Monday, October 31, 2011

November - Winter

Winter can be alluringly beautiful yet harsh...

The last leave of October shall make way for November tomorrow; a mere two months before 2012 arrives
The Northern winds will send cold and chills southwards
As Autumn leaves, trees shall go bald

Leaves-less trees and warmth winter warms the Souls
We are forced to slow down, walk slower while insects and snakes hibernate
Steps; a step at a time down the slippery winter roads

What have I done since Spring, Summer and with Autumn departing soon? Nothing much
I live fruitfully and wholesomely the way I wanted to
My Way is not necessarily everyone's way

I live with a clear conscience, with focal determination and with zest
Never trying to be Bill Gates nor Steve Jobs, definitely not Lee Hsien-Loong or Tony Tan
I did not, and cannot even, be like the McAunty and McUncle

I can only be myself as all of us are made differently and have different roles to play on Mother Earth

I have never wanted to be Nelson Mandela nor Liang Wengen or Wee Cho Yaw
Neither Bernard Madoff nor Michael Milken
My make, my role and my destiny ... we are who we are and everything happens for a reason

I love winter
I take stock of my life and slows down with Mother Nature
Its also the time when I look back and say 'Holy Ghost, this year is no different from the last! All that I had planned to do I had done but the end results were not what I had bargained for. Not necessarily any worse"

I guess its the same everywhere and for everyone
Man proposes, GOD disposes

And, I am glad to say "I am as happy, contented and healthy as ever" Success or failure is a State of Mind. If I cannot be the oak tree, I shall be the grass; dancing, bending and flowing healthily and steadfastly.

You CAN too

Watch this show by written and directed by Woody Allen "Whatever Works"

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Difficult Days

When the mind wonders, I let it be...

I am tired
Physically I am drained
Mentally - its empty but not void

I procrastinate
The body is willing but the spirit is weak
I did everything except what I am supposed to do

I ...
Some days, somehow the body is not one
There is a need to be focus yet like stray bullets, they are off-target; Off by a mile

The World passes me as the clock ticks
I float aimlessly and drift listlessly in space
I have no goal, no guidance and no end-point

This is of those days that is empty but not void
Listless but not dreadful
Alone but not lonely

I am not an oak tree but the grass dancing in the wind

When tomorrow comes, I shall regain my focus, spirit and fire
I shall walk on water and enjoy the baptism of fire
The steely mind shall be shaped and crafted to defeat all challenges and win all wars

My chameleonic qualities with positive reinforcement shall be the light of my darkest night 

I am who I am in my ZEN living; alive, seeking and thriving

Friday, October 28, 2011

Traffic Congestion, Road Usage & Car Ownership

Cars ownership is both, a necessity and a status symbol.

Despite its expensiveness, many people aspire to own one if the wallet permits. With an increasing car population, roads and car parks need to be expanded to ensure a freer flow of traffic.

Apart from import duties and road taxes, new measures, like Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) and Certificate of Entitlement (COE), were introduced to supplement existing 'deterrences'.  Such measures have only added to Government coffers with minimum to nil effects on traffic management and growth in car population.

While car ownership is not discouraged, their usage is. This is because usage contributes to pollution, congestion and economic costs due to lost hours in traffic jams and demands for parking spaces.

There is, however, no 'one glove fits all' solutions in traffic management.

Nonetheless, there are some socially acceptable solutions;

1. Ideally, the public transportation system should be as seamless and as reliable and punctual as possible. If its convenient and reasonably priced, most will switch to public transport.

2. Look around you when you are caught in a congestion the next time. Do you notice that most of, if not all, the cars have only one person, that is, the driver. Give incentives, like discount to ERP, for carpooling; this not only save economic resources but also allow co-mingling and a chance to know others. Who knows this may also improve the number of marriages, enhance social interaction and built cohesion among the people.

3. Allow co-ownership of cars - two or more families should be allowed to co-own a car without the constraints of co-operative rules and sub-leasing regulations.

