Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

An S-League farewell letter

In News Reports, Sports on November 16, 2014 at 8:35 am

I don’t watch football, but the controversy over S-League’s move to trim down the league looks pretty exciting. More exciting to me than watching grown men chasing a ball.  So let me re-produce the drama in a letter. FICTION, of course.

Dear XX,

Congratulations on turning 35! In five years’ time, you will be eligible for Eldershield! In the meantime, to prepare you for your future and to ensure that you rest that torn tendon, broken ankle and bruised body suffered over the past 10 years, we have another surprise for you! No longer will you need to sweat in the sun and get drenched in the rain, you will be given a one-way ticket out of football, with 10 free passes to watch future S-League matches!

This is to demonstrate our appreciation of your loyal service and for sticking with the S-League despite its declining lustre. You will be pleased to know that we are adding a new shine to the league, with fewer teams and younger players. You see, the racial and age demographics are simply weighted too heavily towards a certain race and beyond a certain age. This does not mean that we consider you old, not with the sort of goals you have scored, the awards you’ve won and despite being caught smoking. We just don’t think you can run as fast as the young ones, who must be given room to play. This is not unlike air stewardesses who get grounded after a certain age.  Not because their looks fade, they just need to rest more. Like you.

We entreat you to turn a deaf ear to those who say that we are engaging in age discrimination and that we should be reported to Tafep. We aren’t giving you the boot; you can keep them. Plus, you are far too young to be considered old. And please banish any idea of starting a union. That is not sportsmanlike behaviour. Note that you should never have considered footballing a life-long career. That’s like scoring an own goal. Every person changes jobs several times in his life-time; it’s the nature of this globalised, mobile and inter-connected times. Your second career, we are sure, will be as fulfilling and you can turn to the labour movement for a job. So many others have made it, as sound technicians or in construction and some of them even coach other teams. Go read The New Paper on Sunday on warriors who turned workers.

Please do not complain to the media that we should have communicated the news to you earlier so you could have found places in other teams. By the way, do not try Tanjong Pagar; it’s sitting out the season. And we think you should also give up on Woodlands and Hougang because they will be merged. Yes, Woodlands. Not Aljunied.

The reason we kept this wonderful news under wraps and couldn’t do a locker room briefing was because we didn’t want to tip off the bookies (You know how tough Singapore is on match-fixing or team-fixing). This is the big idea we have to rejuvenate the S-league. Rejuvenation by regulation. Immediately, the median age of the footballing fraternity will go down. You know also that we will start footballing in a big way in schools. Please make sure your son gets on the programme.

For your info, this is how we will be wording the news to the media: “In the interest of achieving a higher level of footballing excellence, the S-League has resolved, after numerous discussions among key stakeholders, to streamline the number of teams to a nice round number, 10. To ensure that new blood is infused into the league, we will also cap the number of senior players in each club, all of whom agree that they should be amputated to make way for younger players. This demonstrates their profound commitment to the S-League which they will continue to support by attending the matches. To show our appreciation, they will be allowed to play the jackpot machines in their former clubs.’’

So, you see, we will be giving you a nice send-off. Actually, what we are not telling the media is how much we will save by slimming down the league. But pure mathematics will show that it means we will have more money to spread around fewer people, whom we can probably pay better too. That is, unless yet another sponsor pulls out. Anyway, at the very least, you will no longer be embarrassed about playing to empty stands or handing out flyers to get people to watch you play. And we don’t have to come up with gimmicks like hand out finger food to spectators.

Another point we hope you will note: Please do not tape or video any proceedings between the S-League management or your club and you. That would be a very bad foul. It is very awkward to hear ourselves telling you about the hard truth about football in Singapore. People will think that we are high-handed and do not care about breaking your rice bowl. Please remember that the people do not play referee in this case. Nor should we give them more off-field drama  – unless they are paying spectators.

It remains for us to wish you the best in your future career. Go break a leg!

