[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, May 30, 2008

[Bloggers' feedback]
Since Minister has written about Malaysia, I shall do so to albeit in a different vein.

The Malaysian Government will respond to wild and baseless allegations raised by bloggers in cyberspace.

When will it be Singapore's turn?

So far, politicians who blog have steered clear of this. Often, I see and read what things that appear in mainstream media replying to what I write online.

In fact, recently, a writer from The Straits Times had suggested the convergence of online media and mainstream media. This would allow a free flow of content between the two. I am unsure of the effectiveness of such a suggestion though.

Many young Singaporeans do not read the newspapers nor keep in touch on current affairs in Singapore. Is the answer to engage online? It is a plausible solution but to what extent it would work is still a big question mark.

Further, many laws that apply online and offline may deter bloggers from fully expressing their views. This is because of the invisible line that should not be crossed. Take for example the Malaysian blogger Raja Petra had crossed that line and was dealt with. In Singapore, one is well aware of the invisible out-of-bound markers that in place. I remember reading what Minister George Yeo had said about the invisible OB markers in the past - you would not know what things people might come up with and hence there are these OB markers in place. The presence of these OB markers are dangerous because anything that is mild may be construed as something intentional and damaging against the greater good of society.

Just like how the game is played in politics.

Recently, I went to view Matthew Ngui's work at the National Museum. I was invited for the opening by my colleagues. Matthew's work is about different points of view and has some political undertones on one's view on democracy. In some sense, it is about pluralism (where individuals have different points of views). I hope he was not trying to portray the rigidness and one-sided view of things.

He also talked about practicality and working within boundaries as opposed to breaking out of boundaries (which I think would be more creative). But at least he tries to do something within legal boundaries rather than stay silent.

And that is what I think may be lacking here. Let's try to push it bit by bit. Until we are finally told to stop.

This is sort of like the incrementalism ideology of public policy. But that is another thing altogether.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

[Pedra Branca's Importance to Singapore]

Minister Yeo: I congratulated Minister Rais on Malaysia being awarded Middle Rocks by the ICJ. He congratulated Singapore on being awarded Pedra Branca on Friday. Our officials will now sit down in the Joint Committee to go through the judgement in detail, to work out the transitional arrangements. In fact, that Joint Committee has already been at work before the judgement, in order to ensure that all scenarios have already been anticipated and that there will be no friction on the ground. The bilateral relation is very good and we should be more relaxed now about safeguarding our claims, about the intensity of our patrols and so. Both of us are bound by the ICJ decision. We respect it; we will implement it with a positive spirit. I think it is good for bilateral relations. To use Minister Rais' description, both sides have won and that is good. I remember the song in the movie "881", that when both sides get something, it is easier to keep relationships. Bilateral relations are very good and both Minister Rais and I are determined to push it to a higher level. It is time for Malaysia to host the next Wisma-MFA Games and Minister Rais says he will do so in the coming months. He doesn't play golf; I don't play badminton, so we thought we will go fishing. Maybe, we will go fishing between Pedra Branca and Middle Rocks.

Over to you, Minister Rais.

Minister Rais: Well, an episode of almost three decades, have come to past and I have summed it up in terms of the ICJ judgement as a win-win situation. It is a victory for Singapore and it is a winning episode for Malaysia for having obtained the Middle Rocks. We are also pleased that the judgement which states that the territorial waters within which South Ledge is situated, will be, to be in favour of the state that has the territorial waters. We will work this out with the technical committee and as George has stated, the technical committee is already in swing and in operation, virtually to be in session within 2 weeks from today. The second point is this is now behind us. What has been an issue for the past 3 decades almost, is now no more an issue for us, it is just to work out how the judgement ought to be translated and understood. Therefore, perhaps it is a day of joy for some of the fishermen around those islands and more than that, it is a joyous prediction for both countries. And I do assert again and reiterate that the bilateral, the good relations, the neighbourliness beween Malaysia and Singapore will continue to be forged ahead on a firmer, more harmonious, friendly and cooperative base. Between us, we have decided that our job is to foster truly and effectively that friendship, that harmony and that cooperation.

