Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Hair cut

I had a hair cut.

'Cut' is right. I think I'd meant 'trim', but I told the hairdresser I wanted 'the shortest possible but still can tie up' hair.

I should have known hairdressers have a different inkling of 'short'.

And his definition of 'still can tie up' is vastly different from mine. I look ridiculous tying up my hair now - like a broom.

My hair went real short - just below the shoulder blade.

I feel like crying. 20 years' worth of long tresses gone in 2 hours - I waited for an hour before the cutting commenced.

But I've always wanted to see how I look with shorter hair.

I was hoping to get a fresh haircut for the coming trip. Now I wonder how many pictures will I take of myself on the trip to remind myself of the awful haircut.

But it was something new to me. I would always be kept wondering if I have never tried it. I was sick of the hair I had, wanted a half-fringe, and shorter hair, despite my already-quite-short long hair. This hair cut also made me realise that I have never really taken a good look at my own hair, until I lose them.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Planning Pains

I have been doing the planning of the Shanghai-Beijing trip.

Surprisingly, Beijing is easier to plan. I guess it is because I am clear as to where to go: Great Wall, Tiananmen, Forbidden City and Summer Palace.

Shanghai is a headache.

I tend to get ambitious: I want to go to Hangzhou and a water town as well, out of Shanghai, so two days would be taken up.

But I also want to explore Shanghai, do some decent shopping, and have a good look at this city.

Come to think of that, I might give the water town a miss, depending on how interesting or boring I find Shanghai.

I have been trying to contact the hotel to help me book train tickets to Beijing, but for some reason, they have not replied my emails. I have emailed two in English, and today, I tried emailing in Chinese after recalling reviews from tripadvisor forum that the staff are not proficient in their foreign language.

I have read that the service is not much. Let's see how it goes. Worse comes to worse, I will try to get the train tickets myself when I reach Shanghai, and hope for the best that they are still available. I have read reviews that they are quickly snapped up, but a Chinese national colleague told me that it should not be a problem getting them since June is not a Chinese holiday period. July and August are. However, I have read that the Chinese students are the ones who snap up the tickets fast because they travel between Beijing and Shanghai frequently.

Back to planning. Sometimes the frustration and pains of planning an F&E trip does get to me and I start to wonder if I am truly a masochist. I have resolved not to plan for an F&E trip after Hong Kong and Bangkok. I approached 2 tour agencies and queried about the packages to China.

Then, there I went again - I don't want to go these places. I want the best of both worlds. On top of that, I want to do things tour agencies wouldn't, like taking a train between two cities. And I don't fancy the feeling of following someone all over the places like I paid her money to rush to places I don't want.

Then I decided I should do an F&E to get all that I want thrown in, minus the luxuries of living in five-star hotels and eating good food for most meals.

But as I plan, I find the nitty-gritties are starting to gnaw at my bone.

Just the Beijing's Great Wall alone:
Firstly, I planned a trip to the Great Wall, right?
Then I have to find out which section of Great Wall to go. For a novice tourist who hopes to do something that's not too touristy, I hope to go to a section that is not too crowded like Badaling.
So I found out about Mutianyu. It has cable car service and toboggan - great!
Then I have to find out the costs of each item: entry, cable car and toboggan, and opening hours.
Then I have to find out how to go - both by a hired cab and public transport.
Along the way, I realised I should be prepared to know which side of the Wall to go after we reach the top - left or right and why - left is more interesting but can be dangerous for elderly and children, right is where the toboggan is.
Another thing I need to take note is to go for the red cable car, for reasons I haven't the mood to find out.

I have yet to find out exactly how to charter a cab on my own.

I have not started deciding on the details of the itinerary yet - when and where to have breakfasts, lunches and dinners. In fact, I have not finished researching on the places to eat yet!

It is just a week away from flying. And my itinerary is still sketchy. For someone who needs to have things done much in advance, I panic.

Arrghhh ...!!!

I know if I get to choose all over again, I would have chosen to go down this path no less. For the fussy pot that I am, it's painful for me to compromise my wants of quality with quantities offered by the agencies.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Visa Application for China Visit

Iphone has proven its worth to me.

