Unhappy People

Why did punggol east drift away from the MIW? It is a sign that people are unhappy. Dr Gillian Koh, one of the go-to “political analysts” that the mainstream media approaches, said that the constituency is not representative of the nation. I ask what makes it representative of the nation? Are the voters not Singaporean enough? Are the voters not a sample size of the country? While one can argue that their views may not be representative of the nation, it is definitely representative of a people that are unhappy with the ruling party.

You see the government emphasising Total Defence including Social, Psychological, Military, Civil, and Economic Defence, but somehow almost all their policies seem to emphasise only the latter. This harms the Social and Psychological aspects of their Total Defence message.

If you want the population to balloon to 7 million, you cannot do it artificially through importing “talent”. You don’t fix a leaking sink by pouring more water in. You do it by making Singapore a place to call home. Then Singaporeans will stay; Singaporeans will have their families here. Then there will be an eventual increase in population. One that the national infrastructure can keep up with.

Stop with all the shortcuts. Nothing worth having comes easily.

Cross-Country Phone Retrieval

It was late one Saturday evening and my fiancee and I just returned to my place to chill out and relax, maybe watch some videos. We had taken a cab home to my place as we had a number of things to carry. As it had been a long day for me, which included our going to a bridal studio in the sweltering tropical heat. I welcomed the chance to take a shower.

Feeling refreshed from my shower, I came out to find my fiancee distraughtly looking for her iPhone. She had apparently used my phone to call her but remembering that the phone was on silent mode could not make out any vibrations. I deftly took my iPhone from her and activated the Find My iPhone app. A service that I activated on her phone the moment it became free.

Within a minute the phone was tracked to a location that we had not been the whole day. Immediately we knew that it was stuck in a cab. I quickly got all the gear I needed and we went to the car downstairs to chase after the iPhone in a cab. Speeding past many other vehicles, we gave chase, updating my the whereabouts of my fiancee’s phone every so often. I locked the phone and started up the alert sound that would go off even if the iPhone was in silent mode. The alert message I sent was to contact me ASAP.

We gave chase down what I considered to be. The northwest corridor of the nation. Singapore has a few major roads which link the city area to the outskirts and we were speeding down in efforts to retrieve the invaluable object. As we drove along, my fiancee was a bag of mixed emotions, and I was trying to control mine, to paraphrase a wartime saying, keeping calm and carrying on. I was just hoping that the cab wouldn’t get onto an expressway. With the greater distance and speed that can be covered, it would be near impossible to track it quickly enough to get the iPhone before someone turns it off or the battery dies, leaving us in the dark.

After driving approximately 15km down the stretch of road, my fear came true. The cab had gone onto an expressway.I tried to catch up to its location about 6-7 km away. But when it reached the approximate location the were no more updates to its location. I exited the expressway looking for a spot to park and attempt a re-triangulation of the wayward phone, venting my frustrations at the inept telco service, while hoping that no one has turn the phone off.

Sending yet another alert message to contact me, we also tried calling the cab company, however, it was the time of night when calling the cab companies is as futile as resisting the Borg. 10 minutes later, the signal was picked up again and we were off.

Because of the inability of the service to accurate pinpoint the location (Yes telco service prover I’m looking at you), we carried on westwards towards the most extreme end of the nation. A this point, I had travelled over halfway across the country.

With traffic in the way and another delay in pinpointing the iPhone’s location, we had reached the destination only to find that the cab has gone northwards. Disregarding any speed limits I had gone ahead, thanking my childhood island-wide treasure hunting games for the ability to read maps effectively and the familiarity it gave me to pretty much anywhere in the country. By the time we caught up to the triangulation zone, we deduced that the cab was in traffic junction and of the two cabs there one was from the cab company we took earlier.

Giving chase to the vehicle, I checked the tracking system again to ensure we got the right cab. Though there was a point where the service halted again, I decided to keep this cab in my sight as it was the only one lead that we had. Also, this particular cab company did not have a tremendously huge fleet so it was reasonable to expect that that was the only cab in the general vicinity.

We followed suit, noting down the exact license plate number for any references we might have in bringing a lost item case to the cab company. I sent another message to the iPhone, bring a greater sense of urgency to request for a call back.

Pulling up next to it, we recognized the driver and I started to sound the horn and high beamed him from the rear. No response. I thought back to some of the comments the driver made during our trip and thought that perhaps he wasn’t the brightest bulb around. Trailing behind him on the expressway, we were glad that we thought we had gotten our man. I was initially worried that we would not be able to track the cab down, let alone if someone picked up the phone and decided to take it home.

However, the cab driver did not seem fazed by the attention that my car had been giving him and drove on. His passengers, a couple, however, realized that they were being followed from the northwestern part of the country they had boarded, to the mid west town they were heading to. We started to frantically sign to them that there was a phone in the cab. And we thank God that we could see them looking around on the floor of the vehicle for the errant communications device. To aid them I sounded the alert again. And while at a traffic junction, a Caucasian gentlemen exited the vehicle and approached mine. He asked if the phone in the cab was ours and we said yes. They were alighting around the corner and said that we should just follow.