Yours sincerely,

S-League board and management


Grieving over grass

In News Reports, Sports on October 15, 2014 at 12:53 am

If you haven’t heard about the state of the field in our National Stadium, you’ve been sticking your head in the sand for too long….

Anyway, here’s the story:

Singapore, the self-styled City in a Garden, acknowledged yesterday that it doesn’t know how to grow grass.
“We’ve never been a people to let the grass grow under our feet,’’ said Mr Si Beh Suay. “We always race to be Number 1, so we’re more used to proper running tracks – not fields.’’

He said the Sports Hub had tried to shine some lights on the root of the problem but the grass stubbornly refused to grow. He sniffed at the suggestion by environmentalists to use manure labour to feed the field, pointing out that the emitted gases combined with the particles in the haze would lead to spontaneous combustion.

“We’ve hit a sandy patch but it’s a growing process,’’ he acknowledged, adding that he would bring in the horticulturalists from the Singapore Botanic Gardens to coax the grass, known by its scientific name as socceritis allergenia.

Brazil soccer stars last night decided to play beach volleyball among themselves in the National Stadium, kicking up clumps of sand and grass. The polite Japanese preferred to go to their green, green grass of home to tend to their bonsai plants.

Mr Si: “Look, we all know the grass is greener on the side. But it only looks greener, it’s really not as green as people think. Actually, it’s plastic.’’

Netizens poured cold water on his comments, noting that Singapore, maker of Newater, builder of Jurong Island and host of F1 race, should also be excellent in the development of grassroots bodies.

Social commentators said the problem was equating excellence with profit making. “You measure your success by how much money you made from people using the pitch, not from letting grass grow. That would be too slow.’’

The challenge of writing an assessment

In News Reports, Politics, Sports, Writing on August 12, 2014 at 2:07 am

I guess not many people realise that today marks the 10th anniversary of PM Lee at the helm of Government. Well, The Straits Times remembered and has a long essay assessing the Lee decade. It is a fine balance of he did this, but…he didn’t do this, still…
And it starts off by using the catch-all word “challenging’’ to describe the PM’s first decade.

Sigh. It’s a safe word, of course. Challenging can mean anything. You always rise up to challenges, you never merely solve problems. Challenges mean tough times, but not so tough as to not be able to overcome them. A challenge is like a dare. It evokes courage.

It must have been a challenge to write this piece. You have to give credit where credit is due and not over rah-rah such that the article becomes sycophantic. Every action should have a reaction. The piece must be very clearly analytical, with no biases that are detectable.

So the article goes this way….(excerpts are in italics)

GOOD…Leading Singapore relatively unscathed through the global financial crisis was cited by several observers as among Mr Lee’s top achievements in the decade. (Annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth averaged 6.3 per cent from 2004 to last year. GDP per capita went up from $46,320 to $69,050 from 2004 to last year)

BUT…The global buzz also comes at a price – cohesiveness.

STILL…. One of the signal achievements of Mr Lee’s Government is the move to bridge inequality by raising the tranche of subsidies for the lower- and middle-income group in all areas: from an income supplement for low-wage workers to grants for housing to subsidies in health care and childcare.

THEREFORE… By last year, the Gini coefficient was back down, to 0.463. After government transfers and assistance, it was 0.412. (Major re-ordering of the social compact)

BUT…. Trouble is, many Singaporeans do not see it that way, as they grapple with rising housing costs and feel the heat of competition for jobs. Instead, anxieties on overcrowding abound. Over the past decade, the population went up too fast, before transport and housing infrastructure could cope. Some observers consider this the greatest policy failure of the last decade. How did a government that prides itself on keeping close tabs on numbers allow an influx of foreigners beyond the housing and transport infrastructure’s capacity to cope?

STILL…. Mr Lee himself did not shirk this responsibility. In the heat of GE 2011, he surprised many when he apologised to the people of Singapore for the mistakes made, in an election rally at Boat Quay. That public mea culpa and events after GE 2011 raised widespread expectations of political change. (Which are in the form of nips and tucks, such as liberalising the use of Speaker’s Corner)

ALSO…he stopped doing some things. He sought to be seen to be fair when he called for polls, reducing the surprise element in timing them. Nor were there wholesale changes to electoral boundaries. He stopped using estate upgrading as electoral carrots. In GE 2011, opposition candidates’ views, not their personal character, were attacked. In choosing fair election campaigns, and in refraining from browbeating opposition candidates, Mr Lee made it less risky for people to enter the opposition fray. Hence, more opposition members got in.

BUT… Mr Lee stopped short of fundamental reforms to the electoral system that some sought, ignoring calls for an independent election commission, for example.

ALSO… still very much top-down/command and control approach, like the Population White Paper introduction. (Backed by an opinion from a commentator, that is, not writer’s words)

WRITER’S FINAL ANALYSIS… What is one to make overall of Mr Lee’s roller-coaster decade? One can take the optimistic view and say Singapore has weathered crises remarkably well and remained intact as a society, despite the train breakdowns, the Little India riot of last December, a bus drivers’ strike, and the sex and corruption scandals. Critics might say there are signs of a ship that is cruising, or even adrift, tossed about by the global winds of change. I would say that the truth as usual lies in between.

See? Told you it would be a challenge to write the piece….

Brazil-Germany post-match commentary

In News Reports, Sports, Writing on July 10, 2014 at 3:07 am

Ah Seng, bookie extraordinaire holds court in a coffeeshop after Brazil was trounced 7 – 1 by Germany in the World Cup semi-finals.

Wah lao eh! Got watch football or not? Brazil kena hantam terok terok. Seben one! One masuk…two masuk…three masuk…The goalie stand there like gong cha cha…No! No! Not kelong. More like Brazil after first few minutes already pengsan. Stress lah. So much pressure. Such big crowd. How to tahan? That’s why I tell my boy no need to study so hard for exams. Never mind if get relegated to lousy stream. Just don’t break down during exam…

But Brazil also so malu….Where the team going to put face like dat? Where got such thing as seben-one scoreline in World Cup? Okay lah, better than seben jiro.
Anyway, shiok to watch although not much fun since already know winner before half-time…You should watch Brazil panick. Dive here. Dive there. I tell you that Scolari!

He don’t know what he doing lah. Donno how to pick his team. Just because Ney-ah-mar not there, whole place collapse. Then the coach go and pick this fella with big permed hair to become captain! What sort of captain! Run around like headless chicken…and after the game, crying all the time. And everyone in Brazil crying. All very upset. One place, got bus burning. Like Little India riot like that. No, sorry, salah, on beach, got shots fired some more. So not like Little India. Maybe our own police should go there to do crowd control during finals on Sunday. Practice! Like what that Sylvia Lim wants!

Actually, quite heart-break for me. I follow Brazil since dunno how long. I got yellow jersey. Brazil now not like the old time of Pillay, So-crates and those old fellas. I see on Internet Pillay so embarrassed, he want to migrate to Ghana. Donno true or not. Cannot always believe what you read on the Internet.

But I tell you something…our council for problem gambling very good. Say to bet on Germany. Wah. I hope got second advertisement from them. Anyway, there’s this tall German, some Close fella. Wah, already 30-something and still so fit! Very good active ager. Old is gold! Old is gold! All-time World Cup top scorer! Beat even Ronaldo! You saw him do back flip? I cannot even do IPPT standing broad jump!

This German coach Mr Low very, very good lah. He don’t smile very much but he got nice hair-style. Like mop like that. Germans also quite humble. Hug and kiss the Brazil boys. Didn’t over-celebrate. Got no champagne like F1. Maybe they regret scoring so many goals, like hu-mi-li-ate Brazil. Not nice. But the Brazil people actually seem quite sporting. Cheer them and so on. Still don’t think the garment going to last long lah. So many problems hosting this World Cup, so many million dollars spent, like they raid their reserves like that…and then got no World Cup trophy to hold…

Anyway, see how the Brazil team play against Netherlands lah in next round. Donno whether they finish crying by then or not. Maybe they not condemned yet. Maybe Netherlands will give chance and don’t have such big margin to hu-mi-li-ate. Maybe I keep my yellow jersey.

Okay, I taking bets now…

PS. If you can’t read this, you can’t have been living here for very long…

Torn up over tourism

In News Reports, Sports on April 23, 2013 at 2:25 am

How should Singapore present itself to the rest of the world? As a glitzy Dubai or a charming Penang? Singapore Tourism Board chief Lionel Yeo thinks we can be both and wants to ratchet up Singapore-flavoured offerings. It marks a change from the days when we were told to be enthusiastic about international attention on Formula One (Oh! Look at the numbers tuning in worldwide!) and how casinos will bring in the well-heeled.

Thing is, can we be both? Or is it already too late?

In the international eye, Singapore is probably more Dubai than Penang – efficient, fast-paced, haven for billionaires. Expensive clubs. Designer boutiques. Playground for the rich and famous. The tourism strategy has brought in a lot of money, as well as foreigners – both the spending kind and those needed to staff the low-wage positions in the hospitality industry. For the rest of us, we can only look in. Not rich enough to play; too rich to want a job tending bar and waiting tables. We might feel proud about how far we have come, as we cruise along the East Coast Parkway and gape at the skyline. We might even feel like tourists in our own country!

What about the new effort to display our local offerings then? Here’s the good: our local designers can expect a leg-up. Also, heritage and conservation, something increasingly dear to Singaporeans, will now have…. an economic dimension! We need to preserve them…because they bring in the tourists!

Okay, enough of that.

Anyway, that was what was reported in ST yesterday. Today, however, the media reported that at a tourism conference, expectations were scaled back on tourism numbers and spending in the future. That’s because those big ticket draws are already in place and have contributed to the spurt in numbers. A rising rate of growth would be “unsustainable’’. (Did anyone heave a sigh of relief at the propect of a not-as-crowded future?). Besides, neighbouring countries are also putting up theme parks and F1 races. Singapore’s first-mover advantage will be eroded.

Media reports said STB estimated that visitor arrivals could grow at 3 to 4 per cent and tourism receipts at 4 to 6 per cent annually over the next 10 years. This contrasts with the record growth posted between 2002 and last year, when visitor arrivals grew at a compounded annual rate of 6.6 per cent. Tourism receipts also grew at a corresponding 10 per cent in the same period.

According to Second Minister for Trade and Industry S Iswaran, Singapore should concentrate on “high-yield growth’’ (code words for big spenders) and those who come “regularly’’. He wants the industry to create more content for visitors in the lifestyle and business sectors. One example, according to ST, is the Fort Canning Centre and Black Box Theatre, which the STB and National Parks Board are looking at turning into a museum with modern art, for an Asian audience.

One wonders if the big spenders will really be interested in experiencing the Singapore way of life and take tours of the HDB heartland and what not. As for those who “come’’ regularly, they would have “been there, done that’’.

Or maybe the new direction is just a marketing gimmick – to tell big spenders that besides the main showpiece of glitzy stuff, there are still those “curiosities’’ they might have missed. So why not have a cheng teng cocktail at a hawker centre and gawp at the locals in their flip flops? If or when that happens, hopefully, prices of our local deserts won’t be jacked up. According to an ST report, there was a suggestion to create more places like “Newton Circus’’. Hey, there might be a good idea – keep the tourists at these high-priced places with a Singapore flavour! No need for them to import inflation into the heartland!

Does anyone remember the old days when Singapore was merely positioned as a Garden City? That was a good one. Very few of our neighbours can replicate that, unless they want to tear down whole buildings and start re-landscaping. So beautiful, our Singapore. Air-con city in a tropical paradise….Can brand like that also leh!

Mr Yap said something refreshing published in ST yesterday: “The STB cannot do our work in a way that ignores what locals care about. It’s about striking a balance…and being respectful to how Singaporeans feel about what is going to happen to their city.’’

