This headline came up recently: SingTel chief calls for right to charge OTT challengers Skype and WhatsApp.
Then the Singapore internets went into a frenzy.
Just so we're clear (especially since there is hysteria coming from some well-known sites that feed on this stuff):
1. Singtel isn't asking users to pay for using WhatsApp.
2. The ‘WhatsApp Pass’ is a value-added service is for heavy Whatsapp users who are SingTel post-paid customers with limited or no-data plans at all. It's NOT a way to charge you for using WhatsApp.
3. What Singtel wants is WhatsApp to pay them for using their pipes (which may affect innovation, net neutrality, and ultimately, your wallet in many other ways).
Clear now? So if you want to hate Singtel, at least hate them for the right reasons, not the wrong ones.
Singapore Budget 2014 introduced a 10% tobacco tax hike and a 25% alcohol tax hike. With. Immediate. Effect.
This coffeeshop wanted to make sure you knew who was to blame for your costlier cigarettes and beer and not give them a hard time about it, I suppose.
My mother-in-law also noticed this at the coffeeshop near her place, and said, "When Gahmen wants to tax you, it is immediate. When Gahmen wants to give you something (in her case, the Pioneer Generation package), it is later."
My MIL is the Green Arrow.
[photo by Jiajih]
Singapore Budget 2014 summary:
1. Pioneer Generation happy like bird (may even vote PAP next time).
2. Smokers and drinkers #sianhalf at immediate duty hike.
3. Non-pioneer employees get 1% more CPF.
4. Employers sian half at CPF hike but console themselves got subsidized broadband for office.
5. Construction companies sian half at foreign worker levy hike.
6. Families with children with disabilities get additional help with early intervention program subsidies, which spiked some years ago when gahmen introduced means testing.
Last time I ever got Pioneer LD player, counted as Pioneer Generation or not? If we got read Pioneer magazine last time, we counted as Pioneer Generation or not? Live at Pioneer Road leh?
By the way, the Pioneer Generation wishes to thank the gamblers, smokers and drinkers of Singapore for financing their benefits.
Me: "Siri, give me directions to Tan Tock Seng Hospital."
Siri: "I'm sorry, I do not know this place, Tan Boxing."
Me: "Give me directions to Tan. Tock. Seng."
Siri: "I'm sorry, you do not have the contact for Tarn Tock."
As I drove, the Apple Maps Lady kept saying stuff like, "Turn right at Bale-style Road" and "Go straight on Ker-leng Road".
It took me a while to realize she was saying Balestier and Kallang Road.
SMRT's train propulsion software is called KNS. Explains everything.
TODAY: "According to SMRT, some “reliability improvement modifications” completed over the past two years include: Upgrade of KNS train propulsion software to reduce power faults."
In other news, Transport Minister Lui says "Train delays longer than five minutes were reduced by 20% across the whole MRT network in 2013 from 2012."
[Photo by by Calvin Teo, in November 2005, via Wikipedia]
Wife (re-watching Star Trek: Into Darkness with me): "The new surround sound system you installed in our bedroom is really good."
Me: "Yes, those detachable wireless satellite speakers really work."
Wife: "That means we may never leave the bedroom!"
Me: "That's good what."
Other husbands buy flowers, I install surround sound systems for my beloved's aural pleasure.
Happy Valentine's Day to you all.
I just typed "iPod", and then "iPoh", when I meant to type "Ipoh".
Must be muscle memory.
Damn you, Apple!
Also in the #damnyouautocorrect department, typed “Jack neo” on my phone, phone changed it to “jack Neo”. Noooooooooo…
In other news, I saw a Garuda airlines ad that said: "Brave enough to try something new?"
Not a good proposition for an airline, methinks.
PM Lee should send a strong diplomatic message to SBY about the Indonesian warship incident.
Maybe unfriend SBY on Facebook. That will send a clear message of Singapore's displeasure to Indonesia. Unfollow him on Twitter too.