I was on the way to meet Coco's teacher for Meet-the-Parent session when I was skip-hopping-reading a Beijing travel book.

Then I saw a line that goes 'All foreign visitors must apply for a visa to visit China.'

Imagine what a great shock I received!

Immediately, I went onto my Iphone internet to search if that still stood true since books may be outdated.

Eventually, I arrived at a chinese visa application service link.

After many calls to check:
1) whether Singapore and Malaysia passport holders need to apply for visas

Singaporeans holding international passports do not need to apply for a visa as long as their visit is 15 days or less. Malaysians MUST apply for a visa, no matter which part of China you are visiting.

2) how much it cost for a visa application

It costs $75 per visa application for a single entry within 3 months.

3) whether I could apply for my parents' visas on their behalf

Yes, as long as the passport holders are in Singapore while the visa is being processed.

(Actually, the passports are withheld by the Consular Service during the application period, so it is not possible to travel out of Singapore without a passport)

4) what documents to bring along to apply for a visa

Passport (with at least 2 blank visa pages and valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of application), Identity Card, a photocopy of IC, a recent passport-sized photo with all features shown, the filled-out application forms downloadable from here.

5) what time the visa application service stops

According to the lady on the phone, it ends at 2pm, although the website says it is 3pm. 2pm, according to the website, is for express application.

6) how long it takes for the visa to be ready

4 working days (including the application day) for regular application. There are express (3 working days) and urgent service (2 working days) as well but the charges increase accordingly.

I was home by 11am to collate the documents and fill up the application forms. By then, I had also called my parents to inform them about the visa application matter. Fortunately, for some reason, all of us had a spare passport photo waiting to be used so the hassle was more of the searching and collating.
By 12pm, everything was ready. I met my parents at an MRT station to get the application forms signed and my father and I went down to Royal Brothers Building to submit the application.
The Chinese lady at the Consular Service Centre was kinda cocky, but nevermind, the gracious me continued to be humble and polite in my dealings with her.
I missed out on the 5th and 6th pages of the application form as I'd thought they were Student Visa Application. We were given the last two pages to fill out. Fortunately again, my mother's signature was easy to forge and so I signed on her behalf.
We are asked to collect the visas on this coming Monday. Payment will be made together with the collection
We left the Consular Service Centre at 1.50pm.
How to get there:
China Visa Application Service Centre
9th Floor, Royal Brothers, 22 Malacca Street.

Enquiry: 62262358 / 62262439.
Website: http://www.visaforchina.org/SGP_EN/

Nearest MRT:
Raffles Place and exit at A, B or D

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Planning and Mulling Stage

I booked 4 air tickets to Beijing, with a stopover in Shanghai!

Woah! I went ahead and did it without months of research like I did for Taipei and Hong Kong.

The train and metro maps look like mazes to me, but I couldn't care too much.

Next on the list is to book hotels in Shanghai and Beijing.

I have done my sparse research on the hotels and am quite set on the hotels. However, for some reason, hotels.com seems to be having some technical issues at the moment and will only resume service a few hours later.

It gives me some time to deliberate over whether I should reduce the time I spend in Shanghai and spill it over to Beijing.

I have allocated 5 days to Shanghai while 3 to Beijing, because besides Shanghai itself, I intend to go Hangzhou and a water town, both of which require us to travel quite a fair bit.

However, a Chinese national colleague told me that Beijing is much more fun and I should give it more days rather than Shanghai, but I should bear in mind that the reason I am going Shanghai is because my mother yearns to go there, while Beijing is more for my traditional father who is passionate about Chinese history.

It is not without struggles that I made the decision to travel for the longest time, because I am going without Baby.

I know I will miss her, and I probably will feel guilty.

I struggled because:

1) if I bring her along, it will be almost impossible to do a Free and Easy. We would have to join a tour group. I can't think properly if I have a toddler with me.
2) tour group is not what we want because the places they want to go are mostly not the places we want to go
3) we won't be able to go to both Beijing and Shanghai since it will be a hassle to move from one place to another with a baby
4) with a baby, it means that there are 5 of us. It means an additional bedroom at the hotel, and difficulty in getting a cab since cab maximum passenger capacity is 4 in Shanghai. Just the air ticket and hotel rooms for an additional head will drive my budget up another thousand dollars, nevermind she is two-and-a-half!
5) if I don't bring her along, I will miss out on this opportunity of spending time with her since I work long hours. Today was another 11-hour day again! By the time I saw my baby, she was about to fall asleep!