That’s something to think about. Because while we might be consulted – and want to be consulted – about our own living surroundings, we tend to leave the business of luring foreign tourists to agencies, forgetting that their actions would affect the place we live in – and even our way of life.

This article first appeared on
Also on Breakfast Network: The coming storm over City Harvest Church saga/Aren’t medics trained to deal with asthmatic soldiers?

Hot case and hot property

In Money, News Reports, Politics, Sports on January 15, 2013 at 6:52 am

Trying trysts
I’m having a hard time trying to make sense of the sex-for-grades case. Which way does this go: She gave sex so she can get good grades? Or: If she gave him sex, he will give her good grades ? Or: She loves him and never thought anything about grades? Or: He wasn’t averse to having something on the side but grades didn’t cross his mind?
I think we know more about MontBlanc pens (and he says he uses Shaeffer), monogrammed tailored shirts and his red sofa (who has a picture?) which is where both trysts occurred.

The media needs to give a better guide on what the case is about – the criminal one. We all know teacher-student sex is wrong; married man-other woman sex is wrong. The criminal part is again on that famous word “corrupt intent’’.
Anyway, it was fun to read about the exchange between law teacher and ex-law student (and nobody’s found out where she works???) I was especially amused by her use of “undue prejudice’’ instead of favour or disfavour in her statement to CPIB. I don’t think I would ever use such a phrase but now I will bear it in mind….
What’s interesting is that like the Ng Boon Gay case, it sheds light on CPIB’s practices. A key one appears to be: You not afraid the whole world will know about you? – that was in response to Darinne Koh’s request about a lawyer. I believe a similar statement/comment/promise was made to Cecilia Sue in the Ng Boon Gay case too.

Hot property
Not women, but those places were people want to buy to live in or invest in. So we have PRs screaming unfair that they have to pay more stamp duty etc. It’s a further differentiation in the status of a PR and citizen. I am tempted to say that PRs should lump it. They still have their own home to go to while the rest of us have to actually live here. But then again, that would make me sound real xenophobic.

For me, the most important thing is whether property prices will fall as a result. (I also want to buy something lah.) And how creative developers can get in making the price right. They’ve shown themselves to be extremely entrepreneurial in the past. An ST Forum page letter writer already alluded to this today – give rebates, absorb stamp duty etc. Then the G would have to jump in again. Very hard to rein in private enterprise…

As for those gigantic ECs, seems like Mr Khaw Boon Wan thinks that capping the size would put paid to all the high-priced skysuites. That, and restricting the development of public areas to add to the unit’s size. Then there is the dual key concept for multi-generational families to live next to each other, except that some owners are renting it out. Now they definitely must be multi-generational families.

Actually, I didn’t realise it was so easy for EC owners to rent out their places. They don’t have to abide by HDB rules on staying on a certain period before renting it out? I would love to know how many people are profiting this way – and also how does the G even know about this? Taxes on rental income? Check against registered addresses?

Teaching teachers

In News Reports, Sports on November 16, 2012 at 12:29 am

I feel sorry for teachers. Now they are going to have a conversation about what sort of values they have to uphold. As teachers, the code has to be stricter than for most I suppose. Just as its stricter for scholars, public servants and I don’t know who else. Lest they bring their profession, institution or agency into disrepute.

There were some noises about this before, way before the case of the female teacher and the 15-year old. I remember teachers having to recite something at an assembly of educators. Now it seems parts of two current documents on ethics will be grouped together and “codified” in some form. Reports don’t say if breaches of the code will bring on penalties. Are these guidelines? Or rules?

What’s good is that the teachers will be discussing the code first. Seems it will get right down to the nitty-gritty like whether they should visit casinos. Oh dear. Is a teacher a teacher all the time, 24/7?  Can there be a separation of personal and professional capacity? ST said that some nitty-gritties are already in place, on sending out suggestive texts and dining/lunching with students alone. I think that’s fine but how much further will the new Code go? Can you imagine a Code that goes like this:

Thou shalt not smoke, swear, gamble or consume alcohol in public places in case students/parents catch you in the act.

