Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Reason 0027 : Stupid Singaporeans are Murdering Trees, Shortening Lives

Murdering trees, shortening lives? Yes, you read that correctly. There are some stupid people in our midst who are murdering trees and shortening the lives of the people around them by writing brainless, useless letters to the Forum pages in national newspapers and getting them published.

Think about it, the typical size of these articles is about 10 cm x 5 cm. Once selected for publication, this article will appear in every copy of the hundreds of thousands newspapers being printed everyday. This translates to a fantastic waste of paper and ink and not only that, there are millions of people who would have spent precious time reading this rubbish when they could have put that time to better use.

Some examples of these articles include:

'Stall owners are taking the opportunity to increase prices (of bak kwa) to match demand'
Almost all businesses owners operate businesses to make profit. If I see an opportunity to raise prices without hurting demand for my products, of course I will do it. For people who do not approve of this practice, just stop patronising the stall.

On creating jobs for senior citizens : 'Perhaps the government can build factories, as it did in the 1970s, to create simple jobs for the uneducated and those in their 60s and 70s.'
There are already many factories in Singapore. Furthermore, from a business point of view, it is more efficient to leave simple jobs to machines or to employ cheap foreign workers who are younger and faster.

A Singaporean coming back from abroad was 'greeted by grim-faced immigration officers on my arrival at Changi Airport.'
Big deal! So what if they smiled or not? Their job is to clear travellers as soon as possible and furthermore, I do not think they are paid well enough to do their job and to smile at the same time. Also, you would be grim faced too if you tried to be nice and your efforts were not reciprocated by grim faced Singaporeans.

Lastly, to Ms Lam Siew Woon, if SingTel says that your iPhone was damaged due to contact with water contact while another shop says otherwise, the correct thing to do is to go back and check with SingTel directly and not write to the papers to complain.

I wish to repeat again, writing to the papers about such frivolous issues cause destruction of trees and wastage of valuable time. It also shows our society's lack of maturity as a whole.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Reason 0026 : Insensitive Civil Servants

Mr Tan Yong Soon, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, wrote an article detailing his extravagant family holiday to France which included lessons at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu, in the Straits Times' Life! section on 06 Jan 2009. This article was roundly criticised by the minister in charge of the civil service, Mr Teo Chee Hean, as being 'ill-judged' and showing a 'lack of sensitivity'.

Speaking about the issue in Parliament, Mr Teo said that what Mr Tan does on his vacation is 'his private decision' but he was ‘disappointed with what he (Mr Tan) wrote in The Straits Times,’ said Mr Teo of Mr Tan in Parliament on Monday. ‘The article showed a lack of sensitivity and was ill-judged.’ Mr Teo also said that writing about such an ostentatious show of spending in these tough times in the national newspaper ‘was unnecessarily provocative and unimaginably insensitive’ and that the article 'struck a discordant note during the current difficult economic circumstances when it is especially important to show solidarity and empathy for Singaporeans who are facing uncertainties and hardship'.
According to the article, lessons for the entire 3 weeks cost S$15,500 per head and in total, S$46,500 for Mr Tan, his wife and son, not including air tickets and living expenses in France. In addition, Mr Tan had taken 5 weeks work leave for the trip.
The high salaries of Singapore’s top civil servants and ministers has always been a sore point for many ordinary Singaporeans and especially in these tough times, it is especially hard to swallow the fact that Mr Tan had spent the equivalent of 2 years wages for the average white-collar Singaporean on his hobby as well as sight-seeing within a few weeks.

True, the money is his and he is free to spend it in whatever way he wishes but to publish such a story of extravagance in a time when people are worrying about rising prices, losing their jobs, and are told by the Gahmen to tighten their belts and brace themselves for retrenchments (even those under 30 years of age) smacks of downright insensitiveness.

In addition, I think there is something seriously wrong when you are a top civil servant and are able to go away for 5 weeks or more without being missed. Assuming you are a business owner, your employees will not begrudge you if you choose to go on leave for months at a time and leave all company affairs to them, as they understand that you are ultimately the owner and boss of the company.