And don't take selfies with him anymore.
Me: "Animals that eat meat are called?"
The Kids: "Carnivore!"
Me: "Animals that eat both meat and plants?"
The Kids: "Omnivore!"
Me: "And animals that eat plants only?"
The kids: "Vegetarian!"
My Mom: "Herbalist?"
My photo narrative on my mother's temple visits on the eve of Chinese New Year, posted on exposure.co: http://mrbrwn.co/1nYGaBj
Click on the link above or view via the embedded version below.
It also made it to the exposure home page and the Staff Pick page.
Said @exposure: "We're smitten with @mrbrown's photos documenting a visit to temples in Singapore on the eve of Lunar New Year."
My aunt is a low wage worker, has been for many years. She doesn't really need to do it now, having retired, but she still does it because she doesn't like staying home.
In her many years doing jobs that Singaporeans don't like to do, like being a hawker assistant, chye tow kuay cook, clearing plates at a food court or fast food outlet, I have heard many stories of woe about the long hours and tough life.
Some employers take advantage of low wage workers like her, by doing things like making her work more than 12 hours a day, not paying for overtime, not giving paid public days, not granting sick leave, or not paying CPF on time (or not even paying CPF at all). And very often, many of these workers don't realize they have rights too, especially the older ones and the ones without formal education.
We keep an eye out for my aunt's rights, as her family, even though she works now to pass the time and meet people, but not everyone has family to protect them from unscrupulous employers.
My aunt has worked more than 12 hours many times in her previous jobs. It would have been good if someone had told her that was not allowed.
Once, she scalded her arm in the course of serving hot desserts. The boss paid for her to see a doctor but I don't think she was paid for the day she was on medical leave.
Other times, she gets bullied to come to work on days that other older workers don't want to work, even though she wasn't very much younger.
And not every employer she's had paid her CPF either. As if being paid so little isn't bad enough.
It's better now, she works for a big fast food chain that is more likely to follow the labour laws.
I was at Tiong Bahru Market last week, to watch a fun little musical number performed by theVoice, a community theatre group. They sang and danced to the song Jit Pa Ban, with new lyrics, to get the idea of workers' rights across, and to raise awareness of the WorkRight hotline (1800-221-9922). Everyone at the hawker centre watched with amusement, and gave them a hand at the end of the little show.
Hopefully, more workers will know their rights and how to protect themselves. If you are a friend or family member of someone who you know is being exploited, you can call the number too.
I can't wait to see the video of the performance!
I was trolling the kids today, "So tomorrow you're going back to school ah? So tomorrow you're going back to school ah? So tomorrow you're going back to school ah?"
The kids replied, "So today you're going back to work ah?"
Kids 1 : Papa 0
I also got the Minecraft app for them finally, over the CNY weekend, after weeks of requests from the boy.
I bought it on the wife's iPad. The nice thing is that it is also on her iPhone so the two younger ones are playing on the same map together, quite value-for-money.
The downside is that I have to be the Police of Minecraft time.
After the first two days of CNY, I've come to the conclusion that kids can live on soft drinks and random CNY snacks. But if you hand them an iPad with Minecraft in it, they don't even need food and water.
Scientists, take note.
The kids have also become very sensitive to the health of our wifi internet connection. Over the weekend, our fibre broadband went down for a while and I had to declare, "Attention, members of this family who are currently online! The home internet connection seems to be down, I'm resetting the modem and router in 3… 2… 1…"
My two younger kids who were in the midst of their game cried out with the woeful wail of a thousand Minecraft zombies, "Papa! Nooooooo…"
I tried explaining that the internet was down anyway, so my resetting was meant to ensure that they could play on.
Like the kids, the wife is also on leave today, so she slept in a bit.
The wife told me Faith woke her up this morning and dragged her finger to the clock by our bed, as if to say, "Mommy, why aren't you going to work yet?"
My quiet autistic daughter surprises us all the time.