Category Archives: Bouquets and Brickbats

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly and the Beautiful

A great book to Gallop off the Year of the Horse

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Indeed this is my second book of the year, the first being Eat to Live (The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss) by Dr Joel Furhman. Since my health scare in 3rd quarter of 2013, I have lost 6kg already and am aiming for another 6kg by the end of 2014.

Looking back, I thank God for his warning signals and am blessed to be given the learning opportunities or the valley seasons of my life to experience roadblocks and overcome them. 

This second book – Change Your Heart, Change Your Life by Dr Gary Smalley is another gem which got me so glued to every page. Life’s mysteries especially with regards to relationships between people when they turn sour and how we react to them is clearly and simply explained so that we can literally turn our lives around and choose to be happy despite circumstances and yet open our hearts to giving and receiving an abundance of love from God and others.

This is really a MUST-read!

Mein Fuhrer’s Outburst on the Punggol East By-Election Results

This is super hilarious! I could not stop laughing! It’s amazing how one scene from one movie can be applied to so many real life scenarios, albeit with superb script writing. Love that bit where Cecilia Sue’s shenanigans also got a part. And the best part from the Fuhrer, “Call my boy here so I can give him a tight slap.” So funny…..

Singapore’s Population – Murky waters ahead

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The Singapore government has recently released a white paper on population and it is interesting to compare how other countries are tackling the issue of falling birth rates, like hongkong, where this news article highlighted HK’s woes and constraints in importing foreigners.

Another asian city, Shanghai, is also facing population challenges as it grows, and as this news article points out, “The continual growing population overloads the city’s public services. Housing, education, health and other public services will face even more pressure.”

Not unlike these countries, Singapore has also felt the immense strain and pressure of a growing population (mostly through immigration), and in recent years we have seen great levels of dissatisfaction in the same domains of housing, education, health, and public services like transport where MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) trains have encountered major breakdowns (through poor maintenance and increased usage) and public bus drivers going on strike the first time in decades due to perceived poor treatment by their employer.

Like my fellow Singaporeans, I too feel the pressure of a higher population density in our tiny island state and going forward I will be comparing notes with other countries on how they make population planning policies for the benefit of their citizen’s overall welfare, not just for the country’s economic progress.

It is always not easy to navigate the murky waters of population policies, especially where numbers are required to sustain the economy.

Nevertheless first off, I’ll lay out the basic Singapore population statistics from the sources to look at the growth trend. In my further articles, I’d like to compare country policies in the area of immigration vs natural population growh.

According to wikipedia, Singapore’s population as at 1 July 2012 is at 5,312,400, ranked 116th worldwide, see here.

In 2010, Singapore’s population was at 5,076,700, ranked 117th worldwide, see here.

Cross referencing from Singapore’s Department of Statistics on Population Demographics, and going back, it looks like this:

2012 – 5.312 million

2011 – 5.183 million

2010 – 5.076 million

2005 – 4.265 million

2000 – 4.028 million

1990 – 3.047 million

1980 – 2.414 million

1970 – 2.075 millionImage

 

MBS Facebook promo for PSY’s free concert gone awry

Act 1: Scene 1

On Monday 26 November around 618pm, Yahoo News Singapore puts out a press release of the free PSY concert on , with a link to MBS facebook page for this event (see above screen capture).

So after reading the Yahoo News, at about 645pm,  I proceeded to click on the link and it asked me just to “LIKE” that page. Once it is liked, it says  “Looks like you are all psyched up and ready for the event of the year.”

There is a “Register Below“. But NO online form. And only instructions to turn up on 28 November between 12pm-8pm to collect the free ticket. So I assume their computer programming is so efficient that it captures my facebook account or my facebook registered email or whatever.

I asked my girlfriend to do the same.

Good thing she took a photo of the screen (see below) at about 720pm.

Act 1: Scene 2

I was pretty happy this morning to see the front page news article about the event, thinking that me and my gf secured our tickets.

Then I went to the same FB page again and saw that it closed registrations and asked successful people to collect tickets on Wednesday.

Act 1: Scene 3

Then came the bummer.

A facebook FAQ update sometime today by MBS says that we needed to fill up a form (what form?) and a confirmation email was to be sent (what email?).

Kena snooked liao.

And not just the two of us. At least another 173 comments poured in asking MBS to clarify (see below).

How MBS handles this bit of fiasco will determine their public relations handling skill as well as how much they really value “Giving Back to Singapore” as they coined the whole theme of the concert.

Well, the ball is in your court now, dear MBS.

And on internet social media time, the clock is ticking fast!

Act 2: Final Scene

Seems that MBS has acknowledged that some visitors to their FB page may have encountered some technical difficulty similar to what I described above, and they said that they would learn from this experience for their next promo.

Good enough for me, given that I did not pay any money for this whole debacle.

Act 3: Scene 3

Happy to see the final product on youtube. We have PSY in Singapore. I myself was just a distance away at the Esplanade Theatre catching Crazy Christmas.

DIY steak dinner

On a rainy saturday afternoon, there was not much activities to do outdoors, and no new movies to catch, so I decided to cook. It was a while since I hit the stove. I bought the meat from a place (recommended by a buddy of mine) called Foodie Market Place at Tiong Bahru, http://www.facebook.com/FoodieMarketPlace

Fantastic shop. Great prices. And they’ll listen to what you need and make recommendations for you. This black angus grass fed ribeye with good marbling was $3.75 per 100g. And 4 pieces cost me $29. Juicy, soft, tender, succulent and great taste.

Will definitely go back for more purchases. Next time I’ll try the baby back ribs.

