Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Geopolitics: It is all business now

What happened? I thought the Philippines consider China a bully and adversary to the point that she has tried to haul her to the UN's court. We were even afraid they might fire on each other at sea.

Strategists who had tried to use the tools they are familiar with to understand the present geopolitics could not make any progress. I think everything is clearer if we appreciate how priorities have changed. Time will make it increasingly clear that the business of geopolitics is neither geography nor politics but business. It is all about getting rich now. Nobody except the North Koreans and Islamic terrorists want to go to war if there is a buck to be made. In fact I think the North Koreans have decided they want to be rich as well but they have to go about it more carefully.

The big loser in this game could be Russia which has chosen to act against its own economic interests but that is another story.

Update: 4:50pm

Francis Fukuyama is a creative thinker. Earlier I had read Khong Yuen Fong from the LKYSPP in the ST today. What a contrast. Khong was basically spouting LKY ideas but Fukuyama is a far more interesting read. I think Fukuyama will if not already also think the business of geopolitics is mostly business now. This is easy because China has the power of initiative and has chosen the business path into the world and also tomorrow. After all the wise always leverage their strengths and that would be business for the Chinese. Afterward they can grow strong in other aspects of power. By then geopolitics will revert to its familiar historical norms.

MOE: From problem solving to creating value

The minister asserted that our students are good at solving problems, i.e,. leading to adding value but not so good at creating value. He suggested e.g., Olivia Lum of Hyflux as an example to emulate. I think most parents would just let this message into one ear and out the other ear. Words not backed by concrete action is emptiness.

Do we feel safe to fail? Yes, when I take a digital photo it often completely safe to fail because the cost is zero almost all the time. The helpful approach is not to ask if it is safe to fail or even afford the cost of failure. It is if we do not succeed is it worth keep trying until we do. To me most readers understand it completely differently.

It would have been much more helpful for Ng Chee Meng to say we want to create a system whereby it is not too costly to fail because there are avenues to make a come back. In fact our system today already allow that. This new minister has to learn to communicate better and he is learning it by trying and failing. LOL!

When we commit ourselves to creating value the path to success is not yet built. Nobody yet knows how to do that and we have to figure it out. Exploring and building those paths entail risk taking and learning from failure. I think most people have yet to grasp this point. We will have to teach pupils a new set of values and attitudes to help them create value. Presently most people don't even think about creating value at all. So I am asking where are the programs to equip pupils with the skills to create value?

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Replaced storage tank water heater

On October 27, 2010 I ordered over the phone an Ariston storage tank water heater. I can't remember if that was my second or third one, most likely the third. I don't know what gave me the idea they are located in the Upper Bukit Timah area because Kian Teck Crescent is in Jurong.

Slightly more than five years have passed and the Ariston started to leak visibly yesterday. So I got on the phone to repeat what I had one five years back. I wanted to replace the Ariston but Casa no longer carries them. I accepted the Rubine instead after finding it difficult to reach Ariston.

I suppose I will have to call them again in 2020 to replace my heater eh? But would I still be living here by then? Who knows.

Come to think of it, I also bought by mutli-split aircon over the phone as well. May be next time I will buy them online.

Oh Hard Data!

I am wasting my Economist subscription which I will not renew when it comes due next year. Occasionally they send some interesting stuff to my inbox. This is a subject I am relatively familiar with.

Going to church is a poor proxy for personal faith. It measures piety more than anything else when you discover time and again how adherents of any major religion know so little about their scriptures much less practice them. My point? I am not writing about religion in this post. I am just reminding myself how useful or lacking that hard data is. Policy makers elevate the importance of hard data without sufficient regard to what the data is and where it is from and especially how it is collected.

Data mining today is mostly about applying math to hard data. It will not stop at that but move beyond to verbal data eventually. Making sense of our environment and the world is still an art which requires open, curious and skeptical minds. The politics of committees and correctness inevitably lean us one way or the other leading to costly mistakes when hard data is plentiful. So I think government agencies with plenty of hard data are more at risk of making mistakes than those without it especially MFA. In the absence of hard data they bring to the task a sense of realism which they keep refining to get more real all the time. Just as Science is the basis for Engineering, Foreign Policy is the basis for our survival and will override the many wrong conclusions from hard data. It might have saved us many times without us being aware. Just look at the track record of those nations where foreign policy is a luxury. These are usually the big powers which try to dictate their policies to other states. They often have numerous pockets with low quality of life despite their country wealth and power because they do stupid things using hard data and special interests as the invisible guiding hand.

