Saturday, February 28, 2015

A matter of journalism 101.

My eyes tire more easily these days, so I can't read the newspapers as thoroughly as before. But I am sure seasoned journalists will, like me, have immediately spotted the fundamental error in this ST story (Feb 28) below. A pity, because the copy is otherwise informative and well-written, with most everything else in place:

So what is wrong with this story? It did not supply the answer to the vital "WHERE (in Singapore)?" question.

I am not familiar with the reporter's name so she must be new. If so, the fault lies with poor supervision and senior-level checks. As I have said before, so many eyes checking but how many are really looking?

The temple, beautifully restored,  is a heritage site. These links provide more information and photos:

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Jittery East Asia, and Black Knights take to the skies at Avalon airshow!

North Korea seems to be succeeding in ruffling the feathers of the United States, as well as Uncle Sam's East Asia allies, Japan and South Korea:

ST, Feb 26

But the North Korean "threat" does not seem to be a sufficient unifier among these allies. One South Korean analyst paints a rather bleak assessment -- unless all the "stakeholders", including non-ally China, get their act together:

ST, Feb 25


Three of the RSAF's F-16C Black Knights are Down Under for the Australian International Airshow at Avalon, Victoria state. It is the aerobatic team's first appearance there. Here's a beautiful snap, from the air force's Facebook page:

Channel NewsAsia has another picture:

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Think, man, think!

Listen up, Mr Abe!
(Your Crown Prince is obviously wiser than you)


Listen up, Mr Edwin Pang!
(You know the saying?... Be careful what you wish for)

There are intact or reunited/reconstituted polities today that can proudly claim an unbroken history going back to "In the beginning...".  These include the United Kingdom (still holding together, for now), Germany, France, Russia, and Israel. Closer to home are China, Japan, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Why do you think that countries like the United States and Australia -- while acknowledging their pre-colonial and colonial past -- skate carefully there and instead play up their post-Independence history? So, be careful what you wish for.

Listen up, Mr Health Minister!
(please set aside time to listen to these pleas and to take note of all those unsatisfactory replies)

Anyone of us may have to call for an ambulance if a medical situation arises. So, please, put this matter on your plate, Mr Minister.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

How the Internet started.

 In ancient Israel, it came to pass that a trader by the name of Abraham Com did take unto himself a healthy young wife by the name of Dorothy.

Dot Com was a comely woman, broad of shoulder and long of leg. Indeed, she was often called Amazon Dot Com.

And she said unto Abraham, her husband, "Why dost thou travel so far from town to town with thy goods when thou canst trade without ever leaving thy tent?"

Abraham did look at her as though she were several saddle bags short of a camel load, but simply said, "How, dear?"

Dot replied, "I will place drums in all the towns and drums in between to send messages saying what you have for sale, and they will reply telling you who hath the best price. The sale can be made on the drums and delivery made by Uriah's Pony Stable (UPS)."

Abraham thought long and decided he would let Dot have her way with the drums.

The drums rang out and were an immediate success. Abraham sold all the goods he had at the top price, without ever having to move from his tent.

To prevent neighboring countries from overhearing what the drums were saying, Dot devised a system that only she and the drummers knew. It was known as Must Send Drum Over Sound (MSDOS), and she also developed a language to transmit ideas and pictures - Hebrew To The People (HTTP).

And the young men did take to Dot Com's trading as doth the greedy horsefly take to camel dung.

They were called Nomadic Ecclesiastical Rich Dominican Sybarites, or NERDS.

 And lo, the land was so feverish with joy at the new riches and the deafening sound of drums that no one noticed that the real riches were going to that enterprising drum dealer, Brother William of Gates, who bought off every drum maker in the land. Indeed he did insist on drums to be made that would work only with Brother Gates' drumheads and drumsticks.

And Dot did say, "Oh, Abraham, what we have started is being taken over by others."

And Abraham looked out over the Bay of Ezekiel, or eBay as it came to be known.

He said, "We need a name that reflects what we are."

And Dot replied, "Young Ambitious Hebrew Owner Operators." "YAHOO," said Abraham. And because it was Dot's idea, they named it YAHOO Dot Com.

Abraham's cousin, Joshua, being the young Gregarious Energetic Educated Kid (GEEK) that he was, soon started using Dot's drums to locate things around the countryside.

It soon became known as God's Own Official Guide to Locating Everything (GOOGLE).

And that is how it all began.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Getting lucky and prosperous during the lunar new year (so one hopes!)...

I think I know why I have "literalitis". Otherwise why do we Chinese invert the character for luck during Chinese New Year so that the luck will not flow down??...

So I had a problem when the McCafe barista made this cup of cappuccino for my order... do I drink it from this position?

...or from this position?

Apparently, there is an auspicious day in the run-up to Chinese New Year to go to the bank. As this meme shows, even the god of prosperity (Cai Shen) needs to line up at the ATM:

During this festive season, one may hear "Huat Ah!" being shouted out... a wish to have prosperity bestowed upon one (by you know which god).