However, civil servants are generally viewed as being custodians of the nation and are paid using taxpayer money, so for a civil servant to be able to go on leave for 5 weeks or longer, whether he is backed by a strong team or not, suggests that this person is perhaps not needed and is dispensable since his team and subordinates can handle all the work and thus, the money paid to him can be put to better use.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Reason 0025 : Ignorant Singaporeans

Nury Vittachi wrote the article "Rejecting Rejection" in this morning's edition of 'Today' newspaper. In the article, she mentioned that the mother of one of her readers, had advised the reader to read 'The Secret' for help and inspiration when the reader sent out 20 job application letters and all were unsuccessful.

A quote from the book read :" I would visualise a parking space exactly where I wanted it, and 95% of the time it would be there for me and I would just pull straight in."

In answer to this, Nury wrote :"this is one of the most eye-opening books I've ever read. When you put it down, you cannot help but think, Gosh, there is truly no limit to the awful rubbish people will buy."

I have not read the book but if the basic principle of this book is based on what is written above, I fully agree with what Nury has written.

My first thought when I read this article was that obviously, the author Rhonda Byrne had never tried finding a parking lot in Suntec City, Marine Square, or Tampines Mall during a weekend.

Further to that, seeing the number of weeks this book had remained on the Straits Times Bestselling Books list, it appears that Singaporeans had swallowed this load of crap hook, line, and sinker. Rhonda Byrne must be laughing all the way to the bank.

Why are Singaporeans so easily take in? Are they lacking in street-smarts, they do not read enough to be discerning enough, or is it they are just so stupid that they will fall for anything that is written by an ang moh and comes packaged prettily in glossy covers and crisp clean paper?

Reason 0024 : Lying, Cheating Singaporeans

An article regarding compensation for the investment losses suffered as a result of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, appeared in this morning's edition of 'Today' newspaper. In the hope of getting compensated, some Singaporeans resorted to trickery and deception in the claim process.

As written in the article,

"Some pretended to be uneducated or unemployed in low-income jobs. Then, there were those who claimed they did not understand English well."

" Others claimed to have low-incomes when in fact, they owned multi-million dollar businesses."

"Said one employee at one of the 10 financial institutions involved in selling the products: "you had complainants coming in saying their English was not good, and they needed help drafting a letter, but after you do that, they were able to point out mistakes in the letter. So, you know something is not quite right with some of them."

I understand that many of these investors are likely have suffered big losses and I think many of us would have submitted a claim anyway, hoping for a lucky break, regardless of whether we were fully aware of the risks when purchasing these products. However, the claim should be in accordance with proper procedure and mitigating reasons should then be raised during the face-to-face sessions.

However, resorting to deception and trickery, especially when many of these people are likely to be investment-savvy, well-educated individuals, is despicable and disgraceful behaviour that should be deemed a criminal offence as these are nothing short of premeditated attempts at cheating.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Reason 0023 : Singaporeans Do Not Give Way to Alighting Passengers

I once witnessed an incident while waiting for the MRT at City Hall station. The train had come to a stop, the doors opened, and the passengers inside were beginning to alight. Sure enough, the ugly Singaporeans outside graciously waited for a few seconds while the first few passengers alighted, and then started pushing their way into the train as the remaining passengers were trying to get out.

A well-groomed lady in her thirties who was trying to alight (Shenton Way executive type) was caught in the middle of the crowd rushing in and as her hands were carrying her handbag and shopping bags, she was powerless to resist and was swept back into the train. She got so frustrated that she shouted : "Hey! Stop pushing!" while pushing the people around her with her elbows. The ugly Singaporeans around her 'buah bodoh' of course. You have to give it to these people, they have got skin as thick as armour plating.

When will Singaporeans ever learn that this is not the way to behave?

Reason 0022 : L-Plate Drivers at Ubi

Locating the ComfortDelgro Driving Centre at Ubi might have been a good idea in the past as being an industrial area, there was ample land space and fewer vehicles as compared to traffic on busier roads. However, this area has undergone rapid industralisation over the years and these learner drivers have become a nuisance on the roads.

