Saturday, January 31, 2015

Unexpected Discovery from Attending 2015's 1st Hong Lim Park Protest

Today's immigration protest at Hong Lim Park supposedly come after 2 years since the sparkling of the main protest in 2013 which is the largest protest in SG. I guess the organizer held it today due to Lunar New Year drawing near as people might be busy with spring cleaning & stuff.

I don't see the major socio-political sites promoting the event way in advance so the awareness was only known to me via the comments posted by others.

Turnout at 5pm. Not many people.

Sinkies are a pragmatic bunch. Getting them to attend the protest is tough. I have that 'voice' in my head telling me why bother waste time go down to Hong Lim park?

To quell the 'voice' inside & to make the trip worthwhile:
  • I dropped in to a bicycle shop to check out its business. Hanging on with its fingernails due to high rent & e-commerce. There isn't much accessories there due to online stores.
  • Cycled on to library to drop off 4 unwanted books(free up space at home) onto unwanted shelf.
  • Stayed at protest site for 45mins. Then rode on to check out newly opened restaurant at Marina Barrage before nightfall. It's been vacant for many months since the prior restaurant went bust.
Preferred seats are those with sea view.
At 6:30pm, do you see any diners at this seafood restaurant at Marina Barrage?

The biggest catch which is an unexpected discovery of today's trip however turned out to be HavelockII - a building for office & retail. This building is opposite Hong Lim park. I went up the overhead bridge to snap a picture of the protest turnout, turned my head & noticed many vacant spaces.
All the shops on the ground floor went bust.
2nd level is vacant too. Other higher levels looks deserted as well.

Zoomed-in-view of the 2nd floor. Can see through to the other side of the building.

Exterior of HavelockII looks nice but is a totally different story for the interior.

Speaking of businesses dying, i've written about the Rot & Decay in Orchard Road Shopping Enclave Beside Istana where many shops inside Orchard Plaza went bust last year. Here is an update on the exterior. I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Taken in Oct 2014. 1 down.

Jan, 2015. 2 neighbors went bust as well - contagion

Cancerous gdp growth.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Hidden Cost of Cheapest - Bad Advertising to Tourists & Locals

Simple things also can't get right. Govt boards & related companies very often choose the cheapest bid. Well the cheapest turn out to be not so cheap in terms of fixes to rectify the errors & lost productivity. Extra hours worked - very hardworking indeed!

From Banner's Typo
The first spelling mistake to catch my attention was the Xmas & New Year banner which surfaced online last year.

Marry instead of Merry.
'Splendid' advertising.

It led people to wonder what kind of cheap foreign worker the winning bidder employed? Such a simple word that even a sinkie with primary school education would know the correct word is Merry. We can see that nobody cares. No checking as it goes to the printers to the people putting up the banner.

Bochup, bochup, bochup is the order of the day.

To Leaking Roof & Grass Problem at Expensive Stadium
Then we have the opening of the S$1.87B national stadium. The hugely expensive stadium though expensive is likely to be won by the cheapest bidder as is often the case for govt-contracts. New stadium was plagued with grass problem & a leaking roof.

Again what kind of advertising message being sent to the outside world?

To Typos at SG Exhibition at Museum
Then i have my own experience of seeing it with my own eyes as i go to the National Museum after the Philatelic museum since they are close to each other. It was reported last year around the opening of the exhibition that Showcase of S'pore history marred by typos, errors.

Mistakes include:
  •  Perak's Slim River appearing as "Grim River"
  • Singapore Symphony Orchestra as "Singapore Symphonic Orchestra".

Again the workers involved such as museum staff, printers, setting up etc are bochup, bochup & bochup. There's something wrong with the management as the staff are 'bochup'. It took a Briton visiting the museum to point out the mistakes.

These mistakes are spotted at the WWII section of SG700 years exhibition at the museum. I may have missed out the pasted over corrections at the earlier periods as i walked through the exhibits corridor but the WWII section sounded the alarms for me.

What do these mistakes tell you? Well it tell me it is highly likely to be done by a foreign worker.

SG surrendered on 1st day of Chinese New Year
How likely is a sinkie not to know this easy to remember fact? Alarm bell - likely done by a foreigner.

6 August
1st atomic bomb is 3 days before Nagasaki bombing on the 9th which is SG's national day. Pretty easy to remember.

6 Aug - Hiroshima atomic bomb.
9 Aug - SG National day(3 days after), Nagasaki atomic bomb

Easy reference using SG national day & mistake made. Alarm bell - likely done by a foreigner.

15 Aug
Japanese emperor announces surrender. Ok i don't remember this date. With wikipedia today, the fact can be easily obtained without the outdated memorizing approach still taught in schools.

Bochup, bochup, bochup. Didn't bother to check date of surrender.

The Light of the South
Likelihood is that sinkies would know that SG is renamed Syonan To, the japanese word for 'The Light of the South' in history classes in compulsory secondary school.

Alarm bell - likely done by a foreigner.

Ok we can sort of rule out malaysian workers as how can they don't know how to write their 'Terengganu' state.

With the clues of these pasted over corrections, i would deduce that the work is done by a non-sinkie & non-msian.

This kind of work can't be done by a sinkie being paid decent wages? Must rely on cheaper foreign worker & end up spending more to fix & time wasted?

How to inspire confidence with these kind of advertising to foreign investors, tourists & locals with the way the current hybrid regime is doing things?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Pelangi Pasar Malam - Small Brother to KSL Pasar Malam

The pasar malam at Pelangi neighborhood is another malaysian chinese dominated night market. This tuesday night market is much shorter than the one held outside KSL mall on mondays. Some of the hawkers can be seen at KSL pasar malam as well.

