Thursday, January 31, 2013

Snakes, from the slithery sort to the kungfu variety...

Come Feb 10, ethnic Chinese everywhere will be welcoming the Year of the Snake. Ads here are already heralding the slithery serpentine's impending arrival:

Actually, snakes are everywhere. I've already previously blogged that I saw this sign on a cruise ship:

Admittedly, I had not been accosted by one of these sea snakes, with its funny-looking nozzle-like tail, during the cruise. Meanwhile, on land, this commonly seen sign indicates a snake ahead:

But there are "No Snakes Allowed" zones on the roads too:

Snakes definitely lurk inside buildings. This rather stick-thin one is either climbing up or going down a flight of stairs:

This one is all coiled up, probably asleep, so treat it as a "Do Not Disturb" sign (notice that it's got the nozzle-like appendage that its sea cousin has):

Coming back to the Lunar New Year season, I think one of the problems in depicting the snake auspiciously is, well, there's not much you can add "character" to a form with no arms, no legs, a tiny head and slitty eyes!   In fact, this ad below seems to confuse the lion's head depiction with the snake's!...

Then there's always the cartoonish variety:

I'm sure real snakes don't wear caps, unlike the one above and the one below:

If you think about it, though, the snake form can be creatively depicted, especially in this year, 2013, and to chart the property market:

Some of the cornier ads slither out of control (talk about snake oil!)...

This one goes too far... Poor python! Poor crocodile! Poor Ostrich! Poor monitor lizard! Call PETA!

It is possible to depict the snake stylishly, as in this postcard:

 There is a by-now famous signature, described as "loopy". But methinks it's more "snakey:"

What's left? If you can have Kungfu Pandas, why not Kungfu Snakes!...

Anything to get you to spend your bonus money! That's why there's always also the God of Fortune this time of the year, regardless of the current Chinese zodiac animal...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

If you still need us, if you still feed us, When we're six-point-nine!

The top news in both ST and TODAY revolves around the figure "6.9":


I shouldn't expect to be around when the "6.9" figure is reached. But, if I were not pushing daisies come 2030, I'll sing this song (with apologies to The Beatles, who will all be definitely dead by then):

When We're Six-Point-Nine

When we get older losing our hair,
Many years from now,
Will we recognise our Singapore?
Mee siam, prata, and yes! bak chor?

Trains won’t be empty, quarter to one
But that’s still okay
If you still need us, if you still feed us,
When we're six-point-nine.

oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oooo
Older we’ll be, true (ah ah ah ah ah)
And if you say the word,
Nursing home we’ll go.

So let’s be friends, and don’t blow a fuse
When the lights are out
Walk a mile in others’ shoes
Sunday mornings go for a ride

Doing Bay Gardens, Hey, chope that seat!
Who could ask for more?
If you still need us, if you still feed us,
When we're six-point-nine.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Why WP takes it as two, not three, cheers! (And some political tidbits.)

Just as ST's Chua Mui Hoong wrote a thoughtful analysis, yesterday, of the PAP in the aftermath of the Punggol East by-election, ST's Kor Kian Beng penned an equally solid perspective today. training his sights on the WP after last Saturday's results:


Short takes from the hustings:

In terms of logic, Mr Lee's quoted comment above falls into this category...

* Dr Koh did not have enough time to enable him to connect with people
* If Dr Koh had had enough time, he would have won the by-election.

Hmm, but it is the PM who determines the duration of the hustings, no?

As for this snapshot above, the observation came straight from the horse's mouth, ie, a PAP MP...

* On the night of the WP's last rally, the PAP sent out activists to suss out the mood on the ground
* They went to several blocks and found that "the people that they met were very supportive"
* "But of course only the PAP supporters were at home; the rest were at the rally," said the MP!

Hmm, while Mr Lee did use the term "fix them (the WP)" in 2006, I vaguely recall that he later explained it was a poor choice of words and that he did not mean "to fix" as in "to undermine".

Wah lau, voters like Madam Lim are really scary... the "shopping voter" who knows the price of her vote but not its value.


Finally, Malaysian political jokes are always funnier, if not downright "blue", as is the case with this one (sent by CC):

Upon his rise to premiership, Najib decides that the future lies with the younger generation. So he introduces "PR1MA" or 'Perumahan Rakyat 1Malaysia" for the "Young Profession- als" earning Rm3000/- or more to buy houses in the Rm250,000/ range.

