Friday, January 29, 2010

Don't you dare cast protest vote!


Mr Teo and Mr Lee entered the room while chatting casually with each other. Ah Tan, Ah Lim, Ali and twenty over men and women stood up to greet the two men. Mr Teo signaled all to be seated.

MR TEO: Ladies and gentlemen, we're very honored to have Mr Lee here with us today. As the Chairman Mentor of the welfare committee, Mr Lee would like to talk to you about the upcoming welfare committee members election. Mr Lee, thank you.

As Mr Teo walked over to an empty seat at the front row, Mr Lee walked to the front of the crowd and adjusted his left sleeve cuff before he finally spoke.

MR LEE: Ladies and gentlemen, I'm sure you're all very excited and are anticipating some tough fights in the upcoming welfare committee members election. Though my successor Logan and his team has been doing a really good job and it really makes no sense for his team to step down, I can see that the competition is getting strong, with the recent two high flyers joining Joshua's team, and of course not forgetting that Low's team is getting themselves prepared as well.

Mr Lee stopped when he found some whisperings and elbow-nudgings among the crowd. Hastily, Mr Teo stood up and faced the crowd.

MR TEO (sternly): People, if you've got any comments or questions, do feel free to put up your hands and let Mr Lee know. You should know that when Mr Lee speaks, he expects others to just keep quiet and listen. So please, if you don't have anything to share, keep quiet.

The crowd went dead silent and all stared at Mr Lee. Satisfied, Mr Teo bowed to Mr Lee and signaled him to continue, before sitting down.

MR LEE (cleared throat): I know a lot of you are upset about the recent hike of the season parking rate. However you need to understand that Logan's team has worked hard to fight for this subsidised price, below market rate, so that you can afford a parking lot, so that you know that your car is well-parked while you work. You should not find fault with the season parking policy, and if you do, you must be damn daft.

Ah Tan put up his right hand. Mr Lee nodded at him, signaling that he may speak. Ah Tan stood up.

AH TAN: But Sir, the season parking rate is really going through the roof, especially with the new employees joining the department. In fact season parking is so expensive now that some of us here have even stopped driving to work and are taking public transport instead!

Exclamations were audible among the crowd as Ah Tan sat down.

MR LEE: Yes, I do understand that with higher demand, the bidding of season parking lots has driven the season parking rate up. But you must also understand that the department cannot survive without new employees! So it is inevitable that the season parking rate should go up! This is life and you just have to take it! But at the same time, you can be rest assured that Logan and his team will definitely monitor the situation and ensure it does not get out of hand.

Ah Tan folded his arms and sighed. Ali then raised his right hand before standing up to speak.

ALI: Sir, there is also this thing about the coffee vending machines in the pantries.
MR LEE: What about it, son?
ALI: Sir, our coffee vending machines are getting more and more expensive! We used to get free coffee from the machines, then the committee said the management complained that too many people are crowding in the pantry for coffee break, so they started to charge us thirty cents per cup, so that we don't buy coffee too often and so will not hang around the pantries. Then later it is raised to fifty cents per cup because people are not deterred by the cheap thirty cents. Then eighty cents. Now some of the machines are like one dollar for a cup of latte! And I heard that on the ninth floor, there are four new coffee machines that are selling at two dollars a cup!

Ah Tan tapped Ali's leg to warn him that he has gotten too agitated. Quickly, Ali sat down.

MR LEE: I'm sorry to hear that, but this is something that we must do. Like you said, it all started from those days when the management complained to us that too many people are crowding in the pantries for coffee break. And this policy to make you pay for coffee does work, right? I'm sure your pantries are not as crowded these days during the peak tea-break hours, right?

Somebody in the crowd whispered loudly "Still crowded what".

MR LEE (clearing his throat): Okay, I know the pantries can still be crowded at times. But think of it this way. They'll be even more crowded if the coffee is still free! Remember this! The genuine purpose of making you pay for your coffee is to stop congestion in the pantries, not for the committee to make money out of you! You can't just blame this on Logan's team and stop voting for them!

Ah Lim held up his right hand and stood up to speak.

