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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Globalisation of China

Many nations have tried and failed to expand from their shores to conquer the rest of the world. Genghis Khan reached only China, the European fared better - dominating East Asia through some sort of alliance. Japan of course was a bit more ambitious and tried to do it by might. When they failed to win the world through their military, they set about doing it with their money. Central to all this? China. Yes in every single major world war that was fought or major conquest, China was inevitably the victim no 1. Japan occupied China in World War 2 and the 8 nations somehow indirectly controlled China during the tail end of the Ching dynasty.

So was it any surprised that China retreated from the world and closed itself off? Was it to hide so that no other nations can come after them again? Well, it seems to me like what they did was to do a tactical retreat and regroup and look at them now - they have turned the table on the whole world and conquered it without firing a single bullet!

Don't believe? China first started expanding its shore by by exporting its people out in full force. Even in the days of the cowboy, there were Chinese in America, in India and everywhere else. Now every city in the world has a Chinatown but is there an American town or British town in other countries?

Next, they flood the world with their products. I would say 80% of the products we consumed or used nowadays come from China, whether it is a by or end product. Even the plush toys in souvenir shops all over the world including Australia - are made in China. The processed food we eat, the clothes we wear, even the electronics stuff we use. I once asked my mechanic his opinion of car made in Japan, Korea and Thailand. His reply? They are all the same. Everything inside the car is made in China. They are only 'assembled' in said countries!

Not contend to populate the world with its people and their food, they next set out to buy over the world. Now Chinese companies and the China SWF owns many major building in the world through their SWF. Of course, they don't do a dance and song about it unlike our GIC and Temasek who loves to announce to the whole world their buys.

The next step to world dominance is to conquer the MNC. So we have IBM/Lenovo and the latest Volvo/Geely. And bit by bit, they will control the government (Chinese people in power), the land and the economy without anybody having an inkling of their sinister objectives.

And just to be doubly sure that the process is complete, they have started to export their people again - this time not just the poor unskilled worker but the brains as well.

And so one day we will wake up to see the moon draped in the China flag!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tanjong Katong

Tanjong Katong Road after Dunman Road in the direction of East Coast Road was supposed to receive a new lease of life and become just as popular as its more illustrious cousins East Coast Road and Joo Chiat Road but somehow along the way, it ended up a bit lost I think.

Like the other 2 streets, it comprises mainly food outlet but there are many more coffeeshops and food courts and a sprinkling of dedicated food outlets including a Donut Empire, Punggol Nasi Lemak, 3 pizza outlets (Pizza Hut, Dominoes & Canadian).

In the day, the place is bustling with students from the schools nearby but at night, it is a tad quiet with hardly any pedestrians.

I like this English looking condominium. It always reminds me of those houses in Hugh Grant's movies like Notting Hill; Love Actually and Bridget Jones.

There is this supermarket which boast of premium foodstuff but comes with a weird name. Do they think beggar can afford to buy the stuff there?

We wanted to have dinner at this nice cozy looking place with this interesting name but unfortunately it was closed for a private function. The food should be pretty good judging from the number of newspaper articles on its door.

Instead, we went to this 3 months old French Pizza joint, VIPizz.

We ordered a cream based smoked salmon pizza and a spicy meat tomatoes based pizza. I believe the pizza were prepared by a French guy in the kitchen. I hope it stayed open long enough though cos at 7.30 pm, we were the only customers there which was kinda a shame cos the pizza wasn't half bad - certainly much better than Pizza hut!

After the pizza, we went over to this ice cream outlet very seductively called 'Lick'. The place was pretty busy with customers walking in and out.

We order 4 different flavour of ice cream, strawberry for M; water melon for the Princess and Earl Grey/Kaya Toast for myself. I love the kaya toast best. Not too sweet and not too overwhelming in favour. Price was $3.20 a scope. I think I'll be back for more.

There were a Korean restaurant which looks rather good but we got all excited later when we passed a Japanese restaurant offering ala carte buffet.

We'll be back!

Friday, March 26, 2010


It is not my habit to forward those junk email which friends send everyday but once in a while I get a nice one and so I will share it here:

Be confounded and confused by the English Language.
Something to ponder for the day.........
Just think about it......very interesting.

We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
Then shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!

Let's face it - English is a crazy language.
There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren't invented in England ..We take English for granted, but if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square, and a
guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing,grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend. If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English could be running the danger of being called verbally insane.

In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?
We ship by truck but send cargo by ship.
We have noses that run and feet that smell.
We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.
And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and in which an alarm goes off by going on.

And, in closing, if Father is Pop, how come Mother's not Mop?


