September 30, 2006

EM3, RK and NS

The scrapping of EM3 in primary school brought to mind the scrapping of RK in secondary school years back. RK is religious knowledge. When RK was started people said good and when it was scrapped people also said good. I think one good thing was
that students who otherwise knew nothing about religions learnt something about religions.

Because of this RK thing I learnt about Buddhism. I am not a Buddhist and I didn’t become a Buddhist after the taking the courses in Buddhist Studies. But I find the Buddhist doctrine of compassion and self-reliance agreeable with me.

Similarly because of compulsory NS I experienced army life. Otherwise I would not join the army or volunteer to do NS. Would you? I think now I am glad of it.

September 28, 2006

Guo Jing

If you were a fan of chinese sword-fighting novels, you probably would have read Jin Yong’s 'The Condor Heroes'. In this story there is a type of wu kung called 降龍十八掌. In this wu kung there is a ‘stroke’ called 飛龍在天. This is what the pictures reminded me off.

My favourite character in this story is the hero Guo Jing. He is an exponent of this wu kung and he has powerful internal strength. Guo Jing is a trustworthy man who loves his country and family and is true to his friends. He personifies the values of righteousness and loyalty.

September 25, 2006


I was at Chinatown last Saturday night intending to see the Mid-autumn light up.

One stretch of New Bridge Road was out-of-bounds to traffic, so buses plying NBR could only enter NBR further down the road after making a detour. At the first bus stop here, a girl from the bus company was helping to guide commuters and to direct the buses to prevent congestion at the bus stop. She was wearing the company’s white jacket with the reflective yellow stripes.

The girl was short, small-sized and dark-complexioned. She didn’t look like a local. My guess is Filipino or Cambodian. When a bus came, she would stand at the bus lane facing the bus and used both hands to signal to the driver to stop further down so as to leave space for the following buses to stop. She had to be on her feet for hours.

It was tiring work. But she took pride in her job and I think she did a good one. Someone asked her if no.80 stopped there. “No problem,” she said; a smile flashed across her face, “all buses stop here.”

It brought my mind to another ‘observation’. It was several months back at a large superstore in a shopping center. At one section the salespersons gathered together at one side gossiping among themselves, oblivious to the few shoppers who were browsing the goods. They behaved as if the world owed them a living.

See the contrast in work attitude.

Hee..hee..sorry, nothing about the light-up.

September 24, 2006

Free advice

There is a cute cashier at this Fairprice supermarket nearby.

One time I was buying oranges and I was coughing.
“Cough, don’t eat oranges,” she said, like a teacher giving instructions to her pupils.
“Or,” I said.
“Chicken also don’t eat,” she added.
“Okay,” I said.

Another time I bought two bottles of milk.
“Buy bigger bottle cheaper you know,” she said, like a mother advising her daughter-in-law.
“Next time,” I said.

On another occasion my total purchase was just short of $20.
“Buy one more thing lah, $20 then got points,” she said, like a credit card officer from the bank persuading people to spend more.
“Never mind,” I said. .

I visit there quite regularly.

September 17, 2006

Recent events

[You can stop the video playing at the right column by clicking on the ‘pause button’.]

‘down Bian' demonstrations

I feel that they should not force Ah Bian to step down. If he is corrupt, then charge him. If Taiwan laws do not allow it, then they should pressurize the court to amend the laws.

But if Ah Bian feels that he has done wrong, then he should step down on his own.

Street protests during IMF-WB meet

I think these should not be allowed.

From past experiences the supposed peaceful protests always turned violent.

These are not the only way to express your views.

Of course they are illegal in the first place.

September 13, 2006


Occasionally I send my feedback to reporters on their commentaries published in the Straits Times. Most of the time there were no replies.

Here is one example, with reply. The article was published last year. I think it was about ownership. This topic is relevant anytime, especially now with our ‘welcome foreigners’ policy.

This is my letter:

I think the person who commented on the lack of ownership is just expressing his personal perception.

I don't know what is your definition of ownership but I feel ownership in Singapore, like nationalism, should include love, pride and passion. You are right that this comes from having a role to play. However, I do not agree that it must be in the form of taking part in discussions, speaking up, and so on. Having a role could simply means the work we are doing, be it our humble jobs or just little acts of keeping our country clean. You seem to link ownership with the freedom to speak our mind without any rules. You mean if we allow this Singaporeans will feel they have ownership. How could it be. We should feel ownership in the country just because we are born here or for some others because they choose to live here…….

I think ownership of home is one important factor that roots people here whether then or now.

This is the reply:

Dear Mr __,

Thank you for writing to me.

You are right that ownership means different things to different people.

That is a point I should have included in my column. I am happy to hear that you feel pride and passion for Singapore and yes, I am sure many other Singaporeans do too.

Senior Correspondent
The Straits Times

September 03, 2006

Opera at fund-raising shows

Some Hong Kong opera artistes talking about their experience at fund-raising charity shows. They include Lisa Wong, Johnson Yuen, Wun Fei Yin, Chan Wing Yee and Wai Churn Ying. There are a few flashback clips.

September 01, 2006

Dinner talk

This was one of our occasional get-together dinners - this time at East Coast.

We had a guy who is a great prawn eater. He bit off the prawn's head, crushed it and sucked out the ‘nectar’ inside. Then he deposited the residue on the plate and picked up the prawn’s body with chopsticks and began peeling the shell off with his teeth. All the while his fingers never touched the prawn.

“Hei, SL, prawns high in cholesterol you know,” said HW.

“Don’t worry lah; healthy people, don’t eat this and that also die suddenly.”

“These are very rare cases, form an insignificant percentage but those who eat anyhow – the probability of getting diseases very high,” : HW.

HW is a maths man, always talks about percentage and probability.

“Ya, can eat the unhealthy food but eat less and less often,” said the health expert from F&N. I think she ate only one prawn.

Later came a plate of chicken. One lady picked up a piece and examined it carefully. When others looked at her, she said, “See cooked properly or not, if not got bacteria.”

Haha...this lady is in the biology discipline.

There was no one in the arts or humanities, so no one to wax lyrical about the food.

...more talk on food…then some gossips...

Then someone said he intended to organize a trip to Genting in the last week of November, before the end of the O-level exams. I indicated my interest as I have not been there for quite some time and I like the cool weather. Cameron Highlands also has cool weather and is a relaxing place but no one seemed interested. Perhaps it is too quiet. But if you like a few days in solitude, CH is a good place.