That map from the Economist might be intriguing but it is not very useful for anything else except satisfying curiosity.

Update: 8:10am

The next article in that email from the Economist. Niamey the new data driven result center of Christianity is in Africa. So the next story must be one from that continent right? That is being correct isn't it?

See the pic, full of piety but I rather these Christians imbibe the values and life of Jesus of the Gospels instead. Narrow piety eventually becomes exclusive and at some point end up as clashes with those who are not like you. Modern Islam has gone down this road farther than any.

In the next year as when we first come to rely so much on computers, data will be used to make us stupid because dumb people who cannot or are too lazy to think will let the data speak for themselves. Well at least economists have learned to avoid this trap because they have been wrong so regularly. Keep trying and do develop the convictions to use only one hand. I think economists mostly do not read the Economist eh?

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Miss Universe: The Litmus Test

Only about six million live viewers for the finals of the Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas. I mentioned the location to point out that it was really convenient for North and South American viewers to catch this and it seemed they weren't very keen.

I used to look out for our own Miss Singapore among them but have lost interest and stopped that for I can't remember how long.

After a while we all gave up and view this as mostly a flesh parade with a PLUS or plus. It eventually dawned on us that it was just a small plus. Well Steve Harvey inadvertently offered the world audience the litmus test of what these most beautiful women are made of. Not much and what you see will not last very long unless they put in herculean effort to keep looking good. Even so it is fading glory and every year there are new beauties. So this is just a passport to wealth.

My friend's daughter was Miss Indiana before and today she doesn't want to be reminded of her achievement. Instead she prefers to be known as a successful pharmacist. Her mother told me the experience was eye opening especially the competitiveness, the effort and cheating that went into trying to win. In the end the more attractive girls are the ones who didn't win because they went to make friends as their top priority. Like our Lisa Marie White.

 Possibly many of these former beauty queens remain superficial all their lives. Imelda Marcos was a beauty queen and she was much worse than superficial.

Look Miss Philippines and Universe 1969 and 1973, that was so long ago I was too young to understand, must be senior citizens now, check out their bad attitude.

The newly crowned Miss Universe should have shared the moment with Miss Columbia to save her the embarrassment. That would have made her truly special but of course I am asking the impossible. All these girls are so focused on themselves. Any charity is done to make themselves look good. But for how long? Meanwhile the world has become wiser and look elsewhere. In my lifetime I will see the end of these silly beauty contests. They should stop the ones for babies and animals too. Just compete with growing the best vegetables.

Update: Jan 1 7:00pm

This yahoo story makes it easy for me to say that there are jobs and roles we take on that come with losing our identities. A beauty queen represents her country but she doesn't have the experience and savvy of an ambassador. Unless she is carefully choreographed things are likely to go wrong given their youth and inexperienced.

If what had happened was bad, it could have been much worse and there was only one way to make it better bearing in mind that countries must not lose face.

Found Old Street BKT at ARC

Had lunch today at Astons in MBC. We crossed over next door at ARC to do some groceries shopping at Fairprice and saw that Old Street Bak Kut Teh has replaced RSH. Just as well since we will lose the outlet at Funan Centre, we could come here instead.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Not true that Brunei banned Christmas celebrations

I was waiting to see if it was really true that Brunei had banned public celebration of Christmas because I didn't believe the report from AFP. So it was untrue then as Today just reported.

It is very simple. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me. Because the ang moh media had on a few occasions already write up Islam related stories with their growing prejudice against Islam, they have slanted many of their stories to fit their beliefs. As Brunei have implemented sharia laws, to them curtailing Christmas celebration is a logical next step. They never do their homework about sharia. Don't we also regularly read how they mis-report many countries in Asia especially China? Even the Economist is often wrong about Singapore because instead of letting all the facts form a picture to tell the story, they regularly cherry picked what they want to fit their ideological framework. With that year after year they prescribe all the wrong policies for us, and they never learned that they were wrong every time.