Me think I stick to Singlish!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Physician Assisted Suicide?

Toh Puay San & Stanley Yeo, a DPP and a University Don has written a paper arguing their case for decriminalizing Physician Assisted Suicide(PAS). Now that is something new especially coming from people who are supposedly on the side of the gahmen (although they were writing in their own capacity).

Singapore already has the Advance Medical Directive (AMD) so do we need the PAS? And then there is Euthanasia. Of course in Singapore and in most part of the world, euthanasia is illegal but what if we extend the debate beyond PAS to euthanasia?

So what is the difference between these 3?

In YourSingapore, AMD is where a person "sign a legal document in advance to inform the doctor treating (in the event said person become terminally ill and unconscious) that he/she do not want any extraordinary life-sustaining treatment to be used to prolong the life." The tricky part here is the word 'extraordinary'. Just who decide what is extraordinary? And isn't the doctor here already practicing some thing like that without the AMD? Just how often do we hear of doctor telling the family to bring the patient home to 'die' peacefully or to stop administering oxygen....... And if a person did not make a AMD and fell critically sick later, then what? So the AMD is a useless piece of crap, a half past six measure that pleases nobody.

The Dictionary Online defines Euthanasia as "the act of putting to death painlessly or allowing to die, as by withholding extreme medical measures, a person or animal suffering from an incurable , esp. a painful, disease or condition". Simply put, it means mercy killing which is tantamount to murder in most places.

On the other hand, PAD is "The voluntary termination of one's own life by administration of a substance with the direct or indirect assistance of a physician" re: Medicine

But put simply,
In AMD, somebody kill you by not saving you or withholding treatment
In Euthanasia, somebody kill you by an injecting a death inducing drug into you
In PAS, somebody kill you by giving you the 'poison' or drug and you kill yourself with it.

I am not going to argue for or against these. There is a very well documented article here looking at the debate from all angles. So really what's the difference? I only know that when it comes to my turn to go, I want to go painlessly and without causing prolong suffering to loved ones and without chalking up humongous cost which could have been best left for dependents. And when that day come, I hope it will really be possible for me to do so.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


A father asked his 5 year old daughter: "Where does egg comes from?"
Daughter: Chicken, of course.
Daddy: Actually it's from the mother hen

Fast forward 2030:
A father asked his 5 year old daughter: "Where does egg comes from?"
Daughter: Supermarket, of course.
Daddy: Actually it's from a chicken. The mother hen lays the egg.
Daughter: What is a chicken????

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Those Foreigners!

No if you are expecting a tirade against the foreigners in Singapore, this is the wrong place for it.

Although it is true that sometime I really free like a tourist in my own countries what with the babels in the trains and the different color on the streets, I recognised that these people have a very important role to play in our society as they keep the wheel moving. Without them, where will we find the cleaners, the construction workers, the cooks or even the sales staff? Should we really be scare of these foreigners?

Remember our forefathers were once like them too. However, if we don't want to be beaten on home turf by them, we need to bear in mind this warning by Adam Khoo otherwise we better be afraid, be very afraid or else.......

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Cup Cakes

M's boss gave this box of beautiful cupcakes.
Cupcakes, most of the time, are nice to look at but really not that great to eat cause of the icing sugars on top but these lot are home make and not bad at all.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What's the Fuss

I seriously don't understand what this obsession over somebody's sex life is about. Be it Tiger Wood, John Terry or Jack Neo, what they do or rather who they do it with in bed; is it anybody business? Is it worth the front page headline? Surely there are better news to report on?

And the big hue and cry by the public? Come on, surely by now it should be no big shock to everybody that celebrities all over the world have looser moral than normal people (or maybe it get published more) and this has been going on since King Arthur's time.

All this cry mother cry father about being a bad role model and loose moral. Since when did this people said they are role model? And loose moral? Let those who have no sins cast the first stone!

I think the main thing is hate the sin, love the sinner. If they have done wrong and apologise for it, forgive and move on. Get a life. There are better things to do than writing and talking about who sleeping with who.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

All Well that End Well

Thank God, the boy was found safe and sound at Clementi but exactly when and how he got there is still a mystery. At about 3 am while combing through Downtown East, his mum got a call from the police that he had been found and was in Clementi Police Station. Turned out he had somehow made his way there apparently without a single cent or an ezylink card on him. How did he get through in and out of the 2 MRT stations without anybody noticing? Fortunately for him, at around 2 am, he finally got hungry and walked up to a MacDonald outlet and asked for a Coke and Burger. The serving staff on realising that he had no money and couldn't respond to their other questions managed to coax him into the restaurant where they searched his bag and failing to find any ID called the police and fed him with a big cup of coke, chicken, burger and fries while waiting for the cops to arrive.