Minister Yeo: Thank you.

Do also read my posts on Beyond SG

Monday, May 26, 2008

[Sparta or Athens?]
I really appreciate the skills that I have developed over time. One such skill is to be able to read pages and pages of documents and fully comprehend them. Over the weekend I dropped by Times bookstore and I picked up Ngiam Tong Dow's book titled A mandarin and the making of public policy.

This book presents candid accounts of how the civil service works - the deadlocks, the mistakes and the successes. I am not sure how true or if there was any information deliberately left out. So far I found it to be an honest no-holds-barred account of the Singapore civil service.

One pertinent point is on the future of Singapore - whether we want to be a Sparta or an Athens. Does Singapore want to emulate Athens, a city with unique talents and individuals, and one that fails but ends up successful in the end or a Sparta - a city that only the best survive and the best selects the best. Ngiam Tong Dow describes Sparta as an elitist model. Truth to be told, politics is about being elitist. That is the elitist model that the best is selected to govern. Further in the elitist model, one powerful person makes all the decisions and calls the shots. Does that happen in Singapore? My answer is "I really don't know".

Once I started on a few pages, I was hooked. I read about how in one instance some Ministers had made wrong judgements in their roles. I won't say who but you have to read the book to find out.

The book also shares about the earlier and respectible leaders and their characteristics - Hon Sui Sen, Goh Keng Swee and many more.

One exciting anecdote is on the over-building of HDB flats which had cost the Government huge deficits. Another is touches on the complacency of the civil service/servants.

Key milestones that attributed to Singapore's current succees are also documented - from the implementation of GST (they called it the bitter medicine), changes in CPF contributions and the economic decisions which led to growth.

Whether you are an opposition supporter, a politician, a public policy student, an economics student or one that just loves to devour the written word, Ngiam Tong Dow's writings have that appeal.

The text is simple to read and easily digestible. And it took less than three hours for me to finish reading the book at the bookstore.

Great wisdom from a man whose carreer spanned various sectors in the civil service and statutory boards. Whether you want to believe it is another story altogether.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

[When the PAP is the opposition]
Come next General Elections, the PAP will be the opposition. That is if they do not start to react now.

If you have not guessed, I am talking about the interaction online.

In the online arena, the PAP could jolly well face this challenge during the next elections. Critical and credible bloggers have been establishing their presence for many years now. This allows them to have a consistent following and to develop credibility over time. And one has to look at the number of comments and hit rate of blogs that have developed this sort of critical thinking compared to blogs linked to the ruling party.

The P65 blog is dwindling and has been criticised by mainstream media. I went to browse the Young PAP blog last week and indeed, efforts taken to challenge and debate on issues that matter are close to naught. Some posts are there for the sake of being there.

If that is the kind of effort that is put in, then I worry for the party in the next elections.

Case in point: If the ruling party wants to win the online war they have to act fast. If not, the PAP will be seen as the party that just appears before the elections online just like how they attacked the opposition in real life.

Then again, it may not backfire since opposition views during the elections tend to attract the highest number of people. That may well happen for the PAP's online efforts.

If you ask me how I envision it to be when the time comes my answer will be a straightforward one. The PAP knows of the potential repercussions after the case in Malaysia. How they choose to react would largely reflect how powerful they think online interaction is. I hope they do not underestimate the power of the online media.

Friday, May 23, 2008

[Wali Songo ]
1. Nine Muslim holy men brought Islam to Java during a few hundred years ago. They are called the Nine Walis or Wali Songo in Javanese. Their backgrounds are not all clear but many were Hadrami Arabs. At least one was Chinese. I visited the tomb or Makham of Wali Sunan Ampel in Surabaya on Wednesday. The others are scattered in various towns in East and Central Java.