4. Provide full-day parking at lower costs at strategic locations like MRT stations and bus terminals.

5. Incidentally, the buildings in our shopping belt (Orchard Road) and business district (Shenton Way) are not link nor are there sheltered walkways to allow and encourage walking. It is not uncommon to drive to the next building a few streets down the road instead of walk in our weather.

Of course, the above suggestions are non exhaustive.

It is noticeable that our traffic management has been based on disincentives and are punitive in nature. Why not take, or try, a softer approach by encouraging and incentivising instead?

An all inclusive society peppered with care and share through softer approaches instead of using the 'big stick'  will not only lower the cost of living but it will also built a happier and more cohesive environment where stress is minimize and harmony maximize

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Singapore - To Change Or Remain - Singaporeans are not choosy about jobs

Singaporeans are not choosy about jobs

Singapore - To Change Or Remain

The bottom 20 per cent of working Singaporeans saw their pay stagnate over the last 10 years, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM); little wonder are there so much disquietness and stress.

I hazard to guess that not only had the wages stagnated but for the same wages, working hours have lengthened, by extension, the standard and quality of living had 'collapsed' too.

This is compounded by the influx of cheaper foreign labours and a lack of protection for local workers. Is minimum wage a possible antidote? There is no singular best-fit answer to this issue.

It is also crucial to consider the plights of middle age wage earners too. When you are 35-45 years old and you loss your job, chances of you finding the same job with the same pay and status is almost impossible. 

What about the loud cries of 'working into the twilight years'? If you cannot find a job to match your qualifications during mid-life, what make you think there are jobs available when you pass 50 years old? 

The displacement of employees at middle age is a serious problem as it will destroy their self-esteem and drive and is detrimental to nation building. How can a nation remain strong if their aging population limp into their twilight years as a 'spent force'. 

Many can accept that there are some jobs that Singaporeans shy away or do not have the skillsets and inclination to accept but if you look around, there are many foreigners doing jobs that relevantly qualified Singaporeans are denied. Is it a mismatch of skills or are employers taking an easy way out by employing 'cheaper, better and faster' foreigners?  

I welcome foreign workers (call them foreign talents if you like) to fill jobs that Singaporeans cannot match. However, I also believe it is the depressive wages and long hours that are deterrent to locals more than the nature and type of work. 

Why can a foreigner accepts a job that pays lesser relative to locals and with longer hours? Its simple.  For a start, there are no jobs in their home country for them. Besides, with an advantageous exchange rate, their  wages are very much higher than in their home country; dollar for dollar conversion. Whereas Singaporeans need time to socialize with family, contacts and friends, the foreigners single-mindedness and focus are  'work, make money - more work, more money, then go home'!

It is too simplistic to dismiss Singaporeans as lazy and choosy.  

It is timely for our Lawmakers and Parliamentarians to look into the well being of, and to spare some thoughts for, Singaporeans. The well being of Singaporeans must take priority. If the rich-poor gap widened further and more people are underemployed or sub-economically employed, there will be more stress, discomfort and resentment.

Our President Tony Tan and our Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have spoken out for our fellowmen; it is time for us all to set aside the past and work towards an all-inclusive growth, benefits and care for all Singaporeans.  

London Taxis - Wheelchair bound passengers needs

I have been following the issue of SMRT's insistence to phase out London cabs citing low demand, availability of replacement model  amongst others.

However, the feedback from the wheelchair bound customers strongly suggest that the London cabs are not only suitable but are also in short supply (some bookings have to wait for one week). Apart from this group of users, London cabs also feature in weddings, special theme events and corporate bookings.

Besides, according to a group of London cab drivers, they had a meeting before with SMRT before and were acceptable with a reasonable increase in rental costs, if need be. 

Of course, it is SMRT's prerogative to discontinue using London cabs but the provision of services to the public, in particular the wheelchair bound passengers, is paramount consideration. Furthermore, SMRT does not suffer any losses from continuing to bring in London cabs as the taxis are fully rented out. 

Perhaps, if SMRT has decided to discontinue bringing in London cabs, why not LTA allows another operator to do so? If there are any legal restraints or priority in bringing in London cabs that was given to SMRT, SMRT should graciously consent to give up and let other operators continue.

