? Some common sense is in order here. Just like in a heavy downpour you cannot avoid getting wet, so if you fight each other in a city crowded with civilians, people get killed. If your starting premise is wrong, everything that flows from it will also be wrong.

This is the sort of bankrupt thinking that leads only to misery and senseless suffering.

Update: 3:00pm

Not by any shot am I conceited enough to suggest that this general agrees with me, rather it is the other way round. He gets it! I think this company is also growing rapidly and I hope Israel wake up its stupid idea and stop their flawed invasion.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Bought Asus ZenFone 6 Online

Ordered this online at the Asus shop this afternoon after playing with one at Funan Centre today.

Almost two years ago when I bought the Galaxy S3, I thought I would henceforth only go for the latest smart phones. But in this short time, the technology and design of these phones have practically reached its practical limits of useful innovation. I feel that a mid range phone with a good camera is good enough for me. What I am really looking for next is a phone camera which comes with optical zoom. A Singapore start-up Dyna Optics is working hard on this.

Asus promised to deliver the phone within 24 hours of placing the order. I didn't believe them because this is the weekend and Monday is a public holiday.

I am happy to be wrong. At dinner this evening the courier smsed me that they will deliver the phone tomorrow morning!

Bought Martian Notifier

Was trying to buy two of these this afternoon but ended up with only one because elder girl was too skinny to wear this properly. Just as well, the younger one is way keener on such gadgets.....I think she has nearly got it all set up already. I can see she is clearly enjoying it very much.

Paid $189.05 at Challenger for it.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

BRICs Bank: Envy and Inferiority Complex

Read this two days ago but no time to pen my quick thoughts.

BRIC and many developing countries continue to do well economically but their global influence do not reflect their wealth. Often they look like children before the age of maturity that cannot be allowed to put their hands into the trust fund they had earned. They are not waiting and there is some degree of truth that they will not get the keys to their own money and voting rights in the international arena unless they fight for them. So when you can't get your voting rights up in the IMF and World Bank, you make your own Bank. This is a very long road. Really, so what if you have lots of money stashed in reserves when money is cheap and getting cheaper. It is the wealth producing capabilities, influence and power of your society that matters. Who cares how much your money buys tomorrow? Can you produce and sell, especially name the price too now and tomorrow which really matter.

The West can be heavily indebted but oddly they much much are richer. This is absurd but true! Gotta learn how to count all over again eh?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

PSC scholars changing profile

I see a young 19 year old Loh Jia Wei on a wheel chair. She is going to read Law in Oxford come October on a PSC scholarship.

PSC this year also have many scholars including two from Temasek Poly that are not from RI and HCI. PSC is walking their talk on how they are selecting scholars.

I had discouraged my girl from applying for the PSC scholarship and I am hardly alone when I talked to other parents. But they are moving in the right direction and hopefully more families will no longer think like me and my friends.

DPM Teo admitted that bringing in good people into public is more challenging now. My response is that is what happen when the government is only the top boy in a class of failing governments. The best wants to sign up with the best, and I mean the global best. A friend's son could have taken a PSC scholarship but today he is going to join Bridgewater Associates come October. He is just too many PSC had failed every year to attract.

Vinyls: Did it say, "I will be back?"

Who ever expected this? Vinyl is making its way back! I bet once the trend is with us there are no shortage of experts explaining why it happened but none was able to predict this. Likewise I have also by and large given up divining the next fad. 99.9% of the time it is too hard. Hear how it had also perplexed Indra Nooyi of Pepsco.

Very very few are able to find and bet on the next winner.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

MH17 disaster: The Propaganda War

The first casualty in a war is truth.

Emotionally I have felt the Russians were guilty of shooting down MH17 but there is no solid evidence to go by except American claims that they do. The right thing to do is to wait for the evidence to be produced. After a bruising lesson of the Americans coming out empty handed for Saddam Hussein's WMD, I have had enough. Show me the evidence first.

So the West fired the first salvo in this propaganda war with Australia's PM Tony Abbott using a bazooka right into the cavern of the UN Security Council. I waited for the Russians to respond and didn't want to commit to any post regarding who dunnit on this blog. The fog of war eh.

I don't have time to collect every piece of information I come across but this is a good proxy of what is going on.

