I saw this old lady among the busy lunch crowd around harbour front today. She was approaching each passerby, looking desperate, trying to grab hold of their hands.. I walked towards the old lady and realised she was holding a box of pens, trying to sell each one at 3.50.
I asked her where’s she from and if she need any assistance.. She just shook her head and mumbling that she is selling pens and no one is buying. Trying to probe further but no further response, I bought a pen and passed her $10. And from a distance I observed the crowd.. Many just shrugged her off.. Some paused for a moment, glanced at her and moved on.
I don’t know her story but her helpless eyes were telling me that she was not there just to earn some extra bucks or as her hobby..
Maybe our government does not have power and reach to help those that fall through the cracks despite all the grassroots effort.. and maybe our government does not have the political will to provide a safety net to the old and vulnerable…
So it will be up to us Singaporean to take action.
If you see the old lady somewhere among the office crowd, pause for a moment, reach out to her and buy a pen from her. It’s really a good pen.
Update: After I posted this on Facebook, my dear friend Roy reminded me that COMCARE can help. So if you see her on the street, you may want to call 1800 222 0000.
Woo hoo! It’s been a week since our well beloved Singapore Botanical Garden bestowed with the title UNESCO World Heritage site, joining the old timer of Angkor Wat, Borobodur Temple among others. Ain’t we celebrating?
While we rejoice with our new found fame, I also notice that few of our very owned Singapore sites will also be awarded with the prestigious recognition DAMN IT, Demolition Award for Monuments of Not so ImporTant.
Before I reveal the new nominees, let’s take a look at some of past achievers who have unlocked this prestigious award:
1. Singapore National Theatre
It was found to be structurally unsafe and obstruction to construction of an expressway (Erm.. Exactly what’s the reason again?), it was awarded with DAMN IT in 1986. Now, two miserable plaques are erected to remain us of her glory past.
2. Van Kleef Aquarium
Like brother in-arm, Van Kleef Aquarium was awarded same glory as National Theatre, but 12 years late, in 1998.
3. Old Outram Park Housing Estate
No big deal. Come on, it just another housing estate, and was awarded DAMN IT in 2003. A beautiful plot of empty grass is what’s left of.
4. National Library – (The Old)
In Singapore, every minute count so in order to save 5 minutes of commuting time within CBD area, old building definitely has to go away. So she made the wonderful sacrifice and awarded with the DAMN IT in 2004 – And a tunnel runs through it… Every brick well damned!
And here I am to present the latest DAMN IT achievers. Following the footsteps of those pioneers, these 3 wannabes have certainly done their generation proud.
1. Dakota Estate
Just a stone throw away from the new minted Sport Hub, tucked between 2 MRT Stations and within the high affluent Tanjong Katong compound, it’s only matter of time before this plain old Dakota Estate caught the eye of the judge to be selected for the award.
2. Rochor Estate
Following the trends of pioneers making way for better connectivity to the city, the colourful Rochor Estate proudly stands it way and so “Siam Lah”, the bulldozer says.
3. Tanglin Halt Estate
Another housing estate in the city fringe, part of the now-defunct Queenstown estate. Also a rare gem beside the Commonweath MRT Station, she too make her way to the DAMN IT.
While the nation celebrating 50 years of independence, and thousands turn up at Botanic Gardens to watch SSO performing “Black Swan” and “Benhur”, do let us remember those who DAMN IT, for the seek of progress of the nation. RIP.
Since the deadly earthquake struck on Nepal last Saturday, it’s beyond words to witness the continuous rise of death tolls, with last count at 3200: Corpses are lying on the streets, homeless people staying out and UNESCO historic sites reduce to rubbles.
It’s a tragic event for the developing country that in recent years have been troubled by political turmoil and natural disasters. Among the poorest countries in the world, it’s lack of resources have been hampering the peoples daily lives; Load shedding of electricity, occasional flooding in urban area and bad pollution and traffic in central Kathmandu. The last thing the country need is another disaster of this scale.