AH LIM: But Sir, those two high flyers that joined Joshua's team look promising, you know? They're both graduated from the University of Cambridge with First Class Honours! Shouldn't we give Joshua's team a chance to prove themselves?

Mr Lee frowned slightly and stood there staring at Ah Lim for a few seconds. Feeling slightly intimidated, Ah Lim sat down and tried not to look into Mr Lee's eyes.

MR LEE (sternly and loudly): University of Cambridge? First Class Honours? Is that what you look for in a welfare committee member? A welfare committee member should be judged not by his academic ability but what he can do for you! Yes, for Joshua's team, it's a change. In fact, it is a significant development. But people! You need to look at the person, not what degrees he has, but what he is able to do for you!

Somebody in the crowd whispered loudly "And what has Logan's team done so far".

Mr Lee squinted his eyes and tried to locate the person who said that, but everybody just stared at him blankly. Quickly, Mr Teo jumped up from his chair and walked to the front.

MR TEO (to the crowd): Okay, ladies and gentlemen, I think we've reached the end of today's meeting. Mr Lee is a very busy man so I really don't want to hold him up. Should we stand up and give Mr Lee a round applause?

All men and women in the room stood up and clapped their hands mechanically while Mr Lee left the room.

Don't cast protest vote, Candidates should be judged on what they can do, Ex-civil servants join Reform


A Romanian diplomat's hit-run-hit-lie case in Singapore

This Romanian diplomat killed two innocent people, lied about his car being stolen, and might still enjoy immunity...

Police investigations reveal Dr Ionescu was driver of car that hit 3 people last month

SINGAPORE: Police investigations have revealed that Romanian diplomat, Dr Silviu Ionescu was the driver of the car involved in a hit-and-run accident on December 15 last year.

The accident resulted in the death of 30-year-old Singapore permanent resident, Tong Kok Wai, and injured two others.

The coroner's inquiry will begin on March 3 and at least 35 witnesses will be called.

The car from the Romanian Embassy allegedly hit Tong Kok Wai and another pedestrian, 24-year old Bong Hwee Haw as they were crossing the road at the junction of Bukit Panjang and Bangkit Roads.

The court heard that instead of stopping, the car sped off.

It then hit 18-year-old Muhammad Haris Abu Talib at the next controlled junction.

Deputy Principal Senior State Counsel Prosecutor Lau Wing Yum told the Coroner's Court that in both instances, the traffic lights were in favour of the pedestrians.

Mr Lau said Dr Silviu Ionescu made a 999 call about 30 minutes after the accidents to report that the car, a black Audi had been stolen.

However, Police investigations showed the car wasn't stolen.

It was recovered at around 11am that day, locked and abandoned at 21 Sungei Kadut Avenue.

Mr Lau said the right side of the car's front windscreen was smashed. The front bonnet and the driver's door were dented.

The man allegedly behind the wheel, Dr Ionescu, left Singapore for his country on December 18.

He had said then that he was seeking treatment for health problems.

Responding to MediaCorp's queries, a Romanian embassy spokesperson, Economic Counselor Alexander Nicolae Coseru, said it's not aware of the investigation results.

He said the embassy will follow Singapore's procedures and participate in the coroner's inquiry.

It's not known if Mr Ionescu will return for the court proceedings.

Said Mr Coseru: "We have to wait and see what happens. We will follow the Singapore authorities' procedure. We will participate in the coroner's court inquiry and we will see the final results of the Singapore procedures."

The Romanian Foreign Ministry has since recalled Dr Ionescu, from his post.

All three pedestrians who were involved in the accidents were sent to the National University Hospital.

However, Mr Tong who suffered fractures to his right leg and skull, succumbed to his injuries and died on Christmas Day, 10 days after the accident.

Coroner's inquiry aside, there's another case looming now. MediaCorp understands that one of the surviving victims, Bong Hwee Haw wants to be compensated for his injuries.

His lawyer said Mr Bong had incurred hospital bills amounting to nearly S$50,000. The pre-inquiry conference for that case will be held next month.

Mr Bong has engaged a team led by N Srinivasan from Hoh Law Corporation.

Mr Srinivasan told reporters that his client has already returned to Sarawak.

The pre-inquiry conference for this case will be held on February 24.