2. The Makham was a big complex of mosques, prayer areas and cemetries accessed through long alleyways with shops on both sides. It was in the Arab quarter of Surabaya. The sufi atmosphere was plainly evident. There was an air of calm and solace.

3. At the end of the visit, we were brought into a meeting room where we were served glasses of plain water while sitting on the carpet. Two members of the Wakf Committee told me that only descendants of the Wali could sit on the committee. With a smile, they said it was nepotism. I replied that being on the Wakf was a responsibility not a privilege, adding that it fell on the descendants to bear the moral burden of Sunan Ampel.

4. My grassroots leader Jalil Kunimin had visited all the tombs of the Wali Songo and told me about them. I will try to visit the others when I have the opportunity.

Do also read my posts on Beyond SG

Thursday, May 22, 2008

[Food in the meeting room]
I shared an interesting anecdote during an internal meeting at my office yesterday. It was about the food in the meeting room. Before you go "wow", what I am going to talk about is not about the good food. Rather it is about how the food travels.

The NAC meeting room has this long boardroom-like table. For the three day curatorial meeting, we had an intense viewing of video works. I cannot give exact details (official secrets act prevents me from doing that) but I can tell you that it features a lot of nude women.

In the area nearest the screen is the General Manager, the Artistic Director sits opposite. The next two are both the curators who sit beside the earlier two facing each other.

Next are the Exhibition Manager and the Education and Outreach Manager followed by the Marketing Manager and finally me.

So the flow of food goes from the General Manager and Artistic Director all the way downwards. The food travel starts in the morning and it ends up (finally) at my area in the afternoon.

Although I cannot share much information on the exhibition I can share these quirky stuff. Of course when the Singapore Biennale 2008 blog is up, more information will naturally be released. In fact, I am busy generating the content over the next few weeks.

We are likely to select guest bloggers to contribute too. If you are keen to be part of it, email NAC_Temp_1@nac.gov.sg and we will contact you shortly.

Monday, May 19, 2008

[Anlene Orchard Mile 2008 protest]
I was nearly involved in the protest but work kept me in the office. Here's what I received:

Dear all sexy male volunteers,
We need your help in a PR stunt this Saturday, 16 May 2008 for an hour or two in Orchard Road. I believe most of you have heard of the Anlene Orchard Mile (15 June 2008) – a running event for women ONLY. So, we need you guys to do a mock PROTEST (fake one lah) on Orchard Road. Why the male don’t get it? Please come forth and help us, I have copied our PR agency, (content omitted) above who will be contacting you today. Do come, have fun and support us in the Anlene Orchard Mile. Thanks in advance.

An innocent PR stunt gone wrong. I should have warned them before hand. But alas, I did not. I thought they would have taken the necessary measures.

Last year, as part of the marketing for the nation's youth festival called SHINE, our team had thought of the same idea - to wear placards and create awareness regarding the festival. But to err on the safe side (i.e as law-abiding citizens) we consulted the Police since we thought we had to have a permit. The process was tedious. The Police had requested to see all our placards. They wanted to know our route, whether we would be shouting any slogans, how the placards were to be fixed onto our bodies etc. By the end of the entire process our interest had died down.

But we still did it.

The Police had advised that no permit was needed and recommended that we stay in groups of two to three.

Well, one thing for sure: the law is more often a painful experience than a pleasant one. One has to really consider every single option because every small thing that one does can fall into any category and contravene any laws. It is best to check out every possible loophole. See, we are pragmatic people.

[Double-edged sword]
I've been thinking about blogging about this for some time but an article on Lee Kuan Yew on The Online Citizen prompted me to swing into action. The article is about a video titled One Nation Under Lee by Seelan Pillay. From the title it is clear what the film is about.

The Internet is a double edged sword. Firstly, one is able to find information that is not widely reported in mainstream media. For example, I find NTU Prof. Cherian George's analysis of newspaper articles interesting. You get a critical analysis of what was deliberately played down or omitted from mainstream media.