There are countless such tweets circulating with damning remarks of the separatists like the example above which I went to Google to pick up.

But what is the truth? See this video of what really happened. It was nothing like what was purported and going viral.

Well this isn't the disreputable Fox but better ABC News. Note how they describe the picture: Pro-Russian Militants Pick Through Debris at Jet Crash Site

No wonder the French is going ahead with selling those Mistral Class warships to the Russians.

Time will uncover the truth for us. We just need to be patient. What I am seeing all over the place is people looking for pieces of information to support their prejudices. Unfortunately people simply love to persist in their errors. If only they could place bets and lose like in the markets, they might learn faster. We really need to learn.

Monday, July 21, 2014

NTU freshmen orientation camp: Poor Safety Culture

If my memory serves me well, every year there is something unflattering about these university orientation camps making its way to the media.

To me, many of the organizers are inexperienced and also incompetent young adults taking risks they don't understand. They were lucky, someone could have died. In this case one would have thought having been through NS there would be enough of them who knew better.

This country as I have lamented a few times in earlier posts have no proper mindset about safety. Off hand I remember two incidents out of too many well. One fatality at the OCBC sponsored cycling event last year and another of my friend's kid at another public games.

Of course SIA along with a bunch of safety clueless airlines flew over Ukraine without knowing the risks. Meanwhile I note with admiration how Qantas had months ago avoided overflying the country. I also recall Kim Peek who inspired the movie Rain Man as the autistic savant with a perfect photographic memory fearful of flying would only accept Qantas and no other airline. His research and memory served him well.

Here is an example of Qantas pilots' performance. I wouldn't trust our SQ pilots to be up to this task.

Prabowo urged to lose graciously

I had feared that Prabowo might win because most people hadn't think he had stood any chance at all in the beginning. The guy is no democrat, a wolf in sheep clothing but the system permit anyone to stand for elections.

For a candidate who saw losing is not an option, no wonder he is a sore loser. I wouldn't suggest much less press it; if indeed losing is not an option you should pay with your life for the defeat. Simply those words have no place in a democratic system. Sure, in some other systems you could lose your life if you lose. Surely that is the true meaning of losing is not an option. Had he won, he would try but I think he would fail in the end, to roll back Indonesians political freedoms. Sure happy to see that he had lost.

Kudos to the Indonesians for making the better choice.

For wifey: four scarves, sixteen ways

Wfiey shared this on her page but I bet she can't remember how to do this when she wants to. So I have located the YouTube version and placing it here for her to come back to when she needs them.

Perhaps the elder girl would also find it useful?

Return to Lao Beijing

Saturday lunch saw us back at a Lao Beijing outlet after a very long hiatus measured in years.

Looked like they had positioned themselves down market and  business is not as good as Ichiban Boshi next door.

You could wave to the crew for service if you want to, but they have provided this device too. People adapt to the labor crunch. At Saboten which we go quite often now they use iPad Minis to take your orders.

Watching Kasia from across

A couple of days earlier I had bought the Galaxy Tab S for wifey from this shop. Since then the price had gone down by another $10 to $655.

On Friday night as I stood across from the shop curiously watching how they are doing, two workers from the cleaning crew were doing window shopping.

They spent a long time looking at the display and eventually parked their vehicle and went in. They came out after a short time. I guess they got the info they wanted. Perhaps they will return to buy the phone later?

After they left, I went over to take a look what those two were looking at earlier.

So they were looking at Galaxy S3 mini. It is now going for $288

The beauty of tech toys is the healthy deflation. Eventually everyone can afford a smart phone and plug into each other. This is very important for networking and mobility. Guys like Kasia is playing an important role making them available to price sensitive buyers (which I am one!) sooner.

Guess what? I think Kasia will find and read this blog post.

Friday, July 18, 2014

NLB will not pulp two books

In an earlier post I wrote that I wished and believed those books will not in the end be pulped. What was hoped for has now been delivered. But why did NLB take so long? It was not a difficult decision. I can only speculate the reasons: To uncover as many chauvinist writers as possible. These types do not serve or advance the literary life of our society much less its social discourse.

