Singapore National Education Part 94
Weeks of 9 Jan 2004 to 3 Feb 2004
I have also learned lately:
1. That the latest economic tool used to measure how well a country's economy going to do is known as "The Feeling in The Prime Minister's Bones".
"'I can feel it it my bones that next year will be a better year,' (PM) Goh said, citing the turnaround in the US and Japanese economies, Singapore's main export markets and trading partners." -CNA
2. That Microsoft is complaining that Apple dominating the market. With their iPods.
"HP's move to release an own-branded digital-music player based on Apple's iPod – and to ship iTunes pre-installed on all HP PCs – has angered Microsoft.
General manager of Microsoft's Windows digital media division David Fester has suggested that iTunes' emerging dominance would be bad for consumers, because it would limit them to the iPod. " -MacWorld Jan 12 2004
3. That Singapore cops seem to have a thing for getting um, oral testimonies, by underaged girls.
"Cop pleads guilty to having oral sex with wife's sister" -ST
4. That the Straits Times will now cost 70 cents for subscribers (up 10 cents, or 16.6%) and 80 cents off the newsstand (up 20 cents, or 33.3%). And you thought in these bad times, the GST was going to be the only thing to go up.
5. That SIA has raised their academic requirements for air stewardesses from minimum "O" Level to at least Diploma or "A" Level.
Maybe the budget arm can take the "O" Level ones.
6. That you will soon be assured of being served by SIA girls with Air Level (NSMen will understand this term better than most people).
7. That yet another economics professor has complained of lack of access to Singapore's labour statistics, held as top secret data by the Ministry of Manpower. Release of this data can lead to friction with neighbouring countries, loss of competitiveness, and general ill-feeling about the Government.
Hence, the need for secrecy.
8. That Mariah Carey will be allowed to perform in Malaysia, but she is to dress modestly, and lose the bikini tops and low-cut outfits. I mean, lose in the sense of wear something else, not go without clothing, of course.
9. That there is word that Mariah Carey may also have to deflate her breasts too, to ensure that no modesty laws are broken. If that is not possible, she will try very hard not to jiggle when she sings. She may even have wear a bra.
"No sexy clothes for Mariah, warn officials
KUALA LUMPUR - American pop diva Mariah Carey will hold her concert in Malaysia next month despite Islamic pressure for it to be cancelled but she cannot wear sexy or revealing attire, officials and organisers said yesterday." -ST Interactive 17 Jan 2004
10. That the Singapore Government is reviewing the baby incentives because despite the Baby Bonus Scheme, Singapore posted a 26-year low in child births for 2003.
Here is an incentive suggestion: how about some jobs, a lower cost of living, and a better economic situation?
"Govt reviewing baby bonus scheme
It is thinking of new ways to arrest low birth rate, says DPM Lee, adding that birth rate is one of top three priorities" -ST Jan 26, 2004
"It's not a new problem. To encourage people, we have incentives, we have tax rebates, we have all sorts of things, but still the number of babies has been going down." - DPM LHL
11. That you can now buy your own US politician at Amazon with just 1-Click.
12. That New Zealand, with a population about the same size as Singapore (not counting the sheep), produced a movie trilogy that is on its way to becoming a classic. The Lord of the Rings, Return of the King, has won a Golden Globe for best drama and best director.
But of course, Singapore had SARS, which is why we did not fare as well. In other words, Singapore was on MC.
Besides, we have Chicken Rice Wars, I Not Stupid, and of course, One Leg Kicking.
13. That NMP does not stand for No More Porn or Nublie Maid Photos.
14. That, according to the Government, I need to be a monkey this year to aid in Singapore's recovery.
We are so glad we do not pay our millioniare ministers peanuts, or we will get monkeys.
"Singaporeans could foster an economic recovery this year by behaving more like monkeys, Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan said in a Lunar New Year message reported in The Straits Times newspaper.
'Be like a monkey. When things happen, you have to be nimble. Take advantage of opportunities, don't be cast down, but rise to the challenge if it does occur,' Tan was quoted as saying."
15. That Singapore is now a nation of happy workers, according to a local survey.
Yes, locals are all feeling love and joy over their jobs, even those without jobs. SARS, Bird Flu, loss of competitiveness can never overwhelm the Happy Worker Monkeys of Singapore!
That may explain why they so happily swallow every policy that the Government throws their way, like cutting CPF, higher GST, and making more and more of their pay variable.
"S'pore: nation of happy workers?
You may hear it in the office, on the train or bus, among friends at lunch - an apparently never-ending gripe about work.
But surprise, surprise, 59 per cent of Singapore workers say they love their jobs and 25 per cent of them want to stay in them for 15 years or more.
This despite a year of merciless lay-offs and painful wage cuts." -ST
16. That Thailand must have some bad-ass, mean motherf****r chickens in their country. Some 400 soldiers and 100 prisoners have been deployed to kill chickens suspected of spreading the bird flu.
It may be made into a Hollywood movie soon, "Predator 3: The Chickens Arrive".
Personally, I think you just need one soldier and a very big cage. And maybe a flame-thrower.
17. That the 400 soldiers deployed to kill the mutant chickens of Thailand are part of a secret unit known as the 35th Chiang Mai Combat Battalion, Free Rangers.