My parents were the usual Chinese Asian parents,"No! We don't want to go! Why waste money?!!"

But I know they do want to go. And I don't want to wait. I don't know when their knees would give way. I don't know if they would be too tired to walk or travel by next year, or the year after next. I know I would be terribly guilty if I never take them to China at least once in their lives.

It sounds abit strange that I feel guilty about not taking my parents for a trip, especially when I have more siblings than an average person, but I guess I am trying to make amends for my rebellious teenage and early twenties years. I have hurt them too much when I was young. I would like to make it up to them, no matter how trivial it seems to others.

So China, here I come (without any substantial planning yet)!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Pose Pose

While the Kate Spade picture is not new, someone ingenious has come up with a telling picture that's circulating on the net.
I didn't give a second thought to it, until I was searching through Baby's pictures that I have taken recently to see if there was anything Facebook-postworthy.

I found this:
Let's hope that Baby will earn that kind of money and marry a rich husband like Ms Tin when she grows up.

Huh? Airhead? How much of an airhead can she be if she's smart enough to snag a rich husband and able to earn $15k a month? If that's an airhead, I want to be one too!

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Bye, My Old and Faithful

I had resisted getting a new handphone despite having an expanded hairline crack for months.

I can't recall the exact date I threw the phone in a fit of anger when I could not find one of my possession.

But that was definitely the last time I threw it on the floor out of anger, because Baby went to pick it up and tried to fix the loose parts together!

However, from then on, a fine hairline crack was formed across the screen.

I didn't think much about it since it did not affect the readability of smses.

Then the crack expanded. Still I did not think it was a big issue. I could still use it.

But by and by, the crack grew, and I soon could not read the smses until I waited for the handphone light to dim and after that, held it against available light so that I could read the messages.

Still, I held on to the handphone.

I am a technophobic. Any change in technology is an uncomfortable change for me.

But then, my friends and colleagues started receiving weird messages from me:

"I am on ma (mc) today"

Colleague's reply: What's ma?

"I am sorry. I can't read or type sms properly becos there is a ganesh (crack) on my screen"

Colleague: (Don't bother to ask)

I didn't even realise I was sending those funny messages until I read what I sent in my 'sent messages' box.

Imagine my horror!

Even with such astounding mistakes, I held on to the handphone. I guess part of it was also because I found security in holding onto something I have been using for more than two or three years.

Then, I started having problems with the aural function of the phone. The receivers could not hear me.

Just about the same time, for some reason, I left my phone at my parents' place.

My father was absolutely appalled at the condition of the phone,"How could she even use such a phone?!!"

My sisters commented,"Even our father's phone is of a newer model than yours!"

Then my fifth sister dropped the bomb,"Ah pa remarked that he's from 1940s, and you are from 1920s."

That was the final straw.

I have put up enough humiliation and mockery for this phone.

I went to get an iPhone.

Some lingering thoughts about the election

Tin Pei Ling
I have never spoken out against Tin Pei Ling. Not because I like her, but because I have nothing against her.

She is, admittedly, young. Only 27. What do you expect from a 27-year-old? Maturity surpassing her age the moment she runs for election?

I wonder how mature her critics are when they were 27 themselves?

Not everybody is a Nicole Seah. Nicole Seah is a gem. She has evidently very supportive parents who allow her to grow in the way she wants. And she is capable of flourishing on her own, by her own merit.

Tin Pei Ling was criticised for her 'biggest regret in life' - not able to take her parents to Universal Studios before the election. When interviewed, she probably hadn't assumed the role of an emergent MP (Member of Parliament) yet. She was being personal about her 'regret' and she was trying to emphasise her good relationship with her parents by suggesting how much they meant to her. She wouldn't expect this response to invite so much bombardment would she?