I digress.

A project that I did last term was about the Internet and Internet regulations. Our team evaluated the different acts (such as copyright acts) and argued why some were necessary. Censorship of the Internet was definitely out of the question. Why? Because of the fact that the Internet was built for multi-networked sharing with the content owned not by one single individual - it is the notion of shared resources which can be used by all and modified by all (think shareware). Therefore, we argued what right the Government had to censor the Internet. However, we also realised that there were instances which the Government should intervene for example pertaining to sensitive issues but not restricted to covering up on the flaws and/or improper Governance (which I will not elaborate on).

The next important issue then is the issue of credibility - what information should you take at face value and what should you take as the truth? An example was this talk about how some individuals and big bosses in Today newspaper were reprimanded in a session with Minister Mentor Lee. The issue was with regard to how MM Lee had managed to find aid for Mrs Lee in a London hospital by asking for help from 10 Downing Street. Such stories are not reported in mainstream media and are interesting nuggets. But do we just take them as rumours or as the gospel truth?

The notion of censorship of the presses is not something new. In the past, in England, Kings sentenced commoners to the gallows for challenging authority. This then evolved through the years and the four theories of the press were developed. Needless to say, one such model was the authoritative model. The others include communist media, libertarian model and the social responsibilty model.

The libertarian model according to John Milton is based on the phrase "marketplace of ideas" where citizens choose what they wanted to read about just like how a shopper is like in a market - well, in a sense, different strokes for different folks.

In the authoritarian model, there exists four thrusts - censorship, licensing, bribery and repression.

I feel that countries select their theories of the press in accordance with their models of Government. Some may be inherited because of the nature of how the country evolved (path dependent). While others think such a model is best for their people (this I am not quite sure). The notion of what is "best for the people" would always be challenged.

The benefits of libertarianism and the social responsibility model could well be the best out of the four theories but it takes two hands to clap - the Government and the people. For libertarianism to replace authoritarianism in the world is idyllic but not impossible. As countries move from communist ideologies to democractic ones because of the benefits that can be reaped thought the market economy, systems and theories of their countries' presses can and should change.

One cannot imagine having a first-world nation with a third-world press. That, in itself, would be jarring.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

[Curatorial meetings]
Today will be the last leg of long meetings that I have been attending for the past two days.

Curatorial meetings, for the uninitiated, are meetings where the curators and artistic director sit together to review and select the artpieces to be showcased at Singapore Biennale 2008 - Singapore's largest contemporary arts exhibition.

I think curatorial meetings are fun because one gets to look at a wide array of works from around the world.

One can also see the dynamics and interaction between individuals in the team. And more importantly the decision-making process.

The final outcomes of this meeting will be crucial in shaping the biennale. But from what I see, Singapore Biennale 2008 will be a wonderful and exciting trip for Singaporeans and visitors from all over the world come 11 September.

[Crossing the Yalu]
1. Strangely, I felt a certain sadness leaving North Korea. Maybe it was because of the warmth with which we were treated. Maybe it was because of the living conditions of the people we were leaving behind us.

2. Crossing the old bridge built by the Japanese to Dandong in Liaoning Province, we felt as if we had emerged from a time warp. As I was on an official visit to China, my delegation was received with great hospitality, even a touch of ceremony, by the Dandong City Government. I was touched to find that a police honour guard had been mounted.

3. In sharp contrast to North Korea, Dandong City was bustling. It doubled its GDP in the last 5 years and expects to double it again in the next 3. The annual growth rate is some 16%. All along the bank of the Yalu, new condos are sprouting up. A new district is being built downriver. Singapore's Koh Brothers is investing in a major commercial/residential project.

4. In the evening, as we were walking along the bank of the river, one side was bright and abuzz. The other was in pitch blackness with a faint glow where a statue of Kim Il Sung was lit up all night. Satellite pictures of the Korean Peninsula at night show bright lights in South Korea and China sandwiching an energy-short North Korea in darkness.