Laserflair closing

TS Video is gone and Laserflair is set to join them as well :-( The sales person told us tomorrow is their last day of business. We kind of expected this already but not so soon. Yesterday we were at Funan Centre and the outlet there told us they will stay open till the end of the month. We picked up some bargains yesterday and today as well.

I mean the writing has been on the wall for sometime. The disc is making way for streaming video. Now we feel forced to explore that option but we have always like to keep physical discs.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Day Gift

Burnt Victim: Because she is one of our own was the title of a post for July 2 this year.

Then we heard practically nothing about her until this morning I saw this on the front page. Wow! this is some Christmas present :-)

Because she is one of our own.

I am so happy she has a strong family together with doctors who truly cared. I pray for those who have to live in dysfunctional families.

I get many copies of e-greeting like these for Christmas this year and I know some well enough to understand why they share such.

The first one even come in more than one shade! And surely others must have used these words on other pictures as well. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Worrying about growing old

This is a blog post which I could have written quite a while back. I am letting the pressure build up until writing about it brings some relief.

It is not just the ST, across many publications I sense a growing amount of effort and space given to issues of ageing. Usually the slant is dark and pessimistic. There are exceptions but they are the result of the act of the will. In other words far to many people grow old and become pessimistic versus the optimism and promise of Peter Laslett's Third Age.

When older folks have their first health scare, and most of such scares are just that then they naturally begin to think of a day probably not too far away when the scare is more than an illusion. This changes the frame of mind for many and so their behavior and even personality of some as well. Not toward an energetic and risk loving life but a careful and circumspect one. Instead of jumping up and down taking risks, they are more worried about falling and ending up in a wheelchair.

Like it Korea, Japan and elsewhere the job scene is still premised on past assumptions which are no longer valid but resistant to change. You are retired with no money. What Third Age?

Businesses typically have no time to think long term and governments could not persuade them to reform. We will just have to let the pressure build up and blow up and then we will say, "better late than never" to solve this problem. But in Korea the problems of ageing could be coming in so fast and furious to defy any policy solutions. In Singapore ST is obviously trying to cajole us with unending articles to the point that readers will talk about such issues in the coffee shops. I think this is helpful but I do not know if it is good enough.

Economic transformation: What if they choose to give up?

Top level people from large organizations offering their views on what needed to be done. Experience tells me that most are helicopters that can't land. So they see the forest but not the trees.

Ask the people who have to worry about the business day to day fighting fires and watching the cash flow. They are not ready. No surprise here.

My point? We love to form such economic restructuring committees even as the world moves faster and change is no longer much harder to predict but now often ambush us more frequently. It is terribly disruptive. It is a matter of time fighting fires take on a new meaning, i.e., fires that are too large to fight.

So what must we do? Well Heng Swee Keat committee will do what they have always done. It is the nature of things that when life is run by committees we get into trouble first before we are able to start dealing with it successfully. The risk of being hit by Black Swans should be rising. Businesses especially the small ones run huge risks not because they want to but they can't help it. They typically have little to no wiggle room. Many SME bosses won't admit it but they will tell their spouses and close friends to pray for their business, i.e., luck is vital. Often they also carry the risks of large companies who basically transfer their risks to them. If they are not ready for economic transformation in the past, they are even less prepared now. Of course they can't be persuaded. They will only respond to carrots and sticks. At the end of the day that is how change comes about in this town. These helicopters must discover where is the tipping point when many businesses choose to roll over and die because living is more cruel than death. Perhaps it won't happen this time but it will happen sometime if this is the way we always deal with economic transformation.

Whatever we must not run an economy which risk the "extinction of entire species" in double quick time. It will make politics toxic and dysfunctional. We must allow a lot more businesses across the board to fail more often in order to avoid catastrophes.

Bought Teva Sandals

My more than two year old Teva looks like going to give up on me anytime. Yesterday I bought this Teva for $77 after 40% discount.

Must always wait for them to offer 40% discount to buy.

Now I wonder if this one will last longer than the current one.

