Thursday, 29 June 2006

where did my money go?

as yet another bill came in my mail today, i suddenly pondered on why i'm always feeling so "poor"...

where has all my money gone??

for those who know me, other than my occasional/rare indulgence in consumer durables (which has since dwindled further - my last so called "luxury" purchase being a discontinued model of Canon G2 digital camera - which cost me $699 - some three years back) and an odd independent budget trip (where i stay in US$10 hotels) here and there around Asia, I hardly spend in a month on anything i can remotely call a "luxury"...

i don't eat in fancy restaurants, nor watch too many movies in the cinema... i keep my phone bills and internet bills lean, and drive a simple Suzuki Swift using unleaded 95 petrol (and not 98) and try to drive efficiently .. and i have a wardrobe i dread to look at, containing stuff i should long have disposed of or donated away.. (hahahaa..:p )..

i don't even buy too many books and CDs nowadays (which were some of my previous "little luxuries")..

yet when i read of "Ministers on Pensions".. and "High salaries of some civil servants" and worse of all, the fact that hardly anything of what i give in taxes every year (which to me is a pretty substantial sum) actually comes back to me (cos i don't fall into any of the "categories" of people who deserve to be "rewarded" with tax reliefs (i.e. married, 3 children, NS etc) nor goes to areas that i would wish to see supported... i somehow feel... (well... i don't know how to describe the feeling...)

but i did get S$400 recently from the Progress Package (yes.. clap clap...rejoice rejoice...).. yippee.. out of all the tax money i pay out.. yippee...

i sigh out loud.. :(

- What a coincidence: there was an article in Today about "S'poreans are fed, up with progress!" by Mr Brown. :)

- for Econs students: pls work on essay assignment with article: "To what extent can the MRP theory explain the wage differentials shown in the article?" - occupational hazard.. a teacher cannot help but spot a learning opportunity when she sees one..:p..

Tuesday, 27 June 2006

travelling matt

this should inspire u to travel a little more.. :)

Friday, 23 June 2006

the power of the media

i don't mean my blog to be particularly "political" but i can't help but want to share what i just read here about Chee Soon Juan..

until now, pretty much everyone i know (and i'm talking here about us common men & women-on-the-street) who ever mentions him, especially during election time, speaks of him in disparaging terms, using unflattering words like "untrustworthy", "joker", "crazy", "siding with the foreigners", "liar", "traitor", "troublemaker", "doesn't know what he is talking about"... many did not think him "fit to be a politician" from the "manner" he was reported to have confronted the ruling party members "head on", "harassing them" with his accusastions, resulting in an endless string of defamation suits against him, as well as how he had "supported the Western media's attack on Singapore" way back some 10 years ago..

i even read somewhere someone saying about him, "I cannot help wondering whether Dr. Chee and his colleagues are fighting for democracy or is it a personal vendetta against the government."

however, after i read the article, i started to ponder a little on why myself and the people i know have always had such a poor opinion of this guy whom i personally have never even heard from directly nor read his books... whence comes this impression of him...?

Only then did i truly comprehend the immense power of the regulated local media... i gasped at how narrow my view had become from my limited diet of the goings-on around how i've slurped up the local media's report on what PM Lee said recently in NZ..

"Singaporean voters are not fools. They judge who are the more credible candidates, and they know that this man and his party are not credible. That he's a liar, he's a cheat, he is deceitful, he's confrontational and it's a destructive form of politics designed not to win elections in Singapore but to impress foreign supporters and to make himself out to be a martyr," Mr Lee said.

chee soon juan himself spoke on this..

"When they run my picture in the newspapers you expect to see horns growing out of my head," says the leader of the Singapore Democratic Party. "I don't blame people for not voting for us. If I relied for my information on the newspapers here I wouldn't vote for me either."

why is the media messing with my mind?? :(

Thursday, 22 June 2006

vietnam 2006

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halong bay

Tuesday, 20 June 2006

Sri Lanka 2005

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Friday, 16 June 2006

Spare a thought for our fellow Singaporeans at Hougang and Potong Pasir

sign this petition!

not out of sympathy, but because (as a taxpayer), i feel money should go where it is most needed and not to help support particular political parties...

(as a forum letter says "I really don't mind not having a swimming pool, a sports stadium, a bicycle track or more covered walkways in Pasir Ris if the money could be used for more urgent and meaningful needs, like lift upgrading in Hougang and Potong Pasir.")

i second this.

See related story.... ST June 11, 2006

No $100m upgrading package for Hougang

HOUGANG constituency, which returned Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang to power in the recent elections, will not be getting the $100 million upgrading package that was offered to the residents during the elections anytime soon.

The $100 million package was seen as an incentive for the residents to vote for the People's Action Party candidate there, Mr Eric Low. But he lost to the incumbent opposition MP, Mr Low Thia Khiang, in the polls.

