Just got this off the press. This is really horrid, but I guess, to a certain extent, it woke me up quite a bit. I was reading about the Japanese photo-journalist who got killed this morning and I thought to myself that it would not happen to a Singaporean, much less, me. Perhaps I am being self-centered, and think that “Singaporeans are the exception”. But reading this article somehow got me thinking otherwise.

I remembered I was in Bangkok once when a coup came about. I was on the bus and watching the soldiers by the streets, thinking “how fun!”. The idea of being captured, raped, robbed, punched and killed never go to me because I thought that being a Singaporean, I come from a neutral perspective and nothing will happen to me. How wrong I was… because I realised that I forgot to print “Singaporean” on my forehead. Moreover, in times of unrest, everyone is the enemy.

Now I am thinking twice about visiting the DMZ in Korea. Perhaps it may sometimes be a good idea to stay out of trouble’s sight, unless, of course, I am really tired of living. Of course, this incident also reminds me that the peacetime we have in Singapore is, well, sometimes taken for granted.

We are just as vulnerable as anyone else out there.

Straitstimes.com article:

A SINGAPOREAN working in Yangon said he was shot in the legs and kicked by anti-riot police while he and his wife were on their way to the office on Thursday. The man, who did not want to be named for safety reasons, emailed The Straits Times’ online interactive portal (Stomp) for citizen journalism about the shooting incident, and also sent photographs showing the injuries he sustained during the security crackdown, in which nine people were killed, including a Japanese photographer.

He gave this account in his email to Stomp: ‘I was on my way to the office when the riot police block the road. I stopped my car with my wife and walked out.

‘Suddenly, riot police and soldiers drove the truck around the corner and started firing shots at the crowd.

‘We quickly ran to the side and squat down.

‘The soldiers came down and started to shoot at us. I was shot twice but I did not know what hit me.

‘Both my legs were bruised. The soldiers and police kicked us and the rest of the crowds into the drain and shouted that they would kill us if we look at them.

‘We were forced to stay in the drain for 15mins. I looked at my injuries and found the ‘40mm riot control munnition’.

‘We are just ordinary citizens going to work and they just shot at us for no reason.’

On Wednesday, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also advised Singaporeans travelling to Myanmar to register with the Foreign Ministry through its website and to closely monitor media reports on the situation there.

Singaporeans in Myanmar should also take the necessary precautions for their personal safety, including remaining in a safe location and avoiding areas where there may be trouble, the ministry advised.

Some images below may not be suitable for all audiences.  Standard disclaimer and copyrights to respective owners apply.

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Oh well, I usually wake up from the wrong side of bed a few times a year… but today was extremely bad. So, when I apparently got a random feedback request from HP, I guess it was their unlucky day because, while the facts are not changed, the tone reflected my utmost unhappiness.

The service engineer who got back to me knew nothing about computers. My problem was about not being able to get into BIOS. He asked me to reinstall windows, following which, gave me a range of keys, e.g. F10, F8, F6, F2 to press during boot up in an attempt to get into the BIOS. Now that they have collected my notebook, I have got no idea what’s happened to it. I am extremely disappointed with HP’s level of service. I have had previous products and have been down to the service center previously. Never have I seen such disdained level of service. To add to this, my notebook was barely 1 week old.

The difference between how I’d have put it on a sunny day is probably something that is more subdued, more read-between-the-lines statements; but I’m utterly in the worst of my moods today and thus I didn’t mince my words a least bit. Then again, the level of service everywhere is getting from bad to worse, amidst raising prices. Bus fares, MRT fares, GST, chicken rice, duck rice, noodles, fast food…. Oh wait, fast food is shrinking… literally. The KFC chicken pieces I had at Funan shrunk almost to the size of drumlettes.

Hell hath no fury as a woman scorned. Hell hath no fury like a woman’s wrath.

Everybody hates him…

Humour September 25th, 2007

Everybody hates him. The guys hate him, the girlfriends hate him. The wives hate him, and probably to a certain extent, some mothers hate him. For some, or a minute few, perhaps the father hates him as well, and almost definitely, the bosses hate him. But for now, what everyone is really concerned about it… who in the world is he? 

He is none other than the person below:

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Names you would want to avoid

Humour September 20th, 2007

Names that you would want to avoid naming your kids ;) Got this in my mail this evening.

Mandarin
Paul Chan – Bankrupt
Anne Chang – Dirty
Faye Chen – Dusty
Anne Chin – Keep quiet
Henry Mah – Hate your mum
Jane Tan – Frying eggs
Nelson Tan – Bird laying eggs
Leslie Tong – Rubbish bin

Hokkien
Carl Cheng – Buttock
Monica Cheng – Touching your buttocks
Lucy Leow – You are dead
Suzie Leow – Lost till death
Lim Yew Lin – Drink urine
Lim Teh Peng – Drink iced tea
Danny See – Squeeze you to death
Corrine Tai – Poor fellow
Rosie Teng – Screws and nails
Carmen Tng – Leg hair long
Pete Tsai – Nose droppings

Cantonese
Connie Mah – Call your mother
Macy Koh – Never die before

Ed: Any similarity with any person’s name alive or dead is purely coincidental. This entry is not meant to mock anyone who happened to carry any of such names. If you are offended by this entry, kindly email the author of this blog to have this removed. Standard disclaimer and rights holds.

