[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

Monday, February 26, 2007

[SMU star awards]
It's time to Play! Move over Oscars.

Come Wednesday, I will attend an inaugural student film award ceremony.

It sounds like SMU's very own star awards. There's even a best actor category as well among the categories.

The Curious Case of Mee Siam has been nominated for Best Comedy Film Award. I surely hope the judges will be impressed and give our team the vote.

It would be good if there is a trophy to keep. Perhaps winners have to go up on stage to say their acceptance speech as well a la MTV Asia Awards. I'm looking forward to it.

Life's pretty disorganised at the moment with lots of projects due, presentations to prepare and tests to study for.

That's why my iBook desktop is super messy. Papers are piling up on my desk in the room as well.

What a crazy semester.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

[Grassroots leaders throng Istana grounds]
Grassroots leaders were out in all force today thronging the Istana. Those present were treated to food from Meritus Mandarin but most were more focused on meeting top leaders from our little city state.

It was slightly different from last year's. The committee had come up with special queues for those who wanted personalised photo opportunities with the Prime Minister. It was a change from last year where anyone could just go up to him for a photo. Last year, the Prime Minister had given feedback that there were many people stepping on his heels. Some went too close he added.

After the PM's exit from the garden to the Istana building, Minister Mentor arrived some 10 minutes later in a gold mercedes. Following that, Senior Minister arrived. Most probably the sequence was arranged alphabetically according to constituency name.

His excellency, Mr S R Nathan, the President of the Republic of Singapore was also present at the party and arrived after all the minsters and MPs. I wonder which MP would be so daring to arrive after the President.

And yes, I saw my MP too!

I did a little news video. Maybe more in the future if the there's good response and positive comments.

[Chingay an interactive event]
First up, Chingay, Asia's grandest street and floats parade is an interactive event for ticket holders.

The crowd that was present "live" had the opportunity to mingle with the floats and performers after the show.

Kicking start the event at the sector opposite Orchard Plaza was a Chinese J-Pop band. A Malay performance and an Indian one followed. It fits the multi-racial ethos of the People's Association to a tee. The only addition: Chingay had an added international sphere.

A bevy of performers from around the world (Angola, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, South Africa, China, Korea and the list goes on) followed. It ended with the last float, one that promotes ASEAN, done up by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

There were so many floats and colurful performances such that if you ask me which was the best I would be at a loss for an answer. 77 Team Singapore, a float by 77th Street and Team Singapore had gymnasts that did stunts that wowed.

The National University of Singapore's transformer time-travel train float in the segment titled Kronos had a little surprise. Wings popped up in the centrepiece of the float. It looked like a Wright Brothers aircraft.

Prior to attending Chingay, I was at little isle Sentosa covering SMU's Wakiki 2007. No photos of the hunks and babes here, you'd have to read the article on Youth.SG instead.

However, this being the first time taking the monorail service, I managed some nice shots of the port of Singapore. Sentosa is definitely another must-visit tourist attraction.

Looking out from the beach station, you can get a glimpse of this row of houses on the water.

I would have loved to go to Siloso Beach new beach pub Café Del Mar to get a dip in the pool and see the sunset with a cocktail in hand. But time was not on my side. Walking there and back would have made it impossible for me to go for Chingay.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

[Bountiful Joy @ Bedok Reservoir]

Dear Residents, Ladies and Gentlemen

Let me first wish everyone a Happy New Year of the Pig. Today is the 7th Day of the Chinese New Year which is everyone's birthday. For the first time, we are holding a ceremony to release fish into Bedok Reservoir. I hope this will become an annual tradition for us. We have embarked on a number of projects to make this reservoir a place for us to enjoy - fishing, boating, walking, jogging and so on. Let us work together to protect the environment and keep the water clean. Thank you.

日期: 2007年2月24日
时间: 早上9时

亲爱的居民, 女士,先生们,

1. 让我先祝大家金猪年快乐. 今天是华人农历新年的初七, 也是大家的生日。 我们阿裕尼集选区第一次在勿落蓄水池举办一个把八百八十八条鱼放生的仪式。 我希望这个仪式会成为我们集选区的一个新年传统。 我们已经展开了一系列计划去美化勿落蓄水池,使每个人都能够更好的享受这里的设施和进行个项活动,比如钓鱼,划船,散步,跑步等等。 让我们同心协力一起来保护蓄水池的环境和池水的干静.

