Singapore National Education Part 97
Weeks of 1 Mar 2004 to 22 Mar 2004
I have also learned lately:
1. That if my father had listened to the Government's "Stop at Two" nonsense way back then, and got intimidated by Government measures to penalise parents heavily for even thinking of having more than two children, my third brother would probably be another statistic, instead of the fine young man he is right now, serving the nation's airforce.
My father told me that in the 1980s when Stop at Two was still the thing to do, we would get stares at hawker centres when we were eating as a family, just because we were a family of three kids.
You don't read about true mavericks like my dad in the papers, I tell you.
Sometimes, I think it is amazing how many Singaporeans do the right thing despite the wisdom of the Government.
2. That bad as it was to hear about the racial attacks in Perth, that resulted in a pig's head and bottles of beer being thrown at an Indian temple by less-than-informed arsonists, these racists can take refuge in the fact that in South Wales some time back, some self-styled vigilantes attacked the home of a hospital paediatrician after confusing her professional title with the word "paedophile". (Thanks Alexander).
See? There are always people stupider than you.
3. That you can pay money to buy software to protect your PDA from virus attacks that are not happening now, but may happen real soon. It will do nothing now, but it sure will be important when there is something for it to do.
Wow, how about you pay me half that money and I will also help to protect your PDA by doing nothing too.
"avast! PDA Edition is designed to protect pocket devices (PDA) from viruses. The importance of PDAs is growing every day and it is quite likely that these devices will soon become a target for new virus attacks. And as their connectivity is getting better and better, such an attack is easier to realize."
4. That staff of the zoo are being offered a golden handshake to eliminate areas of duplication.
The next phase of this exercise will extend to the animals as well, because we do not want any duplicate elephants, tigers, or giraffes, as they add to the cost and offer very little value-add. Furthermore, there is more shit to clean up. A tiger is a tiger, whether it is a regular one or a white one.
Animals who have been with the zoo for more than three years have been offered a month's food for every year served, if they volunteer to be culled or to retire, with the payout capped at 25 months. Animals who have served in additional money-making capacities like posing for photos with zoo visitors, offering paid rides, and performing tricks will get an extra half-month bonus. In addition, animals with their own daily shows will be getting an additional one month.
If the animals have bred in captivity, they will get a baby bonus and extra maternity leave.
"Zoo workers get golden handshake By Arti Mulchand
ALL 560 staff members of the Singapore Zoological Gardens, Night Safari and Jurong Bird Park have been offered a 'voluntary retrenchment scheme'.
Parent company Wildlife Reserves announced this to staff two weeks ago. The move is to 'eliminate areas of duplication that have arisen over the years' in both operations and management, the group's deputy chief executive officer Ho Yew Kee said in a statement to The Straits Times." -ST 4 March 2004
5. That after plotting many charts, Mr Lim Hng Kiang and his baby-making committee have identified that the three groups most likely to produce the babies we need are:
a. Singles who are persuaded to get married
b. Childless married couples
c. One-child families
Wow, what a finding! The research probably found the following groups unlikely to help add to the numbers significantly and will not be worth incentivising:
a. Families with more than one child already (no point preaching to the converted)
b. Singles who plan to sleep around for the rest of their lives (hard to identify the biological fathers to give the benefits to)
c. Childless married couples who prefer to have many dogs (unlikely to have space in their homes)
d. Singles who plan to not get married but have children out of wedlock or by accident (too much left to chance)
e. Gay and lesbian couples (technical problems)
Coming up next, more charts and research to show that we need men with sperm and women with eggs to help Singapore procreate.
"After plotting many charts, it found three fronts most likely to yield results - getting singles to tie the knot, persuading childless couples to have a kid, and encouraging those with one child to have another.
Combined, the three groups will have the greatest impact on the total birth rate, said Mr Lim Hng Kiang, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, yesterday.
Those who are single, childless or have only one child make up 42 per cent of resident females aged 35 to 39, and form 35 per cent of those aged 40 to 44.
Getting those with two or three children to have another one is not difficult as it is not a big mental jump, he said.