So I suppose this brand of packet coffee will be very popular at this time:

I received this greeting on WhatsApp:

But I guess this fish was not so lucky. You could say it got a raw deal!...

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

On filial piety

The eve of Chinese New Year is when families gather for their reunion dinner. The next day, the children visit their parents. It is all about filial piety passed down the generations. In this day and age, one wonders, though:

One must turn to Lao Tzu for an insight into how filial piety -- or the lack of it -- may mould character, and ultimately, destiny:

Monday, February 16, 2015

Pak ong chia and rickety buses of yesteryear, and 'goats' that got my goat!

I always look forward to reading ST correspondent Ho Ai Li's weekly Sunday Times column, This week in 1965: 

Many of the featured events and snapshots of everyday life then still resonate with me. I was a gangly, callow teenager then. For instance, I recall vividly the pak ong chia (pirate taxis) my father used to pile the family into, eschewing the regular taxis:

Still on the public transport system of the 1950s and 1960s, I remember rickety STC buses like this one below. If a bus was packed, I sometimes had to hang on to dear life at the open doorway until space was available inside. Fighting one's way out when exiting the bus was another story!...

Tired perhaps of the unreliable pak ong chia, my father eventually bought this second-hand Morris Minor (below). Seen here are my mother, my sister How Eng and two of my nephews, Seng and Beng:  

Picture from Tan Seng's collection.

Back to Ai Li's column. This snippet from last week tickled me:

Beefy determination! Cow peh cow boo, man.
Yes, I remember the cows and goats! There was also this Indian man plying his trade... goats' milk. His goat would accompany him.

In a couple of days, it will be the Year of the Goat for ethnic Chinese Singaporeans. And goats are still everywhere (at least, during the Lunar festivities):

Traditional-looking goats

Not so traditional-looking goats

Ewe! There's even some "animal of choice mix-up"!

Finally, this one got my goat!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The trysts that bind (plus 50 Shades of Suay, SG-style)

I was at the bookshop and chanced upon Fifty Shades of Grey. I picked up the first volume and read it from cover to cover, on the spot. That's right. But I did not read any of the pages between the covers so I am still clueless about what's so hot about the bestselling trilogy and the movie of that title now screening in the cinemas.

Actually, I found other stuff about 50 Shades more spell-binding, like this spoof that a friend posted on Facebook:

If Fifty Shades of Grey Was Written By A Man

I took this explicitly racy picture in my own bedroom to go with #10:

Oh yeah, you are the Apple of my i. "Shut up and fly me not just to the moon but to the entire Galaxy!"
BuzzFeed also has some funny ones:

There is always the literal version:

This one surely was brewing as soon as the parodies began:

Finally, Fifty Shades, SG-style!...

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Go on, egg my day!

If you love to eat eggs, this is egg-citing news from the Washington Post...
(haha, "nutrient of concern" indeed!)

I found this egg-cellent article by Sylvia Tan in a Mind Your Body edition from last month:

The other "C" in healthy-eating concerns is of course calories. I also found this comparison of healthy and unhealthy hawker dishes:

Look carefully at the tabulation... in the healthy column, one bowl of cheng tng has 188 kilocalories. But, wait a minute!  In the unhealthy column, one bowl of ice kachang is "merely" 178 kilocalories. And one unhealthy curry puff (I had one this afternoon) chalks up 300 kilocalories, about the same as a bowl of prawn noodle soup and less than two other soup-based meals on the left hand side. But I suppose one can counter-argue that a curry puff is a snack, not a meal in itself.

OK, last foodie-related item:

20 snacks that defined your Singapore childhood

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

In international politics, what goes around comes around again...

Realism is back, with a vengeance (as if it ever left).

The Philippines, which spend 500 years in a Catholic convent and 50 years in Hollywood, later became a US treaty ally during the Cold War. It then booted the US out in 1991. Like the rest of ASEAN, it cosied up to China  but Beijing's Nine Dashes in the South China Sea dashed any of Manila's hopes of chicken adobo/chopstick diplomacy.

Thailand, meanwhile, another Cold War US treaty ally, never colonised and acknowledged as a bellwether, is once again living up to its famed penchant for bend-with-the-wind diplomacy:

So, is the US losing its pivotal role in Asia? Read my lips, Uncle Sam says: P-I-V-O-T...

In this dizzying spirit of the time, the US wants India to put on dancing shoes and to be its "best partner". Bollywood here I come!...

Even Singapore, a US "strategic partner", has joined in the India Fever (New Delhi has since long been forgiven for refusing -- together with other "friends" like Egypt -- to help Singapore build up from scratch its armed forces post-1965; Singapore then turned to Israel):

But today's (Feb 10) best read is this ST commentary by Bilahari Kausikan:

Drawing from his previous vantage point, he gives readers this sober reminder about Realism in international politics: