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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Short Fuse

By now most of us would have seen the video of the spitting guy, the cyclists, the many buses and mrt spats and many similar "behaviour". Nowadays, it seems like every other day there are some public spats, violent acts and mostly captured in all its undignified glory on You Tube and Stomp. 

I have my own theory especially after being on the receiving end of one of this freak last week.

Last week I was at the East Coast Park taking photographs of an event. Where I was, it was a long stretch of open ground. I was sitting on my little stool on the grass patch next to the bicycle and jogging path and taking photo of the runners running. Next to me was a man playing with his granddaughter. Later, a woman who I believe is the man's daughter came by. She walked in front of me while I was shooting. I think they were having a picnic and she was transferring items from her car. She walked in front of me again on the way back to the car. This time, I let out a small sound of irritation. Then the guy and his granddaughter walked across my path to go to the car. I was getting rather pissed off. The area was so wide open, I am sure he could see I was taking photographs. But anyway, I let it go. Then he came back with his granddaughter and daughter and again they cut right in front of me. This time I looked up at the guy and stared at him. And he was staring at me back and he shot "What?". I told him, "Look, can't you see I am taking photos, must you keep walking in front of me?". His reply shocked me. He said "I know. This is a public park. Why I cannot walk? And I deliberately walked in front of you because you 'tsk' at my daughter". I told him back I knew it was a public park but surely he could see I was doing something and must he and his family need to walk right in front of me. That was when he started throwing all sort of vulgarities and right in front of his granddaughter!. I was stunned. I let go a few choice words of my own before realising that arguing with this type of idiots doesn't work. So I left it at that and continued with my shooting.

Some experts said it is because of our hectic lifestyle and over crowding that causes stress and hence the need to let go steam. But that incident set me thinking. Is it really the over crowding? After all, it was a beautiful morning at East Coast Park, there were very few people. The guy with his family was there obviously for a picnic and a nice time and the stress level at that point should be pretty low. 

I think it has more to do with the new society and "face". In the old days, people were not so rich, live in kampungs and small houses. Not everybody was educated. Generally, the poor and the rich do not mix. Graciousness prevails because everybody was more concerned about eking out a living and has no time for petty quarrels. Also the less educated are not so assertive because they "know their place in society". But now it is different. Everybody is now more affluent and more educated. With that comes a "I am smarter/richer than you attitude and hence the need to assert that position. Like the guy I met. He spoke very good English, obviously a sign of being educated. Drives a car. So he lost it when he felt that he/his family was being insulted when I made the "tsk" sound and he had to defend his family's honour. My actions caused him to lose face so he had to do something. Just like the spitting guy. He lost face when he was told not to jump queue. Same with the cyclist. Here he is an upper class angmoh and probably quite high up in his career and some chinks dared to horn at him and another didn't stop for him? 

So at the end of the day, its all about face. Not so much over crowding. Losing face to some lower life form who dares to stand up to him/her. It will only get worse. Be prepared.....

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Sad Story of Tammy the Puppy

What if Tammy is not a dog but a little child, a toddler? Will we see a statement like that one day?

"Doctors have a responsibility to consider not just the welfare of the patient, but also the concerns and circumstances of the caregivers. Doctors will provide medical advice and administer the necessary treatment to patients, and may at times be called upon to euthanize a patient for various reasons, such as to alleviate their suffering, or if they are aggressive. This is also the practice of the medical profession in the [insert name of countries]

All doctors are trained on the ethics and techniques of euthanasia using the most humane method that is internationally accepted. Before euthanizing a patient, the doctor will conduct the necessary professional assessment and satisfy himself that euthanasia is a reasonable option considering the circumstances. The doctor will ascertain ownership of the patient and discuss with the caregiver the various options available so that the caregiver can make the final informed decision. The decision, however, is ultimately the responsibility and right of caregiver.

In advising the caregiver, the doctor, has to also be mindful of the implications of not acceding to a request for an aggressive child to be euthanized, such as the client's potential distress and safety threats to the caregiver, his/her family, another unknowing adopter or the general public.

MOH has looked into the facts of the case in the media reports. The caregiver had considered alternatives such as putting the child up for adoption before deciding to have her euthanized. The clinic, The [insert name of Clinic], had followed protocol before putting down the child, including discussing with the caregiver the alternatives.

The clinic experienced first-hand the aggressiveness of the patient. Prior to the euthanasia of the child on 7 Oct 2013, other doctors in The Clinic, who examined her also found her behaviour to be hostile, and in subsequent visits the degree of her aggressiveness escalated. On her last visit to the clinic on 7 Oct 2013, she could not be pacified by clinic staff and needed sedation for procedures that required more handling.

While the arrangement between the Orphanage and the adopter is a private matter, MOH would like to stress that only children of suitable temperament and health should be re-homed.

MOH urges calm by all parties concerned, and advises the Orphange to recognise the adopter's good intentions when adopting the child in the first instance and to settle the matter amicably."

Where is our soul, our compassion? Must we cull and kill everything that gets in our way? Monkey, wild boars, dogs, cats... the old and frail? the people of no value to our society? God forbids that we will ever see these days when our society become so callous but sadly I think it will happen. Hopefully, I won't live to see or be one of those who had to be euthanized because I had become "too aggressive" in my demented old age!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Ramen Kagetsu Arashi

I like Ramen and whenever a new outlet from some famous chain in Japan opens, I try to go sample the food.  So one evening, the kid recommended the Ramen Kagetsu Arashi at Tampines One. He has not dine there himself but seen the queue so the thinking must be - it must be good, right?

Ramen Kagetsu Arashi as the restaurant proudly proclaims in its menu is one of the largest chain in Japan and is famed for its Tonkatsu based soup. 

We ordered 3 different type of ramen:

Arashi Genkotsu Ramen
Arashi Toripaitan Ramen
Arashi Genkotsu Barikara Ramen 
And I must say I am rather disappointed. They used hard boiled egg instead of soft boiled eggs. I can live with that if that is the way they serve the eggs in all their outlets but what I did not like was the noodle itself. The noodle were soggy and overcooked. The broth was just average and not as favorful as I expected. 

I remarked to the others that I am pretty sure the chefs are not Japanese but students and true enough when we looked into the open concept kitchen, all we could see was a few young kids dishing out the food. And that is obviously the problem with most food chain outlets here. Everything is pre-defined and the young part timers just need to follow a pre-determined timing pour in the prepacked ingredients, dump in the noodles and volia - food is served. So what we get is a mechanically sound food cooked without passion. Which is fine if I get to pay fast food type of prices but unfortunately, this is not the case.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

New Ubin Seafood

The name Ubin naturally brings to mind Pulau Ubin, the island but this little place called New Ubin Seafood is nowhere near Pulau Ubin. It is not even remotely near any sea or island. It fact it is tucked away in the heart of an industrial park in Sin Ming somewhere in the north. And its most famous dish is not seafood but beef!

But to us that was not a problem. Seafood and beef - 2 of our favourite food! So off we went. Luckily we had the foresight to make a reservation cause it was so packed that those without reservation had to be turned away. Absolutely no waiting.

There was a crab promotion  going on - order 2 crabs and get 1 free so naturally we went with that.

We had the salted egg crab (pardon the blur picture). I still haven't master the art of taking photos with the phone.

Pepper salt crab

 Bee hoon crab

Verdict on the crabs? The typical coffee shop zhi zhar standard. Nothing specially to shout about but really value for money.

Then we had the beef. The serving comes with fried rice and potato wedges and was supposed to be enough for 4.
How to describe the beef? Certainly it wasn't restaurant standard. Neither was it those kopi tiam western food standard. It was a little bit overdone or maybe we left it on the table for too long while we tackle the crabs and it got over cooked.

I liked the fried rice though. Traditional dark soya sauce type of fried rice that nowadays we cannot find outside. Apparently, it is fried with the fats from the above mentioned steak.

Would I go back there again. Probably so since it is not really that expensive but then again the hassle of going all the way there and having to make reservation.........

Friday, October 11, 2013

The other inhabitants of Bukit Brown

Before the bulldozer goes in next month, a few of us went back for another visit. This time round I decided to capture the images of the other "inhabitants" of Bukit Brown. Non-living creatures like those they are supposed to "protect" but only difference is they were never living. Never have and never will be unless.......

Lions to chase away intruders

A little puppy - companion to a little kid buried in the tomb

Soldiers, warriors and Sikh guards

Deity and even angels to watch over the deceased

And last but not least, maids and possibly concubines to keep those living underground well served

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Religion and Law

October is Pastor Appreciation Week or so I gathered from my friend in US. Unfortunately, here in Singapore, it will appear that October is pastor bashing week. Or rather, one pastor in particular who has single handledly in one move, wipe off whatever remaining goodwill towards Christianity that the non-Christian has left after the sad saga of the CHC and Lighthouse. 

By now everybody will have known of the challenge that is being mounted by Faith Community Baptist Church against the Ministry of Manpower and the Minister's order to the church to compensate a pregnant employee for their termination of her from her job in the church. For those who are still living in dah dah land, here is the short brief of what happened so far.

