I love maps, and I was pleasantly surprised when I made my way up to rehearsals at the Drama Centre Theatre yesterday, because there was this display in the lobby of the National Library (Central) featuring the first topographical map of Singapore.
And I thought it was a great campaign to make people more aware of their behaviour on public transport. There’s even a “Stand-Up Stacey”, exhorting people to er… stand up when they’re supposed to, I suppose.
But then, this LTA campaign should also include negatives, and introduce posters such as:
1. Don’t Be A WTF Wendy
2. Don’t Be A KNN Karen (via @mrbrown)
3. Don’t Be A Cut Queue Cassandra (via Derek Foo)
4. Don’t Be A Siam Lah Samantha (via Derek Foo)
5. Don’t Be A Forget-To-Tap Frankie (via Robin Low)
6. Don’t Be A Teeko Terence (via Selena Soh)
7. Don’t Be A Pretend To Sleep Paul (via Selena Soh)
Redemption is a difficult thing. You know when you’ve done something wrong and you’re thinking of what you can do to make things right and it never seems to be adequate?
Well, no, I’m not talking about that kind of redemption. In our uniquely Singapore parlance, “redemption” usually means you get rewarded for your loyalty to some kind of consumer brand or product.
StarHub is one such brand, and if you’ve been a customer long enough, you’d know that for every dollar you spend on your StarHub service – like your mobile subscription, cable TV or internet connection, you’d have earned points for them.
These points would then qualify for “redemption”. This is where things used to be difficult. You’d go to the Rewards site, scroll through how many products you can redeem for your number of points and end up maybe only getting some voucher to redeem again against your next phone bill or something.
How many of you have signed up for some telco, earned loyalty points and gone to the rewards website JUST ONCE AND THEN GIVEN UP NEVER TO RETURN AGAIN?
GOT, RIGHT? WAH LAO EH! I’ve been a StarHub customer for more than a decade, and I’ve never redeemed anything. Or at least anything that I remember.
I recently checked out the website and they have a much wider range of items to redeem. After all those years of painful phone bills, I’ve actually accumulated quite a few points. Dammit, if these could be exchanged for real cash, I’d be a bit richer.
But if you look at the site, you’d see it’s not that bad. They have a good range of adult and kid-friendly rewards. I might consider a short stay at a hotel on Sentosa, a dinner at a big-name (got signboard) seafood restaurant, and seeing as how expensive aquarium tickets are and how persuasive a five year old boy can be, I might cash in for a two adult, one child reward.
Better yet, it’s now even easier to redeem your hard earned points because you can get it off your mobile devices and tablets too.
Come to think of it, you may want to use your points for friends’ birthday presents. Just ‘cos you used points to get them stuff doesn’t mean that the thought didn’t count.
This is a reward site that is finally serious about giving you something for your loyalty. If you have points, BBBMTL!
Update: Giveaway extended to 2 April 2014, 2359hrs
I count myself one of the lucky people in this constantly changing country. I had a mother who was a relentless hoarder of things. She kept everything.
I discovered a tonne of things she kept that I thought she would’ve thrown away. After all, she did throw away my ACSOBA (ACS Old Boys’ Association) rugby jersey that had been retired and given to me when I played a game back in the late 80s. That the school and its Old Boys’ Association retired their jerseys only once every five years did not move her. She had disapproved of my playing rugby, even after I had left school, because rugby boys were a bad bunch.
When she passed away three years ago, my sister went through her belongings and passed me a box of things which turned out to be a treasure trove. In the box was a plastic folder she had neatly kept her own “Leaving School Certificate” from ACS Seremban (Malaya) in 1955, her driving licence from Melbourne, her first pay slip from the same city, and a rejection letter from the PUB in Singapore in 1965 when she applied for a job upon settling in the newly independent republic of our country.
That same year, my mother and father had returned to the newly federated union of Malaysia and Singapore by ship from Melbourne, planning to marry in Malaysia and settle in the city of Singapore to live and work. It seems it wasn’t long after they disembarked at Clifford Pier that that whole episode known as The Separation happened.
She made an amazing effort to keep my stuff too. There are about 10 copies of my birth certificate, my citizenship certificate (I had not been a citizen at birth even though I was born in Singapore – constitutional lawyers would know why), my first IC, passport photos through the years, Army mugshots, old bankbooks, cleared and returned cheques and dozens of other paraphernalia worthy of a museum display.
I am forever grateful that she kept these things in such great condition, given that everything else in our country seems to be getting erased and built over so relentlessly and rapidly. I can hardly remember what Marina Bay looked like when it was a real bay.
