[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, February 29, 2008

[Cabinet reshuffle]
People will be expecting this piece of interesting observation with regard to the upcoming cabinet reshuffle. I have some random thoughts.

We know from media reports (or speculation) that it is very likely who will be taking over the portfolio of Information, Communications and the Arts. It is widely expected that Dr Vivian Balakrishnan will take over the portfolio which means there will be a vacancy at his current position.

Last night, while I was chatting online, my friend directed me to the sports page and we agreed on an interesting observation which left us clueless. Minister of State for Finance and Transport Lim Hwee Hua was at a sports function. As far as I know, she usually attends finance and transport related events apart from grassroots events. I wonder if that is a strong hint that we will be having a female minister soon.

I once cracked a joke and asked her if Singapore was ready for a woman minister. She replied that Singapore is always ready for a woman minister.

I think PM has also hinted that some of the Deputy Prime Ministers are likely to retire soon. Only time will tell.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

[Meet-the-People Session]
1. In the last few months, there has been a discernible change in the pattern of cases I see at MPS. Hardship cases have come down because of a much stronger economy. But HDB cases have shot up with many requests for rental flats. With better property prices, many mortgaged flats are now above water and owners which were unable or unwilling to sell in the past are now doing so. Unless there are special circumstances, those who sell their HDB flats must wait at least 30 months before they can get rental units.

2. Divorce is another reason for owners wanting to sell their flats. It is unfortunately becoming more common. The children suffer and we try to help them as best we could.

3. I had a depressing case last night. One elderly woman with poor sight came to see me at Blk 713 Bedok Reservoir complaining that none of her seven children wanted to live with her. She asked for a rental flat. Family problems are often complicated and it is not for me to judge others. But those of us who met her last night felt very sad.

4. After MPS, a group of us attended the funeral wake of Lim Kim Seong, Chairman of Sheng Siong Supermarket. He left behind many children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He came as boy from Anxi, Fujian Province. From humble beginnings, he went on to establish a chain of 21 supermarkets. He was one of my supporters and I used to meet him at dinner events, always the smiling face ever willing to extend a helping hand.

Do also read my posts on Beyond SG

Saturday, February 23, 2008

[Time to shokudo]
My International Economics project group (except Eu Fung) Reuben, Eunice and Ramona went to Raffles City to check out the new wing. We went to shokudo, the Japanese version of Marche. I call it the Japanese version of Marche because the whole eating concept is just like Marche.

You enter the place and they give you some ultra big chess piece with two words on it. It's supposed to mean "reserved" and you can place it on the table while you grab food. There's also a card that tracks your purchases. Quite like a credit card - the one you use at Marche is this super huge white card which is different.

The variety of food is mostly Japanese. Though there is still that potato thingy (I think it is called rosti) and there's also the crepes. I kind of regretted ordering something very ordinary - salmon and egg rice.

But the green tea drink is quite refreshing. I dunno what is inside that makes it delicious. It's a little powdery towards the end.

And you can pose there. Thanks to Eunice who kept being my pro photog. There are swords everywhere! And lots of Japanese calligraphy. At least in the area that I was eating at.

But that's the max that you can go. No Ephraim swordsman and his stunts. The cable tie prevents you from removing the swords. After a while, the fun dies down.

Oh yeah, talk about swords, there's one in my bedroom! Actually there are two (there's the metal one and one wooden one).

The main reason to go there is to try the food. I'll try the Japanese pizza the next time. It looks very slim and crisp.

Friday, February 22, 2008

1. I was at the gym at 7pm when the Youth Olympics result was announced 'live' from Lausanne. For a few seconds, it seemed as if all activities stopped while everyone hanged on to the words being spoken. Then applause and good cheer all around. There must have been a sharp increase in the number of SMSes sent last night.

2. Singaporeans feel really good about this success. I am not sure why. Maybe it is the 7 months of anticipation for the result. Maybe it is a celebration of international recognition that a small country like ours can also make it big time even if only for a brief moment. To beat Moscow is something. Russia has power and influence which we cannot even begin to match.

3. Well, the hard work begins. We have to stay modest and deliver, making sure that the athletes, officials and visitors coming in 2010 will have a good, enjoyable experience. Each such experience bonds us together as a people. Watching what happened at the Padang yesterday, Singaporeans felt good being Singaporean. I can already imagine visuals of five stars entering five circles.