The news of the disaster struck me hard as as I was there just a few weeks back. Although I’m glad that I have avoided the disaster, I know that this is not the time for me to feel lucky. My heart are still with the people I have met: The shop owner selling the painting that I bought from, the waiters from Black Olives Cafe, the guides and friendly villagers I met along the trek, police in Pokara. I hope they are all ok.
Living in the comfort of Singapore, we often measured the severe of the event through the number of fatal casualty and it’s easily fall into the trap of “this disaster is not as big as the previous one and since I have not made any donation to that one, why should I do it for this one?” logic. The thing is that just because there are bigger disasters happened before doesn’t make this disaster any less tragic.
Let’s start now, it’s always at these very moments that we as Singaporean, need to take a step forward and show empathy to the less fortunates around the world. We have never experienced tragic event of such scale and we may never apprehend how it’s feel like losing love ones, our home and our living, and I hope that we never would. The least thing we can do now is to make a donation to Mercy Relief or other charity organisation who are out there saving lives.
I hope the country will recover well from this disaster and emerge as strong as ever. Namaste.
With each update from Prime Minister Office, it seems Singaporean are drawing closer to accept the facts that we are now on the final journey with our founding father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
As a born and bred Singaporean, “Thank You” seems to be the best words that I can find in this very moment.
Thank you for leading Singapore out of British Colonial rule, that my maternal grand parents could bring up their nine children, selling Teochew porridge along the old Clark Quay, without constant harassment and raid of British police officers.
Thank you for leading Singapore out of Malaysia Federal, to become an independent republic, defining the country as a meritocracy society, that my grand parents, parents and generation of us can earn a living and prosperous by equal opportunities.
Thank you for transforming our lives, that my paternal grandfather could move from an old cart which he pushed every day for a mile from River Valley to No.4 Road (四马路), to a stall of his own at Albert Street Food Centre, where my uncle continue to master his trade selling dessert.
Thank you for transforming our lives, that my newly-wed parents could move from attap house where whole village sharing a single toilet to a 3 room flat in Depot Road, where they raised their family and have an asset to rely on, during their retirement age.
Thank you for the vision that I am able to converse well in both English and Chinese, and the chance to experience the beauty of both languages, and given me the added advantage to survive in this interconnected world.
Thank you for the vision that allow us to survive without the mercy of our neighbour, that we can have our own sustainable water supply, surrounded by beautiful city scape of Marina Bay.
Thank you for nurturing a nation from impossible into miracle, from slums into metropolitan city, that expats all over the world desire to live in.
Thank you for dedicating your life so that I can write this blog in the comfort of a place called home.
Yes, for me, mooncake fall into this category alongside rice dumpling, pineapple tart that I will only remember them once a year, and stay dormant for rest of the year. These are type of festive food that I don’t really have a craving, as compared to say bah kwa, that I will eat it all year round just because I simply love it!
Speaking of mooncake, I know that mooncake are getting more creative these days, when I can see fusion of mooncake and cookie, tart, ice-cream, fruits, custard, with a mix of cheese, chocolate or truffles. Add in a western or hotel brand, slick packaging, and here we are: 4 pieces of small cakes, which can easily sell more than $40 per box. BTW, check out the wide range here for latest, most trendy 2014 selections.
But something more innovation I would like to talk about here, the act of giving mooncake, without giving actual mooncake! Instead, mooncake will be given in form of mooncake vouchers, made by many mooncake manufacturers, and only available in China.
Say if you are a recipient of mooncake voucher, there are 2 ways you can do about it: Redeem the voucher for mooncake if you happen to really want to eat a slice of mooncake, or, if you like me, are not mooncake lover, you will probably want to sell the voucher to black market and get some cash.
And yes, in China, there is a black market that willing to accept your gift voucher at a lower face value. And this turn out to be a pretty good economical and environmental sense.
