Singapore National Education Part 92
Weeks of 11 October 2003 to 24 November 2003
I have also learned lately:
1. That Home United footballer Egmar Goncalves is asking for $100,000 in compensation from SPH for that photo of him published in Berita Harian, which exposed his thingy.
If he wins this, many Singapore men will wearing shorts without underwear, and sitting with their legs open, hoping to be be photographed while zhao geng.
$100,000 for zhao geng, very worth it leh.
2. That Singapore will soon open the new $500 million Biopolis near Buona Vista MRT Station (soon to be renamed TrainStationPolis). It will cater to Biomedical Sciences and will have a really cool foodcourt.
The seven buildings are named Chromos, Helios, Genome, Matrix, Centros, Proteos and Nanos.
I will give you a few minutes to finish your laughing on the floor.
3. That in order to attract the gay community here (but only the truly creative and artistic ones, no average Gay people here!), Singapore may open another $500 million complex tentatively named "Homopolis".
The seven buildings are named Homos, Nenehs and Lesbos, .
4. That it is not a U-turn when the Government announces that yes, perhaps it was not that good an idea to have 2 train operators when they are not competing directly, and they both incur similar overheads. It is a rethink.
5. That Singapore Transport Ministry does not do U-turns on policy. They finetune. And sometimes these tweaks end up 180 degrees.
6. That the Transport Minister says that the Government still believes in the benefits of having multi-modal operators running both trains and buses (which is why they disallowed SMRT's participation in bidding for the NEL). But leaves it to the two companies to decide whether they should be merged or not.
Oh, so now it is SBS and SMRT's problem.
7. That the Transport Minister said that, with regards to the train situation, the reality is that what works in theory may not make business sense in practice.
In other words, theoretically, the Ministry was correct. In practice, they may be wrong.
Good thing we don't let Civil Servants decide on real business issues, or the private sector will really be screwed. Oh wait, they do.
8. That maybe if we paid the Government's Rocket Scientists more, we will see both theories and practices being correct.
9. That this SMRT and SBS two train operators situation reminds me of the time when the URA handled the Car Park Selling Breakfast from a Van situation, and took a private entreprenuer's idea and managed it with a Civil Service touch.
Except that in the latter case, a few small business people lost their shirts. In the former, just one big company lost $25 million a year.
10. That if Singapore sent an astronaut to space, he will probably be called a "Tai-ko Naut".
11. That we can increase competition between rail companies if we let SMRT run all the odd-numbered stations and SBS run all the even-numbered stations.
12. That if SMRT and SBS rail merge, some jobs may be lost, including the non-union computers driving SBS's driverless trains.
13. That according to DPM Lee, it was a different world in 1996 when the North-East Line (NEL) was being planned. The economy was booming and the population in the north-east of
Singapore was supposed to grow so that there would be enough train commuters to make 250,000 trips a day. But that assumption turned out to be wrong, said he. People didn't move there, and the population didn't grow. "This was 1996 and it was a different world, so there you are," he said.
So it is now 2003. It has been 6 six years since the downhill ride we've been having since 1997. It took them a swift six years to have a rethink (not a U-turn, mind you) about the NEL.
14. That because Singaporeans are buying more EZ-link cards than they are using, the company issuing them are losing $400,000 a month.
Apparently, the company makes money only when people use the expensive-to-make cards for trips, and not when they keep it in the wallet for the occasional ride.
In order to discourage people from buying the cards and not using them, the cards now come with a $5 non-refundable deposit.
Well, now it does not look like it was such a great idea to use this new technology in the first place, does it?
So just because you rocket scientists did not do your sums, and factor in human behaviour when you formulated you business plan (you did have a business plan, didn't you?), we commuters have to finance your mistake?
15. That I am one of those culprits who buy an EZ-Link card and use it only once in a while. Yes, I, Joe Commuter, am the single cause of the financial woes of EZ-Link Corp.
I would have gone with the single-trip tickets had it not been for the fact that I have to pay a $1 deposit EVERY TIME I take the train, which I have to go to a pain-in-the-ass machine to redeem EVERY TIME I complete a trip. Because the single trip cards also cost a bomb to make, it seems.