Do also read my post on Relations with Thailand on Beyond SG

Thursday, February 21, 2008

[We won]
At 4pm, students collected their free T-shirts from SMU's campus green. There were 400 T-shirts given out. This was an SMU effort to prepare for that announcement. That big announcement. The one that will impact Singapore in 2010.

Still can't get it? It's the Youth Olympic Games.

We proceeded to the Lee Kong Chian School of Business to assemble for the big operation. Surprise surprise, two bigwigs from the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports suddenly appeared in SMU. Teo Ser Luck let me in on something when I asked for an interview after the announcement of the bid. He revealed that the Prime Minister would be at the Padang later. "Exciting," I thought to myself.

Slightly before 6pm, various flags and a contingent of students made their way to the Padang led by officials and the two guests.

Notice the guy with white hair beside Dr Vivian? It's none other than Singapore's only Olympic medallist Tan Howe Liang.

The contingent waited till exactly 6pm before their grand entrance into the Padang. I realised that I was about to be squeezing with more than 5,000 Singaporeans. It was a huge fanfare.

Hyper cheerleaders from Jurong Junior College dressed in green kept everyone entertained. Daniel Ong worked up the crowd. Then Daren Tan, Tan Diya and Hady Mirza entertained with a few English and Mandarin songs. There was a lot of noise and the crowd was building up. I saw various sports reporters strolling up and down - Ernest Luis, Tan Yo-Hinn from Today, Marc Lim and many others who looked very familiar. People from Team Singapore, NYC and PAYM came down to support as well.

7pm was the time to go "live" on TV. PM arrived shortly after that with lots of cheer. He was in high spirits just like always. Almost everyone sitting at the stands was wearing red. So was I (except for the motivators in green from JJC). At first the feeling was mild. Nothing exciting yet. Videos of youth speaking about the games were flashed one by one on the big screens.

In a matter of seconds IOC President Jacques Rogge (who I met during the IOC session in 2005) came on screen. My heart was beating slightly fast as I anticipated the results. In front, less than five meters away was Singapore's Prime Minister. Flanked by Dr Vivialn Balakrishnan on one side and Minister Teo Chee Hean on the other the rest of the seating area was filled with officials such as Singapore's only IOC member Ng Ser Miang and Singapore Sports Council's CEO Oon Jin Teik.

Suddenly, everyone stood up, anxious and full of smiles.

PM looked to the side and gave a wave. It was a false alarm.

They sat down slightly disappointed. It made me nervous. Two bid videos later (Moscow first, then Uniquely Singapore), the screen flashed back to Jacques Rogge. A small envelope was presented to him. By then, everyone was up on their feet again. It was time. I waited in anticipation of the announcement. A short silence was broken by some words. A split second later after the word "Singapore", the crowd went into a frenzy. PM could not speak at first (his mic was off). A shout and many screams later, he gave his piece thanking not only the young but the old (taxi drivers that put up decals to support the bid).

It's just the start of everything. After the happiness, it's back to work for the bid committee and without a doubt, I'll be looking forward to hosting the world in 2010. Nothing beats the excitement of having the first Youth Olympic Games right at our doorstep. Well done Singapore!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

[A Laotian Guest at the CC]
1. The Punggol CC Senior Citizens' Chinese New Year Dinner had an unexpected guest on Sunday evening. As the Laotion DPM and Foreign Minister Thonglun Sisoulith was in Singapore for a bilateral visit, I invited him for the dinner to give him a sense of how we live in Singapore. Halfway during dinner, I brought him to see one of our HDB apartments. Robert Sim had less than an hour's warning time, but responded splendidly. He, his wife and kids were charming hosts. The Laotian FM was quite astonished that a taxi driver could own such an apartment.

2. The senior citizens provided much of their own entertainment, singing and dancing. More than once, Minister Thonglun asked whether they were professionals. I felt so proud of them.

3. After years of war, Laos is now progressing nicely. Each time I visit Vientience, it looks better. Last year's growth rate was 7.5%. This year's is expected to reach 8%. But the base is low and the country will take years to catch up. During the Vietnam War, more American bombs fell on Laos than all the bombs that fell on Europe during the Second World War. We are helping where we can and run a training centre in Vientiene. We also train some of their officials in Singapore. In fact, Minister Thonglun himself spent 3 months at Nanyang Poly many years ago on an English course. He is a good friend.