Arising from this small incident, I am glad to have my faith in the goodness of the human heart restored. So many people responded to the family's plea for help.

- My brother's friends who took half day off work to comb through the Eastern part of Singapore going over and over again the various malls and parks until the wee morning hours
- My friends from the sgrunners who helped to spread the word
- A friend in Simei who rode around the estate on his bike to look around after his work ended at about 10pm
- Our MP, Miss Jessica Tan who contacted the CCC and got the Chairman to talk to the OC of Simei Police Centre which probably resulted in the cops pulling up their socks and increasing their lookout
- M's Boss who came down with her mother and 2 maids and drove around to look for him and meeting up with the school's Principal at 12am and putting him in his place for the school's failure
- And finally the McDonald's Captain, Ms Yattie(?) for helping him, giving him the food and refusing to accept payment from us when we went back to thank her

But a big zero to the cops at Clementi Police Station for their lack of empathy. When we reached there around 3.15am, we were told they were 'out processing' him. 30 minutes later and we were still waiting while the cops continued to chat among themselves without the boy in sight. Our repeated queries were met with a polite but curt 'still processing' and 'let them do their procedure'. At this point in time, we were still not sure whether they got the right person and the poor mother was beside herself with worries and there they were snowballing us. Eventually I raised my voice and the IO finally came out and repeated the out process excuse and that they need to question him. While I recognised that they need to do their job, the long wait was not excusable and there was no reason for them to stop the immediate family member from seeing him. After all, this was a case of a missing child and not a criminal! The IO finally relented and allowed the mother to accompany him but within 5 minutes they were out when he realised that he couldn't be able to get anything out of the boy due to his condition. Couldn't they have done this earlier instead of making us wait almost an hour at the station!

Finally to the staff at Metta School who turned up to help search the area. This whole incident need not have happened if security at school had been more stringent with their security control and the teachers had keep a closer eye on the children. After all, they are dealing with special needs children and not normal children. The school had no security guard  when all government school has guards. The gate was not locked and anybody could walk in and out (like I did last week when I went there to collect some stuff for the Metta Charity Run). I later found out that this was the 2nd incidents recently and in the previous incident, another kid had ended up at Joo Koon MRT before he was found! So to the Principal and staff - when are you going to buck up and tidy up the security issue or are you going to wait for a tragedy to happen before you do something?


We watched movies and even read reports of lost children and somehow while we feel sad, it is not real and we can never feel the distress of the parents until it hits home like now.

My nephew, Bryan Tan Ming Ming, 16 who is autistic went missing from school this afternoon and as of now is still missing despite a massive effort by relatives and friends looking all over the east. Ordinarily, a missing 16 years old boy is not really a cause for concern but because of his severe autism, he cannot communicates well and I think does not know how to buy food and drinks, if he has the money in the first place. For the same reason, he will not be able to find his way home even though from Metta School to his house in Tampines is just a short distance away. And by a quirk of fate, his ID tag went missing a few days ago and has yet to be replaced which means there is no way of identifying him.

Just exactly what happened his parents are not sure. Between the teacher and school bus driver, somehow they failed to notice that he didn't board the school bus and I think he thereafter he just walked out of the school without anyone stopping him. But this is not the time for blame. The most important thing is to find him.

It has been more than 10 hours since. He has never spent a single night alone not less sleep in the outdoor and to go without food and water for such a long period! I really hope and pray that somebody had found him and brought him to a police station or hospital by now.

If anybody sees  a fair skinny kid, about 1.62m tall wearing a pale yellow shirt and blue shorts and behaving weirdly (mainly screaming and whining, cos he does that when he is frighten), please call me or call the police. For those of you who have rendered assistance, a very big thank you for your help. It is very much appreciated.

7am latest update:

Ming Ming was found safe and sound at around 3 am in Clementi. Many thanks to all those who have helped and for your wishes and prayers. More updates later after I get my zzzzzzzzzzzz!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Shashlik Restaurant

Maybe it is a sign of old age but it comes as no surprise that my favourite place for steak is a just as old steak house in an even older looking building in bustling Orchard Road. 

Shashlik Restaurant is an old Russian theme Hainanese restaturant. Possibly one of only 2 Russian theme western food restaurant left here (the other one is in Serangoon Garden), it used to have ancient looking Hainanese gentlemen as serving staff. These gruff looking uncles would take your order without a smile and woe behold you if you have the audacity to walk in during dinner without a reservation. Now only 1 old uncle is left and the serving staff are now slightly more cheerful looking aunties. Still no sweet young thing but the people who goes there are not there to ogle at gals but to slurp down the wonderfully prepared and resonably priced food.