5. Dandong has a strategic location which will serve it well once the political situation in the Korean Peninsula improves. When the Japanese annexed Korea and Manchuria in the early 20th century, they had big plans for Dandong. But the people and government of Dandong are not waiting. Dandong is part of the plan in Liaoning Province to link 5 coastal cities together. Road and rail links are getting much better. Although I did not have time to visit them, there are scenic sights rivalling Sichuan's Jiuzaigou. The city is also well-known for its strawberries and chestnuts. The seafood is excellent.

6. Near the city is Hushan, Tiger Mountain, where the Great Wall reaches its easternmost point at the Yalu River. That stretch has now been restored and is becoming an important tourism site. We took photographs where, when the tide was low, one could cross into North Korea with a single step.

Do also read my posts on Beyond SG

Saturday, May 17, 2008

[Random responses]
I have been following bits and pieces of the news as and when I can. Here are some quick thoughts before I go for my meeting (which I will share about later).

Let's start with the minor ones.

Illegal food sellers are getting more rampant in parts of Singapore. Actually, I have been noticing this seller outside Serangoon MRT station for the past half a year. Sometimes there's also a fruit seller. There are many problems that can arise because of this - unclean preparation is one. While the laws prohibit such act, it is always a cat and mouse situation to nab these illegal hawkers. The only solution is to boycott them. Unless of course their prices are dirt cheap.

The second thought is on seat belts. For me, I always like to anticipate problems and come up with solutions. But to impose seat belts on buses may be a radical idea. I remember reading a research paper that drivers tend to speed in cars with seat belts thus causing further accidents. So the issue here with seat belts on buses is not whether or not there are seat belts. We can make it mandatory for seat belts but if no one bothers to buckle up, what is the point then? Even now, back seat passengers seldom buckle up unless in taxis. The crux is not the issue of seat belts but educating the drivers about driving safely which is always something that is not easy to do.

Mrs Lee's stroke is the final topic in this post. Actually for the last few times that I have seen her at the Istana, Mrs Lee always had to have nurses accompany her around and be by her side. She's really weak. In fact the last time I met MM Lee, I felt that his reactions were quite slow too. But as for his thoughts, I am not quite sure. Let's hope for the best.

With that, I shall go for my meeting.

Friday, May 16, 2008

[North Korea]
1. I had expected my official visit to North Korea to be a bit of an adventure. Having read reports of the country including an article in the latest Economist reporting an impending famine, I was mentally prepared for the worst. But it turned out much better. I, my wife and members of my delegation were treated with warmth and hospitality.

2. In the four days my delegation was there, we travelled west to the main port, Nampho, south to Kaesong City and Panmunjom, and north by train to Dandong in China. Although many people we saw were obviously malnourished (hardly anyone obese) and the cities were underlit at night, we did not see abject poverty or refugees from hunger. Of course, we would not know what conditions in other parts of the country were like but, based on what we saw, conditions were nowhere as dire as what we had read.

3. What struck all of us was how clean the cities and countryside were. Pyongyang must be one of the cleanest cities in the world despite the poor state of maintenance of its buildings. Even remote areas in the coutryside had an air of tidiness and orderliness about them. At the public market we visited, the floor was spotless.

4. Half expecting my request to be turned down, I asked to attend church on Pentescost Sunday. My request was accomodated although I was brought to the well-maintained church only at the end of the service conducted by a priest from South Korea. He told me that there were no Catholic priests in the North. The congregation of men and women (with veiled heads) sang lustily.

5. Everywhere we saw statues and portraits of Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il. The cult of the leader was reminiscent of Cultural Revolution China. When Kil Il-Sung died, his body was preserved (like Lenin's, Mao's and Ho Chi Minh's). His huge presidential palace became his mausoleum with an endless queue of visitors who had to be cleansed by an air bath before viewing the body. To shelter them from the weather, there is a covered travellator which was easily over one kilometre long.