2008年2月17日, 晚上8时



今晚, 我们很荣幸地邀请到一位特别嘉宾与我们共度新春佳节。他就是寮国副总理兼外交部长通伦·西苏里 (Thongloun Sisoulith) 阁下。他是新加坡的好朋友,目前正在我国进行官方访问。新寮两国双边关系密切。寮国的经济表现良好,去年经济成长率超过百分之七。




[Lucky marathon]
It's been a tiring week. An I am almost exhausted. That is how it is. While people look forward to Chinese New Year, this is the peak period for events. And by that I mean a lot of events. Lucky thing I was only involved in two.

I will be on holiday the week after. But then I'll still be in school preparing for the next issue of The Blue and Gold. Talk about having a finger in many pies. Hopefully I will pull through. Talk about being lucky.

I barely slept for a few hours on Friday night after preparing the script for Fish for Luck @ Bedok Reservoir. And it was back to the reservoir just slightly after sunrise the next day.

Screamed and shouted for the event on the floating stage (I fantasised about hosting the NDP) and my voice's almost gone. Luckily my voice is still intact and I have two other emcees to bear with my banter and nonsense on stage.

And that's not all. See if you can spot the dark rings under my eyes and my puffy eyebags. Look closer. After a long morning, the afternoon was saved not for a well-deserved rest but another meeting. Well, whatever keeps me going. At least I managed to sleep well that night.

The climax of the three day event marathon today at the Istana. I was lucky to be selected to go for the third year in a row.

It was an exciting twist of power play on the lawn. One can see how people manipulate their way to get a photo with Minister. This year they had someone to help them with the photo taking. Lucky people.

I hope to end this post with luck.

[Chingay at the Padang]
1. This year's Chingay Parade at the Padang was exceptional. It opened with the display of an F1 car accelerating alarmingly and then coming to a screeching halt followed by an eye-popping 'kebelakang pusing' before accelerating again in the opposite direction. Zipping back and forth, the noise was deafening. Judging by the surprisingly high demand for F1 tickets, many Singaporeans must find all this quite thrilling.

Photo credit: People's Association

2. The fireworks display at the end began with the firing of long strings of crackers. Only then did I realize why earplugs were offered to me earlier (which I politely turned down thinking they were not necessary). Tan Swie Hian painting with a fat brush and black ink while perched high up as the skies were lit made it a dramatic finale.

Photo credit: People's Association

3. This year's Chingay gave a sense of the Singapore that is to come - the Flyer, F1, the IRs, the APEC Summit next year, maybe (fingers crossed) the Youth Olympics in 2010. The city is looking more and more beautiful, in the daytime and at night. We are fortunate to be positioned smack right at the centre of a new Asia, buoyed up by the growth of China, India and the Middle East.

4. Part of the positive mood was engendered by the new budget announced the day before. Our finances are strong enabling the Finance Minister to be extra generous to lower and middle income Singaporeans, while at the same time taking care to invest in the future.

Do also read my posts on Beyond SG

[Reservoir Village Fish Release]
1. The five of us MPs of Aljunied GRC took part in a fish release ceremony at Bedok Reservoir last Saturday morning. It took place on the floating platform recently constructed by PUB. The weather was perfect with a light, cool breeze blowing. At the appointed hour and minute, we poured out the green carp from jars, big and small. This year, we encouraged maximum participation. For $8, you could get an Ikea glass jar with two fish. We raised some $15,000 for the Straits Times Pocket Money Fund. This is the second year we released fish into Bedok Reservoir which is becoming a 'happening place'. We'll make it an annual Lunar New Year tradition for Aljunied GRC.

2. I took the opportunity to unveil the new name for the shopping area nearby - Reservoir Village. It has a nice ring to it and will become a centre of attraction. In the past, the shops nearest the water ironically fetched the lowest rentals. That was because PUB did not want to many activities at the reservoir. With membrane technology, PUB is much more confident that we can have our water and drink it too. In the future, the locations nearest the lake will be the most prime. In April, work to upgrade Reservoir Village will begin. We'll open up vistas to the water so that those who go there to shop or eat will naturally be drawn to the water.

3. The reservoir will become more and more a hub of community life. We must cherish it, ensure water safety, keep the park clean and secure. This will also enhance the value of the nearby flats and condos.

Do also read my posts on Beyond SG

February 14. A day for me to stay at home to sleep. Yipee. I don't usually go out on Valentine's Day and I don't really get stuff on Valentine's Day. But this year was a little but different.

Thank you for the heart-shaped chocolate chip cookies. It was very sweet of you girl and the cookies are deliciously rich too.

I digress.