These irrational writers who are long on their book religion or forms and short on essence and substance have publicly disqualified themselves from writing for our society. I think they are fit to only write for themselves and their small fraternity. No wonder their books do not sell. They rather win book awards and only cared for how they thought of each other. They cared for best writing in their narrow way and paid no heed to be best selling authors unless it was on their terms. This double mind and life have doomed them to commercial failure, which they then blame the market here to be too small. In other words, they never take responsibility for their performance, a topic I had been posting on today.

MH17: what to think?

I can't believe what I was reading last night when I read that a Malaysian passenger plane had crashed in Ukraine in rebel controlled territory. I thought to myself who else can it be except an MH plane. My worst fears were confirmed as news updates arrived. As usual The Daily Mail took a risk and beat others passing off speculation as news, but I get the feeling given the narrow number of possibilities they were probably near the mark: MH17 was downed by a missile.

Why was the airliner flying over airspace known to have been downing military planes I thought? That was just plain reckless and dumb. I had to wait till the morning to learn the dumb reason which came from PM Najib.

The PM claimed MH17 was overflying in airspace sanctioned by international aviation authorities to be safe. Well the results spoke for itself how safe it was.

The problem with the Malaysians is that they still have not learned to take responsibility. Just because experts say so you could transfer the responsibility of safety to them? You and not them were assuming the risk. Running an airline, flying a B777 loaded with passengers you cannot act like typical clueless investors who punt the markets on the advice of experts or authorities. You have to know and be sure.

With this disaster Malaysia Air is finished. They can close shop.

Update: 9:50am

In 2000 on my sister's birthday, I was very angry with the Taiwanese substandard management of their runaway leading to the crash of our 747. But years later when I watched Air Crash Investigation of that tragedy, I concluded it was ultimately SQ and the pilots responsibility to make sure they know they were on the right runway even if the airport authorities had failed to do their part. If the environment had made it difficult to make sure, taking responsibility means you have to find another way to be sure.

When I was younger, I got angry with inconsiderate and reckless motorists on our roads. For sometime now, my attitude has changed and adapted to our more challenging road conditions. When driving I no longer care who is in the right, I just want to avoid an accident.

IATA and ICAO might have suggested it was safe to overfly those territories but all airlines and their pilots must understand the thinking and insight behind the advisory. The mistake will not be borne by the two international organizations but your aircraft and its passengers. Already the separatists have a habit of shooting down Ukrainian military planes and yet red lights weren't flashing?

Of all airlines, Malaysia Air is the single airline that can least afford another disaster. They might put the blame of others and their bad luck but customers will think you are jinxed and avoid you. They will have to start all over to build a new airline with a new name and brand. The Malaysians will discover it is cheaper that way.

Update: 11:25 am

Many airlines decided despite ICAO advice that it is safe to overfly the conflict region, it is best to avoid it altogether. Why didn't Malaysia Airlines also do the same? The company was blindly following experts. They have never learned to look after themselves and their customers first.

Update: 11:45 am

Someone from SQ gotta to explain why was one of the planes also there. Never learn from the incident in Taiwan eh? Throwing caution to the wind? Trying to save money taking a more direct route never mind the risk? If anything goes wrong blame ICAO and IATA?

Look at the stupid remarks from Vivian Balakrishnan. "It could have been anyone of us". How could he think that way!

Update: 12:30 pm

Oh, I would read that SQ was using risky Ukraine airspace which it didn't know was so dangerous until MH17 was shot down and now has been rightly frightened to stay clear of that area? I would have thought like so many airlines you should have stayed far far away from it otherwise it just make a mockery the super safe safety systems of commercial flying! You are as strong as the weakest link isn't it?

Link to CNA report.

Update: 3:45pm

Pro Russian rebels telephone conversation over the shot down MH17. Guilty as hell but had they known it was an MH plane, they might not have targeted it.

The Russians and the separatists have very low operational standards and professionalism.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

LGBT & NLB: Public attitude hardening

In an earlier post I stated that I have no problems with the three children books NLB had removed from our libraries shelves. Now if I were a decision maker in NLB it would be my duty to remove them because many parents simply aren't equipped to show their children the way on such matters. That the kids could help themselves to such books and then see such family types among us is just to frightening to them.