Wow, don't you just love paying for technology for the sake of it?
16. That first, you change your technology because the old one was causing you to lose money from fare cheating and card errors, and force me to use your new contactless card.
Now that you have the monopoly, you realise it is very expensive to make the cards, and people are not using the stored-value cards enough to justify your investment, so you raise the price of buying the card by implementing a $5 surcharge.
Soon, you will also realise that your single-trip deposit redemption system has major flaws in usability, (Usability 101: If it is a pain in the ass or confusing to do, your users will not comply, even with a $1 penalty) so you are losing $5 each time someone does not return the card. Will you should make the deposit for single-trip tickets $6 instead of $1 to solve your mistake then?
17. That there are no dead US soldiers coming back from the Iraq war. That there are no dead US soldiers coming back from the Iraq war. That there are no dead US soldiers coming back from the Iraq war.
"Pentagon keeps dead out of sight
Bush team doesn't want people to see human cost of war
Even body bags are now sanitized as "transfer tubes'" -The Toronto Star
18. That the ability of our local airline and medical community to respond to a VVIP's needs in London is somehow related to how resilient Singaporeans can be.
19. That now that I have to pay a $5 surcharge to buy a stored-value ez-link card, I may need to exercise my right as a consumer and look at alternatives and competitors.
Oh wait, I have no other choice.
20. That soon, you will be a promising supermodel at 12, reach the end of your prime by 14, and be considered washed up and over the hill by 16.
'Our daughter's not too young to model'
Parents of Zhang Manlu, 14, are encouraging her to make the most of talent
By Arlina Arshad and Lee Hui Chieh -ST
21. That we have no such thing as White Horse in the army, that we have no such thing as White Horse in the army, that we have no such thing as White Horse in the army.
Um, what do you know, there was such a thing as White Horse in the army, but it was created to ensure that scions of ministers and wealthy folk were not given preferential treatment in National Service.
Yes, and we all got multiple canteen breaks and early bookouts when we served National Service.
22. That copy protection on music CDs is a great thing. I just saved $40 on a new Kylie Minogue and a new Atomic Kitten CD I wanted to buy. Once I saw that Copy Protection logo, I suddenly felt a need to be frugal and keep my money.
Copy Protection: Helping You Cut Down Spending on Unnecessary Things like CDs.
23. That the New Paper ran a Lianhe Zaobao report on DPM Lee entitled "Other Side of DPM Lee". Not long ago, we read about the Private Side of DPM Lee.
I cannot wait for them to cover his right side, left side, underside, front side, and back side.
24. That a pilot's union that boots out the existing union leadership whom they do not think represented their interests is somehow confrontational and going to jeopardise the jobs of everyone else in the airline industry, including the auntie cleaning toilets at the airport.
How dare they practice democracy and voting rights in their union? I mean, their pilot colleagues lost their jobs, on top of pay cuts and allowance cuts in the name of poor airline performance during "a difficult time for our country". That was only a small inconvenience.
Look at the Big Picture. Look at how profitible the ritual sacrifice was, when after all that blood letting, the airline posts a staggering $309 million profit soon after the crisis, and is hiring again.
These ungrateful pilots should feel thankful and be cooperative.
"Pilots warned: Stop, think and be careful
Ng Eng Hen warns them that adversarial approach threatens Singapore's role as air hub and tripartite labour relationship" -ST Nov 24
"When asked about Dr Ng's comments, Captain P. James, former Alpa-S vice-president for industrial affairs, disagreed the pilots are self-serving or confrontational. For him, the issue is one of low morale in SIA, a problem that has also resulted in pilots leaving for other airlines. If things are okay now, why continue with the wage cuts? Why not hold them for one quarter and see? The bottom line is that in the service sector, you can't afford to have people with low morale.'
For the situation to improve, management also has to budge, he said. 'We have families to feed. We don't want to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs, but the goose also has to take care of its goslings.'" -ST Nov 24
25. That Singapore pilots are setting a bad example for the rest of the unions and even regular citizens by practising this evil concept known as democracy.
They should learn to be less confrontational and co-operate, or they might jeopardise the local airline industry, Singapore's economy, and even the Middle East Peace process.
Copyright 2004 by Lee Kin Mun