To counter the shameful crap that has populated the #LittleIndiaRiot hashtag, here are a couple of things worth reading:
“When I made the Sexy Island documentary, one episode was on foreigners. I played an impromptu game of cricket with some Indians on a patch of grass in the shadow of the SportsHub that they were building (not mocking it, ridiculing it, dismissing it, I might add, but actually building the bloody thing.) They said they were proud to be building a new city landmark. Some Bangladeshi workers gave me a tour around “Bangladeshi Corner” (within Little India, near Mustafa, but proudly distinct).
Two of the workers had lost their jobs after falling off shoddy scaffolding. They limped in some discomfort. Their employers refused to pay, saying the accident resulted from their incompetence. They couldn’t pay their medical bills. Building site pals were chipping in and they were relying on human rights/voluntary organisations to fight their case. They were sleeping on friends’ floors and eating cheap meals as Samaritans fought their case on their behalf. We couldn’t use the footage about their case because it was considered too sensitive and we couldn’t corroborate in time.
Throughout our brief tour, they proudly showed off run-down coffee shops, provision shops and hangouts that most folks wouldn’t go anywhere near. I asked them: If they had a choice (and money), where would they go? No bullshit. They picked Singapore. They were underpaid, overworked, injured and ripped off by unscrupulous employers. They still wanted to make Singapore their home.”
“That violent “Bangla” last night throwing fruit at paramedics? He may have been the Town Council cleaner cleaning up the trash in our neighbourhood so pests don’t overrun our precious HDB flats and bring disease to our family.
Maybe that destructive “ABNN” who last night flipped over and damaged SCDF vehicles could be that friendly grasscutter clearing overgrown fields so that mosquitoes don’t breed and cause dengue to our loved ones.
That angry alcohol-fuelled “foreign trash” who joined his compatriots in a mob last night could have been that smiling hawker center cleaner making sure our plates cleared and the spaces clean so we can eat in peace and not get food poisoning.
Or that “orh-lang” who smashed the windscreen of the private bus could be that hardworking electrician working at the nearby construction site putting his skills to making sure the wiring in that flashy upcoming condo won’t end up electrocuting our elderly. And that our future generations have a new place to live.
Perhaps that “ah-neh” who threatened the sanctity and peace in our beautiful city last night was just the day before sweeping up our roads so no stray pebble thrown up by a speeding car hits and damages the windscreen of our car or worse, hits and injures a passerby — maybe our young ones.
But no. Some of us are calling for these people to be sent back to where they come from, because they “threaten our safety”.
If only we knew what they mean for our safety.”
And check out the FB page: Behind The Borders, Behind The Men
Like a few others, I’m really impressed that the Singapore Police Force, under quite a bit of danger, what with an estimated 400 people involved, several cars flipped over and burned, did not fire a single shot (of either lethal rounds (metal jackets) or non-lethal rounds (rubber bullets) or teargas) in anger or in defence.
It would have been different in any other jurisdiction. Good job, guys. That went a long way in diffusing the situation and not escalating it or causing more injuries.
Do not miss A French Kiss In Singapore.
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):
A French Kiss in Singapore runs till 7 Dec. Book your tickets now.
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.
Neil Humphreys, the author of ‘Match Fixer’, and who is now surely Singapore’s best selling author ever, alerted me to a Telegraph report that contained transcripts of the conversations between undercover investigators and the Singapore fixer.
“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.
Start counting down early with Tigerair as they give away 2014 pairs of air tickets in their Friend Fly Free Contest.
It starts today and all you have to do is nominate your best friend, colleague or family member and tell them why Tigerair should fly him or her to any Tigerair destination for free!
Simply leave a comment on Tigerair’s FB posts between 29 November 2013 — 13 December 2013, tag or mention your friends/colleagues/family member and say:
“I wish <Friend> can fly to <Tigerair destination> for free because <he/she is awesome>.”
If your friend/family/colleague isn’t yet your BFF, they’d definitely be your BFF to infinity and beyond if your nomination won and they get a pair of return tickets!
Quick, think of who you know who deserves a break — like friends who’ve gotten married but haven’t gone on their honeymoon! Or your colleague who’s been so kind as to cover for your slackness! Or your boss, so that you’re in her/his good books.
They could end up lounging in Lombok or diving in the Maldives — just look up Tigerair on Facebook facebook.com/tigerair for where your friends wanna go next year!
There’ll be 134 tickets for each of the next 14 days and another 138 on 13 December 2013.
*Only one entry per person per day. Only open to nominees who have not travelled with Tigerair in the last 6 months. Vouchers are valid from 5 Jan – 30 Jun 2014, excluding taxes and surcharges. Other terms and conditions apply.
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.
I get that you can use ad space on buses, MRT trains and taxis. But to use a lorry just to carry a billboard around our already jam-packed roads during f**king peak hour traffic is unbelievably irresponsible. OOH obviously doesn’t care for the environment or people for that matter. These lorries really do nothing! They don’t carry goods! They don’t carry passengers! They should be run off the road!
Not surprisingly, the only ads I’ve seen on these lorries have been for Marina Bay Sands.
This morning Kai charged into our bedroom all excited and proceeded to tell us in detail what his toy dinosaurs had been up to. He is now convinced the week’s incidents were not isolated. The toys who come alive in the middle of the night when no one’s looking, are organised and capable of complex operations.