Where I lived from birth till I was about 6 is also almost a mere memory. I remember my first address: 412 Pasir Panjang Road, Singapore 5. Yes, a single digit postcode.
Across the road there used to be a police station (not an NPP), where policemen in their shorts used to be summoned across by my mother to scare the crap out of me when I misbehaved. Behind the police station was the beach, and a jetty where fishing boats docked, unloading their catch to be sold at the fishmonger’s (Ah Heng’s) on the corner of Pasir Panjang and Clementi Roads.
I must be one of the lucky, lucky few who can still find his house of birth after 45 years. The original stones that make up the gate’s pillars are still there in its 70s kitschy glory. I drove past it last year and reminded myself to go and take a picture of the gate. Or maybe chip off a piece for keepsake. After all, the police station is no longer across the road.
From this magical box my mother left with me, there are four items I want to share with you:
And not from the box my mother left me, this is a picture of the gate’s pillars at 412 Pasir Panjang Road:
I played within these gates, on the driveway, on my toy cars and bicycles. I hope my son will remember his playgrounds and other places he spends with his Mama and Papa the same way I try to remember mine. It is important to have that sense of belonging and continuity.
I strongly urge everyone to take stock of the things around you, record them and the stories attached to them, for posterity, and for the prosperity of our collective memories.
As part of the Singapore Memory Project’s “10 for Keeps” campaign, a fabulous memory kit worth over $100 will be given away to 2 of you, and it comes complete with an Instax camera, a guide book on how to record your favourite memories, two packs of film and a pamphlet to submit some of the photos to SMP.
Some of your photos may be selected for a Memory Showcase exhibition at the lobby of the National Library Building from 11 Apr – 26 May. Come and check out if yours have been chosen.
My friend and collaborator Jasmine Teo’s directoral debut is also the first musical to be staged at a brand new venue – The Henderson Project – which is actually the office and rehearsal space for Dream Academy Productions, the company behind The Dim Sum Dollies and Kumar’s Amazing Race.
It stars the amazingly talented duo Linden Furnell and Mina Kaye. Watch:
Thank you SingTheatre and George Chan for putting this wonderful showcase of singing and storytelling together. Last Thursday we watched George Chan, Hossan Leong, Linden Furnell and Robin Goh interpret and deliver some of the most iconic French contemporary songs originally written and performed by Charles Aznavour, Charles Trenet, Jacques Brel and Serge Gainsbourg. We were blown away by the collective storytelling prowess of the quartet (as well as that of George, Hossan, Linden and Robin, who were nothing short of awesome).
For some more background on the French greats (and maybe jog your memory of some of the songs you already know):
Jialat man. Our legit brands (apart from SIA) still struggle to make a dent internationally, and this fella stamps his authority globally simply by buying greedy football players and referees! Our Ya Kun Kayas and Crystal Jades mais well give up.
The magnitude of the unfolding match-fixing scandal is mind boggling. English football matches and World Cup qualifiers are being manipulated by a Singaporean fixer, and in such an unthinkably brazen way. The players and referees who are being controlled actually give signals like taking a yellow card at the beginning of a game to show that the match is about to be manipulated.
“So I talk to them. Double confirm. I also tell them, I tell … this [is] what I want … Because simple, I commit myself and they commit. So you tell me how many goals … Give me at least five … either 3-2, 4-0 or zero, … for me four is enough.”
DOUBLE CONFIRM leh! As Neil put it, he might as well be waving his Singapore passport.
I loved reservist, and I never lied about that. I looked forward to buying stuff from Beach Road, packing my gear and heading to camp for however long training took.
The other thing about in-camp training stints is that it is the best extended networking session government funds can buy. My mates from the 433rd Battalion, Singapore Armoured Regiment (2000-2008) would exchange name cards, start Yahoo! then Google groups, and unabashedly ask business favors of each other.
It was during one of these ICTs that a platoon mate who was a journalist at the now defunct Streats newspaper asked if he could do a feature on me.
He sold the idea by saying something like: “It’s a freak show column, basically, and you’ll get to promote your business. We normally feature people below 30 years old as ‘young entrepreneurs’ but we’ll make an exception this time for you. Can?”
And so this feature article was published, littered with errors and all (we didn’t attend RMIT), and the wider world that bothered to pick up a free copy of this paper at MRT stations and convenient stores learned about my business partner and myself.
No, it didn’t bring a spike in business. The venture died quietly a year later, but not before a couple of interesting business trips to China and Malaysia.