Singapore National Education Part 93
Weeks of 24 Nov 2003 to 9 Jan 2004
I have also learned lately:
1. That I doubt if many of our previous athletes, including some major medal winners, would have qualified academically to enter our new Sports School.
Maybe they should rename the school, Express School That Happens to Have a Sports Program.
2. That this liberalisation thing does not seem to be working out. We need to seriously think about going towards one newspaper company, one tv company, one train operator, and of course, one big happy union.
3. That the Tuesday Life section front page (25th November 2003), declared that Jose Carreras, one of the Three Tenors, had canceled his concert and that their journalist Tan Shzr Ee "has the details".
Turning to the page, you discover that the whole article was an interview with him one week before the cancellation, and the "details" of the cancellation was a small box stating that the organisers were "cancelling his show 'due to unforeseen circumstances and difficulties". In other words, we do not know why the show was cancelled.
4. That the Singapore Armed Forces just showed off their latest invention, Primus, the world's lightest 155mm Self-propelled Howitzer. The Primus is made from the turret of a 155mm and the body of a Bradley Armored Fighting Vehicle. It can fire 155mm rounds up to 30km away with pinpoint accuracy, and travel up to 50kmh.
With Singapore being 42km across, at its widest point, the Primus can fire from Changi Beach, then travel for 15 minutes at top speed, and fire again to hit Jurong. If it travels more than 15 minutes from Changi, the rounds will hit the ocean on the western seaboard.
5. That only Yes Men, oops, sorry, Cooperative Union Leaders who are sensitive to both management issues and worker rights, are required to lead unions.
"SIA pilots: Law to be tightened
The Government yesterday hardened its stand on Singapore Airlines (SIA) pilots, saying it will tighten the law to remove union members' right to have the final say in any negotiations with management." -ST 1 Dec
The final tooth yanked out of an already toothless union scene.
6. That dissatisfied pilots voting out their leadership is confrontational, but Government amending the Trade Unions Act in response is not.
7. That a recent article ("Year-end bonus: splurge or save") in the papers interviewed four Singaporeans and asked them how they plan to spend their year-end bonus.
Hey look, fellow citizens, keep your spirits up, other people are still getting bonuses!
Maybe the sequel to that will be "Year-end and still jobless: survive or die". On second thoughts, better not, that sounds too down for a Christmas month.
Year-end bonus: splurge or save?
It's the year-end, and you have endured many a gruelling month replete with news of job losses, a dangerous viral outbreak called Sars and a shaky economy. How are you inclined to treat your year-end bonus? Four people tell Leong Chan Teik about their plans while two financial experts offer some ideas. -ST 30 Nov
6. That SM Lee believes now that we also need mavericks, in addition to the team players.
All those interested in being a Singapore Maverick (or SM), please pick up a form at your nearest community centre, in order to be an officially-approved maverick. If shortlisted, you will be required to take an entrance exam, followed by an interview, and submit an essay that describes in no less than 3000 words, "Why I want to be a Maverick, and how I can contribute to the good of the nation by being one without being confrontational".
Some schools will also be offering through-train programs for students who show the potential to be a Maverick. Maverick Assistance Plan schools, or M.A.P. schools, will have a special curriculum that caters to students with maverick tendencies. Classes will be kept small, around one to two students per class. To qualify, students need to have at least 8 A*s at PSLE, an IQ of no less than 150, and excel in CCAs.
Singapore will be striving to become the Maverick Hub of Asia, attracting mavericks from all around the world.
"GLOBAL BRAND FORUM
By Lydia Lim
IN BUILDING the Singapore system, Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew missed one thing: the vital role of mavericks in helping a society forge new ways forward.
It was an admission Mr Lee made yesterday while reflecting on the country's journey to First World status since gaining independence in 1965.
At the end of the day, a society needs both team players and those who can think out of the box, he said.
'I didn't know this when I started, I know this now - you need both.
'Your workforce must have the cohesiveness, but to make the big leap forward, you need your mavericks, your geniuses, your people who can think outside the box and say: 'I can do it better, simpler'.'"-ST 2 Dec 2003
8. That unionists who plan to be confrontational, and their management who cannot control their troosp, can expect to see broken heads and broken bones.
This is starting to sound like WWE.
9. That workshops, fed up with low and slow payments, are starting to shun jobs from certain insurers. NTUC Income's name keeps coming up, according to the report.
Why are these workshops turning away paying work, in this poor climate? But of course, we know that it must be these workshops who are up to no good, because an insurance company run by Singapore's largest union/Co-op/supermarket chain, is always right.
10. That SIA's new budget airline will be called Tiger Airways. So Singaporeans can now expect to be served by the Singapore Girl's cheaper sister, The Tiger Girl.
Will she will walking down the aisles of an Airbus, carrying her jugs (of beer) and asking passengers "Tiger mai?"
11. That Singaporeans are not replacing themselves fast enough, to provide for Singapore's future needs. We need 50,000 babies a year, and we are only doing 40,000 this year.
Perhaps the Government can get some extra juice out of the current babies plugged into the Battery Pods?