There was a weibo post circulating around for quite a while that best describe the scenario:
Mooncake manufacturer print $100 worth of mooncake voucher and sell to retailer for $65.
Retailer in turn sell the voucher to A for $80.
A give the Mooncake voucher to B.
B resell the voucher to black market buyer at $40.
Mooncake manufacturer finally buy the voucher back from black market buyer at $50.
In this process, mooncake manufacturer earns $15, retailer earns $15, A earns a favour from B by giving mooncake, B earns $40, black market buyer earns $10. Mooncake manufacturer just print vouchers and nothing else. And we called this? Securitization of mooncake. Reduce food and material wastage and thus environmental friendly.
Of course in reality, mooncake will still going to be around for quite a while. What else can beat that moment of family and friends gathering, admiring the moon, children playing lanterns, while the adults figuring out the taste of fusion of mooncake and cookie, tart, ice-cream, fruits, custard, with a mix of cheese, chocolate or truffles.
It was your big day, first football match in history of the new you.
This time round, never mind you were half-filled with tickets holder and free loaders, it’s still quite a carnival. People lining up for long queue of hot dogs, Cold beers and fries.. pockets of Juventus fans scattered around, and die hard Singapore fans wearing reds from corner, attracting curious eyes from onlooker (I supposed it’s a rare breed being a died hard Singapore Lions fans nowadays).
The match ended at 5-0 I’m sure you tried your best to entertain us, although I must said your pitch looked awful. We saw glimpse of Pirlo free-kick, Progba’s sizzling run, and we participated in random acts of Kallang wave, trying hard to reminisce the good old days,
And yes, the good old days they were. And how I missed them..
You cheered with us when Sundram did that fake side step passed for Fandi to score and cried when Lim Tong Hai scored the infamous 2 owned goals, And remember that famous match? The same old you that went into berserk when Singapore thrashed Brunei 7-0. In that classic match, which Alistair Edwards score one of the quickest goal in Malaysian League, Sundram (again) did the famous bicycle kick and Steven Tan score the minute he came in as sub, all in one match, and most importantly, I was there.
And good old you, where are the Curry Puff boys now? Who used to stroll around during match, selling curry puffs and drinks, and when match started, the boys would just sit along your pathway, watching the match. How they managed to enter is still mystery to me.
And that Milo Drink Stall, which sold the best Ice Milo in town- the super-diluted version.
And the Airhorn 9 times plus “Butuh” Chant. Did you remember that?
And long walk back to Kallang MRT. After each match, the long walk back to Kallang MRT could be either a dreadful walk when lost or celebrated march when won.
But well, the good old you has gone now so I need to start getting used to the new you, with new shopping malls and climbing walls.
I’m sure someday you will win over me, with stories of your own, of celebration and joy, of despair and disappointment. Someday…
Since the world pour with love and stories for Robin Williams, I think I should too to get certain attention, and possibly traffic to my humble blog.
First, let me start with a moment of silence for Robin Williams (BTW, if you happened to live in cave and happened to read my blog the first thing you are able to connect to wifi, he passed away yesterday. And please close this blog and get a life if you don’t know who he is.. though you seriously need to get a life anyway if you live in cave and happened to read my blog the first thing you able to connect to wifi)… Ok. moment of silence starts…
Thanks. Hope you still around.. I mean you, the reader, not Robin Williams, but wait, that’s not what I mean, I mean I hope he is around too. Ok. Whatever.
Please close this blog (again, I mean not again since you can’t close the blog twice) if you expecting any story on close encounter with him as a person, as I’m really just one of his fans (I live in Singapore and he is in US and the possibility of us meeting and have some meaningful life changing, heart melting, world celebrating conversation is almost zero) , but he is one of my favourite comedian actor, he really is. The other two of my favourites are Jake Black and Bill Murray.