I think Valentine's Day should not be just for couples but also for friends. It would be a good idea to go out in a group (both guys and girls in one big group) on Valentine's Day and catch a movie or have a sumptious dinner. It's very depressing for someone that is single walking down Orchard Road on Valentine's Day. The couples go by. In the hands of the girls are lovely bouquets of flowers. And by her side is a happy man.

And there you are lonely and grouchy while people smile at your plight.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

[An affair]
I have lots to say today so bear with me. Still humming the tunes of this Chinese song - mei lan mei lan wo ai ni - that was sung at the Chinese New Year dinner just now. It was romantic.

It's been almost two full years at SMU. I am really happy to be in SMU. Really. Not because SMU is different but because I am different. However, that's only part of the reason.

When I could not get into a local university after applying for three years (twice during army and once after I completed NS), I thought it was going to be the end of me. After all, I am a double-diploma student but no one wanted me. I took a break from studies for a year and worked in a statutory board. I graduated with a Mechatronics diploma and a Mass Communications Advanced Diploma and ended up doing administrative work. It paid well and it was quite a breeze with not many challenges. But it was a good experience and exposure and I was allowed to use that as a platform to develop my talent for media.

Looking back, I feel that many events have shaped me as an individual and made me what I am today.

I love what I do in school - the fun part usually. From being part of the SMUBE Campus TV team and doing an episode for Valentine's Day. Then this year, I transferred to SMU Campus Radio to read news on Thursday evenings.

There were various opportunities to develop my passion for journalism. Vie, the school's magazine was a snazzy affair. I could not forget the times interviewing the Minister of State for Information, Communications and the Arts as well as the Minister for Health during their visits to SMU in the past year.

I also cherish the times and the future times that I will have being the head honcho of The Blue and Gold. It has been an unforgettable experience thus far.

Now that the polytechnic applications have closed and university applications are opening, I feel the most important in choosing your education path is to follow your passions. Or at least do something that is practical and develop your passions at the same time.

Being happy with what you do is important. It keeps you aiming higher to surpass the present, to look forward to the future. I am grateful for this opportunity to do what I like with my life. Consider this if you are at the crossroads now.

I'll be blogging about Valentine's Day tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

[Youth Olympics by Youth Empire]
Weking showed me this video by Youth Empire supporting Singapore's bid for the Youth Olympics. It is rather good.

[Happy Valentine's Day]
1. In recent years, Valentine's Day has become widely observed among younger Singaporeans with the prices of red roses shooting up. In the old days, celebrating Valentine's Day smacked of someone being too westernised. With globalisation, it is no longer so. Indeed, it is quite amazing how Chinese cities now put up Christmas decorations for the year end.

2. Traditionally, Valentine's Day is the day for lovers to express their feelings for each other, which I believe remains the Western norm. But, in Singapore, the expression of affection has become somewhat more spread out. I wish not just my wife, but also my mother-in-law and my daughter. Women send flowers to each other. This is nice. In that spirit, I send my Valentine Day's wishes to all female readers of Ephraim's blog.

Do also read my posts on Beyond SG

Friday, February 08, 2008

[Opening the Year]
1. I was invited to join the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the celebration of the New Year. This is an annual event to which many diplomats are invited.

2. The mood was upbeat tinged with concern about the financial turbulence in the US which must affect us. There was also considerable sympathy for the millions of Chinese who are suffering from an exceptionally cold winter. It was good for SCCCI to ask for donations as a gesture of our concern.

3. I talked about the present economic situation and the need to keep an eye out for those around us who need assistance. Everyone is hoping for a good budget next week. But it is not just government. The business community can also do a lot to keep prices affordable and extend helping hands. We should always Chinese New Year as one large extended family and include non-Chinese Singaporeans.

Do also read my posts on Beyond SG

Thursday, February 07, 2008

[News on Chinese New Year]
It's Thursday. And it is my turn to read the news again. I'll be on the whole day (12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 6pm, 7pm, 8pm) as Shaylee is back in Malaysia and I took up her slot as well.

My 12pm news was just broadcasted. And I used Studio 1 to do the recording. Apparently the mics in Studio 1 are not as crystal clear as those in Studio 2. There's something that makes me sound muffled. But it was an experience.

And it's easier to read my script as there are three computer screens in the studio! I load my script on the computer on the right. The fonts are pretty large and I scroll up and down as I read the script. It's sort of like the tele-prompters that are use for TV news. The mp3 track called News Bed is also loaded on this computer.

On the left computer is the recording software that captures the background mp3 track and my voice on the microphone. There are lots of stuff you can do on this software - like making the track louder etc.

Too technical?