12. That with the end of "Holland V" the Channel 8 drama series, viewers can now look forward to "Living in Toa Payoh".
Coming soon, "Hanging in Hougang", "The Clans of Clementi", "My Bukit Ho Swee Childhood" and "No Train to Buangkok".
We should be able to cover all the major estates in Singapore by the end of the year.
13. That Saddam has been captured. Time to look for something else to distract from the domestic economy and unemployment.
14. That Saddam has been captured by US forces. Great, now we will be hearing the gloating for at least the next six months.
"The US has trampled on the rights on other countries!"
"We caught Saddam."
"The US caved in to Big Business and scuttled the Kyoto environment treaty!"
"We caught Saddam."
"The US is a big bully using their military might to ensure that they keep getting their cheap oil!"
"We caught Saddam".
15. That ex-MP for Braddell Heights in 1984, Goh Choon Kang, has collected anecdotes from his Monday night meet-the-people sessions and published them in "An MP's Diary: The Untold Stories". The new book exposes ugly voters and less than sensitive government officials.
Don't hold your breath for an ex-voter writing a new book to expose ugly MPs in Singapore.
16. That a two-man debating team from Singapore has made it to the semi-finals of this year's World Universities Debating Championships, and was "the talk of the town", so gushed the Straits Times. The team comprised 2 students from the Singapore Institute of Management, Mr Amit Bhatia and Mr Rajesh Krishnan, both 23.
The next day, for some mysterious reason, it was revealed that the two were not Singaporeans but Indian nationals.
Hey, maybe we should offer them PR or citizenship too, just like the sports scene. Throw in the CPF as a sweetener, I say.
17. That civet cats in Beijing are to be culled because recent research suggests that they are a possible cause of SARS.
I guess they won't be serving blended testicles of civet cats for Fear Factor anytime soon.
No word on whether they will be culling humans for eating any damn thing.
18. That Singaporeans were greeted in the New Year with the upsized 5% GST, up from 4%.
Remember this when you feel the pain: it is revenue neutral, and also much easier to calculate because it is a round number. In the past, you would have to think real hard if asked how much is 3% GST for a $1200 item ($12 x 3= $36). Now you can quickly say, GST for this $1200 item is $60 ($120 is 10%, half of that is $60).
So actually, the Government has made your life better.
And besides, Singapore has lower GST than (insert your country of choice here).
19. That the Shankar sentence was 16 months jail, and 4 strokes of the cane.
So guys, for goodness sake, if she is drunk, send her back home and go home yourself. Better, put her in a cab and go home yourself. No piece of ass worth 4 strokes on your own.
20. That you can forget about buying 1604 as a 4D number. It is probably sold out.
21. That EMAS electronic road signs found along expressways and some busy roads will be switched off to reduce the cost of maintaining them, as constructive feedback from motorists indicated that the electronic signboards were a bladdy waste of time.
The Expressway Advisory and Monitoring System was built by the LTA, at a cost of $125 million and was expected to save an estimated $40 millions of dollars a year in motorist time savings. Maybe turning them off will save even more now.
Perhaps this is not a U-turn on LTA's part, but a Rethink.
22. That the US is photographing and fingerprinting visitors from countries that do not have visa agreements with them, under a program known as US-VISIT (Vigorously Inspecting Suspicious International Tourists). Citizens of countries with visa agreements can enter the United States for 90 days without visas and aren't subject to US-VISIT's photography and fingerprinting.
So if you are not from these 27 nations: Andorra, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, you can expect to be treated like a criminal at US Customs.
Brazil has retaliated by doing the same to US visitors visiting Brazil.
Of course, other countries are still evaluating the need to follow suit, because, as we all know, terrorists only come from other countries, and not the US.
23. That oral sex may be made legal soon. However, homosexual oral sex is likely to remain illegal.
But we hope this does not deter talented and loaded gays from coming to work and travel in an open society like Singapore. Only the non-practising kind need apply.
24. That oral sex may be made legal soon. One option being considered is to decriminalise consensual oral sex between a male and a female so long as it is done in private and both of them are above 16 years of age.
So you are too young to vote and too young to watch Restricted (Artistic) movies, but you can legally have oral sex. Students take note.
25. That three parties, the Home Affairs Ministry, the Law Ministry, and the Attorney General's Chambers, will be involved in this review of the Penal Code to ensure the laws of the land stay relevant. The review involving the three parties will take two to three months.
No mention was made on how the three parties will be reviewing the oral sex issue and whether live demonstrations will be necessary for them to decide if it is indeed an acceptable social practice.
"That looked socially acceptable, but barely. Perhaps we should get the models to demonstrate it again?"
I'd hate to be the guy from the Home Affairs Ministry leaving home for work and having to tell the missus, "Honey, don't wait up for me, ok? Me and the guys from MinLaw and AG's Chambers will be discussing oral sex again tonight."
26. That the new year came and went, and for some mysterious reason, the GST increase to 5% hardly warranted a mentioned in the media, except with reference to retailers who are absorbing it.
27. That contrary to proper belief, it is not true that people in the legal community talk dirty with phrases like "consensual", "copulate" and "carnal knowledge".
"I move that we engage in consensual copulation, your honour."
I don't know, it might just heat up the bedroom enough for Singaporeans to produce our needed babies.
Copyright 2004 by Lee Kin Mun