Sunday, March 31, 2013


Some online scammers will spring their trap by pandering to one's vanity and ego, such as the "chance" to join some exclusive not-for-just-anyone club...

Beware such traps! In this case, the sender wants your personal details and asks you to click on a link.


There is of course the by-now infamous "Nigerian scams" -- typically, you have received some windfall or you are being asked to help someone who has received some windfall. All you need to do is to send some money either as a "small" administration/processing fee or to help the email sender "unlock" the money so that it can be shared with you. Sounds fishy? Well, enough people worldwide have taken the bait. Just Google "Nigerian scams" for more on this phenomenon.  


Here in Singapore, I received last year this "phishing scam" alert from Singnet:

SingNet Alert: Reported phishing attempt using fraudulent SingNet email 

The suspicious email from kohes may look like this (there may be others):

From: SingNet [mailto:kohes]
Subject: Verify this email Account
This is to inform some SingNet broad band Internet Customer Users that we are experiencing congestions due to the anonymous registration of accounts and we are shutting down unused account kindly; confirm to us if you are interested in your account by filling the following
User name,
Date of birth

We apologize for any inconveniences. Warning!!! SingNet Account owner that refuses to update his/her account after 5 days of receiving this message the account will be deleted permanently.
SingNet On-line customers service


Many other scams take place in the "offline" world. The Red Cross here was recently a victim of scammers -- people who pretended to be raising money on its behalf...


There have been enough "kidnap" scams here to warrant this police advisory ad:


Finally, I don't know who first coined the term "Ah Long" (the so-called "loan shark" also famous for the "O$P$, or "Owe money, pay money" shorthand), but it is now a Singaporean fixture, together with it the strange and jarring phrase "loan sharking"...

Still, I thought the idea of the police hotline to call, 1800-X-AH-LONG, was good. Yes, let's "axe" the scourge of the Ah Long blight!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

All that sound and fury, signifying...?

Yup, that's the news making the headlines (see story above). Helpfully fuelling the tensions, the US announced that "nuclear-capable" B-52 bombers and B-2 stealth bombers were in the area:

"As tensions escalated, Washington has maintained a notably assertive stance, publicising its use of nuclear-capable B-52s and B-2 stealth bombers in... war games. The long-distance deployment of both sets of aircraft out of bases in Guam and the US mainland were intended as a clear signal of US commitment to defending South Korea against any act of aggression."

The US Embassy even put this picture, of a B-2 being refuelled, on Twitter (I don't know what the words in the Korean language mean though, although I strongly suspect the person assigned to write the caption wished he were allowed -- in Stranglovian fashion -- to say "Up Yours, KJU!"...

Both ST and TODAY also splashed this latest Korean peninsula crisis on their prime pages:

But, talk to knowledgeable South Koreans, and most of them will say "Ho-hum". Still, there is a risk the North Koreans will attack a border community, as they have done previously, while banking on the South Koreans to "bite their tongues" and do nothing. This time round, though, the government in Seoul cannot be seen to be weak. Times have changed. So there is some risk.

As for the US trumpeting its B-52s and B-2s as "nuclear-capable", what is it trying to say? If the meaning is "capable of carrying nuclear weapons", then say so! Even then, is there an insinuation that these bombers will actually drop nuclear weapons on North Korea? C'mon, if -- and only if --the situation warrants a military strike on the North, precision-guided munitions (PGMs) such as homing missiles will likely be used by the US, and probably from offshore naval assets.

As for the ST and TODAY headlines above, the preferred terminology is "missiles" when referring to the weapons of war and "rockets" when referring to the launch vehicles used for civilian purposes such as satellite launches. So, TODAY got it right, not ST.

I had, in fact, written a commentary article, "Rocket science... it's about rocket signs too",  that was published in ST in April last year. I posted it on my blog entry of April 23.

So, don't expect real fireworks over the Korean peninsula. But watch the drama; it's not over yet.