Here's what I do in simplified form. I set up the recording software (left) and set up the News Bed (right). Simulataneously, I click the record button (left) and click the play button (right). Next, I load the script (right) and I start reading it using the mic. I keep reading on by scrolling down. Once everything is done, I stop the recording (left) after two minutes when the News Bed ends.

And it's done!

The next few steps involves cueing the track on the day's playlist.

Does this inspire you to be in radio?

Sunday, February 03, 2008

[2007 - What a blast!]
There's always looming interest to what I usually write for the SMU newspaper - pro-government, objective, stiff and stuffy. So I try a different style this time learning from the professional writers.

I put this on the Viewpoints page. Alternatively, this is can also be known as "From the Editor-in-Chief". It is controversial and somewhat like a script.

Maybe I should go into theatre. Maybe.

My twin brother barged into the room one day with a copy of freesheet Today in his hands. He pointed to the headlines on the bottom area of the cover.

“Look at this!” he screeched almost like tires against the asphalt road some 50 meters below my block of flats. “They finally realised what they have done,” he came running with hands gesticulating as though it was bull-charging season and I had my face painted red.

“What,” I exclaimed acting innocently (thanks to the tips I picked up from the actors and actresses at MediaCorp). “Now what have they done again,” I murmured to myself.

“It looks like they are really serious this time,” the staunch WP supporter looked at me as though hoping for an off the cuff answer.

I returned a blank stare just like how a politician in denial would react. “Come on, I know nothing about this,” I said.

“So what have they realised now I asked?” That they unknowingly blurted out that they made some calculation error in the nationwide PSLE scores or something? Or something more serious such as the eradication of poor Hougang residents. What could be worse?

“Just look,” he said. “Tharman takes over as Finance Minister from PM tomorrow,” he mouthed.

I thought to myself. I remembered PM talking about buying votes during one of his rally speeches during the elections. I quickly brushed that thought aside. Worse still, I could end up in jail for even thinking.

“It’s just a coincidence,” I acknowledged. Just like how dad met mum and you know how the story goes.

“See, I told you before,” he shot back like an angry dog that’s been just unleashed at the same time ignoring my last sentence.

“How can the Prime Minister be Finance Minister at the same time?

“It’s outright corruption”, he blurted out.

I shook my head. “You don’t know. It’s the transition phase,” I said sheepishly.

“You think countries become democratic overnight,” I proffered. “They don’t.”

“No. But but…” his voice trailed off. “You can’t seem to understand that one cannot become the Chairman and concurrently be the Treasurer of the same organisation right?”

“It’s like the NKF and Durai. Don’t you seem to get it,” he blared again like the sounding of the horn of the start of the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon.

“Calm down, I shot back.” What was I to say? It seemed like a conspiracy theory gone wrong. Just like how I used to imagine that Osama was just an imaginary person used by Bush as an excuse for his “war on terrorism”.

Knowing that I couldn’t offer much consolation, I stood up, went to the kitchen and poured him a cup of tea.

I pulled out a chair and offered him a seat in my cosy sofa. “Why don’t you blog about it?” I suggested. We need more excitement online since the closure of Crazy Horse.

I must concede that he thought it was a good idea. Cause days after that argument he started his own blog – complete with his own theories and beliefs.

At least he has found a way to vent his frustrations.

I heaved a sigh of relief and went back to reading “Confessions of an American Media Man” drowning my thoughts in the array of insightful adventures of Tom Plate.

How about that edition of Today? It lies buried among my pile of The Straits Times hoping to get picked up again for a chance to be shoved into the spotlight of the discussion arena.

It is just a few more days to the end of 2007 as I write this.

Here’s to a brand new and honest 2008.

[Karaoke at Hougang Central]
1. For the karaoke finals at Hougang Central last Saturday evening, there were two categories - seniors and open. Twenty contestants for each category sang with passion in Mandarin, Hokkien and Cantonese. The standard was very high. Some were dressed for the part. Even though the event ended rather late at about 11.30pm, the crowd stayed on to my pleasant surprise.

2. This event was organised by the CCC Shop Committee to bring more people to shop and eat at Hougang Central. Philip Wee, Koh Hup Leong and others organised the event. I don't think they appreciated the singing that night because there were a few technical hitches to which they responded with urgency SAF-style. A blown TV set and a faulty DVD player were quickly replaced. The show had to go on and it all ended well.