She was criticised for acting cute while holding a Kate Spade box as the luxury brand box suggested that she was materialistic and shallow.

I believe that picture is a personal picture, not meant for the public eye. And which girl does not like a nice bag? Even a non-bag person like me don't mind a nice bag. I don't find it a problem, but the poor girl is being shot down, just because she held that darn box.

Despite all the criticisms, she is still voted into the Parliament.

It tells me that the majority of Singaporeans do not mind a 'materialistic', 'shallow' and 'immature' candidate as part of their government, after all the criticisms.

Or perhaps the locals themselves are right about their fellow comrades after all - that Singaporeans only talk very big, but no action. Just like the voting - an overwhelming number of people said that they wanted to overthrow the ruling party by voting for the opposition, but the result showed otherwise. Might as well didn't vote. It tells me that Singaporeans don't really mind a walkover actually, because they would vote for the ruling party anyway, vote or no vote.

Potong Pasir Petition
I 'like' the page on Petitioning for Potong Pasir. I smsed my kid's and my details over to the person-in-charge. However, I am in a dilemma ie. to support or not to. My heart does, but my head does not.

Why my heart does:
Mr Chiam See Tong is indeed an admirable man. He has courage that most Singaporeans don't. He has the determination and resilience that most Singaporeans don't. And he truly loves Singapore.

I have a colleague who said that Mr Chiam 'escaped' to Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC because he did not want to lose face by losing Potong Pasir in this election, knowing that people do not support him. I almost fainted, but I couldn't be bothered to argue with her. Some people believe what they want to believe. I don't want to get myself muddy by fighting with pigs. That said, I enjoy good relationships with my colleagues and do not think that she is stupid. But well, she is entitled to her own opinion.

My father was shocked to see from the internet how shabby Mr Chiam's make-shift office in the void deck looked. He thought he would have the same privilege as other PAP MPs who enjoy air-conditioned rooms to conduct their Meet-the-People sessions.

I salute Mr Chiam for holding on to an opposition party for more than two decades. He does not bend over even when his age catches up with him. He refuses to retire even when he suffers stroke twice. He does not care if he does not look as dignified as before. He continues to run for election for the survival of an opposition party in the Parliament, so as to sustain a voice in the Parliament for his people in Potong Pasir.

All being said, my head does not support the petition movement:

Sitoh Yih Bin did win fair and square, even if it's by 114 votes.

He would have won fair and square even if it's by just 1 vote.

It's the third time he ran for an election at Potong Pasir, even though he lost previously, twice at that. I don't know how he put up with the jeers from the people there, but he does seem desperate to want to win the people over.

I don't know too much about the $2 shark's fin or abalone porridge, but if you have the resources, you can do anything to win the hearts of the people. It's up to the people whether they want to be won over.

And they have spoken by their votes. They do want PAP.

For 27 years, they have supported Mr Chiam. They have been the opposition ward for more than two decades. I think it's fair that they decide for themselves what they want for this election. Nobody should scold them 'traitor'. What have they betrayed?

It's only fair that they get some upgrading done since they have been deprived of it for more than two decades simply because they are an opposition ward. Everybody knows it is not fair to use underhanded tactics to compel residents to vote for a particular party, but they are filthy rich and they decide how they want to use the money, what can you do about it?

They have chosen what they want. In the spirit of democracy, I feel that the petition for a bi-election should not have been started in the first place, but at the same time, I view such a petition as a declaration of people's love and support for Mr Chiam.

Loss of NSP (National Solidarity Party)
I was very hopeful that NSP would win. With the popularity of Nicole Seah, I really thought it could happen.
I was very disappointed that it didn't. I believe many felt the same way as I did.

Why do I hope NSP to win?
I feel that Nicole Seah come across as being very real, down-to-earth and knows how to go about achieving what she wants.

Within such a short span of time, she could cause such a whirlwind in the political arena, I am sure she would be able to achieve much more when she enters the Parliament. She can truly be that voice for the people.

Despite people telling her 'I have waited for this day to come for a long time', 'I have been waiting for you', the result showed otherwise. Although 43% is a good percentage, it's still a loss.