In fact, don’t even do it at home – unless you know who your neighbours are.

Thou shalt refrain from touching a student on (itemise parts of the anatomy) to avoid innocent acts being misconstrued.

Better still, never touch a student.

Thou shalt use only good English on social media to set a good example for the Speak Good English movement.

Better still, refrain from using social media lest your views bring the profession into disrepute – never mind that you are speaking in your personal capacity.

Thou shalt observe civility at all times and practise all G campaigns to be kind, speak Mandarin, do not litter, return your tray, go forth and multiply, be as productive as you can be…..

Okay, I am exaggerating. But it’s kind of ridiculous to expect all our teachers to be saints. Because, as one un-named principal said, you risk scaring away people who can teach. I also happen to think that we pile too much on teachers, practically asking them to do the jobs that parents should take on.

Another thing we have to bear in mind: while the reports on teachers indulging in sex with students etc were embarrassing and high-profile, they were just some bad apples. And you have bad apples everywhere.

Let’s hope that the Code is broad enough for teachers to be themselves and not a strait jacket that will stifle their personalities and turn them into safe but boring automatons.

Phrases for the National Conversation

In News Reports, Politics, Society, Sports on September 16, 2012 at 2:00 am

I read Linda Collins’ piece in The Sunday Times today and her contribution to the Singapore Conversation. Hers is: Move down the bus! What a great idea to have phrases embedded in the national consciousness that we would reflect what Singapore is about. So here’s my list:
Kid in a neighbourhood school: “I am NOT in a neighbourhood school. I’m in a good school.’’
Kid in a top school: “I am NOT elitist. I am special. That’s my humble opinion anyway.’’
Parents on selecting kindergartens: “PCF is good enough. They have graduation ceremonies too.’’
On welcoming foreign talent: “Sure we welcome foreigners. Look at Kai Kai and Jia Jia.’’
On feeling squeezed on the MRT: “We might not have elbow room, but we still have breathing space.’’
Lower income on raising pay: “We want both: hand-out and leg-up.’’
Higher-income on doing more: “Sure thing. It’s tax-deductible.’’
On the NIMBY syndrome: “You are welcome to use my backyard – if you can find it.’’
On the Government doing everything: “The Government is not God; it’s just demi-God.’’
The single’s mantra: “I am just single. Not hopeless.’’
The homosexual’s mantra: “I am gay…and, boy, am I happy too!’’
On having more children: “Show me the money.’’
On the LionsXII’s 0-0 draw against Johor: “Why fight? We’re neighbours.’’
On returning trays in eating places: “Bring your own maid.’’
I want to add this last phrase in case someone out there doesn’t have a sense of humour which we seem to sorely lack here: “Just joking.’’

Less G is good, more P is better

In News Reports, Politics, Society, Sports on August 11, 2012 at 2:45 am

I agree entirely with Jeremy Au-Yeong’s column in ST today. Go buy ST. Or go read online since it is now added to circulation numbers…

Jeremy talks about how the G should get out of sports (I’m paraphrasing loosely), because its overwhelming presence tends to complicate feelings people have towards, among things, sporting achievements. So Feng Tianwei’s Olympic bronze looks tarnished because people tend to mix it up with the G’s policy on foreign talent. That heads of NSAs are predominantly men-in-white is another example of the G’s all-pervasive influence.

The thing is, Singapore is G-directed. Whose fault is this? The G who thinks that people wouldn’t come forward if it didn’t take the lead? Or the people who want the G to do everything? It’s mutual reinforcement. Why should people, or local companies or local titans etc do anything when the G is there to do it? It is everywhere, at the grassroots, in the unions, on GLCs, as patrons of charities, dispensing largesse, dishing out penalties, intervening  in the bedroom….you know what I mean.