3. After so many years, karaoke singing has not run out of fashion. There is something about the medium which encourages everyone to try and do better than what he is ordinarily capable of. Unlike Singapore Idol and other shows, karaoke draws the audience to participate which creates a sense of interaction and community. Politics should be like that, an interaction and not a performance.

Do also read my posts on Beyond SG

[Chinese New Year]
1. Although the number of hardship cases which MPs see has come down, there are still families who need help. Because of ill health, drug addiction, divorce or just plain bad luck, some families get into a rut. While the government has various programmes to help them, it is also important that family members, relatives, friends and others offer helping hands. Singaporeans are a generous people and will dig into their pockets when there is a worthy cause. For Chinese New Year, it is the custom in many constituencies for angpows and food parcels to be presented to poor families.

2. This year, my CCC decided on a decentralised system of distribution to make it more convenient for the older folks. On Sunday afternoon, I did two distributions, one for the 400 series of HDB flats at Hougang and one for the 500 series. On Monday, the distribution will be at Bedok Reservoir. The money for the angpows and food parcels come from private donations. Bliss Restaurant (at Punggol Park) is a major sponsor. I was surprised to find in each parcel a pack of high-quality Thai fragrant rice and other items donated by Christine, the proprietor. (Christine, thanks!)

3. I was chatting with some recipients at the makan kecil after the presentation. One Indian resident who had seen me at MPS now has a job doing computer cabling. He was in high spirits. Another resident, a Malay executive who was retrenched, is working as a driver, not ideal, but still better than being without a job. He had also seen me at MPS and told me how difficult it was for him to get another comparable job once you have reached a certain age. We need an attitude change among Singapore employers towards older workers.

4. Looking ahead at the coming New Year, our economy should continue to grow but the downturn in the US economy will inevitably affect us. The growth of China and India won't be enough to make up for the loss of US demand. The combined economies of China and India are still small compared to the US economy. We have to be watchful. However vigilant we are, there'll always be surprises. Look at how the Chinese are suddenly suffering from an exceptionally cold winter. The Chinese Government is sparing no effort to restore services and has mobilised more than a million soldiers. But millions of people will not be able to celebrate Chinese New Year with their families because of the disruption to transportation and electrical supply. Our hearts go out to them.

5. I wish all blog readers good health and happiness in the coming Year of the Rat.

[Lift Upgrading at Blocks 428 and 430, Hougang Ave 10]
1. I was greatly relieved when RC Chairman Peter Tan messaged me on Monday night to say that the affected residents of Blocks 428 and 430 had voted 100% for lift upgrading. When HDB alerted me two weeks before that some of the residents at Block 428 were undecided, I got worried. The cost per household was only $625 while the benefit was far greater. While younger residents might not need the lift now because they lived on the second floor, they will one day. And the market value of the flat would also be better. Having fought for the two blocks to be upgraded, it would have been a tremendous pity if fewer than 75% of the residents voted in favour. A week before the voting, in fact, the day before I flew off to Europe with PM, I visited Block 428 with Peter Tan and other RC members. Unfortunately, only two of the seven affected houseowners were in. But I think they spoke to the others and, in the end, everyone voted in favour.

2. On the day of the voting itself, we had a small makan. It was a breezy afternoon and residents sauntered by, some to vote, others to find out what was happening. I ended up chatting with the residents about various issues. One lady came with a prepared list of complaints. Others were happy just to talk.

Do also read my posts on Beyond SG

Friday, February 01, 2008

[I've improved]
What you see is NOT what you get. At a glance, this Porsche seems to be just an ordinary car. But look at the number plate and you would be shocked. It actually belongs to one of Singapore's most famous starlets who has shot a Hollywood movie.

It belongs to Singapore's number 2 on Caldecott Hill - Princess (not sure if she is still considered a princess, maybe Queen would be more apt) Fann Wong.

I was on my way to Keypoint West on Wednesday and spotted her car outside Hotel Intercontinental at Bugis. Turns out that it was the Press Conference of Ah Long Pte Ltd - that gangsta movie.

Keypoint West is a very tall building at Beach Road and if you look out of the window at the 33rd floor, this is what you would see.

Perhaps you might be curious about why I was there. But there's only so much I can say as I am to keep details "strictly confidential". I can't even hint.

Yesterday, was my third time reading the news for the 6pm slot on SMU Campus Radio. And I have learnt some new tricks on how to do it better - I use the computer and make my script appear like it is on a tele-prompter. Then I scroll it down and read the sentences. It just flows better than using a piece of paper.

Constant improvement is the key. It's learning by doing. And I'm proud to say that I have learnt well.