Besides Mr Low Thia Khiang's team, Nicole Seah's was the only other hopeful that could enter the Parliament. Alas, the awe-inspiring turnouts at the rallies did not translate into favourable votes. I really wonder what these rally-goers were thinking about.
Did you see the pathetic white patch? It's George Yeo's rally. Even for such a pathetic turnout, which possibly comprised of mainly his grassroot leaders and family members, they garnered more than 40% of the votes. It makes me scratch my head why Nicole Seah's team did not go beyond 50%. Having a Ling up against a weaker Ling was a thoughtful and strategic one I thought, although they denied the placement of Nicole Seah in that ward was deliberate. The growing resentment versus increasing favour leading up to the Polling Day ought to have been powerful enough to topple the other party, but it didn't. Did Singapore voters vote otherwise even though they were impressed with Nicole Seah, because the voters had self-interest in mind ie. Mr Goh Chok Tong is a powerful MP to have for their complaints?

We have seen how phenomenal the turnout for Workers' Party was. One would imagine they would garner more wards judging from the turnout, but it was not meant to be.

I am optimistic that Nicole Seah would run for elections in the future. I am just skeptical about the credibility of the next crowd of voters.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Workers' Party Rally

I was at Workers' Party Rally last Saturday, 1 May, at Yishun Stadium, and Low Thia Khiang impressed me thoroughly.

He is witty and humorous. He got quick mental reflexes and his speech is often tongue in cheek.

He retorted Mr Goh CT's claim that the opposition parties are selling 'ko-yok' (plasters),"Of course we have to sell ko-yok, because your PAP policies have given us so many bodyaches!(我们当然要卖膏药啦!你们PAP的政策已经把我们弄到腰酸背痛了!)"

I can't get over that on the good side.

Another witty line of his:

"They keep saying flats are affordable. Of course they are affordable for them. Their salary is so high!(他们当然负担得起啦--他们的薪水这么高!)"

And I like how he ended his speech,"Let us witness your determination to change for the better on 7 May! (在五月七号那天,让我们看到你的决心!)"

 When we reached there at 8.30pm, the stadium was already swarmed with people
 Lots of people were standing on the grasspatch behind the stadium just to listen to the rally
 We decided to try our luck by venturing in
 I was impressed with ice-cream vendors' quick reflexes and business acumen.
There were at least 7 of them there and queues were formed for each stall.
 Seemingly avid supporters who were coy when I raised my camera at them

 At the sheltered seating area
 The blocked stage
 Now then I know what 'people mountain people sea' means
 Raising WP flags as they cheered to agree

                                                     Stadium too crowded, so stay outside

 Bird's eye view from the top of a flat

 Composed traffic police helping us to halt the traffic halfway at the road
 Calm police officers guarding the Khatib MRT gates to prevent overcrowding on the platform
 The gates finally opened
Phew ...

I am typing this on Polling Day, 7 May 2011.

I have become an avid Facebooker these few days - to post articles, Facebook notes from different writers, Mr Brown's podcast on 'Teow Chew Muay' - to, hopefully, educate some of my friends who are adamant supporters of a particular party, so that they could make an informed decision even if they eventually decide to vote for who they feel they should be grateful to.

I like what some of these Facebook writers say:

The kind of government the people choose reflect the kind of people they are.
How true. If I were filthy rich and don't have children, I probably would support the party that's filthy rich and doesn't have a care in the world, literally. We would share the same belief, same values - materialistic values. Why should I care about people who are at the bottom of the social ladder? My concern of leaving an inheritance for my kids are more real than these people who have nothing to do with me.

It's not who we vote for, but what we vote for.
Yes, what exactly do we want? If we want democracy, then let's vote for alternative voices. Haven't we heard the phrase 'celebrate our differences' all too often? If that's what we believe in, then vote for it. If we are happy being bossed around and have our lives dictated by someone high and mighty, and whom we view as God, then let's vote for dictatorship.

Thank you, Nicole Seah.

Because of you, I am awakened.

You have made me realised that the courage of one person can indeed change history.

This General Election has educated and enlightened me on many many things.

I will exercise my right as a citizen in my own country by voting from now on.