Both Romania and Singapore are parties of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.

The Convention states that "a diplomatic agent shall enjoy immunity from the criminal jurisdiction of the receiving State...the immunity of a diplomatic agent from the jurisdiction of the receiving State does not exempt him from the jurisdiction of the sending State".

This means the penal investigation in a case in which a diplomat is involved in the receiving state takes place in the state whose citizen he is. - CNA/vm

While this man who killed one person and lied about his driving licence was jailed for 51 months and banned from driving for 10 years...

Jail, ban for hit-and-run man

A MAN who was involved in a hit-and-run fatal accident last June was jailed for 51 months and banned from driving for 10 years on Monday.

Chen Dewen, 24, a chef, had earlier admitted to causing the death of Mr Asotharman Kunopuram Velayuthan Bhanu, 56, by doing a rash act along Upper Serangoon Road on June 20 last year.

He also admitted to seven other charges including driving without a valid licence and insurance coverage; failing to stop after an accident and render assistance; and removing his car without police authority.

He lied to the police in May that he had lost his driving licence, and cheated a car rental company by issuing a dud cheque to pay for the rental in June.

On June 19, he went pubbing with friends and was taking them home in the early hours when he crashed into the victim while overtaking a slow-moving lorry.

He could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined for the most serious offence of cheating.

Let's wait and see what will be Dr Silviu Ionescu's punishment on March 3. If any.

Monday, January 25, 2010

When Singaporeans work better, faster, cheaper, smarter and harder

The nurse ushered Ah Beng into the main hall where all the patients were resting. Some of them were drawing on sheets of papers all over the table, some of them staring into emptiness, some of them chatting with each other while more chatting with just themselves. Ah Beng found his friend Ah Seng sitting by himself at a corner of the table, busy scribbling on a piece of paper. When Ah Beng walked forward, he could see that the paper had numbers written all over it.

AH BENG (patted Ah Seng on his shoulder): Hey Bro, how's things around here?
AH SENG (stared at Ah Beng then snorted): Hello? This is the Institute of Mental Health Hospital. How well do you think I'm doing around here? I'm surrounded by mad people, for Christ's sake!
AH BENG (gave an awkward smile): Hahaha... you're right. So... anything new happening around here then?

Nonchalantly, Ah Seng pointed to a very old lady writing non-stop on a piece of paper, just like him. The only difference was that she was frowning and her hand was shaking uncontrollably as she wrote.

AH SENG: She's new around here.
AH BENG: Oh... she looks stressed... what's her case?
AH SENG: She was working a a cleaner, then her supervisor enrolled her in some cleaning certification course so that she can clean BETTER. She went cuckoo after she failed the written exam like ten times.
AH BENG (eyes wide opened): She looks like she's already in her sixties! How can they expect her to sit for exams?
AH SENG: Eighty to be exact.

Ah Seng then pointed to another woman who was shifting invisible boxes furiously.

AH SENG: She's new here too.
AH BENG: Wow... her hands are moving faster than Superman! What is she trying to shift?
AH SENG: She was working as a factory operator, then her supervisor complained that she needed to work FASTER. She went cuckoo after they ramped the machine speed up to maximum.

While Ah Beng shook his head in dismay, Ah Seng pointed yet again to a man sitting near the window and staring into the air. He looked like he was in his forties and well dressed in shirt and pants.

AH SENG: He's also new here.
AH BENG: He looks pretty harmless and... normal, except for the part that he just sits around.
AH SENG: He has been working as an IT manager in a local firm for the past decade. Then his boss decided to employ someone else from India to take over his job, because that replacement was CHEAPER. He went cuckoo on the day that he was fired.

Ah Seng then patted Ah Beng's shoulder and smiled.

AH SENG: Hey Bro, do you remember why I ended up here?
AH BENG (looked up but could not answer Ah Seng): Erm...
AH SENG: I was a Sales Manager, remember?
AH BENG (sighed): Yes, and though you were already meeting your target every month, your boss raised the bar every month too, expecting you to work SMARTER and bring in more revenue. At the sales target of 150%, you finally broke down and went cuckoo.
AH SENG (sighed): Yes, Bro, that's exactly the story.

