Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The RSAF's F-5 II Tiger...the little fighter jet that could!

The RSAF's 144 Squadron won this year's Best Fighter Squadron Award:

ST, June 30
I posted on Facebook this comment:

Hmm, I wonder if this (last hurrah?) is the amazing F-5S/Ts swan song? If so, whither 144 Sqn?

Both the squadron and the aircraft have had illustrious histories. After the original batches of American-made Northrop F-5 II's were progressively acquired from the year 1979, three squadrons were assigned to fly them in the jet interceptor role: 141, 144 and 149. Well, 141 Sqn has since been disbanded while 149 Sqn has transitioned to the F-15SG Eagle. The F-5s, since upgraded to (R)F-5S and F-5T variants, now serve only with 144 Sqn -- the RSAF squadron that now holds the distinction of having operated the F-5s the longest. I believe the F-5s have come to the end of their useful life as frontline interceptor and reconnaissance jets. Hence, my question: Whither 144 Sqn?    

Here are two informative links I found on F-5s in the RSAF and on the RSAF itself:



The highly agile F-5 itself is a remarkable little fighter jet. It is diminutive (maybe about 30% the weight of a heavy fighter like the F-15SG?) but packs a lethal punch -- like chilli padi!! But it has limited range and is now obsolescent.

The F-5 can lay claim to at least two RSAF milestones:

* It is the air force's first supersonic jet, capable of Mach 1.64 maximum speed;
* It is the air force's first twin-engined jet.

I am sure there are other "firsts".

More generally, the F-5 was nearly doomed, as the USAF was not interested in a small warplane that could only carry two air-to-air missiles (plus in-built cannon). Fortunately, the Cold War saved it -- as it became a cheap and easy-to-maintain export fighter jet for Uncle Sam's non-NATO/non-Israeli/non-Japanese allies and friends. Finally, Northrop later developed the F-20 Tigershark (initially called the F-5G) as a direct competitor to Lockheed's F-16 Fighting Falcon but lost out.

These links below explore further the remarkable story of the little fighter jet that could!...





Monday, June 29, 2015

Striking signs!

Hmm, this is what happens when doctors go on strike?...

Even the king of the beasts suffers from jet lag?...

This party animal is set to rock... to punk music, of course!

You have been warned. Squirrels will go for all kinds of nuts...

Noticed and noted...

Hello, bed not provided free too, you know...

Plane spotting, with a prize thrown in!

From poo to paper, or should it be poo-per?

Meanwhile, there is always elephant sushi to satisfy one's jumbo hunger pangs...

...or, if you prefer to sink your teeth into Thai food:

Finally, YES, please keep our planet clean!

Friday, June 26, 2015

50 Shades of Yellow -- by D.U. Rian

A friend posted on Facebook:

Far away in Spain, these FB pictures of durian are driving me nuts! *drool
Hope the season is still going strong by the time I get home...

I think foreigners must be totally bemused as to why Singaporeans will do just about anything -- wherever they are -- to sink their teeth into this undisputable yellow-fleshed King of Fruits.

Meanwhile, the number of exotic varieties keep rising.  I am inspired to (one day) write the definitive book on the durian, under an appropriate non de plume:

50 Shades of Yellow -- by D.U. Rian.

Research work starts now!...

Hail the king of fruit -- 10 types of durians from Malaysia


Durians: 8 Myths and Facts About the King of Fruits


There was even this "health advisory" that circulated online...

Well, this site below says it is a hoax....


The choice is really yours. Me? I wash down my durian feasting with fresh coconut juice.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

So you think your child is gifted.

Two letter writers this week provide valuable insights into family life when at least one offspring is a "gifted child"...

ST, June 24

I think the most important takeaway is not to deny the child his or her right to a normal childhood.

There is no lack of online material on gifted children. These ones below are just two such resources:

Common Characteristics of Gifted Individuals


Characteristics and Behaviours of the Gifted


"Kiasu" Singaporean parents might want to take note of this extract below:

Identifying The Gifted 
  1. Einstein was four years old before he could speak and seven before he could read.
  2. Isaac Newton did poorly in grade school.
  3. When Thomas Edison was a boy, his teachers told him he was too stupid to learn anything.
  4. F.W.Woolworth got a job in a dry goods store when he was 21. But his employers would not let him wait on a customer because he "Didn't have enough sense."
  5. A newspaper editor fired Walt Disney because he had "No good ideas"
  6. Caruso's music teacher told him "You can't sing, you have no voice at all."
  7. Leo Tolstoy flunked out of college.
  8. Wernher Von Braun flunked 9th grade algebra.
  9. Admiral Richard E. Byrd had been retired from the navy, as, "Unfit for service" Until he flew over both poles.
  10. Louis Pasteur was rated as mediocre in chemistry when he attended the Royal College
  11. Abraham Lincoln entered The Black Hawk War as a captain and came out a private
  12. Fred Waring was once rejected from high school chorus.
  13. Winston Churchill failed the sixth grade.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

How the containerisation era leapfrogged S'pore into the super-port league!