Pastor Kang Ho Soon (a fellow former Bukomite) and his wife Yeok Lung sent out this greeting:

Dear loved ones and friends,

"Easter is a time of Hope and Joy.....          a time to share God's Love
                       with those we love most."

A Happy and Blessed Easter to you and your loved ones!

Ho Soon + Yeok
"Because I live, you shall live also." ~ Jesus Christ (John 14:19)

Friday, March 29, 2013

'If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it'

This Foxtrot cartoon snippet reminds me of how first Brady and then (much later) Killer became members of the Khoo household...

We have since learnt a lot about Dog-xology 101 through to 401 and about our pooches' "dogmatic" characters. But we love them. One can turn pensive and ask, "What is a dog's purpose?"

Well, this story that Joy sent us seems to answer that question!...

A Dog's Purpose

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.
I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer.
I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.
As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure as they felt that Shane might learn something from the experience.
The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him.
Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on.  Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.
The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion.
We sat together for a while after Belker's Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.

Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why."

Startled, we all turned to him.
What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.
He said, "People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?"
The six-year-old continued, "Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."

Remember, if a dog was the teacher, you would learn things like:
  • When loved ones come home, always run to greet them;
  • Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride;
  • Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy;
  • Take naps;
  • Stretch before rising;
  • Run, romp, and play daily;
  • Thrive on attention and let people touch you;
  • Avoid biting when a simple growl will do;
  • On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass;
  • On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree;
  • When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body;
  • Delight in the simple joy of a long walk;
  • Be loyal;
  • Never pretend to be something you're not;
  • If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it;
  • When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.
 There comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it.
You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good, so, love the people who treat you right.

Think good thoughts for the ones who don't ~ life is too short to be anything but happy.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Telling grandfather stories...

Apart from "Oi, your grandfather road, ah?" (note: it has to be grammatically incorrect to get the Singlism right), there's also "Telling grandfather stories, ah?"

Unfortunately, I never had the chance to sit on either of my grandfather's lap to hear his stories. My maternal grandfather died when I was very young and, truth be told, I still don't even know his name (other than the surname Chia).

I have better memories of my paternal grandfather, Khoo Seng Kit, who lived in Lorong Puspa (it's no longer around) in Pasir Panjang. But living in Pulau Bukom growing up, I had few encounters with him -- partly because my mother did not have pleasant experiences when, as a young bride, she lived there with my father and before he got his job as a Shell employee.

ST journalist Corrie Tan is luckier. She wrote a recent piece "Telling stories keep history alive", in which she said she got to hear her grandpa's stories!...

Well, what I did manage to find were pictures of my grandfather Khoo Seng Kit, my grandmother and an old Khoo family photo (I like my dad's choice of tie!):

Postscript 1: I did find, from an old email sent by my late brother Tee Chuan, this nugget about my grandfather Khoo Seng Kit:

Although he was not educated he had an aura of wisdom around him and advised me that whatever country or religion we overseas Chinese might adopt we should adhere to our Chinese rules on culture and tradition.

Postscript 2: Something else I remembered... my grandma had small, bound feet!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

'Your grandfather road' revisited.

There is a Singlish colloquialism, "Oi, your grandfather road, ah?" This is uttered when you are impeding/blocking/hindering (usually unintentionally) someone else on the street or even on the street's sidewalk. This quaint expression has also been made legendary by the "Sticker Lady", who has now been charged (together with a companion) for a series of so-called graffiti she became famous for:

Hmm, she had one relative named Mr Enggor and another named Mr Telegraph? Anyway, from my own "research", if ever I have grandchildren and I want them to truthfully say "Yes, this is my grandfather's road", I have two options:

First, to do a deed poll and change my given name to "How Sun". Here's why:

I'll then just simply relocate to the area above (vicinity of Upper Serangoon/Upper Paya Lebar).

Secondly, I'll relocate even further away -- overseas. There is a suburb in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, with the street name "Howsan Street".

But why bother with all that hassle? I have just discovered that there is a building named after me!...