Renaldo's Apple Strudel & Pastries gone

Dropped by Crown Center after our first visit to our former and much trusted dentist yesterday.

Renaldo's Apple Strudel & Pastries is gone! What a pity. They were better than Ritz but not so convenient for us to go all the way there to buy.

I checked on the Internet and learned that they have basically left Singapore and are now established with three branches in Jakarta. This is our loss.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Nursing Homes: Bone headed MOH

This is one of those uncommon moments I happen to be able to evaluate our civil servants thinking.

I applaud the Salvation Army, Lien Foundation and Khoo Chwee Neo Foundation for having the gumption to revolutionize nursing home care here. Sadly this is not happening because the kiasu and kiasi folks at MOH want to play by their old book. They don't want to sell the latest and proven insight to their bosses and voters. These new concepts in nursing home care is completely superior over present models in effectiveness, satisfaction and life cycle costs. Such innovations in healthcare do not appear very often.

I am sold on Dr. Atul Gawande insights he shared on caring for the elderly sick in "Being Mortal".

MOH must be living under a rock. That book is a runaway best seller and PBS has turned it into a documentary as well. All of us and in my small circle which include my wife, brother and a few friends have read it. More people will be reading simply because the next change in Singapore's future is a movie starring mostly older folks!

I am not dissatisfied with the expert on health policies Dr. Jeremy Lim as well. He doesn't know enough to comment helpfully and so he hedged his statements with "superficially".

Well I have been getting increasingly unhappy with MOH. I am still ruing over why nobody is accountable for the fiasco of Hep C infections at SGH. We have created moral hazard in our health system. It is a matter of time something worse hits.

Clementi Mall: Worst Bah Kut Teh restaurant

The worst Bah Kut Teh restaurant we have tried is located in the basement of Clementi Mall. The prices are high, the portions are tiny and the quality is poor. E.g., if you were to wear a blindfold and try their pork stomach you can't tell that you are eating it because it has absolutely no flavor.

Like bubble tea was once a retail bubble concept, every Tom, Dick and Harry is also going into this business. I suspect most of them do a lousy job. The best dishes are still from the old names in the business. We shall stick with Song Fa, Old Street and perhaps some of those featured in the Food Empire program on TV.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The story of Japan's retreat from pacifism

Good article on the historical context of Japan's march away from Pacifism. Like many I was poorly informed and thought Shinzo Abe was just an extremely hawkish PM.

Given enough time everything changes. In this instance it has taken about 70 years.

To maintain peace in the Asia Pacific, nations have to engage each other a lot more than before. It helps tremendously if we have a sharper focus on how things might develop but this is useless without talking and working with each and finding every opportunity to do so. I worry about the Philippines. It is so clear strategically they are just stupid and could drag the whole region into an unnecessary conflict.

More than ever knowledge rather than arms is power. The former will let the peace continue the latter is silly dry powder waiting to be ignited.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

US-China relations: What Thucydides Trap?

These academics, intellectuals and diplomats they have overlapping thinking habits that make for a meaningful discussion when they come together.

I also thought Chan Heng Chee was quoting George Yeo without referring to him by name. The label of the US as a "missionary power" was a dead giveaway. Mr Yeo possess an impressive and imaginative intellect but I often wished he was more practical as well, which was LKY forte.

I read the whole article and what I found most useful was that America and China must always be careful not to underestimate each other. Chan was quoting LKY.

Thinkers love to think far more than appraise themselves if their ideas are practical and useful. They love concepts and models of thought, frameworks etc., But we have to get on with living successfully. Why do we care about the Thucydides Trap? Has it never occurred to them that Thucydides beguiling idea had guided the thinking of strategists and leaders down the timeline up to today? To a large degree it could just have been a self fulfilling prophecy. All that was always needed for Thucydides to be right is one party fear the other believed Thucydides logic and as competitors and adversaries there is no shortage of misunderstanding and mistrust. Adversaries build their own Thucdides Trap.

Put aside Thucydides and be practical. America and China should just keep working hard at building a constructive relationship and not judge or second guess each other. That way Thucydides would be defeated because that ancient philosopher ideas was just preying on human weaknesses. Better to invest in the better halves of our nature.

