March 30, 2011

random thoughts

I was watching the Chinese Classic, Journey to the West (JTW). It reminded me of a book I read when I was in school.

There is a book called The Pilgrims' Progress. I think it is Christian Literature. No, I did not read this. I read another one with the same moral values but a simpler one which is meant for kids. It is called The Land Far Beyond by Enid Blyton. I could remember little of the story. I think it is about a group of youngsters reaching their destination land after going through a lot of obstacles.

I also remember watching the film The Ten Commandments.

Back to JTW, the Monk was telling his 3 disciples that they should not kill demons and spirits because they have a life too. Compassion! A basic ingredient of Buddhist philosophy.

Buddhism doesn't have commandments or laws but it has some precepts which followers are encouraged to observe. One of them is refrain from killing. But I think Buddhists can eat meat. You also cannot ask another person to kill. For example you go to a market, buy a live chicken and ask the stall owner to kill it for you.

If you don't observe any precept, it doesn't mean you are a bad man but you will bring sufferings to yourself.

Then I thought of leadership. If a person is too compassionate, too kind or too nice, he would not be an effective leader. He would not get things done. People would take advantage of him. That is human nature.

March 26, 2011


If you are woondering whether I collected the free gifts, I did - 20 sachets of these instant coffee .....

I was looking at coming shows at SISTIC and saw these opera shows. They are in Mandarin but there is no information about what genre of opera they are or who the performers are. It is here. Anyone knows?

March 22, 2011

the seduction of free gifts

I was passing a Video shop. There were stick-ups on the walls blaring special offers and big discounts. I went in to take a look. I decided to buy a DVD set of a Chinese drama. It cost $24.90 before discount of 20%. Why not a round figure $25, I thought, then it would be $20 after discount.

At the counter the cashier said, '$19.90 after discount. 10 cents more and you can get our free gift. Why not choose one more show? We give a free pack of instant coffee for $20 purchase.'

I said, 'Never mind, you can charge me $20.'

She shook her head, 'Cannot. We have many shows from $1 to $8 each. Why not take a look?'

So I took another look and picked a single-movie DVD.

After I had paid, the cashier said, 'You can collect your gift at this shop, it is at .....'

I said, 'How come just now you didn't tell me must go to another shop for the gift?'

She said, 'Oh, it is not far, you go down to the centre and then walk along this road right to the end and ... bra, bra, bra ......... must go today, OK ?'.

When I left the shop it was raining, just like it had been been raining in the past few afternoons.

March 18, 2011

stretch your dollar

Last week I bought this antiseptic cream from Watsons. It cost $6. Then I went to a FAIRPRICE supermarket. This one is quite big and there is a pharmacy inside too. I found this cream selling for $4.80 only. So if you want to buy this cream, better go to a pharmacy at FAIRPRICE.

At the FAIRPRICE supermarket there were mangoes at special offer - three for $1.99. If you just buy 3 mangoes and nothing else, you pay $1.95 because prices are rounded down to the nearest 5 cents.

There was a crowd at the mangoes which looked appealing. If you see a lot of housewives buying something, usually it is a good bargain - for food and household items, not bonds and shares. Later when I came back to look at the mangoes, quite a lot were sold already. I also bought three.

Here are two of them, two because because I have eaten one soon after I came home. It was sweet.

Don't they look tempting? A mellow golden yellow covered with tantalizing nectar that has seeped out.

How to stretch your dollar

March 15, 2011


劉惠鳴 在新加坡 万山福德祠土地诞演出 2011

The hua dan at the end part of the video is Ko Lai.

March 13, 2011


I think the opposition parties, especially the stronger ones, should contest as many seats as they could, no need to worry about 3-corner fights.

Then each party will know how much support it has. The better parties will likely to attract more capable people. I think this is one way for a strong opposition to emerge. It is also better for whatever talents they could get to be in one party rather than spread out in ten parties.

The opposition seems to think that people who want to vote for the opposition will support any opposition party.
If this were so, doesn't it means all the opposition parties have similar ideology and manifesto. Then they may as well come together to form one party.

