Monday, May 30, 2011

Qian Hu Fish Farm Visit

Tired of squeezing with the locusts swarms of crowd in shopping malls especially on weekends? Why not head to some quieter place? There's a free shuttle bus to Qian Hu fish farm from Choa Chu Kang Interchange.

My first visit to a fish farm. I sort of envy the person/s staying at the residential guardhouse(like a landed single story house). Such a tranquil place in hectic s'pore. If i'm not mistaken this is the only fish farm listed on the local stock exchange so why not go there explore?

Notice board area with the newspaper writeups, awards & accolades & photos related to the fish farm & management. Bicycles are a neat way for workers to get around the farm quickly.

Gigantic fish shop with their tanks for visitors to buy fishes. There's another 1 in a dark room for the more costly fishes & another in an open air area.

Smaller fish poonds:

Larger ponds & one that's going to be filled soon:

Fish farm next door of the more traditional type:

Maximising space use by growing vegies. Organic vegies for the farmkeeper(guard):

Arowana spotted in the murky pond waters:

'Fengshui' mini waterfall & pond for the fish farm:

Fish related accessories are sold as well to aquarium hobbyists:

Some of their indoor rearing tanks:

Funny notice. Is easy to fill in the missing words:

Crabs are sold in their open air tank shop area:

Lobsters? Shrimps? Forgot what these creatures for sale are called:

Dining area for bosses, workers & visitors. Shuttle bus boarding & drop off point is here:

Friday, May 27, 2011

Eat with Family Day

Today's the day. When Eat with your Family Day was introduced in the early 2000s i was rather taken aback that people need to be reminded to eat with family. As the years go by with more foreign workers competing for jobs the situation has worsen with many working late in order to show they are 'hardworking' to avoid being fired.

Many people's lives revolve around work that they have little friends. Much of their social intercourse throughout the day are mainly with colleagues. People's homes become more like a hotel where they come home to have a shower & sleep after dinner outside. Isn't it any surprising that divorce rates & teenage delinquencies are on a bull run?

Sad fact is that many people meet up other family members during chinese new year reunion dinner or funerals.

I find Family Dinner Day as a feeble attempt by the govt to foster family bonds since it is on friday where some companies allow workers to dress down & being on friday is natural that many will knock off on time. Is better the Family Dinner Day is on another weekday.

How come have such a day to remind people? Doesn't the ruling party like to boast about high gdp growth? Does high gdp growth foster more family dinner days among the general populace so we can do away with such reminder?

Masses of people working overtime & sacrificing time to have dinner with family don't seem to realise that when they fall sick or die most of their colleagues/bosses can't even be bothered unlike family members.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Yellow Reflector(bicycle) & Saddle Repair Tape from Daiso

$2 items at Daiso are highly addictive especially to women. There's so much stuff in sight at $2 that people buy & buy & buy if they can't control their spending impulses. Isn't it hardly surprisingly that people's homes(incl mine) are increasingly filled with clutter especially for the shopaholics?

People who can't control their impulsive spending habits have a slim chance of making money as investors or traders.

I bought yellow & cyan bicycle reflectors & saddle repair tape from Daiso, IMM. $2 each for extra safety riding at night is worth it. The cyan reflector doesn't seem to fit snugly onto my bicycle wheel spokes so i'll probably give it to a friend if it fits his bike. Saddle repair tape at $2 seem worth it too if it can prolong the usage of my saddle if its 'skin' tear(touch wood).

Picture of my reflectors yellow & white(comes with bike) as well as battery operated red binker light mounted on seat stay.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Signs that a Big Drop is Coming

I noticed that whenever a very tall building is about to top out or a person in office publishes a book, a major correction is happening soon.

Here are a few examples:

  • Whenever Lee Kuan Yew publishes a book while in office, his ruling party's popularity ratings drop & more people dislike him

  • When Empire State Building in USA completed, the Great Depression follows.

  • When the twin petronas tower in Kuala Lumpur is about to top out, the Asian Financial Crisis hits.