The older generation, who have slogged in the past to help build the nation, raised an outcry. Najib then introduced "BR1M" or 'Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia', giving Rm500/- handouts to all the Rakyat earning less than Rm3000/ per month.

The Sundry Shop Owners raise their disapproval, citing that, with so many 'hypermarkets' -- i.e. TESCO, GIANT, CARREFOUR etc -- sprouting all over the country, their 'livelihood' is now threatened. So with the assistance from MYDIN, he introduced"KR1M" or 'Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia', to alleviate the concerns of the 'Sundry Shop Owners'.

This upset the taxi drivers, who highlighted their plight of having so many cronies holding 'Taxi Permits'. And their ineligibility to own their own taxis. To pacify this group, Najib handed out Rm520/- 'Tyre Vouchers' for all taxi drivers to buy new tyres for their vehicles. And he called this scheme "TER1MA" or 'Teksi Rakyat 1Malaysia'.

The Opposition parties are furious as the money funding these schemes are being churned out from the 'hard-earned' tax dollars of the Rakyat. So they proposed to Najib a scheme (Under BERSIH's 9-point demands). And they challenged him to implement this before the next General Election. They called this scheme "Perubahan Untuk Kerajaan 1Malaysia", or in short...

" PUK1MA "

Monday, January 28, 2013

Post-by-election pontifications...

As expected, there's a deluge of post-by-election analyses. I thought that by Chua Mui Hoong, "It's the politics that PAP must work on to win support", was arguably the most perceptive. One can imagine it as the kind of argument the PAP is making behind closed doors:

  I thought this letter to ST's Forum was pretty spot-on too:


Fence-sitters' Effect?

Finally, I have one poser: What if the result was actually because many fence-sitting voters had cast their ballot for the WP, not because they would do so regardless, but because they were so sure others were voting for the PAP and so it was "safe" to vote WP? I guess we will not know. But Singapore politics will have changed if there is now a large group of fence-sitters come GE2016.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Every day is the Day of the Dog!

For the ethnic Chinese, the coming Lunar New Year may be the Year of the Snake, but many caring dog owners will agree that -- regardless -- it's the Day of the Dog, everyday. You may have had to sleep late the previous night, but come morning, you have to wake up early enough to feed and walk/poo the dog/dogs.

All because, way back, some smarty wolf ancestor of today's pet dog "decided" to switch its diet:


By mid-year, Brady will be 16 years old, which makes him a very, very old pooch. Previously the Senior Dog, he is now the Dog Mentor. He is as good as blind but still cuts a handsome figure:

I tried taking an unusual picture of him (TIF format):

Killer, previously just the young punk runt, is now the Senior Dog, having reached the respectable age of nine. It is harder to take pics of him because he will simply lie down when I point a camera at him:

But, with patience, I got some other "poses" from him, like the "Cleopatra" pose, the "evil" look, and the cutesy look:

But the TIF-format shot, of him coming out from his "cave", did not look clear enough:

Here are two more pics of Killer, one snug inside his cave, and the other a little further out:


Finally, Ken and Susan, our friends from Calgary, Canada, sent us these two pics:

(There is only one dog.)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A by-election result, more pics from the park, and the return of 'Uncle Toh'...

Punggol East By-election

Ms Lee Li Lian from the Workers' Party won, with more than 54 per cent of the vote. There will be a lot of post-election analyses in the days ahead. One thing for sure: a four-cornered fight did not detract from the eventually PAP-WP head-on, given that the other two are lightweight candidates. In this sense, the SDP's pulling out early during the hustings played a crucial role; it might even have been the tipping point. Now both the WP and the PAP have to work hard, and be seen to work hard -- the former to prove it can integrate Punggol East into its own municipal network and the latter to persist in wooing Punggol East voters and not resort to getting into "punishment politics".


More Bukit Batok Park pics: The fauna and the floral

Other than getting bitten by a few mosquitoes, I did not see any animals at the park. There were certainly no monkeys. But I did see these:

 Well, I guess these signs must have been very effective. Here are some pics I took of some of the flora:


Finally, Hokkien-speaking "Uncle Toh" is back, as funny as ever!...