January 28, 2012

price increase

There is never a right time for any price increase. Nobody likes it, so It is human nature to oppose it. People will think of reasons why it is wrong.

I think the reasons to raise taxi fares are valid. Demand for taxis will fall initially but will pick up again after that.

As for buses and trains, running costs like wages and maintenance will go up and fares have to go up every few years.

It is also fair for eateries to increase the prices of their food and drink during the Chinese New Year holidays. I guess the owners have to pay their helpers more and to compensate themselves for working during the holiday for the convenience of others.

more profits or making a lot of profits is not a bad thing. It encourages people to be productive and it is incentive for companies to invest more. If a company is contented with its earnings and does not intend to make more, workers will not get pay increase or more bonus. Some workers may even lose their job. Shops may not open on holidays and manufacturers may not want to produce a variety of Chinese New Year goods.

January 24, 2012


There are two such billboards in Circuit Road, Macpherson Estate. I think anyone entering the estate from Aljunied Road or Paya Lebar Road would notice at least one of them. I usually return home by Aljunied Road and I pass by both.

The view changes with every festive season. This view was in December 2011. I forgot to take a view for Deepavali.

January 19, 2012

new and original

When you rearrange furniture or things in your house or room to give it a fresh look, it makes you happy. However, the new arrangement is not necessarily better than the old one. It just has a new appeal. Maybe that is why human beings like to see changes once in a while. So, they also take the chance to clean up the house before the Lunar New Year.

Even if you just tidy up a little so that things don't stick out here and there, it makes the place neater. You also feel happy.

Many years ago I was one of the judges for some sketches put up by classes in a school concert. Marks were awarded for originality. That time, we did not think much about this.

I think you are aware that it is not easy to say whether a sketch is original or not. If the judge has not seen it before, it does not mean it is original. If the judge has seen it before, but the producer of the sketch has not seen something like that before and he created it himself, then it is original.

January 15, 2012

An honest man

Recently I wanted to withdraw $500 from an OCBC ATM. It was before the theft from DBS ATM scare. I inserted the card into the slot, went through the steps and waited. Soon, the card came out. I took it and waited .. waited ... How come no money come out? I didn't know how many seconds, but my feeling was that it was longer than the usual time I had waited in the past.

So I thought that the machine was malfunctioning. I decided to walk further up where there was a branch of the Bank to enquire.

After walking several steps I heard a voice calling from behind.

A middle-aged rotund man was pointing to the ATM and muttered something about money.

I hurried back to the ATM and found that money had come out from the ATM. I counted it - 10 50-dollar notes. They were my money.

The man said he just happened to be around and saw what I was doing.

I felt happy and indeed appreciated his honesty. Otherwise I would have lost $500. I thanked him and offered him $10 for lunch as it was around lunch time.

He declined my offer.

January 11, 2012

opera and toothpick

Last week I saw the Cantonese opera Tragedy of an Emperor by Chinese Theatre Circle. It is a new version. Many years back I also watched the older version of the same opera by Chinese Theatre Circle. My view is that the old version is better than the new version. I feel that the new version is rather dull. A few of the artistes doing supporting or stand-around roles also looked bored.

My preference is still the traditional version which has more opera flavour and its theme songs are more melodious.

I have been using these special toothpicks for some time. It is a toothpick but there are bristles at one end to help you remove food particles between the gaps of the teeth. I find them effective. Compared to dental floss, it is more convenient and less messy.

January 07, 2012

Habits and routine

I used to use dental floss to clean my teeth before bedtime. Not doing it made me feel as if something was not right. During a holiday abroad I suspended the habit for about a fortnight. After that I felt OK without flossing my teeth. So now I have dropped the habit.

Human beings are creatures of habits. This was said by the famous detective Sherlock Holmes who could deduce a criminal's habits by observing clues at the crime scene. The writer of these SH stories must be an astute observer of human behaviour.

Maybe about 80% of what we do everyday and how we do things are a result of our habits and they have become routine.

But habits can change or be stopped if we have the determination.
You hear people say 'I cannot do without this or that, like car, maid, computer, .... ' But I believe people will adapt and will have to do without these things when circumstances force them to. After some time they could develop new habits.