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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Give Japan Aid - The Colour of Our Skin

Once upon a time, Japan was the most hated country on Planet Earth. In modern time, it is everybody’s favourite country for holidays. Everybody I know who have been to Japan gushed about it and look forward to going back there again for another holiday notwithstanding that majority of us don’t understand an iota of what they speak.

So I guess it is only natural the massive outpouring of support when Japan gets hit with the earthquake and tsunami. In fact just as unprecedented as the scale of the disaster in Japan is the scale of the fund raising being done here in Sg. There are of course the usual call to donate by the various charity organization like Red Cross, Mercy Relief and World Vision. Then there are the various events being organized by groups with  carnival, concerts, special CD, football game and running events. Even the Triathlon Association of Singapore included a fund raising in the recent Half Ironman!  Muis also came up with donation boxes at the churches and the 3 telcos offered donation via SMS. It is like almost the whole of Singapore has got in on the act. And I think all these speak well of the people we have here in Singapore. But somehow somewhere something is nagging at me.

What if this disaster had happened in China or India and not Japan? Will the same effort to raise funds be seen here? Just as a quick comparison, during the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, was there so much efforts made? What I am trying to understand is why this generosity towards Japan and not the rest of the world?

Last I checked, Singapore has raised $402,000.00 including a measly $50,000.00 from the gahmen for Haiti whereas for Japan, the last known figure as at 25 March is $7.5m including a $500,000.00 contribution from the gahmen.

  1. Is it because Japan is a third world country. Very poor and cannot afford to rebuilt the affected area. On the contrary – Japan is the 3rd largest economy in the world with GDP of 5.069 trillion. The median income is USD38000. In comparison Haiti has a GDP of 6.479 billion and a median income of USD560.00. So this cannot be the reason
  2.  Is it because more lives were lost in Japan? To date, estimated is more than 10000 death and 200000 displaced. In Haiti, the death toll was more than 200000 and 1.3m displaced! So this theory is wrong too.
So the figures speak for itself. Why does Singaporeans think that Japan needs more aids than Haiti? Dare I suggest that it is because as mentioned in the very first paragraph of this post – everybody loves Japan? Or is it just a racist thing – the Japanese have the same colour skin as us whereas the Haitian are well - different?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Steak Anyone?

Scientists are now trying to create artificial meat. This is good news for animal lovers who abhor the process and high cost of getting the piece of steak to the table. In fact PETA has offered a cool $1m to the first company to produce a commercially viable food made from artificial meat. But I think the $1m is small beef (pun intended) to the company if it can successfully grow pork or steak in the laboratory.

Scientists in the Netherlands have now more or less managed to grow what it described as ‘soggy’ pork in the laboratory. Predictions are that the first 'real' meat will be on the dining table within 5 years,  just as soon as they can teach the piece of meat to ‘exercise’ and grow muscle so that it taste like the meat we eat today.

But if that does not sound yucky enough, how about this – the inventive Japanese have actually taken the lead as usual. Way back in 1993, Japanese scientists actually created the world’s first artificial meat – from poo! The process involves extracting proteins from the solids in sewage and then mixing it with soya and flavouring it with steak sauce derivative. The final product is said to be high in protein with a similar texture, consistency and taste to beef. Our Newater don't sound so bad in comparison right?

Steak anyone?

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Big Con

Someone wrote to the papers this week to ask what has happened to the ‘No Wrong Door’ policy. Apparently, he wanted to make some feedback and was given the runabout by various government agencies. The No Wrong Door policy was launch in 2004 amid much fanfare but like all government initiatives, it was good only for brownies point and seriously I doubt it had ever work knowing the attitude of our civil servants.