Lawrence Khong must been feeling that God is answering his prayer. Actually he didn't even need to do anything and caused unnecessary unhappiness all around. The LGBT community were digging their own hole to fall into. They were too much in a hurry to gain space and promote themselves. The right strategy was patience and focus on explaining who and what they are to a public which is still largely informed by prejudice against them than knowledge. Fortunately or unfortunately for LGBTs, we are also a very tolerant people which is kind enough to hear out and understand their community. But your mustn't be presumptuous or hurry us. Worse, LGBTs thinking they are on the right side of history took the wrong cue from America and became arrogant.

Events have overtaken us so quickly. I imagined when NLB had these books (including this Archie Married Life series) on its shelves, the public's attitude toward LGBTs was more accommodating. It has now changed for LGBTs because of three children's books at our libraries.

My friend's daughter made a disingenuous remark to her father asking him what's wrong with those books? She pointed out even Simba in the Lion King wasn't brought up in a proper family. So what was the big deal that the books had to be removed? She might have a first class honours degree, but like many well schooled people she had missed the point totally. Fairy tales are fiction and they are escapism and entertainment. The material that had created so much commotion have immediate real life implications at a time when the public is not yet sufficiently educated about LGBT.  Likewise the Da Vinci code by Dan Brown was a complete work of fiction but had such a frightening non-fiction character to it.

The LGBT community had LKY to thank but themselves to blame for the situation they are in today. LKY recognized the unusual number of talented people among them and convinced that people were born homosexual rather than choice decided to accommodate them by not enforcing 377A. I think he was convinced by Prof Richard Florida research and arguments supporting their case in fostering creative cities and he wanted a lot of that for us.

In 2006 BBC and others were surprised that this government permitted Brokeback Mountain to be screened in our cinemas. That was a wonderful opportunity to explain homosexuality issues to the public but it is only a very noticeable step of many missing steps the LGBT community failed to take. Today the community is only good at asserting and almost demanding their rights to equal treatment. This is putting the cart before the horse failing to recognize that the government will cease its supportive attitude because most voters would not come along. When Chan Chun Sing publicly expressed his unhappiness over Goldman Sachs organizing a recruitment event for LGBT, the community failed to understand the writing on the wall.

The LGBT community should never pressure the government. In fact nobody should be so stupid to pressure them unless you have sufficient leverage. It is smarter even if much harder to successfully sell your case to the public first. In the end it is the LGBT community pride and impatience that will lead them to their downfall. Lawrence Khong really didn't need to do a thing. Not even prayer was necessary as his enemies were sowing the seeds for their own disaster. Well given time, it will be recognized as just a severe setback. They can try again later, much later.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

NLB: Judges of Lit Prize resign

Link to Today's article.

I was under the impression that NLB was the sole organizer of the Singapore Literature Prize when the three judges decided to pull out in protest of NLB pulping those pulled children books. I would cut the huge bureaucracy some slack, there is no need to over react. The process that is leading to those three books to be destroyed did not respect or disrespect books. They were just being practical and the process has no embedded value system or any attitude toward books. To me it was just like what ordering a Dell PC online used to be. You just run the process. It is amazing writers impute so much into the action. It gives those of us ordinary citizens who mostly aren't avid readers much less writers a bad impression of them. They are emotional, irrational and even childish.

Now those three judges, and I gotta name them here look even sillier. They are theatre educator T Sasitharan, former journalist Romen Bose and Yale-NUS College Professor Robin Hemley.

NLB is just one of 40 members to the NBDCS.....what were these three thinking?

I think some of these local top writers have caught religion but not found faith. Nobody is burning books for real or metaphorically.

Many years ago before you could easily get portions of the Bible off the Web, I bought a cheap Bible and tore off many pages, cutting away many passages for inserting into my wallet to read because it was impractical to carry the full Bible. I found faith that way but religionists would inexplicably derive some special spiritual quality from a book just because it has pages printed with scripture. I tell you, if your life do not reflect scripture, ceremonial respect for a Bible amount to nothing!

I have absolutely no respect for these three fools because given their credentials and experience they still confuse form with substance and imagine NLB controls the 39 other organizations behind the National Book Development Council of Singapore.

How could they be fools? Tell us what exactly is your agenda?