But even if they do, they are not likely to yield significant results." -ST 3 March 2004
6. That couples with two or more children should not feel slighted if the incoming benefits are not geared towards them.
Most of you own handphones. When you have been the longtime customer of a mobile company, you should not be upset that the company offers new customers a nicer phone for free. You are already their mobile customer and since it is a pain to change your mobile number (the current lame number portability implementation in place does not count), so why should the company try so hard to keep you, since you will stay put anyway?
In the same way, you already have 2 kids, or 3 kids. It is not like you can un-have them, or export your children (you could but the paperwork will be a little troublesome). No point incentivising you. Plus, you have met the national average needed, and any extra kids you have is inconsequential.
So don't feel so bad, parents of more than one kid, ok?
7. That perhaps women of childbearing age (18 and above) should be made to go for National "Service". Two and a half years of it. 3 months BMT (Baby Making Training), then attached to OCS (Ovulation and Child-bearing School).
After their full-time stint, these fine specimens of child-bearing will return as NSWomen. Every year, for up to three weeks, they will be required to return for ICT (In-Camp Training) participate in marriage and baby joint exercises, like Exercise Dragon Stork and Exercise Night Shoot.
And when they are told to come in SBO only, it really means SBO only.
8. That according to WM Mercier's top 50 cities for overall quality of life, Singapore placed 33rd. But we are not 33rd out of 50 global cities, we are 1st out of 4 Asian cities in the 50 cities mentioned.
9. That regular people get 3 to 6 months to prove that they are of the right calibre to be senior part of a private sector professional outfit.
Ex-military retirees get two-and-a-half years to prove that they are not half-wits who should be kept away from the private sector.
Pilots told SM about ex-military chiefs
By Rebecca Lee
THE parachuting in of top military men to the top echelons of Singapore Airlines (SIA) caused unhappiness among the airline's pilots.
...'Don't misjudge people,' he said, adding the person at flight operations should be given another 2 1/2 years - as much time as he has now been in the job - to prove himself.
'If he doesn't make it, he'll be out, but I'm quite sure, he's got brains, he'll make it.
'Whether he'll be able to change his interpersonal style between a uniformed organisation which is hierarchical to a civilian organisation where the hierarchy counts for less and you're not ordering down, that's another problem which he will have to find an answer to,' he said. -ST
10. That Capt Ryan of SIA has been declared an "undesirable immigrant" and his PR has been revoked.
No word on whether any of his union colleagues will be working on Saving Captain Ryan.
"CAPTAIN Ryan Goh Yew Hock, the Singapore Airlines (SIA) pilot singled out as the instigator behind last year's ouster of the pilot union's executive committee, has been served notice that his Singapore permanent residency (PR) is to be revoked." -ST
11. That the success story of a girl who left Singapore when she was SEVEN years old, and is now a TV celebrity and citizen in the US, somehow has something to do with Singapore.
I wonder how many more Singapore-born talents who are no longer in Singapore that the local press can boast about.
"S'pore-born beauty is TV celeb in US
News broadcaster Sharon Tay has brains too, having won four Emmys for her work
By Irena Josoeb
A SINGAPORE-BORN news broadcaster is turning heads in Los Angeles (LA) as one of the few Asian faces on mainstream American television."-ST
12. That the revoking of Capt Ryan Goh's PR is not linked to the SIA union affairs, according to the Home Ministry.
Riiiiight. He was an "undesirable immigrant" because he was not sexy enough.
So all you foreign talents who are thinking coming to Singapore and becoming PRs here need not worry. In fact, do come here to become citizens too. We will take REAL good care of you.
"Foreigners welcome to join unions
THE cancellation of controversial Singapore Airlines (SIA) pilot Ryan Goh's permanent resident (PR) status does not have anything to do with his role in last year's ouster of the pilot union's executive committee.
Responding to queries in the wake of Saturday's announcement by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), NTUC deputy secretary-general Heng Chee How said yesterday: 'There is no reason for us to link the notification that he got from immigration with anything else.'"-ST 8 March 2004
13. That you do not need to plant a bomb, rob a bank, or kill someone to get your PR revoked. All you need to do is to be involved in office politics in the wrong organisation. Especially one which is linked to a wider national interest.