  • When the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is about to top out, the Great Recession hits.
When bullishness near its peak as in the form of staggering building heights, the end is near. That's my observations.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Inside Job Documentary on 2008 Financial Crisis

Financial institutions, lobbyists in govt, ratings agencies, politicians, central banks & academics are in cahoots. Many innocent people in other parts of the world were affected through job losses etc as the contagion spread. Those who pointed out the dangers of deriviatives were brushed off.

Part 1: How We Got Here
Part 2: The Bubble (2001-2007)
Part 3: Crisis
part 4: Accountability
Part 5: Where We Are Now

About 107mins long in 8 parts.

Part 2 of Inside Job
Part 3 of Inside Job
Part 4 of Inside Job
Part 5 of Inside Job
Part 6 of Inside Job
Part 7 of Inside Job
Part 8 of Inside Job

Educational institutions are corrupted when professors are paid to mislead the public with articles. What is in shortage now? Truthfulness, desire to serve the public without obsence paychecks, no conflict of interest. Doesn't that sound familiar to what's lacking in S'pore as well?

Certain changes to benefit the elite in american politics & businesses are followed by rather similar changes here in S'pore(see part 7). Some of the people who caused the crisis are still in the Obama administration. Till now there has been little reforms of the US financial system.

"Is a Wall Street Govt." as mentioned by a man in the documentary. Does it remind you of S'pore Inc as well?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ad to Fool Naive Secondary School Pupils

I cringe whenever i pass by & see this 'Giving You that Something Xtra' beside Ngee Ann polytechnic's name. Schools are primarily 'factories' churning out what the economy needs. I remember during my days the hype was electronics. Brochures started flooding our mailboxes from these educational institutions with each course glorifying a bright future such as marine industry poised for boom, manufacturing seeing record growth etc etc. We all know what happen after that.

Next was biotech, then wafer fab. Same fate. Casinos are the ruling govt's last card to keep economy growing after their previous ideas practically went nowhere.

How many of us know ourselves well to make a good decision at age 16? Very often people get stuck for life by studying a particular course which leads to a pretty restrictive bunch of jobs. Marriage, house & kids come along & wham many people are chained to the ratrace doing something which they loathe till retirement. Is not easy to change careers & often times a paycut when you are aging with family & a host of other obligations/burdens.

Something Xtra- well what xtra when is often reported in non-main stream media that many people lost their jobs to cheaper foreign workers despite their 'Xtra' from their recognised paper certs? There's been increasing reports of well educated people who turn to driving taxis after being replaced.

What Xtra when a local Dr told me about foreign Drs from India were hired to cover the Dr shortfall? What Xtra does his NUS medical cert give him?

What Xtra is that when a person is not educated as to how to manage their finances & grow it? Masses of financial/paycheck slaves is the name of the game.

What Xtra is that when people are trained to 'conform' before rolling out of the school factories?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ippt Passed at Maju Camp - Cramped Muscles Aftermath

Was taken by surprise when received letter from unit ordering us to take ippt test. Is around 1mth notice & i was rather pissed. I trained 4 times in chin ups & 2km runs during this short notice period, doubts starting filling my mind whether i can make it. Can i still get my $100 pass incentive? If not why not just aim for pass? 2.4km station has always been my weakest despite regular cycling & badminton.

Nevertheless i again ignored the order to go back to my unit's camp for ippt on the 2 assigned Sat(if pass, other date is cancelled) & chose to settle it(2 days advance booking) maju camp near where i live. I detest wasting my time traveling to my camp in jurong west & not to mention the mrt+bus fares & squeezing with the weekend crowd. Why allow someone's order to screw my life?

I first ignored the same order back in 2009. Passed ippt with $100 & nobody came after me. I did it again yesterday & as long as i pass & make those officers look good they won't bother that i choose my own location & date. Besides the passing rate among reservists is rather abysmal. During the ippt awards handling out session for the company, the no. getting gold award($400) can be counted with 1 hand, no. getting silver award($200) can be counted with 2 hands.