2. 谢谢大家在百忙之中抽出宝贵的时间出席今天的仪式。

[Spring Blossoms @ Bedok Reservoir]

Fellow Singaporeans

1 This evening, we celebrate the New Year of the Pig. Tomorrow morning, at Bedok Reservoir, all the 5 MPs of Aljunied GRC, together with grassroots leaders and residents, will release 888 fish into the reservoir. We hope that the coming year will be one of happiness and prosperity for all Singaporeans.

2 Our economy is doing well. We are receiving high-quality investments. Trade is growing. Many good jobs are being created. The property market shows that Singaporeans and foreigners see a bright future for Singapore.

3 Last week, the Finance Minister announced a good budget which has been welcomed by all sectors. It is a comprehensive budget which will help the economy to grow. We will look after those who are less fortunate so that no one will be left behind. In our constituency, every RC has been asked to look out for those families which are in difficulty so that we can extend a helping hand. Singapore can only progress if we progress together.

4 Our foreign relations are on the whole very good. We have excellent relations with all our major partners, with the US, China, Japan, India, Europe and Australia. We have some problems with Thailand and Indonesia but they are not big problems. Generally speaking, our overall relations with Thailand and Indonesia remain good.

5 I thank all of you here for your support and wish everyone here best of health and happiness.

日期: 2007年2月23日
时间: 晚上8时


1 今天晚上,我们庆祝金猪年. 明天早上, 我们阿裕尼集选区的五位国会议 员,社区领袖和居民们将会在勿落蓄水池把八百八十八条鱼放生.我们希望这个新的一年会给每一个新加坡人带来幸福和大丰收.

2 现在,新加坡的经济表现良好。 我们继续收到高增值投资。 贸易量也一直增加. 这些有利因素制造了很多好的就业机会。 房地产的走势也说明了新加坡人和外国人都对我国的前景充满信心。

3 上个星期, 第二财政部长宣布了一个被个界人士都欢迎的好预算案。 这个包罗广泛的预算案能帮助经济继续增长。 我们会照顾低收入者, 确保没有一个新加坡人会被遗弃。 在阿裕尼集选区, 每一个居民委员会都被任命去积极的帮助那些被发现有经济困难的家庭,为他们伸出援助之手。 唯有大家一起迈进新加坡才能真正的迈进。

4 新加坡跟各国的外交关系总的来说都不错。 我们和主要的伙伴国 – 美国,中国, 日本, 印度, 欧洲, 澳洲 的外交关系都非常牢固和稳健。 虽然我们跟泰国和印尼的关系有一些问题,但是这些问题都不大。 总的来说,我国跟泰国和印尼能够保持着良好关系。

5 最后我在此感谢大家多年来的支持并祝各位身体健康万事如意。

[Relations with Thailand and Indonesia]
Before I talk about what Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo spoke at Spring Blossoms @ Bedok Reservoir-Punggol, let's have a glimpse of the Bedok Reservoir-Punggol flyer since the Singapore Flyer is still three-quarters to completion since a few days ago.

Our very own flyer in the heartlands.

It was almost turning dark when I took these pictures. And they look pretty nice with the blocks of flats in the background.

Back to serious stuff.

The dinner tonight kicked off with the tossing of yusheng. It was great to see many familiar faces young and old and to wish them well for the new year personally.

The hosts Silver Ang (yeah, you guys know her) and Daryl Yong (not too famous but I think some would know) bantered on stage and had quite a bit of chemistry.

In his address to some 400 grassroots leaders present at the dinner, minister cited that in reports, Singapore is viewed quite positively with respect issues with our neighbours Thailand and Indonesia.

"If you read the reports written by international financial analysts, they view Singapore very positively."

And minister thinks the problems between Thailand and Indonesia can be managed.

He said: "Very often, these problems are ... domestic politics which get projected onto us."

He also spoke about the releasing of fish at Bedok Reservoir later in the morning and he encouraged grassroots leaders to join in the activity.

Apart from interaction with a lion in the lion dance segment, he also distributed oranges to everyone diligently from table to table.