Friday, 6 May 2011

GE 2011 Thoughts

I have been following the news about the rallies and the political parties rather closely.

Thoughts and observations have been random.

A few things I thought about over the past few days:

LKY and Nicole Seah's Facebook 'Likes'
I couldn't believe how childish PAP is. Nicole Seah's fans have some people that are really young, and they wanted to pump up her likes so that they exceed LKY's. And just when hers was about to exceed his at more than 60k, LKY's 'likes' shot up to 70k within one or two days, from a mere 50k!

Whether it's a robot that's doing it, or some IT expert whom PAP would not have problem engaging, I don't know. But it's certainly meaningless by jamming up the likes on Facebook.

Low Thia Khiang's Hougang flats were criticised as being a slum
According to dictionary.com, a 'slum' is defined as 'a thickly populated, run-down, squalid part of a city, inhabited by poor people.'

The ruling party claims that the flats under Low Thia Khiang's charge were sold at lower prices than flats under the PAP.

I am no property guru, but most people would associate Marsiling as the 'slum' of Singapore as the flats there are known to be the cheapest and many poor people live there. The second cheapest flat area I have heard from my sister who is a property agent is Yishun.

Incidentally, both areas are under the charge of you-know-who.

Lee Hsien Loong's apology
I have to admit that I was softened at his 'If we did not get it quite right, I am sorry' speech for a moment.

I thought I really would consider giving them another chance at making things right if I could vote.

That is until I read the comments on Nicole Seah's Facebook about his apology.

The commenters felt the same way about his apology: fake, and I think they do have a point, that if the votes swing to their side and they defeat the opposition parties, they would forget about having apologised ever and continue with their wilful ways.

George Yeo's Defence Minister
Being an incumbent in the hotseat Aljunied GRC, many fear for George Yeo that he may not win, judging from the support Workers' Party garner wherever they go.

Mr Goh Chok Tong has made the statement "Singapore can't afford to lose George Yeo" to help pull votes for him.

I can't help but feel sorry for them.

Does George Yeo need a big brother to stick up for him?
Is George Yeo not capable of fighting by his own strength?

And if Singapore can't afford to lose George Yeo, what does that mean?
That George Yeo is indispensable? That Singapore would collapse without George Yeo?

Then I can only say that Singapore is built on very fragile foundation, with only one person acting as the core of the country. And if what he says stands true, then PAP has not done a good job at nation-building, because the going-down of one person is tantamount to the sinking of Singapore.

Very worrying indeed.

Wong Kan Seng's Self-Defence
He said that he had been serving Singapore for 27 years and Mas Selamat is his only mistake. Just one mistake.

I was flabbergasted: that mistake is fatal.

I have heard of teachers resigning from service because they were severely marked down over negligence - a student fell down in the area where the teacher was supervising, a student cutting himself with a penknife accidentally etc.

Mas Selamat is a wanted man, a dangerous man, a terrorist.

What would have happened to a teacher if she were the one who committed the mistake?

Get fired, naturally.

So why is he given deferential treatment?

A ministerial resignation ought to be a natural follow-up action in this case, without a doubt. Why should that even be challenged or questioned? Isn't that what's accountability all about?

In defence of PAP, a Facebook user wrote a note about the opposition parties' unreasonable demand for an accountability for mistakes made. He suggests that ministerial resignations over every mistake made would make Singapore and other countries have little confidence in the political system of Singapore.

But ministerial resignation is not uncommon:

1) German, Jan 2001
TWO German cabinet ministers in charge of policy on mad cow disease resigned last night, dealing a severe blow to Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's government.

Karl-Heinz Funke, the agriculture minister, and Andrea Fischer, health minister, stepped down after intense criticism of their performances.

2) Japan, Jul 2007
Fumio Kyuma, Japan's embattled defense minister has resigned after making comments suggesting the 1945 atomic bombings Hiroshima and Nagasaki were justified.

3) Japan, Nov 2010
Japan's justice minister has been forced to resign after making an embarrassing gaffe in which he said his job was too easy because he only had to remember two phrases.

Minoru Yanagida stepped down yesterday, just two months into the job, following the candid admission to party supporters in his Hiroshima constituency eight days ago.