There are advantages to taking ippt at maju camp instead of my unit's camp. Advantages offered are:

  • free to choose order of static stations to do (can strategise) instead of following tester's choosing

  • touching metal strip for shuttle run instead of retrieving cones.

  • chin up bar's grip got rubber layer so not slippery

  • 2.4km run inside indoor carpark instead of under sun

  • i like the computerised stations there

  • very near where i live (personal)

Now i'm recovering from cramped muscules(upper leg) from yesterday's exertion.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dr Paul Tambyah's Speech on Healthcare during Election Rally

He is not a candidate but i consider his speech the best. I'm ignorant of the healthcare cracks in S'pore though the phrase can die but can't fall sick has become common knowledge among many. People like this Snr Dr speaking out in public to educate others are rare.

I'm in favor of reducing military expenditures & spending it on healthcare. Recent case of a corpse in a building's water tank shows how easily water supply can be poisoned & yet defense spending rises annually.

I'm of the opinion that it's going to get worse since majority of S'poreans are already drowning under massive debts.

Words in bold are what shocked me. Are you?
Friends, fellow Singaporeans

My name is Paul Ananth Tambyah. I am a doctor working at a major local university hospital. I am not a member of the SDP partly because I work in a corporatized civil service organisation & as you know, civil servants cannot enter politics unless they are unemployed. I am grateful to the SDP for giving me this opportunity to be a guest speaker at this famous historical platform. I am speaking entirely in my personal capacity. I am not a politician. I am still doing my national service & in fact have two SAF 100s sitting in my inbox despite the fact that my job involves saving lives.

As a medical doctor, I come into contact with patients on a regular basis. I hear them tell me that in Singapore, you can afford to die but you cannot afford to get sick. I see people who have to sell their homes & move into rental flats to pay for their medical bills. Do you think this is right?

They are Singaporeans just like the Health Minister & his millionaire colleagues. If they need a bypass, they have to pay much more than $8/- in cash. At the very minimum, they have to pay cash for the Specialist Outpatient Clinic charges before admission. I have written letters, articles, posted on Mr Khaw’s facebook page, met him in Feedback sessions. He gives me polite answers but nothing changes. That is why I am here today - To ask you to help me to send him a message. I just wanted to send him a simple message to have a heart for Singaporeans who are sick. Now I realise that the message that you are sending is a little stronger – you want to send him somewhere.

Mr Khaw is a good administrator. He was the CEO of NUH when I was a medical student & ran the hospital with a much smaller staff than any of the current restructured hospitals. But he seems to have run out of ideas for Singapore’s healthcare. It is good that he is finally listening to the voice of the people but perhaps it is a little too late. He might need to seek alternative employment & would make a very good administrator of a nursing home in Johor Bahru.

The problems with our healthcare system are known to you all – mostly they are about money. The major source of healthcare financing is Medisave – the first of the three Ms. Most patients in hospital are elderly. They have little in their Medisave accounts & depend on their children. Fortunately for that generation, they had many children & their children’s Medisave can cover most of their hospital bills. My generation however, is the “stop at two” generation. We have even fewer children ourselves. When we get sick, who is going to be able to pay our bills if we depend primarily on Medisave as our own Medisave is depleted for the previous generation.

Medishield is a compulsory health insurance program that we all have to pay into from the time we are born. Problem is that it excludes congenital illnesses & mental illnesses which affect 5% of the Singapore population. It is the only national compulsory health insurance in the world that practices such cherry picking.

Medifund the endowment fund is limited to those who have already sold their homes & exhausted their children’s Medisave. Every year it is not fully utilised as it is so restrictive.

These problems however, are more than just theoretical ones. They affect the lives of ordinary Singaporeans. A Patient of mine has an infection that has caused him a stroke. He needs medication that costs more than $250 a day. There is no subsidy for this medication . It is recommended in all the guidelines including local guidelines. If he does not take this medication, he will most likely have another stroke & could even die. I tried to help him by appealing to the medical social worker. We received the reply that he was unlikely to get help as he lives in a private condo with one of his sons. The other 5 siblings are not well off but this one son living in a condo disqualifies this citizen of Singapore from financial assistance. We even went to the extent of writing a prescription so he could buy his medications in Johor Baru but this did not work. How many people do you know living in condos with their own families can afford to pay $250 a day or $7500 a month for medications for 3 to 6 months on top of the needs of their own families??? There is something seriously wrong with our system.