The many games and "sabo" sessions made me laugh a lot. When the host asked how many mandarin oranges one should eat as forfeit, I gamely shouted a lucky number. Eight. In another game, the Youth Executive Committee and I dressed our Chairman in newspapers and red packets.

I loved the tonic soup, herbal chicken and the fried prawns best. For some reason, I don't remember eating the yam paste desert. I'm sure it would have tasted nice. Most grassroots dinners serve this teochew dish. I wonder why. Perhaps it is because our target audience is presumably mostly teochew.

It's off to Bedok Reservoir in the wee hours of the morning later. And then to Sentosa for SMU's Waikiki beach event.

Then true to yearly tradition, I will visit the Istana on Sunday.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

"Remember, man, that you are dust and unto dust you shall return."

1. Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Together with many Catholics, my wife and I attended evening Mass at Holy Trinity and had ash dabbed on our foreheads. It was to remind us of our mortality.

2. What Ramadan is to Muslims, Lent is to Christians. It is a time of sacrifice and reflection, a period of preperation before the great celebration of Easter. Later in the Lenten season, Catholics will make their annual donation to the Catholic welfare organisations which serve Singaporeans of all races and religions. Every year, quite a lot of money is raised.

3. We are developing a tradition in Singapore of serving everyone in need regardless of race and religion. I remember Abdul Halim explaining to me many years ago why it was important for Tabung Amal to help non-Muslims as well. Here in Aljunied GRC, a group of Sai Baba followers has offered to bring together a multi-religious group of doctors to provide free health services to our residents. I hope we'll be able to get something started in a few months' time. A nearby Buddhist Temple run by the Ven Kuan Yan is already providing a mobile Traditional Chinese Medicine service to those living in the Hougang-Punggol area. When we needed money to give ang pows and food hampers to poor families before the Chinese New Year, many individuals came forward to help.

4. Doing charity work is an essential part of being a human being. Even those who are sick and poor can make contributions which probably earn greater spiritual merit than the donations of the strong and the mighty. A tradition of giving makes a community strong.

Do also read my posts on Beyond SG

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

[Pig out]
It is day four of Chinese New Year and it's another day of partying after day one and two (day three was spent sleeping, alas, it's the pig year). Minister invited all of us to his house on day two (maybe something on that soon).

On the eve of Chinese New Year I had called Shawn and wanted to jio him to KTV. Last night he reminded me to go for a KTV session today. So we headed down in the early hours of the morning (11am is early for me) to the K Box outlet at Chinatown Point. But as luck would have it, the KTV outlet was scheduled to open only at 7pm although the front shutter was open and the staff was at the front counter.

We headed to the next closest K Box outlet at Cineleisure instead for K lunch - some innovative package for poor students like me at $10 a pop, lunch inclusive.

The dishes there are quite value-for-money Jap style food (you can choose Teriyaki Chicken or Fried Fish, I went for the latter) inclusive of 1x Coke (Neil Humphreys calls it "cock" in his latest article in Today about the Singapore Girl), salad, desert, rice and some egg-like stuff that is a little sweet (it's some kind of Jap food).

And you get to sing for at least two hours.

Orchard Road was getting ready for Chingay (I have a ticket and am expected to attend). The chairs have been setup and they flank parts of the road. Then after a little window shopping in the vicinity, we headed to Plaza Singapura cause I had to buy a bottle of wine - 2005 Botrytis Semillon, a sweet white wine concotion. With wine in hand, I headed to Changi to attend a private Social Science gathering. Lots of food and alcohol as well as Coke again.

It was a pig out and chill out session. The guys turned the kitchen into some clubbing nightspot with blasting music - they call it SSS Underground, presumably a pun on Velvet Underground.

And I stink now cause of the barbecueing of food. Guess I have to go shower already.

Monday, February 19, 2007

[Bad or good]
The fruits of my labour have paid off finally. But Chinese New Year started on a bad note.

Firstly was my statistics test and then next a surprise from the SAF.

I remember promising to reveal parts of my room after the big clean up. So here's a sneak peek - it's as good as coming to this 4-room HBD flat in the Serangoon area.

Once you stand at the door you can almost see everything.

The bedsheet was specially chosen during a shopping trip at Plaza Singapura. It is beige and has red, brown, yellow and gold - just nice for Chinese New Year. It's one of the more cool bedsheets that I have. There's another orange one that will match my room.