Got the Samsung Galaxy Tab S

Finally the wait is over. Wifey is very happy I got her the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 this evening (what a mouthful).

Very good price at Kasia: $655, but like anywhere else have to wait till July 26 to pick up the book cover.

Gotta condition the battery overnight and she can set it up tomorrow evening.

Passed Driving Test

Like her parents, the daughter passed her driving test this afternoon on her first attempt.

The driving licence will be mailed to her in about a month's time. Now I have to show her many things driving school didn't teach her, but first, I need to go get the P plate.

It is stressful driving in Singapore.

Archie died saving a gay friend

Archie died saving a gay friend. I am glad they chose a gay theme because a gay person is not less worthy than a straight one. These are the sort of good messages the media and activists should keep sending out. But to expand their space without regard to others who haven't caught up with understanding what it meant to be LGBT, it is only kind and gracious for the LGBTs to be more patient. I can't support their effort to be accepted if their love is confined only to their own kind. Show me you are better than the fundamentalist Christians and Evangelicals or I can't support you.

Now Apple and IBM share a bed

As between states, so is the same with large companies; there are no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.

Apple finally looks to successfully transitioning out of Steve Job's shadow. Were the icon still alive, he would be dreaming and building new products which we didn't know we want. He would never share the same bed with IBM, after all he doesn't need to.

This new relationship with IBM will help Apple successfully differentiate itself from Samsung, as the world wait for the next Steve Job to appear. The only thing we can be sure about this person is that he wouldn't be from Apple but he or she might be homosexual. So to cast a very long line, that is why our government try very hard to welcome and accommodate the LGBT community and at the same time strive to balance it against local sensitivities especially from the Malay Muslims.

And why did Goldman Sachs have a special recruiting event for the LGBTs? Simply the probability of finding talent among them is so much higher. You could do very well looking for talent among Ashkenazi Jews but that's impractical for us.

But at the personal level I find my attitude toward LGBT activism hardening. They are too impatient and mostly only understand selfish love. I am completely turned off by how they reacted to the NLB book pulling controversy.

Social Apps: running out of ideas

Just came from reading parts of this article. I am not interested in Brian Meyer. He is already better off than most tech entrepreneurs who suffer the fate of being ignored. What piqued me is that I may be seeing the first signs of a drought in the social app space first started by Facebook

This space is running out of ideas. There is not even enough space for wannabes that they have to end up creating vulgar apps.

To me people hate Brian Meyer's ReservationHop is because it is yet one more more thing reduced to the level of it goes to whoever can pay. Sure, using price to decide where demand meet supply is great until it isn't. There are goods and services that support social activities that are sacrosanct from money. Not everyone can put words to this but there is something manifestly unfair if you jump queue and paying to get ahead just doesn't feel morally right.

I am glad to see ReservationHop fail and I am hopeful that Brian Meyer richer for the lesson.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Hamas: Consequences of no brains, only hatred

Look like what I am hearing from the car radio and now reading a little is a Hamas that do not have or use any brains because they are so filled with hatred for Israel. I am afraid that hate will in due course completely destroy Hamas.

I am stunned by the number of children deaths from the IAF airstrikes. How could this be unless Hamas had sacrificed them in an attempt to win a propaganda war against Israel. Parents would lay down their lives for their kids. This reminds me of what we saw on TV not long ago about the early days of modern Singapore. There was a school boy who was bleeding from riot police action, but instead of sending him quickly to hospital the Communists and its sympathizers paraded him to stoke as much public anger as possible that in the end he died from massive blood loss. I am not privy to what Hamas had done but I would think they had sacrificed these children. It is an old playbook. No wonder the IAF attacked the homes of Hamas military commanders. They are evil.

Only your brothers in hate will be with you. No wonder Hamas have few friends and they desperately need friends now. Israel has gained the upper hand but to me as an outsider I just don't want to see civilians especially children killed. I don't care whose case has more merit. Just stop the killing of innocents.

If Israel starts a land war against Hamas, would they be deploying non lethal means to minimize casualties? You know, "set weapons to stun". Fighter bombers can't do that but you can do that with hand carried weapons.

Tempered glass screen protector

Pretty pleased with this screen protector I bought for the daughter at one of those box shops yesterday. She told it after pasting it on it feels like touching the original gorilla glass display.