So my (future) grandchildren can point to that building and say, "That's my grandfather's building!" (in a manner of speaking of course, unless I become a multi-millionaire and buy over that commercial building just to own it).


I came across this snippet recently:

Lorong 32! That was where I lived for a long time. Wah lau, I could have been jogging over a buried bomb relic. How many more such relics are there? For sure, the newspapers report such finds now and then. Maybe that's why there is now such a course:

The ad above appeared today (March 27), on the same day this news item appeared:

Indeed, it is a reminder that Jemaat Islamiah, in its heyday soon after 9/11, tried to blow up key places in Singapore.


Take a look at this picture:

Now read the caption story that came with it...

What a letdown, what a damp squib! Here's a dramatic centrepiece picture of what is clearly the mangled remains of the bombed-out vehicle and the caption all but ignored it. Journalism was not always this slipshod.

Finally, I found this old cartoon...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

What headlines say (intended or otherwise)...

I blogged about "home" (housing) truths -- ie, realities peculiar to Singapore -- yesterday. TODAY (Mar 26) published two letters that zeroed in on "truths" that have become pervasive in our education system. One of the writers even coined a very apt  phrase, the emergence of an "academic caste" system:


The New Paper seems to have a knack for eye-catching headlines, like this one (Mar 26) that plays on the court evidence of a senior police officer (on trial for corruption) who alleged that the star witness and he ended up having oral sex after, he said, she had previously made advances to him...

The New Paper had, last year, won an SPH in-house award with this headline...


Here's some more interesting headlines...

Hmm, is the headline suggesting that shooting the chief will set the record straight?

Before he fainted, Bieber was feeling really, really lousy?

A strange way to describe anguish/frustration and enjoyment/satisfaction.

Okay, if there is dilemma, there must be tri-lemma, quadri-lemma, etc?? What is the last "lemma"?


I'll wrap up with more of the well-crafted headlines...

Monday, March 25, 2013

Home truths, and name your 'hill'...

I wonder if National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan has opened Pandora's Box when he mulled over returning to the HDB's original purpose ie to build -- for purchase -- affordable housing for people (read: families) who were unable to purchase private property (at least as a first purchase) and who were expected to live in such public property for a considerable length of time (ie even as the kids grew up and bought their own HDB flats).

The HDB's other noble purpose was to build heavily subsidised smaller-sized rental flats for families that could not afford to get onto the "Home Ownership" scheme (which, as I previously noted, is a lessor/lesser arrangement -- the land remains state land -- and not a property ownership deal).

Taxpayers money was obviously heavily used in these HDB programmes. No one quarrelled with that as ridiculous resale profits from private sales -- "earned" from the general pool of taxpayers' money -- had not arisen... yet. Other "privileges" like attractive HDB loans and housing grants were still socially acceptable all-round so long as that first home for public housing dwellers was truly home to them.

But fast forward to today. Apart from the HDB, there emerged the HUDC. HDB flats are now BTOs while ECs and DBSSs have "condo-like" features. There is also the Pinnacle@Duxton, which seems to be in its own category. Whatever the nomenclature, if you started off with a modest HDB flat, you would be a fool if you did not keep on leveraging on its private-resale potential to realise capital gains. There is now even this absurd beast, the COV (cash-over-valuation). So, today, what has happened to the "spirit" of the HDB's mission?

These two recent letters hit the nail on its head...


I live in a supposedly "hilly" part of Singapore. Many of its public and private housing developments have "Hill-", "-hill", "Heights", "Rise" and/or "Bukit" in their names. But, as I previously noted, I could not make sense of one new condo project that is called "The Hillier". Thanks to some prodding from Nick, I have even composed a doggerel:

A man asks his wife, 'How 'bout the Hillier?'
To which she replies, 'You can't be sillier'
No, dear, he retorts, 'I'm not sillier than thou'
Her riposte, said with verve, 'I'm hillier than thou'

Now I have learnt that there's an even newer project... and it's called The Hillion!


Finally, I get strange stuff in the mailbox these days...