Fei-zai: Eh, siao eh….

Sor-zai: Simi lah?! I actually very clever, but you everyday siao eh this, siao eh that… see lah? Now my results also look a little siao liao! …. Simi dai ji? I’m damn hungry now… wua ai ke jiak liao

Fei-zai: Oh! Ho! I mah ai ke jiak… le ai jiak simi?

Sor-zai: Um zai leh… ai jiak kway teow mai?

Fei-zai: Kway teow? Market eh kway teow ah?

Sor-zai: Um si lah… school canteen mah wu kway teow? An juah ai ke market jiak kway teow? Still need to take bus out, then need to take bus back. Wua bo student concession, ok? Not like you…

Fei-zai: Oh… school canteen eh kway teow now wu surcharge liao….

Sor-zai: Huh? Simi surcharge?

Fei-zai: Wu… now you need to show your matric card… then hor, they scan your matric card to see how much lui you have to pay

Sor-zai: Si meh? Le mai pian wua la… where got this kind of dai ji one?

Fei-zai: Got… the drink store aunty gah wua gong one… now they see you first year, second year, third year or honours student… then you pay differently liao…

Sor-zai: Haha… le mai gah wua joke liao lah… where got such things… ? And how they know you honest or not?

Fei-zai: Um si honest… si honours… H-o-n-o-u-r-s… 4th year honours student

Sor-zai: Oh… say early mah… So, simi si jeh pay differently eh dai ji?

Fei-zai: The aunty say if you are first year student, then you pay same price – $2. Second year student pay $2.50. Third year student pay $3. Honours student pay $4.

Sor-wai: Wah! Mana wo jeh dai ji? Where got like that one?

Fei-zai: Ya lor. They think that it’s like primarily school students. The higher you go, the more allowance you get.

Sor-zai: Wah piang… like that ah? Ok la.. go out and eat lor. But still must pay bus fare leh. Still the same wat….

Fei-zai: Bo bian lor… aunty said ai jiak mai suah… cham liao la.. tonight must ask pa for more pocket money liao

Sor-zai: Eh… then Albert mah jia lat liao!

Fei-zai: An juah leh?

Sor-zai: Albert retain 3 semesters

Fei-zai: (^_^)”‘

Heh heh… bet you guys think that I meant moblog – short for mobile blogging where people blog with their handphones/pdas/whatnots and send back to the blog API using SMS or GPRS or MMS. Well, I’m doing… mobile blogging, pretty much in the real sense! You see, I am now blogging in the train, happily seated in the last carriage on the train, and typing this post on IE. ;)

So, mobile computing has come of age! From SMS to GPRS to 3G and now HSPDA (or something like that). I am currently using M1 Broadband to connect to the Internet and I had always wondered if M1 Broadband allowed mobile computer, or in my case, mobile blogging, literally. :) So here you are, live blogging from the comforts of the MRT train.

Well, I am not sure if it’d work when the train goes underground in a matter of stations. I’d soon know. :) Of course, Starhub and Singtel offers something similar. Maybe someone would like to try blogging using their services and provide some feedback? Just for the records, I had been on the lowest price plan of 384kbps and this seems fine to me, since peak traffic periods slow all traffic, regardless of plan, to the same slow speed.

Here’s to mobile blogging! Cheers! :)

I on a journey… (sic)

Singapore September 13th, 2007

Nope, that’s no grammatical error. At least not on my part, and at least not on the minds of the publicity people when they decided to do something like this:

I On A Journey

I nearly fainted and died when I read the rest of the ads – I on a destination, I on a haute, I on a whatever… For goodness sake! It’s I AM. I-A-M. I am on a destination, where journeys begin! Goodness! What happened to the English in Singapore? It’s like….

Me: Hello… where are you now?

Friend: Oh, I on the bus/train/car/bicycle now.

Or…

Me: Hey, isn’t that you in the TV programme?

Friend: *shouts out to mum* hey ma! I on TV! I on TV!

Or…

Me: Oh, why are you still at home?

Friend: Oh, I on MC today…

What happened to the “am”? Argh! AM. AM. A-M. AM… come’on kids, follow me.

A…. M…. AM! I am on a bus. I am on a train. I am on medical leave. A..M… AM!

Argh. I am not a grammar police… but it’s drying me nuts. And now, they use it on advertisements! :(

Ed: Actually the ads were meant to promote the new residence at Orchard Turn, which unfortunately, is named Ion Orchard. The author wonders if the new building will be charged, and if it’s going to be positive or negative.