4) Scotland, Dec 2010
The Transport Minister of Scotland Mr Stewart Stevenson has tendered his resignation over the recent snow storm which hit Scotland last week causing massive traffic hold-ups and the closure of several major highways. (Source: Temasek Review)

5) German, Mar 2011
German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, a rising star in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc and the country’s most popular politician, has resigned over allegations he plagiarized his doctoral thesis.

Does the world view Japan or German in a bad light? Do we feel that the political system of Japan or German is unstable because they have had 2 and 3 ministers resign from the Cabinet respectively within a span of just 10 years?

Japan, in fact, is one of the most visitor-desired countries in the world.

These are just a few quick examples that I obtain from Google by keying in two simple words 'ministers resign'.

So yes, a ministerial resignation is expected when a grave mistake is committed. And yes, that is called 'accountability'.

Voting is secret
I have always believed that voting is not secret, due to the propaganda amongst the civil servants.

We have heard of how 'a colleague's husband's friend' who does not get a promotion for years after voting for the opposition parties.

We have heard of how 'a friend's colleague's sister' who was dismissed from her job after she voted for the opposition parties.

There is alot of fear amongst the civil servants.

Although the opposition parties have reiterated 'Voting IS Secret' messages over and over again, but civil servants will not be convinced unless the ruling party steps out to clarify that they are not obligated to vote for them and that voting is indeed secret.

But the ruling party will never do that since the propaganda works well for them.

All the colleagues I surveyed with the question "Is voting secret?" said 'No!' with firm conviction.

A colleague said it's unfair to have to vote for the ruling party just because she is a civil servant.

My wise father has a witty solution for people like her: vote for both parties.

Singapore Got Talent
I used to think that only China and Taiwan are capable of producing linguistic writers who pen witty poems or rhymes to make light of governments or policies.

But on Nicole Seah's Facebook sprouts a lot of Chinese rhymes, apparently penned by Singaporeans. Impressive!

Some of the rhymes:


投闪电, 犯人弄不见, 根成不道歉
投闪电, 乌节路淹水, 说难得一见
投闪电, 利益外劳见, 国人看不见
投闪电, 佩玲来放电, 显龙建核电
投闪电, 政府组屋慢慢建, 地铁拥挤人人见
投闪电, 病重不如说再见, 老了新山来相见
投闪电, 不如投大便

Come out GST, COE,
再加maid levy.要你吃roti ,挤MRT. 自己乘搭豪华Mercedes.
若vote WP ,组屋没得翻新电梯。若vote sdp ,回家就得走楼梯。
若vote PAP ,赢了一脚把你踢。把你当成他的苦力,赚钱给他买贵椅。部长薪水排第一,市民薪水又超低。
投给PAP ,提高GST ,再来水与electricity.

Who says Singapore got no talent?

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

SDP Rally

For the first time of my life, I went to a political rally, mainly to take pictures and have a 'feel' of the atmosphere.

It was SDP at work, at Woodlands Stadium. I wore red, thinking that I ought to show support to the party I am about to listen to. I was in white - white T-shirt and pants, and I didn't want to risk being beaten to death. I changed my top to red and felt very national day, so I changed my pants as well.

We reached there at about 8.15pm. On our way to the stadium, we could see people streaming into the place still.

This is as close as I could get to the speaker, with a zoom lens

 Where items supporting or funding SDP campaigns were on sale ie. their own newspapers ($2), books written by Chee Soon Juan on ex-political prisoners ($35), teddy bears (their mascot), $5 glow sticks and mineral water
Taken from the opposite side of the sheltered seats

Stadium seating filled with people
Audience in front were seated for the benefit of those at the back
Taken from sheltered seating

An avid auntie supporter of 'No 10% GST'
SDP volunteers doing sales on the ground
"Buay tahan"
I thought there were many people, until I went to the Workers' Party Rally the next day
Most people seemed to be well-prepared judging from the flourishing of umbrellas at the slightest hint of a drizzle

I wouldn't say that I was inspired at this rally, partly I was occupied with taking pictures and observing the environment. We stayed till 10pm. It was a good experience nonetheless.