Then you walk along the "hall of fame" - a collection of stuff that I have been involved in. There's a winning shot of the dragonboat team that I was part of, my first half-marathon number tag and some menus from places I worked after the big Os. And of course, a section dedicated to the Singapore Biennale.

And there are loads of books. On my desk is a collection of collar pins from Olympic pins to one the Asian Games.

Tucked at the side of the room is a little cosy corner. I am still trying to redevelop it so it gets more cosy. Perhaps a little carpet or something that fits snuggly.

It is not that neat normally but I am trying hard to get it that neat all the time.

Friday, February 16, 2007

[The Year of the Pig]
1. While my wife is busy preparing ang pows for the New Year, I've been reading the New Year cards, clearing the letters and filing the bills. There is one card from my ancestral village in China. A few years ago, together with one of my brothers, I officiated at the re-opening of a branch Yeo clan ancestral temple in Anbu Town, Teochew City. Established during the reign of Kang Xi, it was shut down with all other ancestral temples in 1949. In the last 20 years, the temples have been re-opened one after another. The main Yeo temple was one of the first in my ancestral village to be re-established. Then the branch temples followed. When a group of clansmen decided to re-open the one from which my father descended, I was asked to be a patron. Naturally I could not refuse. After all, it was a great honour.

2. The ceremony was an elaborate affair with offerings of animals, chicken, duck, fish and fruits. The slaughtered pig and goat were slaughtered beautifully with the organs neatly placed below the disembowelled carcasses. Dressed in traditional robe, I had to pour libations of wine, kneel, stand and walk in procession many, many times. My cousins were impressed by my ability to kneel for long periods. I replied that, as a Roman Catholic, I'm used to kneeling. My daughter and three sons watched the ceremony from the side. One of them got a little dizzy from the smoke of joss sticks. The entire proceedings must have lasted some three hours.

3. A big celebratory lunch was thrown the following day with lots of delicious food. I had to deliver my speech in Teochew which was a sweat, much more than during election time. I slept late the night before to practise with the help of a relative. Looking back, it was an important event in my life and one which would have brought pride and joy to my parents. In my heart, I hope that my children would also have a sense of their roots when they grow up.

4. Chinese New Year is the most important event in the Chinese calendar. It is a time for the family to come together and to re-connect with relatives and friends, a time for us to be culturally re-centred for the year ahead.

5. I wish everyone a Very Happy New Year, God's Blessings and the Best of Health!

Do also read my posts on Beyond SG

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

[Valentine's day]
Usually on most years, February 14 is a quiet day for me.

No dating, no smooching and not really a fun and exciting day.

This year is different.

This semester, I look forward to class on Monday and Wednesday. There's this pretty babe that sits across me in the seminar room. And she is really very chio. I hope she's not reading this else I'll be very embarrassed.

To me, love should be shown everyday. Little actions everyday show how one feels for his other half.

And yes, me being me, I do not usually initiate the relationship. I seldom want to get to know people, even guys, let alone the girls. Unless I am really forced to. But once you know me, the scenario is different.

On a few instances, I have turned people down flatly. But honestly, I guess those relationships would not have worked out. It takes two hands to clap if you know what I mean.

I think I need to have a change of attitude if I really do not want to get left on the shelf. I love kids! And I would love to have my own.

Yes, so this year, I did something really different. I was one of the three producers for my school's Campus TV Valentine's Day production. Production work is tedious. The hours are long, you have to put in lots of effort. But when you finally see the end product, you get really happy.

So I present to you the Valentine's Day episode of Campus Beat by the SMU Campus TV team.

I do hope that all you readers out there can support this production. Last year, I focused on sports. This year, it is on art. And yeah, I have more arty stuff lined up. This is just the beginning. Do support and watch the Valentine's Day episode here.

And to one and all: Happy Valentine's Day!

[A Little Help]
1. Together with RC members, I spent two evenings over the last weekend distributing ang pows and food hampers to needy families in Hougang and Bedok Reservoir. The contributions in money and in kind came from well-wishers who responded readily to appeals from the CCC and RCs. Although the little help we gave was gratefully accepted, it could only be a palliative.