If you have to choose one malaysian chinese theme night market in Johor, go for the KSL pasar malam for ease of accessibility & variety.

Sundays – Larkin Pasar Malam blogpost
Mondays – KSL Pasar Malam blogpost (long pink line on map below)
Tuesdays – Pelangi Pasar Malam (shorter pink line on map below)

Click to view bigger map.

As usual, my mobile phone is switched off. Taking a break from phone addicted 'zombies' in SG.

Getting there by bus

  1. Board any bus heading to Ulu Tiram/Kota Tinggi at JB Sentral.
  2. Alight at bus-stop after T- Junction of Pelangi Plaza.
  3. Cross overhead bridge.
  4. Head north till you see an open field.
  5. Turn right at end of shophouses & walk through the residential area.
  6. Upon exit from residential area, you'll see 3 petrol stations & a mosque.
  7. Walk in direction of mosque to reach pasar malam.

Total walking distance is around 1.1km. It is better to leave before night fall due to the walking distance.

Hygiene Issue Again
First of all I want to address the hygiene issue that was raised by commentators in previous pasar malam blogposts. As i've mentioned, eating at higher class eateries doesn't equate to better levels of hygiene.

You don't know what's in the kitchen until the food is served to you. Some find that the street hawkers are unhygienic with their 'open cooking' but at least there is transparency. You see what it is like & if you don't like it you can don't patronize them.

Hahaha, now i've got a frontal view of this mobile penang rojak hawker. I snapped a picture of him from the back as he is making his way to his spot at KSL pasar malam.

Penang style rojak + penang registered motorcycle = authentic feel.

How can johorean hawkers compete with this type of authenticity? The term for this type of edge in economics is called 'comparative advantage'.

A glove on his left hand to handle food.
Full blown transparency unlike a closed kitchen.

There's another hawker on motorcycle. He sells Chwee Kueh(steamed rice cakes). Such food hawkers on motorcycles are eradicated by Sillypore's hybrid regime as the regime loves to spam shopping malls with those spam eateries like McDonalds, Subway, food court etc.....

How can those spam eateries in shopping malls be tourist attractions?

Local bred natives + self employed selling native food  + wear whatever you like = food with pride

Look at the gas cylinder at the rear of his sidecar motorcycle.
He has a glove on his left hand as well like the rojak hawker.

These hawkers on wheels can move around to better business locations - flexibility.
Entrance to pasar malam - mosque is behind the popiah hawker operated from a van.

I had 2 rolls of popiah after eating carrot cake. Would prefer the popiahs to be sweeter. As for the carrot cake, i still prefer the carrot cake hawker at KSL pasar malam.

Steamed chinese buns which are normally eaten at breakfast.

Malay grandparents tending to grandkid. Selling only vegies from their simple stall setup, it is likely that they reside in the countryside.

Do we ever see 3 generations of a family doing business at a shopping mall in SG?

At least when buying from these hawkers, you'll know you are mostly benefiting grandparents, grandkid. In Sillypore, much of the price goes to paying a faceless landlord.

Unload everything from the truck & prepare at their stall – fresh.

Open air cooking. Such pictures leave a distaste on some readers in previous pasar malam writeups.

Rattan chair for toddler & small table. Such artisan-made rattan furniture are practically extinct from local furniture shops. Don't see them in local pasar malams as well.

[Left] Look at how the clothes hawker set up his tentage with his van inside.
[Right] Another hawker selling clothes with tentage

Pasar malam hawkers in Malaysia are very hands on in setting up their stalls contributing to a sense of personality for the site.

This is the 3rd pasar malam writeup on my blog. My focus is mainly on the personality of them. I don't showcase much food as this is not a food blog. With regards to food at a pasar malam, the better approach is to eat a bit of different food(smaller servings) in order to sample more.

Pasar malams in Johor, Malaysia are a nice break from the cookie cutter shopping malls in SG.

Is more human there with not so many zombies addicted to 'opium' aka mobile phones.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Indian Elderly Male Neighbor Passed Away

A 'drought' in blogging for me with the start of 2015.

My indian neighbor passed away on 11th Jan(Sun) at around 5am. Heard noises outside which woke me up. Saw paramedics with their stretcher which gave me a shiver. A while later, i heard the wife cry - her hubby was pronounced dead by the medic.

Their flat was filled with relatives on that day which is more than Deepavali. Same phenomena as mine when my dad passed away last year. More relatives visit when the person passed away than when alive during Lunar New Year. Isn't that tragic?

My indian neighbor has been afflicted with cough since he was a smoker. Difficulty walking too so he remained at home. Is a good thing he didn't burden his family with medical/hospitalization bills. Cremation was done the next day (Monday).

According to economist Tim Harford:

Economic growth is a better life for individuals,

  • more choice
  • less fear
  • less toil
  • less hardship

The death of my neighbor got me thinking again about the long working hours which i wrote as the last blogpost for 2014.

What's the point of the damn regime harping incessantly on gdp growth?

For the masses here, economic growth is:

  • less choice ($$$ sucking by the regime)
  • more fear ($$$ issue)
  • more toil (look at the old working at hawker centers & food courts etc)
  • more hardship

Greedy hybrid regime digging its own grave at the next election.

Before the announcement of the fare hikes today by the greedy regime, there has already been an increase in the number of peasants riding electric wheelers for short commutes. So far the regime has not ban them though there has been rumors of trying to restrict them citing 'safety' reasons.

Why bother let the greedy regime suck $$$ unnecessarily? Better to buy a motorized wheeler & roll around. Or a cheap commuting bicycle.