And talking about Bill Murray, I have to admit that when I was a kid, I can’t really tell the difference between Robin Williams and Bill Murray, not that they look the same, but they do have similar face structure and both are Ang Mo (Caucacius in Singlish) comedian. Imagine my conversation as a kid would be “Isn’t Robin Williams the one of the guys in Ghost Buster? I love him!” The enlightenment that make me realise that they are different person is the GroundHog Day movie, cause that’s the movie that has the repeat until loop scenes that the image of Bill would forever implant on me. And yes, GroundHog Day is indeed my favourite movie of Robin Williams.
Quick search on the Internet and seems I’m not the only one having the same childhood problem.
But at least I’m much better than the kids nowadays who thought the guy who gone was Robbie Williams (and probably this will kick start his career once again).. Seriously?
And talking about death. Ain’t it strange as we, human being, react to death, as if death will never fall upon us, that only on death, we remember all the good deeds, wonderful things that the person did in his life, and only upon death, we start to google search the best quote he has quoted, and watch on youtube the best movie scenes he has acted on. It’s happening to Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Leslie Cheung, Heath Ledger.. the list goes on.
So I have an idea.. my instruction for you now is to pre-emptive the death (like how Bush pre-emptive the war), and by quoting and tweeting and show your appreciation to celebrities, starting with Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Morgan Freeman, Clint Eastwood, Mike Jagger, Dalai Lama and Ray Charles, few I can think of who the probability of them leaving us within the next 10 years are much higher than say, Justin Bieber (Which blog will be completed without mention of him). FACE THE FACTS, you need to face Justin Bieber for the next 60 years! He will continue to be everywhere. Tabloid, social media, TV, unless you hide in the cave. He is only god damn 20. (Are you still there? I hope you will not sink into depression after hearing this. Call American Association of Suicidology · Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) if you need to talk to someone NOW.
Ok. Enough of Justin, back to the pre-emptive the death that I mention, so if you start seeing me quoting “Get busy living, or get busy dying.- Morgan Freeman”, I’m doing the pre-emptive the death. And sorry to break the news, Morgan Freeman is already 76 and Lee Kuan Yew is already 90 (Did I mention him?) ! NO!
But still I must, finally, pay tribute to the man, Robin Williams. The world has lost a great actor, who touch many hearts through his movie. We don’t have much heroes to celebrate or mourn in this generation (Ah yes, Steve Job was the last I can remember), and the void is well replace by celebrities who we touch, see, smell every other days. I know that I will not blog about death of hundreds in Gaza, Iraq, Ukraine, Syria, or the death of those due to Ebola outbreak, they are too complicated for me..
Ok, back to Robin again, here are some of favourites tweets on him:
One of the sick children in the movie “Patch Adams” reflects on what it was like to work with Robin Williams. http://t.co/IeePNeCN3o
And last before I end the blog, please remember to do the most important pre-emptive the death, to our parents, loved ones, families and friends, one day they too will be gone. So please switch off the computer screen, tablets or iphone, and give your loved ones a big hug of love, appreciation and everything.
Recently, I had the privilege to take up the role of “Ah-Counter” for the recent chapter meeting in my Toastmaster Club. Simply, Ah-Counter’s role is to count the number of pause fillers that the speakers utter in their speeches. At the end of the meeting, I, as Ah-Counter, will give an Ah-Counter report, indicating the number of pause fillers each speaker made.
In linguistics, a filler is a sound or word that is spoken in conversation by one participant to signal to others that he/she has paused to think but has not yet finished speaking…. Different languages have different characteristic filler sounds; in English, the most common filler sounds are uh /ʌ/, er /ɜː/ and um /ʌm/. Among youths, the fillers “like”, “y’know”, “I mean”, “so”, “actually”, “literally”, “basically”, “right”, “I’m tellin’ ya” and “you know what I mean?” are among the more prevalent. Ronald Reagan was famous for answering questions starting with “Well…”