The SDP has an alternative proposal. It is a well thought out document & can be crystallised into a number of key points. First, increase the investment in healthcare to first world levels. In fiscal year 2009, the Singapore government spent only 1.4% of GDP on healthcare – the lowest in the developed world. This is partly because our population is still young but it is also because such a large proportion of healthcare costs are borne by the people – you and I – mainly through our Medisave – our own money. One of the key elements in the SDP plan, their shadow budget & in their economic plan is raising the healthcare budget significantly up to three times.

Second, focus on primary healthcare by bringing care to the people using nurse practitioners & allied health professionals in void deck health centers. These do not need to be run by doctors – nurses and physiotherapists & occupational therapists can manage chronic illnesses much more responsively & cost-effectively.

Third, reduce the crunch on healthcare workers in public hospitals by allowing GPs & specialists to work in the public hospitals. Singapore does not really have a shortage of doctors (unless our population really gets to 6.5 million) – it is more a problem of maldistribution. Public hospital doctors & nurses are overworked & overstressed. Doctors & nurses are leaving the public hospitals en masse because of work conditions. Once they leave, however, many GPs end up with problems paying the exorbitant rentals demanded by the HDB & other landlords. They thus have to raise charges or are forced to do cosmetic procedures. These hard working skilled Singaporean GPs could be better deployed in our public hospitals instead of depending on overseas foreign medical staff who may not speak the local languages.

Healthcare is not the only area where a message needs to be sent from the people of Singapore. My 73 year old mother has dedicated her entire adult life to the support of disabled children because she believes that every child should be allowed to develop to their fullest potential regardless of disability. She started Singaproe’s first school for multiple disabled children & the first program to comprehensively integrate children with disabilities into mainstream schools. She was Singapore’s woman of the year in 1994. How much did she get paid for all this? Nothing! We were fortunate that my Dad worked hard & had a good job but she worked tirelessly, often late into the night because of passion and love, not for money or power. Right now, her major campaign is for disabled children to be included for compulsory education in SG. This is what the parents want, it is only fair. In fact, it will save the government money in the long term if all disabled children are educated & are less of a burden on society when they grow older. But this is something that the current government does not seem to understand. As we have seen with Jee Say’s economic masterpiece, a government that is obsessed with annual KPIs & short term gains,cannot see far enough into the future. They cannot see how an investment in people can bring Singapore up to the next stage of development in the long run.

Vote wisely this election for yourself, your children, your grandchildren, your neighbours, young , old, Sick, well, we are all Singaporeans. Do not be afraid that someone will track your vote. It is impossible. They cannot even catch a limping man in a baju kurung swimming across the sea with a rubber ducky how are they going to track down the more than one million Singaporeans who will vote for alternative parties on Saturday! Like Mr Tan Jee Say, I voted for the opposition the last time I voted. In 1991, I voted for the Singapore Democratic Party. Nobody knew how I voted. I have received several promotions in both work & even in my reservist unit. Last night, I spoke at the Rally in Sembawang. No one in authority called me up to tell me that my career was over. My Dean & Vice Chancellor are good & reasonable people & they value a diversity of views as they know that this is good for Singapore. Finance Minister Tharman has said on TV that it would be good for Singapore to have a strong opposition.

My time is running out. These are excellent people here in the SDP lineup. Like many in the PAP, they want the best for Singapore. Unlike the PAP, they do not demand huge financial rewards for serving the country. They also have a very different vision of how to achieve the best for Singapore. It is not a top down, “we know better” approach but it is all about you. 2 weeks of campaigning have made the government finally listen to the people – make unprecedented apologies, take notice of the issues. Think what 5 years could do.

