Singapore National Education Part 17
I have also learned lately:
1. That I can get to the USA easier than I can get across the Causeway to Malaysia.
2. That Singaporeans will sit in a jam at the Causeway for 5 hours to save money on toilet paper.
3. That Singaporeans have serious bowel problems, if the mad rush to buy cheap toilet paper in Johor Bahru is anything to go by.
4. That before you know it, Microsoft will try to convince us that adding Wordprocessing, 3D Graphics Rendering, Page Layout, Photo Retouching and other features to Windows 99 is not extending their operating system software monopoly but merely adding improvements.
5. That we all supposed to be relieved that the Singapore Broadcasting Authority has not used its legal powers -- yet. But they are really nice chaps to have revised their Internet Code and all... heheh, and they have great taste in clothes too, I'm sure.
6. That the last time we saw such a drastic drop in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange was in "The Greed of Man" Cantonese serial, a few months ago. Life is stranger than fiction...
7. That Women's Weekly (Singapore Edition) comes out only monthly.
8. That it is possible the Women's Weekly Annual may be only once every decade.
9. That the correct thing to do when your economy, currency and stock market is serious need of rejuvenation, is to create a massive jam at the Causeway in a misguided move to force businesses to use a less efficient Port Klang, thereby giving businesses one more reason to consider moving their operations elsewhere, like Batam, where there are no such jams.
10. That Malaysia is crying foul over the Currency Speculators when Bank Negara was once one of the biggest currency speculators in the world, to the point where the World Bank had to step in and try to convince them to stop. They only did after losing tons of money.
11. That the public housing and upgrading programme in Singapore is fair to all, but more fair to those who did not vote in the opposition.
12. That the ten-year bar for Executive Condos is being lifted. Could it be that no one is biting?
13. That according to the latest HDB annual report, the HDB is one billion bucks in deficit. Everybody duck! Higher HDB prices incoming!
14. That according to HDB chief executive Tan Guong Ching, "HDB flats might be getting smaller these days but they are getting more functional and designs are more efficient".
That is very reassuring. I have always wanted to buy a smaller but more _functional_ flat. Sheer size is overrated anyway. Give me an efficient hole in the sky for a few hundred grand of my hard-earned money _any day_. That is my Singapore Dream.
And the case of the "Incredible Shrinking HDB Flat" (and "Incredible Growing HDB Flat Price") has finally been solved. We were aiming for functionality.
15. That by HDB standards, Size is not Everything. It's how functional and efficient you are that counts. Be careful where you drop your soap...
16. That (since we are on a related topic) when you buy a Banana milkshake at the Raffles City foodcourt, do not offer it to your friends and ask them if they would like to try your "Banana with Milk". Especially the guys.
17. That when you are eating ice-cream at Haegen Daz, and you are a girl, do not ask a guy friend if he wants to have your cherry.
18. That, hey, we have sound economic fundamentals and we _allowed_ the currency to slide for better competitiveness, but guys, there will be a lot of retrenchments this year and you can forget about your bonuses. See, I told you we were doing a great job. That's why you pay us so much.
19. That there will be many retrenchments in the months to come but we need to attract foreign talent.
20. That we used to get TV3 and 2 other Indonesian channels _free_ when we used the overhead antennae of our HDB blocks (plus a booster and some wire, depending on where you live). But now that we are wired for cable and use SCV's new white box, we have to pay to get these channels. Welcome to the 21st Century.
According to the guy who came to wire my home, getting these channels off the air like we were doing, was illegal anyway. So I guess it's legal now, as long I pay for it. God forbid we get anything for free in Singapore. What was I thinking?
21. That I probably have a better chance of making money buying TOTO and 4D than buying shares right now.
22. That fame and success is your teacher mom calling you up to ask in jest why you have been so free ("You so free, ah? No need to work, izzit?), free enough to write stuff like "WHY GETTING MARRIED IS SO COSTLY IN SINGAPORE". Her colleague passed her a copy of the posting, it seems. Wow.
23. That now, aside from jams at the Causeway, we also have jams in Hypermarkets (Huge Supermarkets), albeit Trolley ones. I wonder if it is because of Port Klang too?
24. That on 28 Oct 1997, Tuesday morning, 8:00am, Paya Lebar Station, the MRT failed again, the second time this month. MRT service between Eunos and Bugis stations towards Jurong was disrupted for over half an hour.
I am glad we learned from the last Bishan Disaster. We are now down to half an hour of downtime during PEAK hour and just 12,000 people were affected. Hey, Let's Try Again, if we try hard enough, maybe we can improve and have breakdowns during rush hour that last only 15 minutes and affecting only 10,000 people the next time.
I guess it wasn't newsworthy enough for the evening news. I guess we only get news on MRT disruptions when more than 20,000 people are involved and trains don't run for more than half an hour. That is also why it was only on Pg 37 of the Straits Times the next day.
25. That there are no Aljunied Anythings (ie. Aljunied Road, Aljunied Lane, Aljunied Street) within the boundaries of Aljunied Constituency, but there are parts of Simei estate in it.
Copyright 2004 by Lee Kin Mun