2. Many of the families we helped were in difficulty because of marriage break-up. Financial difficulty is only one part of the story. The impact on the children is hard to quantify but the cost must be very high. And if the children turn wayward as a result, the social problem will be carried down one generation. I think, whatever we do, protecting the family unit is fundamental.

3. Another major problem is bad health. In some families, two or more members of the family are stricken by serious illnesses like cancer and stroke. With our population ageing rapidly, this problem will become worse. The burden on the young can be hard to bear. For whatever reason, some children stop caring for their parents completely. It is heartbreaking to visit some of these families.

4. This Chinese New Year, when we gather around the reunion dinner and when we visit relatives and friends, let us make a special effort to strengthen the ties that keep our families and our community together.

Do also read my posts on Beyond SG

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

[An early new year]
It's the season to celebrate. And Chinese New Year is one of the busiest times - from planning dinners, to attending dinners all the way to visiting friends.

It's a whole load of fun nonetheless. Especially when you get into the mood. You go round soaking in the atmosphere. But the best place to get that jolly good new year feeling is at Chinatown.

The glittery lights. The noisy streets and mesmerising sights.

I would, without fail, try to to check out the decorations every year. The only difference this year was that I went early (I usually go after the first few days of Chinese New Year). It was crowded but not as crowded as it would be on Chinese New Year's eve.

Decorations aside, I found many interesting things around.

There was this projection artwork - something like Jenny Holzer's work for the Singapore Biennale. A white building oppostie Chinatown Point was draped in children's art.

Other interesting stuff include this array of string lion puppets.

And face masks. These masks remind me of our annual street parade - Chingay.

Apart from checking out the unedible things, I also visited Chinatown Food Street. It brings back memories of Ho Chi Minh City's night market atmosphere.

There's also a spectacular water fountain in the middle section of the pavement in Chinatown that also acts as a water screen with laser and light shows.

[Foreign affairs field day]
The media had a field day of foreign affairs today.

In Parliament, Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo fielded questions from MPs on Thailand and Indonesia with regard to the former Thai premier's visit to Singapore and the ban on sand imports to Singapore imposed by Indonesia.

On Sunday, when reporters had asked minister for his reply on relations on Indonesia, he gave a laugh and mentioned that more will be announced on Monday. And they sure did get more from minister's replies in Parliament.

For one day last week and tonight, most of us were activated to go on red packet distribution. It is quite sensitive to talk about that, and so that is all I would say.

As we went from block to block just now, minister met residents and wished them an early new year. From the elderly to the young, he greeted them all.

Rounding up the visit at a nearby coffeeshop in Bedok Reservoir, he distributed mandarin oranges to grassroots leaders who had joined in the visit.

Many late nights for me. But I hope those who are at the receiving end appreciate what we do.

Monday, February 12, 2007

[Clean and Green]
1. Last Sunday morning, almost a hundred of us pitched in to help clean up the void decks of Blocks 414 and 415 at Hougang Ave 10 and the neighbourhood park in between. Students from Serangoon Sec School, Holy Innocents and CHIJ Our Lady of the Nativity joined us. Many hands made light work. Within a hour, we got the whole place spruced up, and adjouned after that for a breakfast of nasi lemak at the RC Centre. It was fun.

2. The objective of the RC is to encourage residents and visitors to keep the place clean. For example, it is not uncommon to see parents allowing their children to litter common areas. We are too used to having foreign workers pick up after us. It is depressing to see the amount of rubbish accumulating in the nearby monsoon canal when it is dry. With the exciting plans to control the water level in our waterways, we should be considerate and help look after the living environment.

Do also read my posts on Beyond SG

Saturday, February 10, 2007

[Three hours in the studios]
I spent three hours holed up in SMU's BE editing suites (I made it sound nice).

The other producer Jun Kwang was digitising the tapes from the Valentine's date at Essential Brew.

There were four tapes in all with each having an hour of footage. The final episode will only be a short 10 minute clip. But yeah, it's going to be an exciting Valentine's Day episode.

I haven't mastered Final Cut Pro yet. However, I did put the digitised clips into logical order of the show. I guess the flow of the episode is on track. Hopefully I did it the right way.