Assuming 60% want to vote for the opposition. Of this 60%, maybe only 30% will vote for any Tong, Yacob or Kumar. The others have their own mind what oppositions they want.

For example, you support FLOP (Frannxis' Love Opera Party) but it is not contesting in your ward. Since you do not like the other opposition party, you might vote for the ruling party or you may spoil your vote.

March 10, 2011

V is for ...

I have been watching some old sword-fighting movies. They have a lot of violence. It is not uncommon to see a knife sticking in a body, blood gushing out or an arm being chopped off. I guess some of these scenes were censored when the movies were shown in the cinemas back in those years.

Another common thing is the hero fighting dozens after dozens of men and killing all of them and finally facing his chief opponent for a duel.

March 07, 2011

G is for ...

I was reading a post about Graduates parents produce smarter children. The writer came across non-graduates who have smart children. So she disagrees with the statement.

People get their genes from their parents. The genes dictate your characteristics, for example skin colour, body size and facial features. They can even tell you if you are prone to certain diseases.

If you believe in genes, then you will agree that tall parents produce taller children than short parents. Nevertheless, there are exceptions.

Smart parents will also transfer their smart genes to their children.
Graduates are supposed to be smart. Therefore they produce smart children.

Now, there are many non-graduates who are smart but they do not go to university for various reasons.
So, non-graduates produce smart as well as not-so-smart children.

Hence I think it is not wrong to say graduates parents produce smarter children.

But intelligence doesn't necessarily make your life happier. Happiness is relative to expectation. For example, an average student scoring Cs for his subjects is just as happy as a smart student scoring As. If the average student scores a few Bs and As, he will be happier than the smart student.

There are things that are more important, like your attitude towards life, religious belief and emotional stability.

March 03, 2011

I stands for ...

Inflation is one of those things that will never go away. I think inflation began when man started to trade with each other. When I was young I didn't know about inflation but often we heard our mother grumbling about prices of rice and kerosene going up and telling us not to waste our food and to spend less.

I do not know if that time Government got give out money or not.

I did not study economics in school. I think two fundamental factors are raw materials and world population. Raw materials including food get less and less while the world population increases. So supply cannot meet demand and prices go up.

If I were the finance minister, I would not give out money to everyone. I think most people can cope with moderate inflation if they make some adjustments to their budgets. Suppose your expenditure per month is $2000 and inflation is 4%. So you will need $80 more to spend on the same services and goods. I believe it is possible to cut down on some expenses.

For some people it might be a good thing because they eat too much, talk too much, buy too many 4D numbers, use too much electricity and water.

Haha, if I stand for election, I will lose my deposit.

March 01, 2011

China, the by-election strategy

Recently I read some commentaries about why China will not go the way of Egypt. I agree with the reasons. Basically China is not the same as Egypt. The Chinese want less corruption and more fairness and justice but they have no desire to remove the leaders or change the government.

I watched a Chinese movie which made me think there could be another reason. It has to do with Chinese culture and beliefs and China's history. Generally, Chinese people believe in one's fate. It is destined and is not easily changed. So, if a man is poor, he will not blame anyone or the government. He accepts it as his fate.

For centuries, the Chinese people lived through great turmoils, upheavals and devastation. China was ruled by emperors and warlords with absolute powers. One power overthrew another and one emperor or warlord replaced another. Meanwhile it was the ordinary peasants who
suffered in the wars and fighting. Then the Communist Government ruled and with it came the tumultuous years of Mao's Great Cultural Revolution. Again, ordinary folks suffered.

The Chinese have had enough instability and chaos. They want stability and the chance to do well in life. I believe changes for the better will come, but they will be gradual.

Someone said the by-election strategy which the oppositions in Singapore have used before does not favour weak opposition parties. I think in some circumstances it might work.

For example, if a lot of people were very unhappy with some policies and they would like to vote for the opposition, any opposition candidate. Now, if the oppositions contested every constituency, after the election Singaporeans could find themselves ruled by a weak government - a coalition formed by the oppositions who could not even agree on fundamental issues.

So, people might hesitate to vote for the opposition. I think the the by-election strategy might be useful here.