[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Friday, March 31, 2006

[Questions for the Senior Minister]
He came and went. And will be coming again.

But instead of us inviting the media this time, they knocked on our doors asking why they were not invited. Eventually they were. The turnout was huge - Today, The New Paper, Lianhe Zaobao, Lianhe Wanbao, Shin Min Daily News, Tamil Murasu, Berita Harian and even Channel NewsAsia.

I didn't really attend the dialogue session by the Senior Minister as I was involved in his arrival and thereafter the wet weather programme for his market visit. Therefore, I didn't get a chance to hear what was going on in the multi-purpose hall.

But I managed to get his comments and his plan for Hougang for the upcoming elections. And was in the heart of the action with all the other reporters and photogs.

Pretty soon, Mr Goh will visit us again. And I'm looking forward as the action unveils.

It's the final few laps before the elections and Hougang is gaining speed.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

[Talk about fun]
Dialogues are fun without any media. Then, any questions under the sun can be asked. And you can get crafty tongue-in-cheek answers and hilarious ones too.

Of course, I wouldn't reveal here what transpired. Firstly because Minister Yeo wanted the topics that were discussed to be kept confidential - one tip, it was on the topic close to his heart, foreign affairs.

And so, Senior Minister will be dropping by Hougang tomorrow. You see the banners. You see the billboard. And tomorrow, you see the man himself.

Let's hope the questions asked will be relevant and addresses the concerns of Hougang residents. And let's hope there would be no arguements on the ground.

One interesting thing is that many residents have been asking if there are any freebies. Yup, you know, we are Singapore. Got free gifts sure people will flock to your events even if it is just a towel. Many residents (the older folks) have been asking if there's free food. And yes, that will be a common feature at future and present dialogues - there were lots at the George Yeo dialogue.

I wonder what food has got to do with people attending a dialogue. I mean, such dialogues are to find out your concerns and not for you to gorge.

Since Today has reported about more such visits to Hougang, I shall talk about the upcoming visits.

26 March - Dialogue with Foreign Minister George Yeo
2 April - Quiet lunch with Aljunied GRC MPs Yeo Guat Kwang and Dr Ong Seh Hong
7 April - Dialogue with Minister of State for Finance and Transport Mrs Lim Hwee Hua
8 April - Education Minister Tharman visits
9 April - Mayor of NorthEast CDC Zainul Abidin Rasheed visits

There you go. And these have been keeping all staff busy through the weeks.

And that is not inclusive of the twice weekly block visits. But that's another story altogether.

Friday, March 24, 2006

[Warming up]
Yes. So you heard on the news that Senior Minister Goh will be backing Hougang and Potong Pasir. And that's the reason why he'll be visiting us this weekend.

I think it will be pretty interesting. It'll be a dialogue that will and is set to address concerns of Hougang residents.

For one, there'll be food (okay, I hear the residents jumping for joy now). And the invitation card is pretty cool. One of the reasons is because that it was designed by yours truly. No, but it is really cool man - limited copies I tell you.

But that is not all.

Over the next few weeks, there'll be many people visiting Hougang Constituency.

From Members of Parliament, a Minister of State, Ministers and even a mayor, it is gonna be a whirlwind few weeks until the run up to the General Elections. Some dates have even been pushed forward thus suggesting that the elections will be held pretty soon. And of course, the dialogue sessions will end before that.

And because there are so many visits by such special people (you don't get this everyday on no-election periods), there has to be this name plate with their names and positions on it. And everytime I get information that a MP/Mayor/Minister of State/Minister or the Senior Minister visiting, I'll add his or her name to my name plate collection - more details on that name plate collection and visits in my next post.

Then there are publicity materials for the elections to be done. And the man behind the concept and design is yours truly again. Now, why else is my nick in the office Mister Creative? Just kidding.

I won't reveal if it's ready yet. But one thing's for sure - I'm still pretty relaxed and confident that it will be the thing to look out for. It's a personal milestone. I mean, who can and has even done such designs before? The chances are just as slim as being able to vote in the elections.

And that's why I love what I do. I can be writing a media release one day then doing a newsletter the next. Or even designing a poster one day and handling the media another day. Then sometimes I'm hosting an event then being a photographer the next.

Every day is not a bore and the pay's good too. It's great exposure.

Friday, March 17, 2006

[Why no blog]
One of the reasons for the above is that I am very busy these days.

One day I am the emcee for a Minister dialogue and the next I am having fun at Outward Bound Singapore.

And that is part and parcel of work.

Then next week, Senior Minister will pop by my office for another dialogue. And that is just the beginning.

I digress.

Hands up those who watch and vote for your Star Idol, Project Superstar, Campus Superstar, Singapore Idol etc.?