14. That according to Lim Boon Heng, the NTUC "has more bargaining power than most unions in the world. And a measure of this is the lack of strikes in Singapore."
And all this while I thought we had no strikes because we don't know what that word means.
15. That Singapore pilots must be relieved that the Government has stepped in to remove an instigator amongst them. Or else these highly-trained and intelligent pilots might have been led by this brilliant evil genius to do something against their best interests, like ousting a union leadership.
16. That having babies is a duty and not having any is "irresponsible", so says MP Dr Ong Seh Hong (Aljunied GRC).
He suggests that instead of carrots, the Government should use the stick, and penalise those who do not fulfil their responsibility. For example, this irresponsible group can be made to contribute to a "Preventive Eldercare Account" to bear the costs of looking after their needs in old age.
I suppose this is because all parents who have children will not need this fund because all children will naturally take care of their parents needs in old age.
I do not think this goes far enough. I think single people who do not marry should also be so penalised. In fact, we should cane those who do not procreate by 30. That will teach them not to respect traditional Asian values.
17. That Singaporeans say "Want to apply flat?" when they want to get married, and "Want to do our national duty?" when they want to have sex.
18. That Minister Lim Hng Kiang says that paternity leave will not be high on the baby making list of incentives because if given too much paternity leave, men will probably stay home "doing nothing".
Yes, I agree totally. It just happens to be my hobby to take more than a week of my own annual leave everytime my wife gives birth, to stay home to change nappies, bathe babies and clean up after they poo. And I also particularly enjoy waking up several times at night for the first few weeks to help with the feeds.
Sheesh, what was this dude doing when his kids were born? Helping out with the TV remote control?
19. That people who own the most modern handphones with 48-tone polyphonic ringtone technology tend to have a ringtone that sounds like an old-style rotary dial phone.
Wouldn't it have been better to carry an antique rotary dial phone with you to get the same effect?
20. That some student Counterstrike fans from ACJC did an entire map of their school, complete with gun-toting female students in uniform.
If this were the US of A, the FBI would be knocking on their doors by now.
21. That in Singapore, even casinos also have means testing.
"'We don't want the man going there after work or the housewife going there when she's free in the afternoon. So there must be controls on who can gain access to the casino,' said Trade and Industry Minister George Yeo. 'And if you are not of a certain economic class, you should not even think of going there. You should confine yourself to 4D, Toto or horse racing.'" -CNA March 17 2004
22. That if we do not want the man going to the casino after work or the housewife going there when she's free, does that mean we want the man to go during work, and the housewife to go when she is busy?
23. That everyone in Singapore is equal, but the more equal ones get to go to our first ever casino.
The last thing we want are dogs and other low class Singaporeans in our Uniquely Singaporean casino on Sentosa. We don't want poor Singaporeans getting addicted and going bankrupt there. But foreigners can lose all the money they want to lose, because they do not create social problems for us.
24. That Singaporeans may need to show their income tax returns or salary slips to enter our future Sentosa casino, but foreigners can enter anytime.
Ah, the joys of citizenship.
25. That Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts Lee Boon Yang has publicly ticked off local movie-maker Royston Tan for his satirical attack on the officers of the Board of Film Censors. The young Singaporean filmmaker, who made the film 15, has produced a satire called "CUT".
I think that if the Government is not happy with satirical filmmakers poking fun at their public officers and sacred cows, the Government should also make a satirical film attacking satirical filmmakers. I think it would do very well at the box office and at international film festivals.
Singapore Government Films presents, "No More Arts Funding for You: An Docudrama of Local Filmmakers Who Do Not Use Their Talent for the National Benefit."
Dr Lee said: "I think it is unhealthy for public officers who are carrying out their duties to be subjected to unwarranted ridicule even if it is just for a laugh, more so when such decisons were taken only after extensive consultations. The producer may think it is funny, but I am afraid I do not appreciate such unbecoming attempts to undermine the standing of a public institution." -ST
26. That the email address of the Consulate of Republic of Singapore in New York is a Hotmail Account.
By Lee Kin Mun (Copyright 2004)