In this SG50 year, Singapore's half-century success as a viable city-state will be much pored over. No one should dispute the game-changing part played by the era of ship containerisation and -- just as importantly -- the vision of our cautious policy makers in seizing the moment and transforming Singapore's ports into dedicated container ports. It was a brave decision in newly independent Singapore that was also facing Britain's East of Suez withdrawal, since traditionally handled ports provided plenty of (albeit menial) jobs while containerisation was very capital intensive and hence not a mass jobs generator.

The story starts with an In The Beginning... in Hoboken, New Jersey, USA:

How Containerisation Shaped The Modern World


The first container ship that arrived here 43 years ago on June 23, 1972, carried just 300 containers. Today's loads can exceed 10,000 standard sized containers! Singapore is poised for the next era in mega container shipping:



PSA put up an ad today in ST (June 23) to commemorate the arrival of that first container ship:

As reported in ST (June 24):

Monday, June 22, 2015

In other words (Part 2).

Best ad that I've seen for Father's Day!...

It's what I call a DRUG BUST!
(headline writer missed the opportunity to use this "seize the moment" double entendre)

Sunday Times, June 21
Oh la la! Were they marked XXX size?
(Spotted by KA)

Walau, if this is for jumbos, the pang sai chwar must be way way beyond XXX size!

Then there is also the JUMBO FEAST!

Picture: KA
For goodness sake, if you have all those wads of cash, don't use the ATM!

Broken heart? I guess that's the way the cookie crumbles...

This is a family of ladders... step ladders. There's step father ladder, step mother ladder, etc...

Finally, this one got me... I don't know what to say here!!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A father's lasting impact.

We had a very nice Father's Day lunch, hosted by Lynn and Mike. Fourteen-month-old Matt was his adorable self. And I like this enigmatic card that I got from them:

Moral: I've got to slow down so they can catch up. Happiness and prosperity should be in hand and within grasp!

I thought of my own late father, Khoo Ghee Tam. He had a great impact on me, especially when I was naughty.

But, seriously, I think my fascination with the English language came from him. He was an avid newspaper reader -- and I vividly recall being seated beside him at breakfast when I was a child; he with the morning newspaper in his hands.

He taught me to swim and to ride a bicycle, on the basis of "you are on your own after three days, buddy" (and there were no inflatable arm floats or bicycle trainer wheels then).

I have always have had a love affair with cars. I wonder if my father had anything to do with it, even though his utilitarian approach to them was that they were only meant to go from Point A to Point B. I remember excitedly going to Malayan Motors in Orchard Road with him to check out a second hand Ford Prefect, like this one here:

"Ford.prefect.arp.750pix" by Adrian Pingstone - Taken by Adrian Pingstone in June 2004 and released to the public domain.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ford.prefect.arp.750pix.jpg#/media/File:Ford.prefect.arp.750pix.jpg
He did not buy that car but he did go on to buy in his lifetime a Hillman Minx (which I never got to drive), a Morris Minor and a Fiat 600 (both of which I did get to drive eventually):

"Hillman Minx Special 4-D Saloon" by Lglswe - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hillman_Minx_Special_4-D_Saloon.jpg#/media/File:Hillman_Minx_Special_4-D_Saloon.jpg

Finally, my father took me to several of the annual air shows at the then colonial Royal Air Force bases where I watched the aerial displays in awe and got close up with the static displays -- aircraft such as the Gloster Javelin, the Hawker Hunter and the English Electric Lightning, such as these ones below:

Since then, I have been an avid aircraft buff. Thank you, my dearest father.

Friday, June 19, 2015

In other words (Part 1)...

Yes, we have, big time!

And it all started with this little fella being egged on...

Men, sad to say, have yet to learn to keep our mouths shut...

...or our hands where they should be!

Meanwhile, gender political correctness has gone overboard...

Fortunately, there is still laughter...

...and, most importantly, love and affection that transcend differences:


Thursday, June 18, 2015

On the road.

Of course my dog hasn't got a bike...

...or so I thought!

The Lady in Red, from the rear view mirror of KA's car...

Alas, she is but a cardboard cut-out!

Air waste? Or, as we say in Hokkien, pang phui?

Good choice!

Motoring humour, from across the Causeway...

When I was in Germany, I came across this psychedelic Trabant (aka the Trabi)...

...as well as this stretched Trabant "limo"!

There is even a Trabi museum in Berlin:

Okay, I don't understand German. But is there something about this car that will cause you to itch?

Back in Singapore, I fell in love with this well-kept German beauty, spotted in a public carpark:

KA was in Punggol when he came across this sign. China Railway, here in Singapore??

Finally, mystery number plate... any idea whose car?