The sashimi business is dead

Sakuraya on a Saturday evening is usually more than well patronized. I was curious how they were doing since we had the raw freshwater fish bacteria (GBS) will eat you from inside scare.

The impact on the business is nothing short of devastating. Only two tables were occupied his evening.

Yep, I became curious after I was aghast with Cold Storage replacing raw salmon with smoked salmon in their maki.

Looks like consumers are not getting enough security from AVA and NEA to continue eating sashimi. It has been three weeks since the ST published that. I wonder how long people will need to wait before they can expunge their irrational fear. I imagine those Norwegian salmon go to many countries and only Singapore is afraid to consume them. The other importers are happily eating.

Sashimi sellers must be pretty upset with the regulators over this issue. To me AVA lack the deeper technical capabilities to test and be surer. The Black Swan tragedy from freshwater GBS had cost them their self confidence. When you hedge so much, you might as well tell consumers all raw fishes regardless if they are freshwater or seawater are risky. Then you go and do the necessary hard work to make sure they are OK. Alas these civil servants are out of depth for this latest challenge.

Everyone here looks to the government for guidance. Nobody knows how to organize and lead an effort to get to the bottom of this eh?

I wonder if our AVA capable of catching future fake foods from China. Perhaps we have just been lucky. Chinese consumers get hurt and was reported before such foods get imported here. I think our reputation has become much larger than our capabilities. Such gaps always narrow, it is on a question of narrowing up or down.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Opposing the Pope like they opposed Jesus

My daughter pointed this out to me early this morning. I responded that the conservatives is treating the Pope like they had with Jesus long ago.

Every religion has this problem. Their fat and corrupt leaders living hypocritical lives but only the Roman Catholic has a reformer in Francis.

It is only a matter of time, perhaps we are already there that the conservatives are now plotting to murder their pope, and he must have seen it coming as well. It is so easy to tell because this church has a very long history that its future rhymes with the past.

Star Wars is everywhere

Star Wars under Disney's marketing power has become ubiquitous. I just got the above from my daughter. Both of them have Star Wars themes on their PCs, phones etc., Both prefer Star Trek and still do but just observing them you would have thought Star Wars is their first love.

An old classmate publicly declared that Star Wars is stupid in our Whatsapp group. Guess what? He also went to see the move. He didn't realize the Force is irresistible.

Yep, we are catching Star Wars again on Christmas Eve. I booked the tickets almost immediately after returning from the movie yesterday.

The Force is really strong. I am not as sold as when I was a kid. Nevertheless at those critical moments during the movie I did try to lend the actors some of my Force. I had anticipated every moment correctly. It is easy to read JJ Abrams.

Update: 11:10 am

The other daughter just whatsapp me she came across light saber chopsticks. Many people's mind is just preoccupied with Star Wars.

Chopsticks inspired by your favorite Jedi or Sith character. I imagine they would suggest that you collect them all right?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Caught the Star Wars movie

Took the family to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens this afternoon at the new Eng Wah Cinema. I booked the tickets almost a month ago!

Plenty of seats available even half an hour before the movie began. I think the rebranded Eng Wah as WE Cinemas is did not get their act right. The problem is structural and cultural. The screen is too small and the place lacks the buzz because they failed to decorate it right.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Westlake Eating House etc.,

Had lunch at Westlake eating house this afternoon. It must have been more than ten years since I was here. The food is still good and I guess we will be back for more. Try something different next time, especially their popular braised pork sandwich.

So they are still teaching folks how to ride a bicycle! One of my daughters learned to ride from him. Very effective! She learned to ride in just one session. That was so many years ago. The shop wasn't air conditioned then.

Malaysia: Everywhere is a crime zone

Her father is not only the DPM but also Home Affairs minister. Well this is Malaysia. In many countries there are crime zones which you can stay safe by avoiding but Malaysia has become one giant crime zone. Unfortunately her father and his colleagues are so used to these things they would hardly be embarrassed. So the merry crimes continue.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

COP21: We have a desperate Climate Agreement

The picture that I wanted to use is the one with a beaming V. Balakrishnan at COP21 but at that time I decided against blogging about this. But those talks and agreement kept bugging me and I think the way to be rid of them is to dump them here.

Why did every nation suddenly become so cooperative? I thought Modi put it best when he alluded to the deluge at Chennai. It was a horrific spectacle, it was India's Katrina. Everyone blamed that on global warming.

Then those who would be among the first to see their countries disappear, I am referring to the tiny island states in the Pacific were jumping up and down over their impending fate, with nothing to lose can we expect any less noise from them?

Many countries have their own stories to share how climate change is affecting them. Meanwhile the US Republican party is still in denial about climate change and looking increasingly stupid. How much respect are they prepared to lose before they wake up?

So how could they not come together and struck an agreement?

I will be impressed if they agree to shoot for 2.7 Celsius instead of 2 Celsius. When they feel even more pain and see the monster threaten to engulf them they will try harder. We ain't see nothing yet. Good luck to OPEC and the oil producers but I am also worrying about the changing geopolitics arising from this.

We are living dangerously alright but no more dangerously then when we faced mutual assured destruction from a nuclear war.

We had always lived dangerously. Perhaps this is the deeper reason why I couldn't get this out of my mind.

I thought the BBC sums it up quite well.

Update: 2:10 pm

This is page 8 from the comics published in the venerable science journal Nature to educate as many people as possible on global warming.

While not stated in anywhere that I have come across, I am sure the combined natural disasters in the last couple of years must filled the minds of national leaders and the delegates who were present at the Paris talks. Without that I doubt we would have a deal. Not a good deal but a start which is in the right direction.

China and India, they have plenty to do. Forest fires in Indonesia were also featured in the publication, shame of  them! That was bio-terrorism!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Bought Ah Seng Durians

Wanted to buy maoshan wang this evening at Ah Seng but the better fruit was D24 and he persuaded us to settle for that at $10/kg. Bought two fruits. We appreciate his shrink wrapped boxes which allow us to confidently store them in the fridge for tomorrow.

Ah Seng told me this shorter durian season will only last till January. I think we should have durians every week then.

Cold Storage: Smoked salmon in maki!

The last time there were no salmon sushi and the daughter was wondering if she will be disappointed again. Yep, no salmon sushi again and there was a display notice on the counter stating that their sashimi is safe to consume. I remarked this is a fallout from GSB infection from eating raw Toman and Snakehead fresh water fishes.

No salmon sushi, she settled for maki instead but when she brought it home it was smoked salmon in the maki! Awful idea. If they are not confident, they shouldn't be selling salmon maki at all.

Perhaps we should check out Sakuraya this weekend and see how are things there. Have people become so fearful of eating raw fish?

Why starve your FDW?

Why did both of you do that to your maid or FDW? You are not the first, neither would you be the last. I don't understand and I am as perplexed by the media lack of curiosity to go find out and explain to readers. It is so obvious that we want to know the possible reasons why some employers can be so sick.

Update: Dec 15 6:05 pm

These two must be Singapore most hated couple at the moment. What drove them to treat their FDW so badly? Have they had other FDWs working for them before? What about their extended family and friends? Didn't they notice what was going on?

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Thumbs Up to Changi Airport Staff Canteen

Chicken rice at Changi Airport Staff Canteen yesterday. Big serving and quite tasty for only $3. Cheaper than the hawker centre.

I was told this western food stall was very good but it wasn't open yet when we there. In fact we saw a line formed as the stall keeper was getting ready to open. Next time perhaps.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Peaceful Salafism is an oxymoron

Peaceful Salafism is an oxymoron. Non-violent Salafism is just the outer court which housed the inner chamber of Jihadi Salafism. Salafism is the incubator for the likes of Daesh, Al Qaeda etc., As long as Salafism is no supplanted it will always breed crazy Jihadists.

All religions possess the innate potential to be like Jihadi Salafism in intolerance and violence. Which one is living through a violent phase is a matter of the socio-political history of its adherents. Salafism has it birthplace in the dysfunction of the Middle East.

To propose Peaceful Salafism is just simply naive and wishful. It only means the problem will never be solved. This is a drawn out struggle and titanic contest of the wills. To bring it to an earlier end, the theology of Jihadi Salafism must not only be discredited but the Caliphate they set up also fail as well. Best that the Caliphate self destruct but if we can't afford to give this the time happen, we will have to destroy it in a manner as unlike their apocalyptic expectations as possible.

At the end of the day Jihadi Salafism are for losers who refused to take personal responsibility for their lives. So they want to tear down society as we know it and rebuild except they do not realize how unachievable their vision is.

Update: 6:10 pm

I quote myself from the main post, "All religions possess the innate potential to be like Jihadi Salafism in intolerance and violence."

I just came across this article. Serendipity indeed.

There was sort of a Christian ISIS the author argued. I need to research this in greater detail. It was bad but I hoped they did not descend to the same depth of depravity as Daesh.

US: Less than half are Middle Class

Less than half of them are now Middle Class (i.e, household income between 42k to 126k) Do we have the equivalent data for SG available publicly? I wouldn't be surprised if we don't.

Incomes across the board has been rising over the years but the upper income boats are lifted higher than the lower income (47% vs 28%) Educational status matter with those in the upper income group mostly with advanced degrees. No wonder Americans are competing tooth and nail like never before to get into the best colleges.

My guess is the experience of the US is mirrored here as well. Over there the Blacks and Hispanics are doing less well. Over here it is the Malays. Such trends must not be allowed to become entrenched but they already are. The question is to what degree it has entered the public consciousness.

Bye Bye Funan Centre

My daughter told me last night that they are going to close the mall third quarter next year for three years. When it open again it will no longer be an IT mall.

We used to visit Funan Centre quite regularly but have stopped doing so for sometime already. I believe we aren't alone although I can't understand why it was predictably hard to find parking at the mall.

We used to buy our stuff at South Asia until we signed up as members of Challenger. Again we aren't alone as eventually South Asia quit the business.

I am sure we can get better deals at Sim Lim Square but I for a while now I do not have the time to keep up with the latest and greatest value like I used to in the past. Most important I think a growing number of buyers are switching to buying online. Indeed over the last couple of years we had increased our purchases through that channel.

Funan DigitaLife Mall? We have always called it Funan Centre because the old place is truly what we missed and not its present incarnation. I had spent countless hours browsing its shops in the 80s. Even my wife's wedding gown was from a ground floor shop in that mall.

I don't think I would miss Funan DigitaLife. In fact the owners and managers of the place are doing the right thing being forward looking to revamp and re-conceptualize the mall.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

There are no instant terrorists

Just as I thought there are no instant terrorists. With determination, technology and the right laws it should be possible to catch most of them in the early stages when they are being radicalized. The tougher the laws the lower the cost on the tax payer but also at the expense of losing our privacy. Each society has to decide the balance they want to strike. In Singapore most of us would clearly vote for less privacy. What is the use of freedom if you run the high chance of dying? What is the meaning of "give me freedom or give me death"?

I expect the arm chair and real life answers are very different.

Update: Dec 15 3:20pm

What liberty and privacy? Just as some of us have guessed security ranks ahead because officials in charge of homeland security would not be able to answer to their tasks if they don't stop terrorism with this additional measure. America had just learned the lesson the hard way. They would have done the same with guns long ago if not for the NRA.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

SGH HCV: Inexcusable

What a woeful state of affairs at SGH. I expect to see disciplinary measures and not the usual forgive and forget only to see this happen again and again. That would be one of the lessons they must be determined to learn from.

The minister must ask himself beyond the ambit of the review committee if such blatant disregard for the basics is commonplace among the other departments of SGH. He must satisfy himself on this one or a similar crisis will pop up elsewhere. Has he even already issue a warning letter for review and necessary action throughout the hospital?

Exposed blood stains on equipment and trolleys. Even on the wall? Goodness gracious. If this is the standard of performance I bet they also do not wash their hands after going to the loo isn't it? How on earth did they descend to such a low level of practice? The senior leadership has no idea what is happening on the ground? They are helicopters that watch the forest from high and do not know the trees. Everywhere when management is like that trouble is breeding on the ground.

I thought this was bad but never imagine it was so bad. The committee likely didn't believe what they discover was all true.