6. On the last day, we took the train from Pyongyang to Sinuiju before crossing the Yalu River to Dandong in China. I was on a Chinese car. Chatting to the Chinese porter as we looked out at the countryside, he said the scene reminded him of China in the 80's. In Beijing, a senior Chinese official said that North Korea would develop very fast once its economy was opened up. The North Koreas are intelligent, disciplined, organised and educated.

7. The division of the Korean peninsula took place when the entire world was divided into two after the Second World War. Other lines in Europe and Indo-China have disappeared. The one on the Korean peninsula will also disappear one day.

Do also read my posts on Beyond SG

Sunday, May 11, 2008

[What a day]
10.00 am - Launch of Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC's Project Y.E.A.H.
1.30 pm - Social Science Tea Session at SMU
5.30 pm - Birthday Party
1.00 am - Media monitoring
1.45 am - Tired and wants to sleep

When I have time to blog I procrastinate. When I have a long day, I seem to have more energy to blog about my day.

It wasn't a spectacular day except for the Social Science Tea Session where I had to mingle and interact with prospective SMU students. It was interesting to find a wide arrary of students that have been considered for the new intake - it was no surprise that there were more females as compared to males.

This year we had 900 applicants competing for the 130 odd places in SMU's School of Social Sciences. One interesting thing to note is that the applications from polytechnics are increasing. I spoke to a group of four polytechnic students from fields like business and estate management who were accepted to the course and wanted to know more. Others asked questions about the different fields of SMU's social science course.

My feet are sore from standing almost for the whole day but I guess it'll go away after a good night's sleep.

Running and swimming tomorrow. Let's see if I can take it.

Monday, May 05, 2008

[Neighbourhood Renewal Programme]
1. HDB has a new programme to renew entire neighbourhoods. In Aljunied GRC, Blks 520-533 Hougang Ave 6 (Crest RC) have been chosen for the inaugural Neighbourhood Renewal Programme. A budget of $3.4m has been allocated. This was announced by MP Yeo Guat Kwang at the launch of the Zero Litter Campaign last Saturday. As it is important to spend the money on amenities and improvements which residents value, an extensive consultation exercise will be carried out. I invite all residents to give us your views. I've formed a Working Committee under RC Chairman Kenny Reyes for this purpose. There is no payment involved for residents.

2. In addition, Blks 520 - 525 and Blks 530 - 533 will be eligible for lift upgrading. This continues to be the number one request of most residents and I'm glad that we've finally got approval for these blocks. While the greater part of the cost will be borne by government, residents who benefit will have to pay a relatively small amount of money.

3. For both the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme and the Lift Upgrading Programme, we need 75% of affected residents to vote in favour. Please give both programmes your fullest support.

Do you have views on the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme? Email your thoughts to ephraim@singnet.com.sg

[Happy Mother's Day ]
1. It is nice to see the way Mother's Day has been embraced by all racial and religious groups in Singapore. I suppose the reason is obvious. Without mothers, God bless them, where would we be? I understand from friends who run restaurants that Mother's Day is much more celebrated than Father's Day. I suppose there is also a reason for that.

2. Last Saturday, I attended two Mother's Day celebrations one after another, the first at Bedok Reservoir Rise RC and the second at Punggol CC. At both locations, I distributed carnations to mothers. Red carnations were the favourite. A few men came up to me to ask for flowers for their wives which was touching. Both organisers asked me to bring carnations home to my wife which I did to her pleasant surprise.

3. Here's wishing a Happy Mother's Day to all mothers!!

Do also read my posts on Beyond SG

Saturday, May 03, 2008

[Zero Litter Event at Harmony Park]
1. In many HDB estates, littering has gotten worse. This is troubling. I am not sure of the reasons but one could be the growing dependence on foreign maids and workers cleaning up after us. The Town Council employs some older Singaporeans as well but they cannot work as hard as young Bangladeshis.