There was this married man and this lady. Both worked for FCBC. They had an affair and the lady got pregnant. The man quit the church. She did not. She was asked by the church to forget the man and move on. She refused and after some heeing and hawing, she was fired from her job. One reason given was that she did not breached the implied rule of the church. Another reason was that she was working in the marriage department of the church and her state of affairs was a bad example for other married and to-be married couple. At that point in time, she was already 7 months pregnant. The church did not compensate her for the firing. The lady complained to MOM and after some "investigation", the church was ordered to pay her slightly over $7,000.00 as compensation for wrongful dismissal. The church paid up but has now launched a court action to get a review of the decision by the MOM and quote "the Courts can give guidance on where we stand with reference to the constitutional rights of religious bodies in the management of their religious affairs, which we believe include the hiring and dismissal of staff, the moral standards expected of staff at a level that reflects the ethos and values of the organisation"

The sacking of the woman had already given Christianity a bad name. Where is the compassion, the forgiveness that is always being preached? But having said that, to be fair to the church, I think the church has every right to sack her. She has breached the "rule". Sexual indiscretion is a major no no in many companies notwithstanding that it may not be spelled out in the HR manual. They have counselled her, given her a chance and a choice and she did not bite. So they rightfully terminated her.  But where they went wrong was the failure to compensate her for in lieu notice and in following labour law on termination of pregnant employee. The church argued that its rule book do not allow for compensation in the case of termination. That to me, is pure bullshit! The senior pastors or any other bosses in any organisation will surely have the discretion to waive this and pay out of compassion or pity or whatever reasons they can make up but they failed to do so. Where is thy compassion? 

Now having been slapped in the face by the government, the church like an indignant son who felt he has did not wrong is spoiling for a fight. The thrust of its argument is that the church has a constitutional rights to the management of their religious affairs etc. In simple words, it is saying that it has the right to behave as it deem fits within the rules of its own religious code.

And this is where I find the argument absurd. Let suppose that the Court agrees with the church's argument and rules that the church has the power to enforce its own spiritual code of conduct over its members and employees and that its own law override the country's law. So in this case, the employee sinned (committed adultery) and was fired. Case closed. 

I can imagine what's going to happen next. The Jehovah Witness movement will now come forward and restate it case against its members serving NS. SThe Mormons will said it is their religious rights to practice polygamy. The Islamic movement will want to enforce their hudud laws against their members and the list will go on and on. Is this how we want it to pan out?

The FCBC has stirred a hornet nest that was already buzzing from the CHC crude attempt to finance the Crossover Funds. The rest of the Christian community don't really need this type of adverse publicity. The mega church has grown too big for its boots and is becoming a social menace. Maybe the CHC case and this case is good in the long run if eventually the government steps in to see what really going on behind these million dollar enterprise. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Food in Kota Kinabalu

Was in Kota Kinabalu a few weeks back and had a great time eating the local street food. We stayed in the Gaya area and there was absolutely the best food around. We went with the flow and ate mostly at the crowded shops although we did dine at some of the not so crowded and we immediately knew why they were not crowded!

Our first stop was dinner at this Bak Kut Teh place. The place was absolutely swamped with people from the minute it opened in the afternoon till it close at night.
This is the typical Malaysia style bak kut teh and comes with all sort of side dishes like pork ball, intestines, livers, stomach etc

Next up was breakfast at this place just across the road from the Bak Ku Teh store. There were 2 stalls inside the coffee shop, one selling Sarawak kolo mee and the other Sarawak style laksa. The kolo mee was the more popular stall. But I thought the laksa was not too bad too.
Kolo mee
On the way back from race pack collection, we had lunch at this place that one of the guys recommended. The place was crowded and hot. There were many people ordering the noodles from one of the stall within but we went for the fried noodle stall and sadly the food were so so. Dinner was zhi char food at a shop next to our hotel but it was just passable and so all these shall not get a mention here. 

Breakfast on Sunday was at a dim sum shop. We had dim sum and noodle but these were normal and nothing to rave about. 

The only reason the dim sum shop get a mention and a picture here is that they used those 3-in-1 packet for the teh tarik that we ordered! Either they must be darned proud of their Sabah produced 3-in-1 tea or that is the way tea and coffee are made in the country but I don't really fancy those commercially produce tea.

For lunch we went to what must be the most famous Western food outlet in town, Little Italy! See we are kinda  weird, we do our carbo loading after the race and not before! Our party had pizza, pasta, salad the usual Italian stuff. Was the food really that good? I guess if there is a scarcity of such food in the country, it will be considered good and of course we wolfed down the food but frankly I think there are better pizza and pasta back home.