Another policy with a nice fancy name is the ‘Teach Less Learn More’ policy. Now this one I must admit have succeeded beyond its wildest dream. To the disbelieving teachers out there, before you spank me with the text book, let me explain why so. To summarise the mumbo jumbo in MOE’s website, with this policy, teachers are supposed to come up with more creative method of teaching and not just reading from the text book and volia, the students will be stimulated to learn. So has this happened? Yes. Nowadays, it is so common to learn students complaining that the teachers did not cover all the syllabus (so we have the teach less part). And because the syllabus were not covered, the students have to pay external tutors to teach them in addition to their usual tuitions (learn more). So the teachers get to teach less, and the student learn more thanks to some brilliant MOE’s strategy to pass the buck to the private sector. But does that means teachers have more free time now since they teach less? Of course not! Which brings me to the next policy.

5 days work week. Many people in the civil service and especially the school teachers cheered when it was first introduced in 2004. But did the teachers really thought they were going to get Saturday off? Of course not course there is a loophole. Schools were not supposed to conduct any activities on Saturday. So all activities including supplemental classes, CCA etc got pushed to weekdays and so most teachers end up with a full day work week plus not forgetting the marking of assignment late into the night. And the Saturday? Of course, there is a loophole. Students can on their own initiatives organized their own events and go back to school on Saturday. Now those in the know, how can any students organize any official events without a teacher being present? And where in the world will there be students who will want to organize their own CCA training on Saturdays when they can be lazing at home playing their computer games. 

So I tell you, all these nice fancy named policies coined up by our elite administrative officer are nothing but a big con. What will they come up with next?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Porn's Shop

What a porn shop doing in squeaky clean Singapore? And got the backside of an elephant some more! No wonder it's closed when I passed by on a Saturday evening.

Alamak, it's not a porn shop. Just a seafood restaurant. The owner is Thai actor Pornsak Prajakwit, a Singapore TV host. Thewords on the glass wall said Seductive Sea Food. But got no chance to try as it was closed.

Tried googling for the restaurant but all I got was the one at Liang Seah Street. Is that one closed as well or this one at East Coast Road is opening soon?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lorong Halus Wetland

Singapore has a new nature playground. The Lorong Halus Wetland between Pasir Ris and Ponggol. The Wetland is build on landfill from trash but looking at it, one can never talk. It looks so clean and green. And apparently there are birds galore. More about the Lorong Halus Wetland here.

The site map of the Lorong  Halus Wetland

The welcome board at Pasir Ris Farmway

Using an innovative bio-remediation system, the PUB has designed the Lorong Halus Wetland to collect and treat water passing through the former landfill, preventing it from flowing into Serangoon River. The various reed and ponds traps and filter the 'dirty' stuff and prevent them from floating into the river which has become a reservoir. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

If it Swims, We have it

What a interesting advertisement. With a tagline and a picture to match, how not to resist dining there?

Actually this place has been around for a long time. The International Seafood Restaurant at the Playground @ Big Splash, East Coast Park is a slightly more high class place along the ECP compared to the other restaurants at the Seafood Centre.

We were there to celebrate and this time round, M did the reservation and had pre-ordered the food. She had eaten there a few times and claimed to know what was the best food and so apparently the food that was to come were mainly 'off the menu' item.

Anyway, trust us to start off with a non-seafood dish. Or maybe duck is considered seafood since it swims? But whatever, it was the most beautifully arranged plate of food we ever see. Half duck, half fruit. Very colorful.

And oh yah the duck was wonderful too. Lightly braised in a sweet sauce but not very sweet, the meat was moist, soft and heavenly.

Next was another colorful plate of food. Prawn yam ball with fruit bits. This was absolutely great with the melt in the mouth taste. 

Then we had the fish soup. Another very unique dish. Unfortunately, no picture cause the wait staff served it out individually. Everybody agreed the fish soup was great. A cross between the usual fish bee hoon in milk and the crab bee hoon soup. 

This plate of scallops + greens come with what sis call drumstick mushroom. Big stalk of mushrooms. 

Of course, seafood is not complete without crab and so we have curry crab. It comes with garlic bread instead of man-tou. Spread the curry on the bread and eat. Shiok!

We also had bee hoon with lala. Again no picture caused it was all served up in small little bowl but it was also shiokalicious. 

The dessert of yam paste and mango pudding wasn't so great though but all it all, it was a great feast. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Thursday, March 3, 2011