While I am blogging, my boss is in school doing the promotional shots for the episode. It's going to be another day in the studios tomorrow.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

[The Wenzhou Connection in Gabon]
1. Ephraim posted a blog and some pictures of the visit by the Vice-Premier and Foreign Minister of Gabon, Jean Ping, to our constituency. I knew Minister Jean Ping when he was the very able President of the UN General Assembly. He is Chinese. His father from Wenzhou went to Gabon many years ago to trade and married an African.

2. Wenzhou is in the southern part of Zhejiang Province. It is now a very rich city producing all kinds of light industrial products. Most of the cigarette lighters in the world are made in Wenzhou. There are over 2000 shoe factories producing a billion pairs of shoes a year! I was told this when I visited the city a few years ago and just could not believe my ears. The Wenzhou people are known to be the Jews of China. They are very entrepreneurial. They own a lot of the real estate in Shanghai. Many Wenzhou people do business in France, Spain and Italy. I know for a fact that many of the Chinese restaurants in Italy are run by them.

3. Gabon is a country on the equator on the western coast of Africa. It has a small population of about 1.5 million but has a land area larger than that of the UK. It produces about 300,000 barrels of oil a day. The country has long enjoyed political stability under PM Obongo.

4. When Minister Gabon first visited China, his relatives went to see him in Beijing. Since then, the Chinese community in Gabon has grown and there must be about a thousand Wenzhou Chinese living there now. When Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Gabon last year, they turned out in full force to welcome him.

5. I arranged for Minister Gabon to be hosted by the Wenzhou Clan Association in Singapore. I was unable to join him but saw a lovely picture in Zaobao today of Minister Ping tossing the yu sheng with his fellow Wenzhou clansmen. He invited me to visit Gabon, saying with a smile that the Chinese community there would help look after me.

Do also read my posts on Beyond SG

[Early valentine's day]
The Singapore Manangement University Broadcast and Entertaiment (SMUBE) crew for the upcoming Valentine's Day episode of Campus Beat were shooting at Essential Brew at Holland Village.

Essential Brew is a chill out place for the young and trendy. The people there specialise in tea, so tea lovers, do take a listen.

This is my first time involved in behind-the-scenes production of a real episode of a TV show.

And if you are curious to find out if romance did blossom on the set of the Valentine's Day episode, do stay tuned to our Campus Beat episode which will hit a computer screen near you next week. More details soon.

The contestant on this episode scored an exclusive date with a hot babe and the couple were given a treat. For the dinner at Essential Brew, these two luck souls had a taste of their exclusive Valentine's Day menu.

Food and drinks that were featured in the show:
Tropical Dew
Scarlet Frost

Crabmeat Corn Chowder
Pesto Crayfish
Lavender Cod Fillet
Herbed Ribeye Steak

Plateau Serenade

And if you are thinking of having you very own date here, it costs only 79.90/++ per couple. The also provide fringe flower gift and card services to make that day more memorable.

Earlier, I was cooped up in the very cold BE studio selecting footage that the other producers and crew had shot a few days ago. It was a chilly experience. The people there use Final Cut Pro to do editing and the wacky stuff. I will lay my hands and pick up some skills come this weekend hopefully.

And in case you really can't take the suspense and the waiting, here's a very little sneak preview of the shoot.

Do catch the Valentine's Day episode on Campus Beat on SMUBE's Campus TV.

Thought of the day: It would be good to bring my windbreaker the next time I step into the BE studios.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

[An unexpected guest]
When I reached the weekly meet-the-people session (MPS) last night, I was surprised to see a news crew camera lying around.

Then I remembered earlier that my branch secretary had said that a minister from Gabon will be dropping by.

Twenty minutes to nine, Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo arrived with Mr Jean Ping, the Vice-Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Gabon.

Minister then shook the hands of residents - a normal fare at every MPS. Later, while he made his way past, he introduced the minister from Gabon to stalwarts of the party. A stream of officials dressed in spiffy outfits then followed.

Flashbulbs went off, and the cameras rolled. And just fast as it started, it ended as both ministers sat down together to meet residents in our division.

Throughout the process, minister spent a spell of time explaining some the process and shed light on how he dealt with certain cases faced by residents.

Alas, I should have asked the Gabon minister about his experience.