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan is an excellent eye surgeon. Singapore needs good eye surgeons. You can help return him to clinical practice. I wish I could vote in Yuhua, Bt Panjang, Holland Bukit Timah or Sembawang but I live in Tanjong Pagar. I was denied the right to vote by 35 seconds., That is the Singapore of today. IT does not have to be the Singapore of tomorrow. The future is in your hands vote wisely. Thank you."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ulu Pandan Incinerator Plant Demolishment

A plus of riding a bike is that at times you can stop easily & admire the scenery. Toh Tuck Ave is another road that takes me to Bukit Batok & Gombak. I used to ride the park connector near IMM or the main road over the flyover across the PIE out of habit. Turns out Toh Tuck Ave is my preferred route(shorter) now after being reminded of it by another rider during a night ride.

Ulu Pandan incinerator plant has been around as far as i can remember. I remember its chimney landmark from my primary school days when my school bus u-turn at the junction of toh tuck ave back towards clementi. I suppose this plant does not have the dual purpose & efficiency of Tuas incincerator cum power plant where the heat from burning the refuse drives the turbines to produce electricity.

Political Compass - Where are you?

Have taken the test twice with couple of months apart. Almost same results. Current ruling party of S'pore is not difficult to guess with their pletora of policies that's pretty obvious where they are. Hint: Is pretty extreme in both.

My results:
You can take yours(around 10mins) at

Monday, May 16, 2011

Buses to Eastern Johor @JB Sentral Bus Bays

Buses to Tebrau Jusco, Tesco, Plaza Pelangi, Holiday Plaza & KSL mall have relocated to JB Sentral. Buses are not plying on the road between City Square & Sentral so the road traffic is smoother. Is more convenient for us s'poreans since the new bus bay is nearer after clearing immigration customs(glass building at right background).

JB City Square - Relaxing feel & Slower time

A stitched photo of 1 of Johor's premier mall at around 6pm on a weekday. Compared to a typical s'pore heartland mall there's much less crowd. Mall crowd in S'pore are akin to locusts swarms consuming & consuming as though the 'food' is going to be grabbed by others so better grab it.

Atmosphere there is more relaxing. Unlike S'pore, most people there are not addicted to speed as in speed walking, speed eating & speed up escalator. Is as though time passes by slower compared to S'pore 2km away.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Candle Doesn't Diminish its Light by Lighting Another

Many people are inflicted with the disease of scarcity. I'm no exception. We are shaped very much by environment & 'education' since young. People fight for promotions at work, fight for limited places at school, fight for hawker center seats during lunchtime etc etc. Often times we are not even aware of it as it works its way into our subconscious mind & become an 'automatic program'.

Best example of reducing (totally getting rid of it is very hard) scarcity mentality i've experienced is the candle lighting another candle during the closing moments of a seminar. Is amazing how the effect goes:

  • Speaker lights candles of participants left & right of him. (dark room)

  • Left & Right participants in turn light the people's candles next to them.

  • Very soon the hall of participants standing in a circle were lid! (many lighted candles)

Does the original candle diminish its light by lighting others? Is there a rule stating 1 candle can only light up 1 more?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Story: I think my friend got fixed. Do u think so too?

A story i come across in a forum. After reading it is apparent the storyteller is relating it to the political scene in the ruling party. Taking away the political similarities it also reminded me of a friend with a somewhat different situation- In his previous company he was among the best salesperson for a few particular products. Boss like him very much. However economic situations change & soon those products are hard to sell. Company has fallen into hard times. Boss dropped a few hints telling him to quit. He felt somewhat cheated that his previous good contributions were brushed aside.

So what's the moral of these 2 stories/situations? I relate it to financial independence aspect. As long as there is someone controlling you in a major way it is risky. Once a person knows how to grow his portfolio & relies less on job income he/she no longer bothers much about the 'normal risks' which many people are exposed to. Is less worrying & less stuck in life.

My friend was previously General Manager of his company(by BHills)

Then quite a few years ago, the Company Chairman forced him to step down from GM to become "Director" (a title which sounds very senior but is a position which is actually powerless & without any specific duties) so that the Chairman's son could take over as General Manager.