Monday, July 14, 2014

National Council of Problem Gambling: Laugh Last, Laugh Best

When this apparent "boo boo" by the NCPG first appeared and everyone was making fun of them including our friends and enemies abroad, I was tempted to write this is yet another example of clueless civil servants that are out of touch. I refrained from doing so. With my markets background, I sensed this wasn't so simple and I am glad I did.

NCPG gets the last laugh. This was a brilliant move, a message that had gone much further than it was hoped.

The moral of the story is that the gambler eventually loses. It hasn't gotten there yet but the story can be framed to end that way which is not far from the reality for too many gamblers. It can also just stop here too....that's why I timed my post for today.

Now this is truly not a top boy in a class of failure act. It is a world class act. Kudos to NCPG. Make my day! I have long wanted to say good things about my government but they need to give me the excuses to.

We now have two acts, NLB Elaine Ng and this NCPG public message campaign. Can we have some more?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

NLB CEO Elaine Ng responds

The NLB and NParks are my favorite stat boards and I am impressed with NLB chief Elaine Ng's response to the issue of pulling those three books from its shelves. She did not try to reason with you. She grasped the issue is about trust and not really about transparency, which is what is demanded when trust is damaged. Unlike so many senior civil servants and ministers she gets it.

She reaches out to us at the emotional level, without referencing the many happy moments spent at the libraries. She chose the phrases which would evoke personal memories of happy  experiences of library members and partners. She is patient and confident enough to know that now is not the best time to discuss the issue which has become overly emotional. Strategic waiting is the acme of problem solving skill. Those who panic and react are usually the losers.

The rest of government could learn a thing or two from her on how to communicate and connect.

She had shrewdly left the door wide open to welcome those writers back without anybody losing face.

As for the three books, I don't think they will be pulped. As long as they are no longer on the shelves in the children section, that is good enough.

Keeping CL Alive for me

The CL site I visit very often was down since yesterday. It was an unintelligible mess then but now at least it is printing some characters that a CL impaired reader like me could follow. If it gets too hard like that July 7 Zaobao editorial, I would have to use a dictionary add on to help me with some of the characters. Good enough to get by.

Without the Web my CL would have deteriorated further.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

NLB controversy: What thoughtless writers

I can understand the impatience of cause-based groups trying to advance their agenda but not from our writers.

Are they writing for themselves, our society or the global marketplace?

I am sure they write to advance their careers and would love to be global success. On the other hand the local market is too small but often that is the natural market.

Some write for the sake of writing. Such types must balance their love of the craft with a job or business to pay the bills.

To me the best writers give the inchoate emotions of the society they live in form and substance. Alas too many of the writers do not belong to his category. Certainly not those who have decided to quit NLB events.

Not that I care, my post on NLB pulling books of the shelves attracted must less traffic than the popular topics like CPF and cost of living issues. The 'silent' majority has left the job of defending their conservatism to the government. Do not assume their passiveness as agreement. The same mistake Pink Dot is making and will soon discover.

Writers are thought leaders and the least I expect from them is to show us they care for the society they live in. Patience is the hallmark of caring and I am just disappointed how they are just applying pressure to have it their way. Bring society with you instead of leeching off us. If you will not do your part as our diverse voices in an inclusive way you are as foolish as the Barisan Socialis once were to walk out of Parliament. The vacuum you leave behind will be filled by more patient and socially empathetic writers in due time.

Go if you want, you will not be missed. And if I need to read works that are ahead of our social time there are plenty from foreign writers to choose from. I don't need your kind to try to bludgeon us into a future most Singaporeans have no plan YET to end up in. If only you were patient enough to hold our hands to lead and walk slightly ahead of us. Then we would know how to follow.

A Samantha Vegas for wifey

Bought wifey a Sam Vegas handbag yesterday from Isetan at Wisma Atria. Very Japanese looking!

I couldn't get a good picture with the S3 last night. The white balance was just off. Natural light is the best.

Food for Thought @ SBG

Light lunch at Food for Thought at the Botanic Gardens yesterday before hopping over to Gleneagles Hospital.