Book Review – Gordon Ramsay’s Playing With Fire

I must admit that as I was paying the ten bucks for the book, a sense of trepidation filled my mind and I was wondering things like, “What if the whole book was just an expository for how many ways and variations Gordon Ramsay could say the F-word?”

But then again, it was just ten bucks that screamed at me from the shelves not of a bookstore (they are becoming extinct nowadays with closures of MPH, PageOne and such), but rather the convenience store inside a gas station. Imagine buying a book from a gas station. Not your typical add ons like parking coupons, sweets or drinks.

So what led me to write a review of his book?

Simply because it’s really a good book. You got the ingredients like a hard life (lots of hard work) at the bottom of the mountain, then the little breaks and amazing partnership that Ramsay forged with his father-in-law Chris (yeah, of all people a father-in-law!), and the multiple excitements and adrenaline rush from his subsequent restaurant openings and business growth. Add to that a strong layer of good old business and wise principles of taking care of your staff, demanding the highest standards, and a big dose of humility and being grounded in all that uphill climb.

Ramsay’s narration is also quite refreshing, as it is shared quite directly and frankly, in a manner that spells, “We just say it like it is!”. Quite a breeze to read, put down, and pick up again, that I finished the book in 2 days.

Just like good food, Gordon Ramsay has me hooked. And I am on the search for his other titles (not the cookbooks yet).

Kari Jobe’s Beautiful Songs

This morning during sunday service, I was compelled to find out the music video that was played during the offering. After service I almost forgot, then I remembered and went to ask the media guys. So here’s Kari Jobe with her beautiful vocals and lyrics:

We Are

You Are For Me

The Tipping Point

In recent days, I observe signs that things are coming to a brew.

A boiling point. A tipping point, so to speak.

From the pages of wikipedia, I quote

“In science, a tipping point is the point at which a system is displaced from a state of stable equilibrium into a different state.

Examples are:

Tipping point (physics), in which the system is the position of a physical object
Tipping point (sociology), is the event of a previously rare phenomenon becoming rapidly and dramatically more common.
Tipping point (climatology), in which the system is the global climate”

Many things in Singapore have come to a tipping point.

In May 2011, Singapore’s opposition party the Worker’s Party won the first ever GRC (Group Representation Constituency) in Aljunied . The first ever win for the Opposition in what was considered the ruling PAP (People’s Action Party) stronghold over the opposition. At election rallies, there was such a ground swell of building resentment over what citiizens felt was an accumulation of years of political arrogance.

On 25th October 2011, Singapore witnessed it’s 5th death reported within 5 months at the same Bedok Reservoir. Suicides or at least unnatural deaths had become so common there that the our ex-Foreign Minister and several religious leaders held a prayer and spiritual ceremony at the location. Signboards with SOS helplines were also erected around the reservoir grounds.

On Thursday, 15th December 2011, Singapore’s rail transit system, the SMRT broke down along the North South Line during evening peak hours, affecting 127,000 commuters during the 5-hour shutdown, where several trains that stalled had passengers stuck inside with little ventilation, a lack of air, and some without any light. In one train, a passenger had to break the glass window with a fire extinguisher so that air could come inside the carriage. Two days later, on Saturday 17 December, the SMRT broke down again along the North South Line for seven hours, affecting 94,000 commuters. Prior to this massive breakdown, the SMRT broke down on the Circle line on Wednesday 14th December for some 40 minutes and also for 4 hours in September.

Public transport is very dear to Singaporeans. Both literally and figuratively. The Public Transport Council had approved a 1% increase in bus and train fares that took effect on 8 October 2011, despite many protests (not phyical ones which are outlawed). Then on 12 December 2011, Singapore’s major taxi operator Comfort Delgro announced it’s increase in taxi fares.

Add to this the latest SMRT fiasco, and I can imagine a tipping point coming soon. Things will not be hunky dory or same old same old anymore.

People are starting to question how things are being run. People with pink colored ICs (Identity Cards) as well as blue colored ICs. Heck even the huge numbers bearing the different work passes cannot be mollycoddled.

The strains of packing in so many people on a tiny island in such a short span of time is showing.

When the fat lady sings, how will it all pan out?

For those who wish to hold accountable those responsible for the SMRT breakdowns, you may like to visit the link below to put your name to a petition

Give up your seat Petition | GoPetition

And I had a compelling urge to link this article to another blog which had a masterpiece of satirical writing. A classic. A beautifully composed blog on Singapore titled

Manifestations of the Singaporean Rot

Ching Chong, Ling Long, Ting Tong

This is really classic. I chanced upon this on one of my fav blogs http://www.mrbrown.com and it really shows how fast times have changed, and what really the new generation of internet is like.

Basically, this chick is ranting herself full of nonsense and we immediately get tons of responses on the same youtube media that broadcast it. First, take a load of this original video that sparked it off

Then check out some responses, first from this guy that is making a parody of her rant

and another one from this dude who’s making a comedy segment out of it,

and finally, my personal favourite is this cool guy Jimmy who made a music video response,

Jimmy turns out to be really talented, he sings and plays and I really dig the video editing. So check out Jimmy’s other productions

and what’s more, Jimmy is donating 100% of all his profits from his itunes sold to Japan for it’s recovery from the tsunami disaster. Way to go man!

Singing Sensation Sam Tsui on Youtube

I just happened to chance upon this guy and he has quite a voice. Doesn’t hurt that the video editing is not too bad as well. Here’s a couple of his vids, scroll down for a surprise at the end.

Above is a Michael Jackson medley compilation.

I kinda liked the Glee song.

Another song he did called Firefires, and check out the last video. This guy Sam Tsui is actually a ……drumroll………….a student at Yale. Check out this unconventional admissions and recruitment video done by Yale Alumni and Students (Sam Tsui appears at 3:15)