Naomi and I are really digging Dinovember. It’s as therapeutic and fun for us as it is for Kai. At least we think he’s having fun. Reminds me of the time when I was his age and my Mom told me I was born on the same day as when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. I had selective hearing and told every one I was born on the moon. I lived that fabulous history until I was in primary school, when a stern teacher brought me back to earth with the truth.
The grading system was different then, but I remember it like it was yesterday. Primary Six, like it is now, was the most stressful time of my primary school years — for my parents.
I was in a SAP primary school, mainly because my parents thought it’d give me a grounding in my adopted mother tongue, and partly because my parents were influenced by the fact that the Prime Minister’s sons were educated there.
Mandarin as a first language was probably hard enough, but I made it a lot harder for myself by not being interested in whatever the teachers were handing down to us to rote learn. I remember the tomes titled “Up Down 5,000 Years” which were given to us in Primary Four, and which was supposed to contain everything you needed to know about the fabulous history of China. I learned nothing except that cheap books from Bras Basah had pages made out of really porous paper which soaked up my doodling.
The only things I really enjoyed about my time in primary school were the calligraphy lessons, the sneaking out to MPH and Popular Book Store, and making rockets out of matchstick heads.
I did so badly in Mandarin tests and exams, often scoring 25% or thereabouts, that the school did something outrageous. They put me and maybe two or three other boys in a special group that was registered to take the PSLE Mandarin exam as a second language instead of first, so that they would maintain their 100% pass record. They were that sure I was going to fail. So was I.
It was a win-win situation. The SAP feeder school maintained their impeccable record and got rid of me because I didn’t qualify for their secondary school any more. I got into a secondary school where Mandarin was not a do or die subject. (It was more like a die also never mind subject).
More importantly, when the results of the PSLE for 1981 were announced, I did well enough that my mother said in relief, “Good, you’re not going to VITB”, because VITB, the precursor to ITE, was like a dreaded disease. Stupid kids went there, and came out stupider, able to do only things like carpentry and electricianism. Then for the first time in my life, she took me shopping for any toy I wanted.
So I got myself a two track slot car set like this one:
Last Thursday was S.U.R.E. Day, an event held at the NLB to highlight a campaign for information literacy.
The key speaker, Dr Carl Schoonover (author of ‘Portraits of the Mind’), gave an enlightening talk about neuroscience, perception and evaluation. There was also sambal fishball, mee goreng, curry puffs catered.
What mrbrown and myself were quite deathly afraid of was that we had been engaged by a campaign whose objective was to tell people what the correct sources of information were. Thankfully, that was not the case.
S.U.R.E. stands for Source, Understand, Research, Evaluate. And as much as I dislike the forced forging of acronyms, the elements listed in the name sum up quite well what anyone would have to do to get reasonably informed about whatever issue it is they come across.
This is timely because of the flux the media landscape is currently in, especially in Singapore. People are no longer captive to the hegemony of authorized print and online media, and are a lot more suspicious these days of whatever gahmen say.
But with all manner of monkeys (including mrbrown and myself) being able to publish anything we feel like, you need figure out what’s worth reading, what’s worth investigating further and what is merely Terribly Rubbishy S**t.
Take a look at the S.U.R.E. site to learn more. There is also a nice example I will now use to illustrate a point:
So, Steven Chia was one of the speakers on the panel at S.U.R.E. Day, and his byline reads “well-loved Channel NewsAsia producer and presenter”.
You need to question the content at this point: Who is Steven well-loved by?
I mean, he’s a nice guy, I like him a lot. But I can’t say I loooove him. I’m S.U.R.E. they probably mean he’s well loved by his wife and kids, and I have nothing against that.
But how many of you can tell me right now, that you really love Steven Chia to the point where you can write a byline that says “well-loved Channel NewsAsia producer and presenter” and use it to mean that many members of the public love him?
I too, have been guilty of not practicing the elements of S.U.R.E. — do you know how hard it is to type capitalized and punctuated acronyms? — and I have on more than one occasion, clicked the share or retweet button without actually reading the linked article thoroughly.
Sometimes, a sensationalist headline can make one trigger/button-happy, and that’s not good if you end up disseminating false, inaccurate information. In much the same way traditional papers try to ramp up circulation with tantalizing headlines, online publishers try to do the same, knowing you’ll be more likely to take a look at what’s been produced.
I remember a New Paper front page headline (written by a friend of mine) from 20 years ago that read “Monster from Deep Beneath The Earth” with scant details except a blurry picture of dug up mud. It was only if you snuck a peek inside or if you bought a copy that you’d find out that it was a story about a farmer’s world record potato.
With the advent of “social” sharing — had it been an online article — you’d have been tempted to click “like” or click through, making the potato story more visible and passed through the timelines of your friends and perhaps the public who are your audience.
If you live by publishing content, like mrbrown and myself, there’s this thing called credibility that we’re always concerned with despite the fact that we also write a lot of nonsense for a living. The more inaccurate or biased information we disseminate, the less credible we’ll be, and the fewer followers we’ll end up having.
I think that’s a pretty good reason for having declining viewership/readership of mainstream media too.
One of the points Dr Schoonover raised was that as a scientist, you question everything, and over time you become good at figuring out what’s more right and less likely wrong. A bit like peeling off the layers of a kueh lapis to get at the truth, hor?
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