Feeling really down…

General September 13th, 2007

You know? It’s been quite a while since I last felt so down. Maybe too many things had been happening for the past weeks and it’s all getting pent up all inside. For once, I nearly teared for no rhyme or reason. :( It was worse just now at Jurong Point. Sigh. I don’t know why I am feeling like this. Maybe it’s just the hormones. Maybe it’s about meeting expectations. But… what expectations? Sigh. Maybe I’m just too tired and probably need a good good rest. But hadn’t I been resting all these while? I don’t think I really did anything significant lately. Sigh. I am just feeling so lost. Would anyone be able to understand?

Was in the midst of lessons today when the projector that was hanging perilously from the middle of the ceiling in the lecture theatre shook. And it shook. And it shook. And the lecturer thought that he had just acquired Parkinson’s Disease. Then it stopped…. and it shook for the last time. The project started to sway and everyone sitting underneath it started paying more attention to it than to the lecturer, to the extend that the lecture had to go…

Hey hey, don’t keep looking at the projector lah! If it falls down I’ll let you all know. So when I say jump, you all better quickly jump!

Er…. (^_^)”‘

And here’s a little something that was talked about during one of my conversations:

A friend well-versed in Chinese History: in ancient china… when there’s a long period of drought or natural disaster…
Me: Ya?
AFWVICH: its seen as a sign that the emperor has lost their mandate to rule…
Me: Oh?
AFWVICH: and the heavens are angry at the emperor…
Me: Hmm… do they practice 66.6% as great mandate then?
AFWVICH: perhaps this quake is like a way to telling the PAP that all this price hikes are getting a little too much…
Me: =S
AFWVICH: ha ha
Me: *roll eye balls*
AFWVICH: But… in ancient times… they don’t get to vote…
Me: Then?
AFWVICH: the challengers are all executed…
Me: oh… so fun…
AFWVICH: *faint* u have quite a morbid sense of humour…

Ok. I admit it. It probably has nothing to do with building arks, and neither have I read about any real impending floods! But! But! I know that there’s going to be floods of moans, groans and complains, and why is that so? Simply because the level of service that’s rendered by SBS and TIBS is still way below par. Take for instance, I don’t know why I have to wait 45 mins for a 980 service at Bugis Junction, only to alight at Sembawang and realise that the next one is just 200m behind. I have not written to them because I am apathetic towards the service level. I don’t think they will improve, but they will probably increase the fares anyway, citing “increase in fuel and manpower costs”.

To the  transport operators:

Come on! The last time you said this, you had an over 39% in net earnings! Why do you keep pulling a fast one? I just don’t understand it. If you feel that profits isn’t enough, why don’t you just cite reasons like “we need additional fundings to improve our service levels” and such? And if you do, you jolly well improve it! Damn it! I feel like a sucker!

Article from straitstimes.com:

Bus fares to go up by 1 to 2 cents from Oct 1
By Christopher Tan, Senior Correspondent

BUS fares will go up by one to two cents from Oct 1, the Public Transport Council announced on Tuesday.
But there will be no increase in train fares.

The Council said in August that transport operators SBS Transit and SMRT Corp had applied for fare increases – an annual revision exercise governed by a set formula.

This year, the formula caps fare rises at 1.8 per cent – or around three cents per ride.

The last fare increase was in October last year, when costs went up by one to three cents per ride.

Back then, the operators blamed high costs – in particular the high price of fuel and manpower – for the need to raise their fares. They are citing the same reasons this time.

SBS Transit, part of the ComfortDelGro group, for instance, said their costs have gone up significantly.

“Energy costs, for example, rose by 20 per cent or $20.3 million last year – having already increased by 41.2 per cent in 2005,” SBS Transit spokesman Tammy Tan said.

“Manpower costs, the company’s largest cost component, also increased by about $12.1 million during the year.”

SBS also pointed out that it had invested heavily in buses as well as commuter services.

It spent $135 million on new buses in the past two years. And it has rolled out an online bus arrival system, which helps commuters to plan their journeys better.

Lower SMRT earnings
SMRT pointed out that the increase in the goods and services tax as well as the 1.5 percentage point rise in employers’ CPF contributions will pull down its earnings by about $11 million a year.

It said the fare increase, if kept to this year’s cap of 1.8 per cent, would only partially offset the company’s total cost increases.

SBS is proposing to keep children and school student fares as well as concession pass charges unchanged.

SMRT has also said it will not raise fares for children and students, and all bus cash fares.

SMRT is also waiving any increase to the first fare band of its MRT single-trip ticket, which costs 90 cents. It added that it would extend its senior citizen concession hours to match SBS’.

Schemes to help the poor
Both operators said they would come up with schemes to help the poor cope with any fare rise.

The Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) is not entirely convinced that a fare hike is in order.

Case executive director Seah Seng Choon has pointed out that transport companies are enjoying “good returns.” For instance, SMRT achieved a 39 per cent rise in net earnings to $37.94 million in the first quarter.

“‘With such significant increase in net earnings, commuters would certainly expect it to show clear justifications for any need to hike fares at this point in time,’ he said.