After the election, Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said that Mr Low Thia Khiang could still ask for the money as the Government had been prepared to put up a budget for it.

But Mr Mah (Bow Tan) told The Sunday Times that since Mr Low lost, Hougang will not get the money.

He said: 'The upgrading package that was offered for Hougang was part of the PAP candidate's programme for residents in the estate.

'The residents there decided that they are not ready to say 'yes' to the package. We will respect their decision.'

The minister said that though 130 blocks in Potong Pasir and Hougang were eligible for upgrading, there were about 800 blocks in other parts of Singapore that are older or as old that had not been spruced up in any way.

He said: 'To honour our commitment to the electorate, the Government will accord priority to blocks in the PAP wards.'

Monday, 12 June 2006

Noam Chomsky on Government

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from: Understanding Power: the indispensable Noam Chomsky
World Cup Rivals

Friday, 9 June 2006


Channel X - Episode 1

an alternative view to challenge our minds.
The Theory of the Dipper and the Bucket

Each of us has an invisible bucket. It is constantly emptied or filled, depending on what others say or do to us. When our bucket is full, we feel great. When it's empty, we feel awful.

Each of us also has an invisible dipper. When we use that dipper to fill other people's buckets -- by saying or doing things to increase their positive emotions -- we also fill our own bucket. But when we use that dipper to dip from others' buckets -- by saying or doing things that decrease their positive emotions -- we diminish ourselves.

Like the cup that runneth over, a full bucket gives us a positive outlook and renewed energy. Every drop in that bucket makes us stronger and more optimistic.

But an empty bucket poisons our outlook, saps our energy, and undermines our will. That's why every time someone dips from our bucket, it hurts us.

So we face a choice every moment of every day: We can fill one another's buckets, or we can dip from them. It's an important choice -- one that profoundly influences our relationships, productivity, health, and happiness.

-- From How Full Is Your Bucket? (Gallup Press, 2004)

Thursday, 8 June 2006

another hapless visitor

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... found in the fridge, next to the (expired) bottle of vanilla essence..

at the rate i go, i'll soon have no human visitors to my house... :(

Wednesday, 7 June 2006


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thought provoking..

The X-Men are hated, feared and despised collectively by humanity for no other reason than that they are mutants. So what we have here, intended or not, is a book that is about racism, bigotry and prejudice.

Uncanny X-Men writer Chris Claremont, 1982

For other possible social issues reflected in the show, click here and scroll down.

Friday, 2 June 2006

my personal DNA map

mouse over for details of each color block

extract from singapore travelogue

i was surfing the net for some malaysia road maps when i came across this globetrotter's travelogue on singapore...

"In our brief stints in Singapore it seems like all we ate was noodles. Fried noodles, noodles in soup, it all tasted good to me. The drinks served were much more of an "adventure." In the few hours of our layover there we had "Grass Jely Juice" which did indeed have actual bits of some jellylike substance and was the first to make our list of "worst drinks". "Water Chestnut Juice" was the second to make the list for no reason that I can decribe beyond it tasted bad.

The topper was the ice tea that we got after wandering about the extremely hot and humid midday of Singapore. We sat down in a food court and saw a tantalizing fishtank sized contanier full of iced tea and huge chunks of ice (don't worry, the water is safe in Singapore). We got two large glasses of it, but two our horror it was extermely salty! I don't know if I'll ever look at ice tea the same again.

These "traumas of beverages" were made up for in our second stop through Singapore all because of a bakery we like to call "Bread Talk." Well, I guess they like to call it Bread Talk as well since thats it's name. They had a chocolate bread pastry stuffed with this creamy espresso filling which was possibly the best pastry I've ever had. Sarah agrees and also thought the eclaire there was incredible. I didn't try it but after the espresso pastry I have no doubts about it. Bread talk was also the bakery that brings Singapore the pastry "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Bacon." I didn't try it but I thought the name was worth mentioning."

oh dear.. doesn't he make singapore sound dreadfully strange?

Thursday, 1 June 2006


i haven't seen one since i was in primary school!!!

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i remember that back then, they'll always fly into our flat in the middle of the day.. the common red ones with black spots, yellow ones with black spots, some that look like new york cabs... even white ones and one that looks like this! there are apparently nearly 5,000 species worldwide! we'll catch these dot-sized bugs in little glass containers to examine them for hours before letting them go.. after all, who could resist these fascinating creatures..?

then one day, the ladybugs got fed up. they were sick and tired of people's fascination and yet captivity of them.. they convened and finally made a drastic but desperate decision... forever hide from the human eye.. into the dark cloak of the night.. and we couldn't see them no more, no matter how hard we searched....

(i'm sure of this fact because i checked with all my friends and their first reaction is always: "Ya! i haven't seen one for a really long time!")

but i was up at 3am last night and one flew onto my table where i was working on something! i couldn't believe my eyes and no words can express how i felt at that time..

anyway, i'm glad they're still around :).. cute fellas, eh?