We followed them around the corner into a private apartment block where, pulling up behind them I cautiously exited the vehicle and approached the cab to retrieve the iPhone. The cab driver seemed puzzled that we were following him all the while. I was puzzled by his ignoring a ringing phone that did not belong to him that was in his cab. I pinned it down to him probably attempting to be dishonest and attempt to hock it off to a used phone dealer. Thankfully, being the not-so-technologically-inclined, he probably had no idea how to even off the phone.

I just took the phone and left, thanking the Caucasian couple for helping us, and remarking that the Find My IPhone app was a a godsend. I once again got into the car and drove halfway across the country back phone while my fiancee thanked me for my efforts.

For Better Or Worse…

Few moments in history will be recognised, beforehand, as a watershed moment, the turning point.

I lay awake right now, literally hours away from casting my first vote in the country I call home. As I browse through the slew of news that has come through since nomination day, April 27th, I see this photo album.

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150176728402867.328152.524682866

As I see the photographs, tears well up in my eyes. For the first time in Singapore’s recent history, I see a passion for the direction where the country is headed. Years of walkovers led me to believe that so many have grown apathetic to the governance of the country. As such many have moved away to build their homes elsewhere. But with the Internet, we know that these inner voices of dissatisfaction reside in many others. We are not alone and we are not afraid.

This statement is agnostic to political parties. Whilst many have issues with the current ruling party, there are a few in there who seek change from within. Without a doubt, change will happen.

As though preparing for a war, I know that the 8th of May 2011 will forever mark a change in Singapore’s history. No matter what the results are, it is a sign that the people have a voice and they will use it. No matter what the results are, let no one, no government that rules this country ever forget this day, the day that Singapore will be forever changed.

Vote Your Conscience

At 29 years of age, I finally have a chance to put an action to my inner voice. In 1997, I lived in a fairly affluent estate which meant that alot of the proverbial carrots that were dangled didn’t apply to us.

We had many passionate people who dared speak up against what I thought was the government. The legendary JB Jeyaratnam and his team led the Worker’s Party in Cheng San GRC. As an impressionable 16 year old, I listened and found myself wishing for a change.

I remember my school mate and I were eagerly watching the news on polling night for the results and, after watching conspiracies on television and the big screen, we saw one unfold before our eyes. Cheng San GRC was the last GRC to have its results announced, even well past the mid-night hour. How can it take so much more time to count this GRC compared to others? As we discussed, it could be various recounts that were made at either party’s request. After all, this was right after the Florida recount debacle of 1996 (Bush v Gore). As much as we suspected the current ruling party was the one that demanded the recounts, the suspicion was unfounded.

Until 2001, Cheng San GRC was never to be heard from again. Its districts were divided up between the Ang Mo Kio GRC and the newly formed Pasir-Ris Punggol GRC.

That aside, another possible clue was that one of the Workers’ Party candidates was driven to bankruptcy and forced to leave the country by what many citizens have ‘affectionately’ termed the ruling family.

Imagine my disdain when we had to move to a new estate and it turned out to be in the legendary GRC, home turf of the Mentor of the Ministers (a position no other country can boast and, while highly paid, is a position that doesn’t serve much in the government.), a GRC that is normally left uncontested by other political parties.

But thanks to gerrymandering, without moving out, I am now in a new GRC. I now have the opportunity to vote, a chance to express my views. I admit that the current ruling party has done a good job in building up Singapore. But the latest generation of politicians is not inspired to serve the people but their own selfish needs. The high ministerial salary is supposedly to deter corruption in the government. But the flipside is that those seeking out these positions are corrupted without a third party, raising the taxes and also their income. Whatever happened to public service because of the desire to serve the people?

We have seen a more than decent crop of candidates from other political parties this time around and the responses from the current ruling party are less than satisfactory. Their ruling party status has made them conceited masters of the people rather than humble servants. Their apology for some of their oversights has come only in response to the other political parties voicing out the people’s concerns. In my opinion, it is too little, too late.

I’m all for giving second chances. But second chances should be accompanied with stricter guidelines. This was what was offered to me before when I faltered. All I would like to see is the other political parties given a chance to prove themselves in parliament, with the ruling party still allowed to have the majority. After all, we are supposed to be a democracy, not a dictatorship.

Despite all I have mentioned, I urge voters to seize their responsibility in voting wisely. That means weighing your concerns with those of ALL parties and voting your conscience. Not because you are fearful of what might happen if you vote against the ruling party but what might happen if the party you vote for doesn’t represent you.

I’ve made my choice. And if you have yet to make the choice today is the day that you decide. Let tomorrow’s elections mark a change with the government serves the people’s needs. Regardless of who you vote, please vote and not void it.

God Bless Singapore.

Stupidity…

I deliberately sent to 2 members of a committee some questions that I need answered for a reporter by the morning…

Instead of getting some feedback, one of the persons I copied the email too decided to send it to the whole committee and ask them to answer a few questions each without determining which one answers whom…

This is a person whose disorganisation has wasted much of our time…
The person is constantly throwing extra stuff our way when it has got nothing to do with our original scope of work and has some rather bizarre ideas which even when told ‘no’ and why not to do still wants to do it anyway…

Now, tomorrow morning when I need the answers, chances are that the committee will still be arguing over who is going to answer which question, who can or can’t comment on certain issues…
Why? Because of the simple truth that a person is smart, but people are stupid…