A qualitative transport system should cater to all, including the less able. The transport provider must not think solely on commercial consideration but to consider providing an all round, socially acceptable and politically correct service.   

(written 13 Oct 2011 - received kind attention of MOT)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Time Cycles

Everything goes round and round ...

Does history repeats itself?
Do we really learn from our past?
If yes, why is it our mistakes get bigger, graver and in greater degree?
On a positive note, discoveries, breakthroughs and advancements are also better

Stockmarkets are measured from low to low because price rises when hopes abound
Commodities markets reflect fear; prices rise as fears of shortages create multiplied demands. Cyclical prices are measured from high to high

The Kress conception of the 60-year Super Cycle:
The previous 60-year cycle/K-wave bottom was in 1954 and the next one is due to bottom around 2014. 

World War I centred in Europe : began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918
World War II started in 1939 and ended in 1945 with the released of A-Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The 1950s witnessed the decolonization of Africa and Asia, the space race, the challenges and conflicts posed by communist and capitalist idelogies, the birth of European Communities (EU) and the recovery post WWI & WWII.

Are we witnessing some of the worst times in History like an Economic armageddon before good times can return? Perhaps!

This is not a doomsday pronouncement but recalling an uncanny shadow from yesteryears. Rightly or wrongly, many of us will live long enough to see better times.

However, "belt-up" tight; it will have to get worse before it gets better!

What goes around, comes around

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


All men are tempted.  There is no man that lives that can't be broken down, provided it is the right temptation, put in the right spot.  ~Henry Ward Beecher, 1887

This humanly world is filled with temptations
Many call it habits, additions or unavoidable chances ... guess, stolen kisses are sweetest

Excessive eating, drinking, vices, gambling
Greed, domination, selfishness... are undercurrents of temptations
Fighting back and trying to make good a 'last hand' is almost always impossible and destructive

In vices, if you cannot, and did not, win all this while what make you think the next 'draw' will be superior?
You can't put a face to/on a con artist, a demeaning person, terrorist nor a person bent on 'doing bad'
There are seemingly good guy who turn nasty, selfish, self-serving and cheats when their facade falls apart

Every man has a weakness
However and whatever you do to hide your hideous acts
Somehow, somewhere and/or someone will discover it
Deferred prosecution may rectify the material loss but you can never reinstitute life nor emotional scars

When Providence punishes you, you are lucky
When punishment befalls your offsprings and/or family, the pains are raw like 'salt on wounds'

Walk away from temptation and you walk away from inherent sorrows
The triumphs and tribulations that you gained at others' expense will return to hound you

Best friends, good neighbours and close relatives are choicest victims
Similarly, retribution are sweetest when it hits those closest to you, including yourself

Be forewarned
Most people don't get mad; they get even
But when retributions hit, you will be 'evenly rewarded' with sorrows in tow

I generally avoid temptation unless I can't resist it Mae West 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

When Time Is Finite

"You have at most 3 months to live," the doctor pronounced!

What goes on in your head with such crushing news?
How did you accept this cruel pronouncement?
Why me?
Who should I share this with or I should just keep mum and ...

Your world shatter in front of you.

Shocked, acceptance, denial & rejection, depression ...
No matter how strong, how brave or how indifferent you are
When your body clock is finite and will end soon
You will be devastated

I believe most, if not all, people cannot accept defeat let alone a deathly announcement
Knowing that you are in the clutch of death-gate and unlikely to get a reprieve is worse than dying itself
But, many also awake whilst living in death's shadow

I think its not the darkness of night that we find challenging but the lengthiness of night ...

Its a mirage and miracle that many manage to outlive such pronouncements especially if they live like there is NO tomorrow and lived happily

Do you or will you?

Don't wait till your days are numbered
Live happily, healthily and enjoy every moment - today, tomorrow and any days

Our time is always finite
We live on borrowed time as tomorrow is never promised

I ... try to live to the fullest
I stretch my day and cuts down on darkness
I sleep lesser

...somedays I have 25 hours day; can you?