My friend was unhappy about his loss of power & position & so he has, over the last few years, been quietly planning to retake control & become GM again when the Chairman is gone forever.

Apparently, Chairman & his son have got wind of it for quite some time already.

Now they have replaced one senior very experienced member of my friend's team with a young 27 years old female member who, from the looks of it, is going to screw many things up for my friend because of her inexperience & incapability in this position.

If things really turn bad, my friend may even lose his "Director" position.

I think he got fixed by his company's Chairman & Chairman's son (who has been the GM for the last few years already).

What do u think?

Post Election Afterthoughts

Rather disappointed the area i'm in scored 33% for the contesting alternative party. I was expecting around 40%. Western S'pore had a higher winning margin for the incumbent party than the east which many areas are in danger in next election.

Ruling party like to keep harping about their track record despite their recent years screwups while drawing $M paychecks. Unfortunately many s'poreans have swallowed their track record bullshit. I'm of the opinion that the incumbent will carry on with many of the policies which will worsen the lives of many before more people will wake up & vote against them in 2016.

Mrs Lim Hwee Hua who was voted out of Aljunied & thus lost her ministerial post said she was caught by surprise at deep level of resentment & unhappiness towards her ruling party. Another sleeper in ivory tower for past 5 years collecting $M salary. Hougang voted Workers Party's Yaw Shin Leong as MP. Start his meet residents session 0.5hr earlier. No track record will work extra hard. Majority of Hougang residents didn't buy into the track record bullshit espoused by ruling party.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Canadian PM victory speech- compare & contrast with PAP

Wikipedia list S'pore as a hybrid regime on its Democracy Index. I loathe the idea of the ruling party using upgrading (taxpayers $) to entice voters to vote for them & delay upgrading for alternative party controlled areas.

I find these upgrading a waste of $ as the upgrading works for the elderly corner below my block was torn down & upgraded again when is still in good condition. Those lackeys working in the agency are basically yesmen/yeswomen who often carry out orders blindly without questioning if is a waste of taxpayers $. Lackeys who like to play safe by often choosing a govt-linked company tender which is more expensive when a cheaper & more value tender is put up by a private sector small business.

Situation has worsen in recent years with just 2 opposition members in parliament & old man LKY seem obsess on eradicating them from parliament by threatening voters living in Aljunied. I understand he's scared that the opposition might grow from Aljunied(if it fall) but why then are S'poreans made to recite the national pledge with a line saying to build a democractic society?

Even Malaysian Ex-PM Dr Mahathir said alternative voices in parliament are good as it points out the potential mistakes to be carried out by the incumbent.

Despite his majority victory, Harper pledged to work with other parties & praised their efforts over 5 weeks.

"We are intensely aware that we are & we must be the government of all Canadians, including those who did not vote for us."- Stephen Harper

This is the difference between the leader of a real democracy & the leader of a fake democracy like we have here. Already the elections not happen yet, and all manners of PAP leadership are already threatening the people with reprisals. Hell will freeze over before Princeling will give such a speech as above. Even Harper who is paid only a fraction of Princeling's salary knows its not about the political party, but its all about the people & the country. Whereas, the PAP seems to think that its only a govt. for the people who voted for them. These fools have no concept of the democratic process at all.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

SDP Rally at Clementi Ave 4

What the heck, i don't know that Ave 4 is under another constituency. SDP's rally there is nearer than Reform Party's held at Clementi Stadium so i dropped in have a look. Though i didn't stay throughout, the speakers from SDP are better at delivering their public speeches. Bigger audience at SDP rally & are more enthusiastic as well.

Again the speaking venue seems somewhat constricted. Is located at far corner of open field where it is least accessible. I wonder if is a move to hamper althernative party rallies by the incumbent. Speaking of the open field where the rally is, there used to stand a few block of flats which were torn down. Land is up for tender for designer build flats. Is been empty for a few years & with housing shortage in S'pore this is another example of govt deliberately creating a shortage so as to drive up prices.