Probably the most famous of their Russian theme food is the Borsch soup (centre picture). It is a smorgash of vegetables and beef. Throw in a dollop of sour cream and you get a taste of something that is not found anywhere else in Sg. 
The other house name food is the Shashlik Fillet of Beef which is 3 pieces of beef on a skewer and served with just a strip of vegetable and some onion on a hotplate (bottom left).  

One other unique item that we did not order on our recent visit was the Baked Alaska which is a liquor filled ice cream desert. I loved to see them pour the liquor onto the whipped cream and see the fire light up! But honestly, I don't think it is that great.

What is great though is the soft bun that comes before the main course is served. It is so soft and seriously bread never taste so good. This one die die must try!

Generally, I wouldn't said the food here are the best in Singapore but for its price, it is well worth the money ie if you don't mind the aunties and uncles. Certainly, it is much better than the many sprouting pretenders like Astons, Botak Jones or even established names like Jack's Place or Hans.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Memories - Outram Road

This was a building that I feared going to a lot. Guess what it was?

This photo was taken from the back not the usual front which faces Outram Road. And it used to be the Institute of Dental Health where we students were the guinea pigs for the nurses and trainee dentists! My most vivid memory of this place was one time when I was there for a tooth extraction. The nurse put 3 jabs into me and I could still feel the pain when she tried to extract the teeth. After I protested, she gave me another jab and tried again.  My God, the pain was excruciating and after another unsuccessful attempt, she finally gave up and asked me to come back another day!

Just 2 buildings away is this church, Jubilee Presbyterian Church where I spent many weekends there during my school days. Most of my Christian classmates worshiped here and I follow suit. It was from this church that the now infamous Rony Tan came from. He left Jubilee to start Lighthouse Evangelism and I remembered when they were at Chip Bee, the attendance there was like less than 50 in the early days. Back at Jubilee,  one fine day, there was a sort of divorce between the English and Chinese English service and the English service left to start their own church at Ang Mo Kio. Unfortunately for me, I did not follow and that was the start of the end for me.

Afte church, we used to go to the Tiong Bahru Food Centre and eat the ice kachang. The place was hot and dirty but somehow it was the place that we and I guess majority of Singapore loves to go to for its good food. The sauna like place with the inside market and quaint little stalls outside is now gone and replaced by this monstrous 3 storey building. A number of  the old stalls  are still there but somehow the food there has never seem the same since.
Talking about food, another favourite hangout of ours when I was studying in the area was the Outram Road food centre. Yes there was such a place and it was right smack in the middle of the block of HDB flat. We used to go there for lunch before/after the ISCF. The favourite? The char kway teow and ice kachang of course! Sadly the food centre was the first place to go before the HDB flats went later. All that is left now is just this empty piece of land.
And finally, this little chapel along New Bridge Road was where my foundation for Christianity was grounded.  We students attended what was known as the Inter-School Christian Fellowship hence ISCF although strangely, it was just our school alone so where did the 'inter-school' part come from?. Organised by Scripture Union, the fellowship was managed by the students with a few teachers guiding them.  Generally, we were left alone to organise the service and each week, we would invite speakers from all over Singapore to give the sermon. My favourite speaker was Mr Charlie Tan, a bald headed guy who would leave us in stitches with his jokes. It was a simple affair in those days with just one or 2 guitarists accompanying the singing. Not like the mega churches of today where a full orchestra seems to be a must. Looking at its current surrounding, it is a foregone conclusion that its physical days are numbered. Which will be a pity as I doubt there are anymore cute little churches left in Singapore?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Christians have no rights?

As I trawled the internet for the latest on the Rony Tan saga, one thing strike me. On blogs and especially forums, the attacks come fast and furious. There are plenty of name calling, hate mail, flame and most of it were 1 way - towards Rony Tan and in many instances, Christianity and the churches. The response by Christians in contrast were more muted. And this remind me of the Aware saga where the takeover of  Aware became an attack on not just the challengers but on Christianity.

Which is interesting. Where are the police reports filed against these people? Or is it alright to bash Christian but not alright for Christian to bash others? Or is it because Christian are perceived to be easy target (turn the other cheek?) and can be bullied? Or is it that Christians have made themselves so unpopular with their 'superior than thou' attitude and 'you sinners, we believers' mentality that they have become the boxing bag for everybody?

But thankfully here in SG, Christians are not so confrontational and should rightly be so otherwise we will end up like certain countries.

Hopefully, the whole thing will blow over soon and peace will return. And hopefully, I won't get invited to coffee by the good people at ISD for writing this.