2. Many of us would have seen parents quite unconcerned about their kids throwing litter on the ground. Children learn from adults and unless we set the right example, they will grow up with bad habits. By the time they become teenagers, many are hard to control.

3. By organising a GRC-wide campaign for zero litter, we hope that, month by month, year by year, we can get more residents to feel a sense of responsibility for the cleanliness of their neighbourhoods. It is true that the Town Council itself could also do more in some areas, but the Town Council cannot keep estates clean without the full cooperation of residents.

4. At the launch ceremony at Harmony Park this morning, I talked about the importance of living in harmony with nature. With hundreds of millions of people in the world wanting to live like Americans and Europeans, there is no way the world can support the increased consumption of resources and production of wastes (including greenhouse gases) without a change in human patterns of behaviour. Unless each and every one of us feel more responsible for the environment, great damage will be done with very negative consequences for our children and grandchildren. In the end, zero litter can only be achieved if it is internalised in our attitude.

5. This morning, we paid tribute to the cleaning staff, many of whom are foreigners, mostly from Bangladesh. They work hard and we should try to make their work not harder, but easier.

Do also read my posts on Beyond SG

Friday, May 02, 2008

[Winners, losers and cheap talk]
A long delayed post because I did not have the lovely photos until a few days back. And I also wanted things to die down first.

On Wednesday night, the Bedok Reservoir-Punggol dragonboat team celebrated our win with a nine-course vegetarian meal. I was quite busy singing during the dinner so I didn't get to fully savour everything except for what was allocated to me when I was away.

I'll transport myself back to the race day for a recap.

Some things that I have learnt - there should be complementary elements to get the desired result. And things that you have done before, can be done again even though some elements are different or missing. It's the determination that counts. Lastly, external conflicts and decisions that impact on the immediate internal members forces the bonds to get stronger to unite against the common enemy (I'm sure the bond between PM Lee and DPM Wong are now stronger after the escape of Mas Selamat).

The training (almost one-and-a-half month of hard work) has paid off. But the only thing is that I will never understand how the feeling of uniting to row against a common enemy is like. I was the Team Manager and had to give up some sacrifices for my team mates to row - well, we field only the best.

But I felt the pressure as I was part of the team though I did not row. Talk, like the common phrase, is cheap. One would never understand the circumstances another person is in until they come in and fit into our shoes. As long as one knows what one is doing is right nothing else matters. It all boils down to your personal perspectives. A good leader is one that has foresight, able to make the right judgement in difficult scenarios, able to handle a variety of people and to eventually reach the desired outcomes - the means and ends are equally important.

But one thing for sure - you can't control another person's mouth. Well the mouth belongs to others. Talk without actions just makes the empty vessel noisier. Actions speak louder than words.


A gold win but a loss somewhere else. Only people close would know what I mean. So they say, a win is still a win. A gold medal is still a gold medal.

But the lessons learnt? Priceless.

作曲:周杰伦 作词:周杰伦

哪里有彩虹告诉我 能不能把我的愿望还给我
为什么天这么安静 所有的云都跑到我这里

有没有口罩一个给我 释怀说了太多就成真不了
也许时间是一种解药 也是我现在正服下的毒药

没有地球 太阳还是会绕
没有理由 我也能自己走

你要离开 我知道很简单
你说依赖 是我们的阻碍
就算放开 但能不能别没收我的爱

有没有口罩一个给我 释怀说了太多就成真不了
也许时间是一种解药 也是我现在正服下的毒药

没有地球 太阳还是会绕
没有理由 我也能自己走

你要离开 我知道很简单
你说依赖 是我们的阻碍
就算放开 但能不能别没收我的爱

看不见你的笑 要我怎么睡得着
你的身影这么近 我却抱不到
没有地球 太阳开始环绕环绕
没有理由 我也能自己走掉
是我说了太多 就承受不了
也许时间是一种解药 解药

你要离开 我知道很简单
你说依赖 是我们的阻碍
就算放开 但能不能别没收我的爱