Monday, February 05, 2007

[Gambling is in]
There is something about this week's 8 Days. But it's not the price tag of $2.50.

The people there had anticipated this for Chinese New Year - gambling!

Since we now have casinos, no, integrated resorts (IRs), let's say it together once again "integrated resorts", you see education is the key.

I think I digressed.

These days when you step into an MRT station, it's like going back to kindergarten. One feels like a little boy in a big unknow world (the MRT station). And you can't help but feel it becuse of the little warning messages that are blasted in the staions.

"When using the escalator, please hold onto the handrails."
"The cars in the centre are full so please use those in front and behind"
"Please stand behind the yellow line"
"Doors closing, please stand clear"
"Please mind the gap"

And the list goes on.

Day in day out we hear it. However, it is necessary. Or else, if someone falls down from the escalator, you know who'd be complaining.

Back to gambling. I'm looking forward to soft gambing though. "Soft gambling" is a term I invented based on "soft porn". It not the hardcore type of gambling. The people at 8 Days have studied our Chinese trend of playing card games during the new year. So much so, that they provided a pack of cool cards with this week's 8 Days and i Weekly magazines.

And they are worth collecting just for a little fun. I put mine in my bag so I can whip it out anytime when I am bored and need to play.

Cool stuff eh?

Thought of the day: I bet this week's issue would sell like hotcakes.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

[Letter to complain about worms in Apples]
I usually start the month with a chirpy post to announce my existance. And since, during class last week, we were doing some case studies on responses by companies to consumers, I too, decided that I should make myself heard. I was pretty upset with Apple. So I wrote a little letter to them:

Dear Apple,
I used to be an Apple fan until now. I have an iBook and an iPod until recently, my iPod died just slightly more than 3 months after the warranty period. I'm pretty pissed because it was a present from my uncle and I haven't been using it much. For it to die on me from the lack of use seems to me that your products are not that reliable after all. When I brought the iPod back to the store, in hope that it could be revived or repaired, your sales staff told me that it would cost the same and recommended me to buy a new one. Unlike other companies where you can get your spoilt product repaired, I feel that Apple does not believe in providing support to it's customers after the warranty period. Moreover, the reliabilty of the product is questionable. I am upset that your after sales service policy is a total failure. And unless I am given a very good reason to continue supporting Apple products, I would not for the time being. Also, my iBook screen is starting to show signs that it is going to spoil too. I have had an Acer for eight years, since 1999, and boy, it is still going strong compared to my iBook which i have had for just over slightly a year. This sure speaks of how unreliable Apple products are.

Yours sincerely,
an ex-Apple fanatic

Just hope they give a well-crafted reply to appease me.

Thought of the day: Just in case you are going to correct what I have written, I know what you are going to tell me. I have spotted the two mistakes. Just an oversight. Especially. When. You. Are. Pissed.

[Three Cheers for the Singapore Team!]
1. Wow, what a victory for the Singapore soccer team in the ASEAN Football Championship! When Khairul scored that decisive goal, he could hardly believe it himself. Hundreds of thousands of Singapore watching the match at home must have jumped for joy. We did not have a large cheer team in the stadium but they showed spunk. I am glad our team and our spectators were not intimidated by recent comments made against Singapore.

2. I thought the Thai manager showed grace in the way he conceded defeat. The Thai Government made a special effort to ensure tight security. I'm relieved that all went well.

Do also read my posts on Beyond SG

[Free Haircuts]
1. My family hairdresser at Loyang Point, Anthony of Class Salon, made me an offer I could not refuse. He said that the instructors and trainees of Pivot Point, a franchisee school teaching hairdressing, would be prepared to cut hair free for my poorer residents on a Sunday afternoon. And so, yesterday, Crest RC at Blk 521 Hougang Ave 6 was turned into an aircon hairdressing salon, complete with professional posters. Poorer families in the area were informed beforehand of this free service but, in fact, no one who came for a free haircut was turned away.

2. It was a fun afternoon. Over 10 hairdressers from Pivot Point worked away for over 4 hours. About 50 residents dropped by and left looking fresh all ready for the New Year. Kenny, the RC Chairman, prepared a nice nasi lemak lunch for those who came to help. Nearby, a karaoke block party was organised which added to the general air of festivity.

Do also read my posts on Beyond SG