The roads around the Ubi/Eunos/Kaki Bukit areas are mostly narrow, 2-3 lane roads. To make things worse, there is often only one lane for turning left or right most of the time. Being an industrial area where a lot of trade and commerce takes place, time is of the essence for many people and nothing is more frustrating when you are in a hurry and a learner driver is blocking your way and chugging along at 30 kmh. You may also see several learner drivers lining up on the side of one road, waiting for their chance to practise their U-turns. If you are behind these drivers, at least 3-4 changes of the traffic lights may have taken place before you finally reach the junction.

Somebody needs to step up and make some changes here.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Reason 0021 : Singaporeans with No Phone Manners

I received a call from a Singaporean 'auntie' today. I say auntie because she sounded like she was in her forties. This woman called up asking for a non-existent person so I informed her politely that "we do not have anyone by that name here. " This woman then put down the phone on me without saying a word! Wtf?!? Too bad I do not have caller number display, or else I would have called back and given her a piece of my mind.

I think the gracious thing here would be to say "oh sorry, I made a mistake". Is it so fucking difficult for Singaporeans to say this or am I asking for too much?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Reason 0020 : Work Till You Drop

In the article below,

PM Lee urged older Singaporeans to 'continue working for as long as you can', as well as that older workers 'must be prepared to work longer and be ready to adjust to different responsibilities, and possibly lighter work and less pay.'

I think it is a national disgrace that old people are still working instead of enjoying life, be it selling tissue paper or collecting dirty dishes at food courts. This shows that there are serious issues with the value systems of the people (why are people not taking care of their parents?) or that some of these elderly poor may have become sacrificial lambs in our relentless drive for economic growth.

Furthermore, I am working as hard as I can now so that I can retire, enjoy life, and do the things I want to do as soon as possible. Why would I want to be in a place where I will probably need to 'work for as long as I can?'

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Reason 0019 : Overrated Bloggers

I think many bloggers in the blogosphere are simply overrated. For example, I cannot, for the life of me, understand why people find Xiaxue so interesting. I mean, come on, the girl is ordinary looking (looks like the nose job didn't help much), short, and plump, and she is just blogging about her everyday life or products that she uses. Who the hell wants to know that her fridge is infested with maggots or about her trip overseas? 80-90% of the blogs out there are identical to hers and I cannot believe there are people stupid enough to read her rubbish or even pay her to put out even more of her mindless drivel.

She writes well, I hear some people say? Well, I say if she writes well, she should be writing a fucking book instead of a blog. Are Singaporeans so in need of a life that they even need to be kaypoh about trivial matters like these?

I think the website belonging to the person she hates, Steven Lim, is so much more interesting than hers. At least his website is entertaining and admit it, you got to admire his guts and persistence at being a media whore.

In my opinion, here are a few more interesting blogs (for obvious reasons):


Singaporeans should really wash the shit out of their eyes.

Reason 0018 : Electronic Road Pricing ERP

Electronic Road Pricing or ERP is sore topic for many Singaporeans. You see a report in the papers that a certain stretch of road is getting too busy, traffic is too slow, and the next thing you know, an ERP gantry has been set up.

I think the criteria that determines whether a road in 'ERP worthy' or not is a mystery to most Singaporeans. More transparency as to these criteria as well as greater consultation with the public before gantries are set up would be most helpful.

If I recall correctly, I remember reading in the papers that traffic speed on a certain road had fallen below an acceptable level and hence, ERP had to be implemented.

I had some thoughts at that time and I would love it if anyone can post a comment and let me know if they have answers to the questions below.

Qn : the traffic speed is too slow (below a certain base speed)

- who came up with this base level speed?
- why was this figure deemed to be the base acceptable speed?
- was the public consulted on whether speeds lower than this base level were acceptable to them?
- how was the traffic speed measured? One point only, or several points along the entire stretch of road?
- who had taken these measurements?
- over how many days were the measurements taken?
- what time were the measurements taken? e.g. Rush hour
- when were the measurements taken? e.g. school holidays, Mondays, the day after a look weekend, rainy weather?