Ah Seng turned back to face the table and continued with his scribbling on the piece of paper. Ah Beng stood up and tapped Ah Seng on his shoulder.

AH BENG: Hey Bro, this will be the last time that I'm visiting you.
AH SENG (looked up): Why?
AH BENG: My boss has wanted me to work HARDER even though I was already working from eight to eight everyday. The faster I finished my work, the more work got piled on my desk. Eventually I worked till midnight and even on weekends, yet I could not finish all my work. My boss said I need to be more hardworking.
AH SENG (smiling): And then? You went cuckoo as well?
AH BENG (chuckled): No, Bro. My mind is still intact, but my body is in the office. Anyway, you just take care, okay?

Slowly, Ah Beng walked towards the door, then as Ah Seng watched, he walked through the door and disappeared into thin air.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Legendary YPAP member Eric How is simply Boomz

If you have not heard of the legendary YPAP member Eric How by now, it is time to get out of your cave and find a Wifi point.

It all started with this nonchalant post of his...

when Mr Eric decided it was patriotic to defend the government and teach the useless and ever complaining Singaporeans a lesson.

"Do not be bitter and go on slapping on the Government senselessly because you did not get any fruits or benefits from your forefather. You will have to blame on your karma or your forefathers for not getting all the paths right for their off springs. My folks did the right thing by getting all the stuffs ready for us and we will never ever need to nag about the Government giving jobs to foreigners instead of locals." - Eric How.

And of course, most importantly, not forgetting to mention about his precious ride. Just to make sure his message matches his facebook profile picture.

"Our folks even make sure that we guys do not need to squeeze into public transport by getting each of us a personal car." - Eric How

Now you're just dying to know who is Eric How and most importantly who is his father who has saved such good karma for him, aren't you?

According to sources on the Internet...

Mr How’s father is Mr How Jong Wan who runs a ship chandling business. The elder How is the Vice Chairman of Kampung Kembangan Community Club Management Committee under East Coast GRC. He was a recipient of The Public Service Medal and The National Day Award in 2004.

However due to some unknown and suspicious reasons, after Mr Eric's father's identity was disclosed on the source website, a complaint was lodged against the site to shut it down. It was an anonymous phone call from someone identified as "Desmond Quek" from an agency related to the Singapore government. Probably an equivalent of FBI or CIA? But I'm very sure "Desmond Quek" is not in any way related to Mr Eric. I can't imagine Mr Eric dishonoring his father not once, but twice by changing his surname?

Meanwhile, apparently Mr Eric did not expect Singaporean netizens to be offended by his casual remarks. And of course he would not have expected people to be guts enough to seek attention from his company and father about his behavior on the World Wide Web, which as the name implies, search-able and visible to all around the globe. Thus, Mr Eric is now feeling offended.

It is always good to know your family is backing you, no matter how wrong you are and what wrongs you have done. Just like how we are always telling the family members of those Yellow Ribbon guys about the importance of family support, not only while they are in the cells, but after they are out of it.

"my family are very supportive of me and I did nothing wrong by telling you guys the truth." - Eric How

And Mr Eric just loves his rides, doesn't he?

"BTW, I am changing my car again and so what? I made those money and I have the rights to spend it anyway I like. All you whiners can carry on squeezing inside the train while I am enjoying my new ride." - Eric How

For more juicy details, read up the discussion board on Facebook. Nothing interesting on TV lately anyway.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Support Google's Fight against the Great Firewall of China

White House supports Google's moves in China
(Source: Yahoo! News)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House backs Google's decision to no longer support China's censoring of searches that happen on the Google platform, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said on Thursday.

China has defended its extensive censorship after the U.S. Internet search giant threatened to quit the country.

Asked whether the issue would cloud U.S.-China relations, Gibbs told reporters President Barack Obama had strong beliefs about the universal rights of men and women worldwide which would not be "carved out" for certain countries.

David McCandless, via Fast Company, has created this infographic illustrating what material and sites are censored by the Chinese government:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Prevention of Lesser Mortals Congestion in the IRs (PLCIR) project


Ah Tan, Ah Lim and Ali were having their morning break at the pantry when Raymond walked in. Raymond walked over to their table and took the only empty seat left.