Some people think that the civil service is subordinate to political control more than before, and that it does not function as the independent bureaucracy political and management theory would have. MInisters are said to be extremely interventionist and top civil servants mere drawers of water and hewers of wood. It doesn’t help when you see civil servants at political events. It raises the question of whether they are there to serve the G or the party. (ok, you can argue that a minister’ walkabout in his own constituency is in his capacity as a minister rather than a Member of Parliament. But..really?)

I suppose it’s normal for a political party in power to want to control as many levers as possible, whether to mobilise opinion or votes or carry out policies. We’ve taken the G’s presence for granted. That’s why we keep running to the G and say “The G should be doing this and that…” or we blame the G for every single thing that goes wrong in our lives – which we demand that the G fix. NOW.

I have always taken the view that this is all pretty unhealthy. We should have less G, not more. And the people  should DO more, not demand more. Citizens have entitlements, but it doesn’t extend to abdicating our responsibility for this country to the G. An election every five years does not mean we have delegated our brains to the elected (even if the G does think so). BTW, it doesn’t do the G any good either, to be the source of all woes…

I think re-calibrating the G-citizen relaionship  is one big part of the national conversation that we want to have following PM’s message on what sort of Singapore we want to be. I dread thinking that the results of the conversation will boil down to: The G should do this or that – whether to get Singaporeans to have more babies, integrate better with foreigners, provide social safety nets etc. Then it’s back to the old days of Remaking Singapore, Singapore 21 and those other national conversations which I find pretty forgettable. The thing is, are we, as citizens, up to the job of looking after ourselves and our country?

I read the pieces in ST on expert views to get Singapore and non-Singaporeans to integrate better. Useful views, but many require the G to take the lead (again!) – like national level programmes to have newcomers do community service, limiting foreign children from enrolling in international schools. having an “immigration bonus” for Singaporeans. And when it came to organising SPORTING activities at the grassroots – look who’s doing the talking, its the politicians being interviewed again..Let the G go calibrate its immigration and work permit regime, can we the citizens of Singaporean take on the ground level work of dealing with newcomers? A man I respect gave an idea recently: He said the workplace is the right place to start. Getting Singaporeans to open their doors is too difficult. After work, we want to rest in the castle that is our home. But the workplace is where we spend most of our time, and that’s probably where we meet foreigners. Daily interactions over lunch, around the water-cooler, bitching about bosses and work – and hopefully leading to visits to each others’ homes, joint outings. Employers can take the lead. A happy work environment is surely a bonus. No need for the G to do anything at the workplace level.

So in this national conversation, deciding on one fundamental value from which all/most approaches should spring would be this: How much Government do we want? To this end, I recommend a feature in ST in its Saturday section written by an expert in parenting. Go buy ST.

Extend the joy

In News Reports, Society, Sports on August 2, 2012 at 1:06 am

So good to hear good news! Pure, unadulterated, straight-up good news. We got a medal! Yay!!!! Thank you Feng Tianwei, you made our day! Wish TNP wouldn’t be such a party-pooper and place the doped-up muscle-men on the front page alongside Feng. Who cares about these dopey men? Their bodies can’t even compare to the cast of Magic Mike – get an eye-full of hunk candy in today’s Life! Now I want to know more about Feng. Probably been in the news many times before, but that was before. Let’s celebrate our heroine! Let it all hang out! Don’t anyone out there try to kill this great moment in Singapore’s history. In a period of so much scandal and discontent, there is still sports to cheer us. Thankfully.

While we’re on the Olympics, I note that there was a question asked at the ST inter-JC current affairs quiz about the number of condoms given out at the Olympic Village. The ST report today however never gave the answer – except that the school got whatever the figure was, correct. How many leh? Another question was which Batman movie was playing when the Colorado gunman went on his shooting spree in the cinema hall. Answer: Dark Knight Rises. I sure hope that the quiz tested the students on more fundamental and important questions, rather than the pop culture type. It will be too easy though in the next round, they got a question on Singapore’s Olympic bronze – like when was the last time we took a medal, or who was the first Singapore Olympian or even Feng’s scores. But if they got it wrong….they should be paddled on their backsides….