How I Majulah Singapura

My reflections on this year’s National Day, first published on YouSayISayWhoConfirm.SG as a joint post with mrbrown’s National Day Song.

I used to think that I was Singaporean because of the way I spoke and how I could code-switch from standard English to Singlish even within a sentence. I used to think it was because I could understand why people would use packets of tissue, newspapers and umbrellas to “chope” seats at hawker centres when all it takes is a rule where you’re not allowed to sit at a table if you don’t have a tray of food with you.

But the fabric of society is changing. Close to 40% of the country’s population is non-Singaporean, and I think a sizeable chunk of Singapore citizens are made up of new migrants. You know those “emerging fault lines” the PM keeps talking about? They’re here, and they’re pretty disruptive.

Suddenly we have many Singaporeans we don’t feel the bond of kinship with. More than once I read on Twitter and Facebook that people or their parents didn’t feel proud that a “China-born” table-tennis player won another medal for Singapore. I’ve seen young people tweet things like “Argh! This bus is full of Pinoys!” without stopping to think for once whether what they were saying was racist.

Read more at YouSayISayWhoConfirm.SG

Seriously Hossan

My best friend Hossan is going to perform at the Esplanade (again) on the 27th and 28th (and extra show on the 29th because of popular demand) of this month. So, even if you’ve something better to do (which I doubt, because it’s Hossan performing at the Esplanade), get your tickets fast, and book yourself in for a treat.

late-nite-hossan.gif

Since the morning that we came

Pensive Mac
Mac’s settled in easiest – as long as he’s got his cushion, he’s sweet

As with any new premises, there are things to get used to. But to call them teething problems would mean this apartment has more teeth than it was supposed to.

There are however, nicer things.

In the carpark, between the parking lots, are fruit trees. Mangoes and rambutans, and the other day, an Indonesian maid from an apartment spirited a ripe pineapple back to her employer’s apartment. (I knew she was Indonesian because she yelled “Mum, ada pineapple” as she cradled the pineapple up the block.)

Walking Mac the Dog has been a good way to acquaint ourselves with our new neighbourhood, and we now know that we have a cleaner who knows everything and everyone in the compound, and we have the best security guard the landlord’s maintenance fees can buy.

In the best martial traditions of a Gurkha, he sits, unmoved by anything and I mean anything, in the guardhouse, all day, except during lunch hours. The night guard is even better. He’s a sorta stealth operator, and we haven’t seen him since we’ve moved in. Intruders, be warned.

The cleaner, now he’s a character, has been really helpful, telling me things (in Hokkien) like, “Wah, you damn suay, your apartment on the top floor on that side of the building, furthest from the refuse point, you didn’t know there wasn’t a refuse chute did you? Raining you die”.

On our second morning here, we had a reasonably long conversation in Hokkien, halfway through which he said, “You know, It is a pity not many people will know how to speak Hokkien in a generation or two. A real pity”.

Then a Caucasian woman walked past us, and he yelled, “Bonjour!”

As she tripped and responded with not as much gusto, he turned to me and said, “There are a lot of Frenchies here, so I learned a bit”.

At that point, both Mac and I felt like breaking into song.

Secret blog of a P65 MP: Part 6

P65 - It's Where We Talk
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Dear Blog,

Yes, it is time to move on to other things, put things in perspective and focus on the big picture. There have been so much negative news lately that I imagine Singaporeans would be quite disheartened if they were to continue talking about them.

So kudos to my colleagues for taking the lead and posting their musings on other things that make us Singaporean.

There are so many unique things about Singapore that we tend to forget and overlook, and we should be proud of our culture and heritage, and remember what makes us attractive to foreigners. Do not forget that other countries are also developing fast, and taking in more than their fair share of talented foreigners. We must not lose out.

In order to do that, we must embrace the global economy and various global cultures, but within limits, of course. And foreigners who want to embrace our own economy and culture must also understand and accept these limits.

It is time to repair our reputation, and I hope every Singaporean will join me in doing so.

More later. I have to check on our security guard and make sure he is not sleeping. We backbenchers don’t have Gurkhas from the GC. Those guys never fall asleep on the job.

-P65 Roxx!

NEA to reduce energy consumption in households


Here’s an idea for saving energy: turn off the ERP gantries

When I read the headline, I thought, “oh no, they’re gonna use the ERP method of reducing consumption”, and then I read on and found out they’re using the lucky draw method instead.

Much better than my parents’ day when they used coin-operated heaters in their flat in Australia when they were students. No more coins, no more heat, and then they walked ten miles to uni.

No torch, no medals, no records, no nothing…


Image from mooncostumes.com

The torch relay bypassed Singapore probably because protests are only to be held indoors, with a licence, in designated areas. I dunno.

Then there’s news that the Youth Olympics might be a Games without medals or records. That is the sucks! Might as well not have athletes.

I mean, they even give out prizes in primary schools for egg and spoon races and I personally would have had a record in my school’s hall of shame for most number of eggs broken.

A rude and painful shock

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So the report is out, and our apartment’s security guard intimated that there were some areas of Singapore where apartment security was stricter, and where security guards like him were instructed to always take down particulars of visitors and their vehicles and not let anyone who didn’t oblige with their particulars into the private compound. At all.

“I was instructed to take down all particulars and not let anyone who didn’t oblige with their particulars into the private compound. At all”,
he said.

He also told me that visitors to our apartment block had complained about his conscientiousness, saying that he was harrassing them when all they wanted to do was to drive into the visitors’ lots and visit their friends.

He found it very difficult to do his job properly, he said. Some people just don’t care about security, he added.

If only all security guards, including the sleepy night guard, were like him. Not only is he a conscientious security guard, he’s also been our rental intelligence. One of the apartments in the development is going for $7,000 a month, he says.

“That’s really crazy”, I say. “And that’s why we have to move. Our income hasn’t increased by 120% in line with rentals”, I say.

We’re gonna miss him.

Even the foreign expert says so

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Ahead of today’s much anticipated report on the escape of Mas Selamat Kastari, Todayonline had an article talking about terrorism and what our fine nation’s efforts have done and not done.

It says William Dobson, “managing editor of global politics magazine Foreign Policy comments that “Most countries’ strategies end with arresting terrorists. However, he said, Singapore’s battle against terrorism is comprehensive and effective as it also tries to prevent extremism and attempts to reform terrorists in detention.”

See? It was always a “catch and release” program.

But the thrust of the article is of course the “C” word:


He cautioned that although Singapore has been effective in “dampening the threat of extremism”, it needs to guard against complacency. “When you’re very effective on a consistent basis, it’s easy to begin to believe that you’re relatively infallible or there are no other, better ways to do things,” he said, citing the escape of JI leader Mas Selamat Kastari as an example.

Ang Moh say what is what lor.