There must be alot of you guys.

The funny thing about Singaporeans is that they rather spend money voting for their favourite idols. Why not vote for someone in the government. That is free. You wont have to pay a single cent. Or is it because you can't vote?

I was thinking, boy, Singaporeans spent almost a whooping 4 million dollars voting for the first Singapore Idol. And voting for your politician to be in power is penny-less! You don't have to pay a cent. But that is if you get to vote.

I remember one of the best questions a very educated person asked at a certain close door dialogue with a Minister in the Hougang ward.

She asked: "Is it because the elections are round the corner that's why you are organising this dialogue session?" She then expressed that she wanted to see future such dialogues. Perhaps she should wait for the next round of elections. Okay, I am kidding.

And so back to dialogues.

There are going to be a few more of such sessions here in Hougang. And I shan't tell you anything more.

But one of the reasons that the Senior Minister is here is because of the elections.

And you will know why when it is announced. For the meantime, keep your fingers crossed till mid-May.

[The mail]
University application results will be out soon. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

This is the same kind of feeling you get when you send a mail to someone you like and waits for the person to reply. Day after day, you check the mailbox. Any mail? Your heart beats when you are near home. You peep into the mailbox through the flap. not clear? You gingerly take out the key, turn the lock and alas, it's empty.

Your heart sinks. And then you think that there's still hope. A gleam of it.

"Maybe someone opened the mailbox earlier", you assume. That feeling I totally understand.

But what I can't understand is why some people don't understand simple English. You tell them three times that you have sent out the mail and they still ask the same thing. And then when they don't get the information they want, the ask stupid questions like: "When should I check my letterbox?"

If you want to know how effective Singapore Post is then keep track of the number of days you wait for you letter. Because I really don't know. You want to open your mailbox today? No? Then open tomorrow. Or best still, open it everyday.Come on, the letterbox is yours and not mine. I don't have any right to stop you or tell you when to open it. You do as you deem fit.

Back to university applications. The university told me that letters will be sent out by mid of the month. Perhaps I shall call them and ask them when I should check my letterbox cause I have not received a reply from them.

So I shall ask them: "Shall I check my mailbox today? Or tomorrow?"

And I'd probably piss a lot of people off.

So whether it's a love letter, university application letter, most of us would have experience that kind of feeling. And it makes me so tensed and anxious.

But of course, when you get it, you'd feel exhilarated. Now until then.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

[Why so apathetic]
If you have paid attention to the news these days, you would know that the elections are coming. Okay, since last year people have been spreading the news but it is definitely on high gear now. Simply because the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee's Report has been completed and word has it that it may be out by the end of the week.

This is a very strong signal that the elections are near. It is because the report will map out the constituencies and the number of MPs for each area in the upcoming General Elections.

Channel NewsAsia reports that since 1988, elections have been called within 2 days, and up to 2 months, after the report was issued.

Going by past trends, Parliament was dissolved some two months after the report is released in 1988.

While in 1991, the writ of election followed two days after the report came out. And it took 25 days between the release of the report and Parliament's dissolution.

But in the last General Election in 2001, Parliament was dissolved a day after the report was released.

I digress. While surfing tomorrow.sg, I found a very interesting poll about the election date.

It is not the accuracy of the dates that matter but a whopping 55% polled did not care when the elections will be held.

Why is that so?

Is is because a large number of those polled were below 21? Or because a large number feel that elections are another "no event"? Probably the latter. Most Singaporeans have expressed that they do not have the chance to vote and they gripe about it.

A friend of mine who is in his late forties and has only voted once! Perhaps the reason why is because of the walkovers. One person even wrote to say that residents in wards with walkovers should also cast their votes. This will give a signal of how residents feel about their PAP MPs.

But whether there are walkovers or not, or whether the opposition contests or not, one thing's for sure - it is dependant on the report.

I believe and hope that there would be more transparency as to how the Committee made its decision on which ward to shrink, which ward to split and which ward to be entirely wiped out. Let's hope another "dissappearance of Cheng San ward" will not happen now like it happened in the past.

The Electoral Boundaries Review Committee's Report should have sufficient reasons to suppot the case and should be made readiliy available to the public. But that can be after the Ministers and MPs have had their look at it.

And if the opposition parties stick to their word and avoid three-cornered fights, they will contest close to 50% of the seats as reported. Surely, then Singaporeans will have the chance to cast their vote. Hopefully, they will then feel that their votes count and take elections seriously and not just another day off.

The sad thing is, I can only vote if someone takes on Ang Mo Kio GRC. That is if my electoral boundaries are not redrawn.

Are you hearing my views WP? Just kidding. What matters most is that the opposition have the money and candidates to field.