Better known as the "Chiang Mai Chicken Commandos", these fine, elite troops have been trained to kill a chicken in 119 ways.
18. That KFC is planning to serve fish in the light of the Bird Flu scare. I don't know, taste the Colonel's fine fish cooked in 11 herbs and spices at Kentucky Fried Cod just doesn't sound quite right.
18. That Singapore may make a sequel to the Chicken Rice Wars but it will be an action movie to make it more commercially viable than the first one.
Filmed entirely in Thailand, Chicken Rice Wars 2: Operation Hatyai will feature the 400 elite Chiang Mai Chicken Commandos of Thailand. Some 14,000 chickens will be harmed in the filming of this movie.
Most of the chickens used will not be CGI-based, and many chickens will be doing their own stunts, including being torched, sprayed with bullets, and having their throats cut. Some will even be eaten.
There will be a love story amidst this carnage, of course, with Lum May Yee acting as Geng-ri, the daughter of a chicken farmer torn between saving her family farm and helping a handsome Chicken Commando Lieutenant Pak Cham-Gai, played by MTV VJ Utt, to eliminate the Bird Flu menace.
Actress Christy Chung is rumoured to be doing a cameo in this movie, in a steamy but artfully tasteful sex scene involving a confused young man and some randy chickens.
19. That a Citycab taxi drove into the swimming pool of condominium Kentish Lodge, because it was raining heavily and the pool was near the condo entrance, masquerading as a puddle of water. The taxi driver escaped unharmed, but the taxi remained in the pool until compensation issues were finalised between Citycab and the condo MC.
Concerned Singaporeans followed the saga intently, and bought 4D with the number 3277.
So if you call a cab, and it waits for you in your swimming pool, is there an extra charge?
20. That you know technology has failed to reach the older generation when you are teaching your mom how to access the SMS menu, and you tell her to click on the joystick, then shift to the Envelope icon... and she shakes the phone to make the "shift".
21. That a dead sperm whale being transported through the streets of Taipei on the back of a trailer-truck spilled its guts onto the fair city streets.
Looking at the picture of the large uncovered dead mammal strapped on the truck, you wonder, haven't these guys heard of cling wrap or even canvas?
I guess this Willy did not have the stomach for land travel...
"A dead sperm whale being transported through Tainan City on its way to a research station suddenly exploded yesterday, splattering cars and shops with blood and guts.
Certified by authorities as the largest beached whale on record in Taiwan, the 17-meter 50-ton carcass was being transported by a flat-bed trailer-truck to a special research location after National Cheng Kung University officials and security guards refused to allow the whale on campus....
Local news reports showed a number of people who had gathered to take photographs of the whale before it exploded in Tainan City, as well as residents and shop owners following the explosion. Many were wearing gauze-masks and trying to clean up the spilled blood and the entrails with brushes and brooms.
'What a stinking mess! This blood and other stuff that blew out on the road is disgusting, and the smell is really awful,' said one resident.
The news also showed one section of the street along with several parked automobiles and pedestrian walkways covered in red with copious amounts of splattered whale blood.
Lying on the trailer-truck was the dead whale - underbelly exposed with a large elongated tear where the biological gaseous blowout took place. Besides the shocking red bloody mess, large piles of whale intestines and guts were strewn along the road, leaving an unpleasant and ghastly scene for startled residents." -etaiwannews.com
22. That after six years of hard work, mrbrown.com has made it to the Ministry of Education's internet blacklist. Check out the MOE Access Denied firewall message here:
I can totally understand why the Education ministry considers the personal website of a guy who posts his rants and his kids' photos a threat to the very moral fibre of our youth and society.
23. That Microsoft wants us to take the technological leap forward by TYPING our URLs instead of clicking on links. This is because of security vulnerablities in their wonderful Explorer browser that allow fun things like spoofed URLs.
"The most effective step that you can take to help protect yourself from malicious hyperlinks is not to click them. Rather, type the URL of your intended destination in the address bar yourself. By manually typing the URL in the address bar, you can verify the information that Internet Explorer uses to access the destination Web site. To do so, type the URL in the Address bar, and then press ENTER." -Microsoft Support
Makes you wish you were using Mozilla or Apple's Safari, doesn't it?
24. That a Government task force (they certainly love their task forces, don't they?) have come up with a guide to help companies weather bad times by making more of an employee's pay variable. The variable component will be linked to the employee's and the company's performance. The Government plans to "persuade" companies to roll this out by the end of 2004.
The fixed-to-variable ratio for regular employees is set at 70:30, middle managers are 60:40 and senior management 50:50.
In other words, the government has now given companies a new way for companies to cut your pay. I guess that Annual Wage Supplement (AWS), a.k.a. the 13th Month Bonus, was not variable enough.
So if our millionaire ministers are the senior management of the country, will their salaries be variable too? Maybe we can peg 50% their salaries to things like level of employment, annual growth, the ST Index, opinion polls, number of GRC walkovers, and the price of COEs.
"Task force issues guide to flexi-wages
The aim: to move towards pay packets that are 70% fixed, 30% variable, giving employers room to act fast in bad times" -ST
25. That when your laptop starts displaying multiple copies of your hard disk and your hard disk is named "uop9568u0u9228i", it may be time to move it to a spot your toddler cannot reach.
Copyright 2004 by Lee Kin Mun