AH TAN: Hey, here for meeting?
RAYMOND: Yah, with Mr Teo.
AH LIM: Why? Going to build some more gantries? Or time to increase the buses and trains fares?
RAYMOND (chuckled): Hahaha... you're good! Yah, it's regarding the new gantries. This is part of the PLCIR project. Prevention of Lesser Mortals Congestion on the IRs. To prevent the new IRs from getting too over-crowded.
ALI: But Brudder, I thought the more people going to the IRs the better? Why want to control the number of people going there?
RAYMOND: Well, you're right and wrong. Here's the thing. We want as many tourists and rich and famous to go to the IRs. But not the locals. At least not those at the lower levels of the hierarchy.
AH LIM: Har? Lower levels of the hierarchy?
RAYMOND: Meaning those lowly educated lesser mortals who buy 4D, Totos and gamble at Genting and cruise-to-nowhere-to-gamble cruises. We are building sophisticated high class IRs around here, and we really don't need these lesser mortals anywhere near the IRs to spoil the image.
AH LIM: But I thought we're already imposing a hundred dollars entrance fee for the locals?

Ah Tan put down the coffee that he was sipping and laughed loudly.

AH TAN: Lim, if they can pay over a hundred dollars to go all the way up to Genting, or all the way out at sea to gamble, they'll pay the bucks to gamble at the IRs!

Ah Lim was stunned by his ignorance of the obvious and all men laughed at the joke.

AH LIM: So you're going to place these new gantries at Sentosa? Or Marina Bay?
RAYMOND: No, not Sentosa. All of the four new gantries that I'm suggesting will be placed around Marina Bay. One on the exit road from the Ayer Rajah Expressway, one on the Marina Station Road near the new MRT station and two on either direction of the new three-lane dual-carriageway Bay Bridge that links the new business and entertainment hub to Raffles Avenue.
ALI: Huh? None on Sentosa?

Ah Tan rubbed his chin slowly, then smiled and nodded.

AH TAN: Hahaha... Ali, I know what's on Raymond's sleeves. You see, if he were to place a gantry on Sentosa, only people on the island get charged. But if he were to place a gantry near Marina Bay, anyone in the country get charged as long as they use the road, even if they are not going anywhere near the Marina Sands IR at all!
ALI (hit his forehead): Adioy! Tan, you're right!

All men now laughed at Ali's ignorance.

RAYMOND: And anyway, as part of the PLCIR project, those SDC people has already increased the entrance fees for cars at least three folds from two dollars to six or seven. They're also going to implement more costly time-based parking charges. So I guess there is no need to put a gantry on Sentosa. At least not for now.

Raymond winked at Ah Tan and nudged him with a smile. Ah Tan knew immediately what Raymond had on his mind and laughed.

AH TAN (chuckled): Yap, the keyword is... not for now! Guys, remember Ray is still going to build the Sentosa Gateway Tunnel in 2015?
AH LIM, ALI (together): And?
AH TAN (smiling): Remember how many gantries did he place in the short KPE tunnel?

Both Ah Lim and Ali laughed and patted Raymond on his back.

RAYMOND (smiling): So as long as the cabs are charging more surcharges, and the island's shuttle bus service is as inefficient as the country's bus services, we should be able to keep the lesser mortals' interest in going to the IRs pretty low.



Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"This is not Islamic", said Marina Mahathir

And this is what Marina Mahathir has done for her country:

Source: Rantings byMM

This morning I sms'd lots and lots of people, all Muslims, to canvass them regarding condemning this terrible act. Unanimously they have all agreed that this act is unIslamic. I am trying to organise all those individual voices into a statement or petition of some kind and I hope more will sign up.

Meantime various friends and I have been encouraging people to find ways to show solidarity and support. These were some ideas:

* Some young Muslims are keen to go help clean up the mess after the fire at the church. It was not possible this morning because the area was still cordoned off but we are keeping tabs on when the churches will be ready to start clean up.

* Someone has asked for 1-3 minutes of prayer every hour on the hour to give people time to pause and reflect.

* Many of us have been tweeting what we know but also refuting some nasty rumours that are going around.

Good to know that the daughter has more sense than the father.