I had always thought they won't last but it has been years and they are still a going concern. Once I even witnessed a wedding reception there. Yesterday we gave them a try and it was a success.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Zaobao Chinese Parochialism

A few days ago I debated within myself if I should blog about the family sacrifice caused by LKY language policy. It would have helped my kids understand better the communication difficulties my siblings and I had with our parents. We spoke exclusively in Teochew to our parents when we were very young but as we grew up we switched to English and Mandarin was a struggle except for my sister. Higher order communication with my parents were difficult because we didn't have the vocabulary. Our family experience was hardly unique.

When the kids came along, the grand parents tried to pick up Mandarin in order to communicate with them. It was hard work.

This morning I saw the PMO rebuttal to Zaobao editorial on Monday.

The CL version was printed in Zaobao yesterday and here is the July 7 editorial.

I don't read much CL unless visiting Chinese websites. My CL is good enough for that and this editorial.

Many families have paid a high price to be where we are economically. What is water under the bridge, the self appointed guardians of CL at Zaobao, we can't turn back the clock. Moving forward we will resist the government from unnecessary brutal policies especially those that make their job easy and ours hard.  Our MT policy had been hard going for both government and people. LKY walked his talk sweating blood to master CL. I respect him for it and supported the brutal language policy as a result even when I see my children continue to pay a very heavy price. Yesterday my daughter crashed out of her O levels CL exam in tears. But her dyslexic sister worked consistently hard and scored a distinction in the Orals. We put in the work, try our best. What more do these Chinese chauvinists want? Had China opened up ten or fifteen years before 1978 things would have been very different. We made the best of the cards life dealt us. Today we have bigger problems to deal with than this. And the PM is completely right to point out that CL would be in a worse state without the bilingual policy. We would be monolingual in EL. The Malays and Indians also have MT problems but they don't kick up a storm like these Chinese do.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

No more OCBC Cycle Singapore?

The unspoken reason for why OCBC is pulling out of this one is on every cycling enthusiast mind: the tragic death earlier this year.

The savviest cyclists had avoided participating ever since the clueless piled in and the large numbers make the event looked good and popular but risky.

My view is that Spectrum Worldwide do not pay enough attention to the safety of participants and it took a death for OCBC to realize their mistake.

I hope the next Cycle Singapore fails and a more responsible organizer takes its place. Good luck finding sponsors.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

NLB pulled two LGBT friendly titles

NLB pulled these two titles from their shelves after a library member complained. VW had posted an open letter about this on FB. We can expect more protests from the LGBT community.

I had warned about the backlash from the broader Singapore society against LGBT if they try to enlarge their space too quickly. I didn't expect them to be patient and this was exactly what happened.

I have no problems with these books remaining on the shelves of our public libraries. Bertha Henson had even just injected a tongue in cheek post, "Ban these books too!" There is more than humor in it.

No point three steps forward, two steps back. If they try for four steps they might have to reverse five! I hope there are shrewder leaders among the LGBT community. Patience my friend, and don't fight Lawrence Khong or Noor Deros. Slowly win the middle ground. You have to give people time to understand you. These are busy people with more pressing priorities than learning who and what LGBTs are.

I think God is really unhappy with the LGBT lifestyle but he also feel the same about most people for calling out the LGBTs as sinners. We are not qualified to judge them and Bertha Henson had creatively pointed out our hypocrisy.

Update: July 10 :10:40 am

When family fails, the village and even beyond help to bring up the child. That is the powerful point of this writer to the Forum today.

To the staunch homophobic Christians who imagine that LGBTs will go to hell, I think it is not unreasonable that you would be ahead of them in the queue. You have been graciously forgiven and yet stood in judgement of people more open minded and loving than you are. For all have fallen short of the glory of God, you think only the rest of us except you eh? Hypocrites. You are known to outsiders for your narrowed minded religiosity rather than faith. Let's not talk about love, you have no blinking idea what love is.

LGBT lifestyle is sinful lifestyle but have you Christians not become aware that God is using them to expose you as even worse sinners then they are? We who are truly forgiven dare not judge them but are instead reminded of how miraculously we were spared. But you homophobic Christians have no idea what Paul meant when he wrote the Roman Christians.

Paul’s Anguish Over Israel

I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises.Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah,who is God over all, forever praised![a] Amen.