Qn : Traffic flow improved after ERP was implemented

- Again as above, how and when were the measurements taken?
- are follow up measurements taken on an on-going basis after implementation of ERP? If yes, when and how frequent are these done?
- if traffic flow had improved, shouldn't the ERP be switched off, especially during school holidays when traffic is smooth, and then switched on again when traffic speed falls below the acceptable level?

I do not know anymore. Is ERP a tool used to maintain smooth flowing traffic or is it meant to be a penalty for people who choose to travel within certain hours? Also, it will be good if all of the data collected, before and after ERP was implemented, be made available to the public so that everyone can understand and be convinced of the need for ERP.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Reason 0017 : Condo Security Guards with Attitude Problems

I think the security guards working in the condos here are really one of a kind. They take their job really seriously and work with an 'overzealousless' that would have been really admirable if not for the sad fact that they are 'on the wrong ball'.

Think about it, even the police are talking about customer service and civility when dealing with members of the general public and in their course of gathering information. In their course of work, these condo security guards seem to think that they are pseudo police inspectors and visitors to the condo are potential criminals.

How many of you have met with this scenario below?

You drive up to the guardhouse of the condo, wind down the window of your car, and are greeted by a stony, sullen face who barks out "Yes?". Take note there is no "good morning" or "excuse me sir, where do you wish to go?".

But nevermind, the next bit is the one that really takes the cake. After you tell him the unit number you are going to, the guard then interrogates you :"what is the purpose?". Wtf?!?? Now if you were driving a lorry or a goods van, or any other commercial vehicle, that question would have been perfectly understandable. However, if you were driving a sedan or saloon car, isn't this a redundant question? I could simply just answer "visiting" and the guard would have to let me pass all the same. Furthermore, is it any of their business what I do inside the privacy of the unit I am going to?

"This is my love nest I bought for my mistress and I am going in to see her now."
"My best friend is not at home and I am going to his home to screw his pretty girlfriend's brains out."
"A maid in the unit asked me to come by and scrub her back while she has a bath."

What kind of answer were they expecting to this question really?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Reason 0016 : Indecisive Singaporeans

One thing that really drives me up the wall is seeing indecisive Singaporeans holding up the queue at food courts when they are buying food. Just stick around the economic rice or yong tau foo stalls and you will see loads of this type of Singaporeans in action.

What happens is this : this person will wait patiently in line for his/her turn to buy food. When it finally comes to their turn, he/she will begin to order. The first dish is always very quick, but the dishes after that are the real highlight. You can see the internal struggle taking place in them and you can almost empathise with them and feel their agony:

"Should I have the chye sim or the steamed egg?"
" The long beans look delicious as well leh..."
"I would love to have the fried chicken wings but they will make me put on weight."
" So many dishes ah? Dun know what to choose."

The situation at the yong tau foo stalls are even worse. These people will pick and choose items as if they are at a wet market. They will pick up one item, look it over (to make sure it is clean, it is the biggest one, the most juicy one), and then they will either put it down (if it fails their internal QC standards) or put in into their bowl. They have conveniently forgotten that there is a long line of people waiting to choose their food like they are and those people cannot proceed if someone is blocking their way!

To these people, I wish to say, "stop dreaming or gossiping while you are in line so that you can look and decide what you want to have in advance. Order your food quickly and go so that you do not hold other people up. If you really cannot decide, step back while you think and let other people proceed first"

Friday, January 2, 2009

Reason 0015 : Compulsory Seat Belts

One thing I can never understand is the law requiring the use of seat belts in cars. Of course, seat belts are a good thing and no one can argue with the logic that seat belts help save lives in accidents. However, I personally do not like using seat belts as I find them restrictive and I think this is one area where the choice of belting up or not should be left to the individual.

It is to the credit of the Traffic Police that they have adopted a soft approach and have enforced this law by reminding rather than fining offenders strictly but I feel this issue is a little like euthanasia. If I have a death wish, this is my choice and my problem right? After all, people who knowingly put themselves at risk of death such as smokers and alcoholics are not fined for their bad habits.