Birds shitting in food at hawker centres

From ‘Growing bird population is worrying’, 15 March 2018, ST Forum

(Ng Boon Soon): The increase in the bird population in Singapore is causing too much inconvenience and creating health hazards. Judging from the frequent bird encounters at hawker centres, coffee shops and canteens, the bird population has increased substantially.

It is not possible to order food and leave it unattended on the table.

Recently, I visited a hawker centre in Farrer Road and was shocked to see two mynahs perched on the metal rail directly above a stall owner cooking noodles.

My immediate concern was of bird droppings mixing with the food.

Another encounter was at Serangoon Garden hawker centre. We had some difficulty getting a clean table because many tables and seats were stained with bird droppings. When we asked the cleaner to do something, he said he had already cleaned the same table and seat many times.

Recently, when I visited my daughter at her primary school, I saw bird droppings on the tables and benches as well.

I believe the cleaners have done their job but the situation is happening too often. I am worried about the health of the children.

Something needs to be done.

In Orchard Road, one can hear the loud chirping of birds and see their droppings on the pavement. It is sad to see such an ugly sight in Singapore’s iconic shopping belt.

The Government needs to start a working group to resolve this persistent problem.

Yes, evil hovering mynah birds are a threat to national security, more so than disinformation, deliberate falsehoods and fake news. But it’s not just bird poop that’s causing everyone distress, it’s the way they sound in the morning, especially the call of the Asian koel. Not only are our children exposed to the risk of accidentally eating birdshit or getting infected by pandemic bird disease, they get distracted from their schoolwork because these tiny flying bastards make too much noise.

You want proof?

If we don’t set up a Committee of Avian Management to Safeguard Public Health, this is the scenario we’ll be facing, one that no SG secure or anti-terrorist drill can save humanity from.

Yes, students will be chased out of schools, their scalps and eyes pecked at by beaks sharp as machetes. Do you want to see this happening to our tourists in Orchard Road, their hair soaked white with shit and their eyeballs plucked out of their sockets as easily as these flying demons pulling worms out of the ground? Zombies in trains are nothing compared to this calamity.

Maybe this is an elite mastermind at work, someone who has deployed an army of birdie minions to hawker centres to poison us lower social economic status (SES) folk. Or maybe all this rampant shitting is their way of avenging the culling of their chicken brethren by AVA.  Let’s get rid of them all then. The crows, the pigeons, the koels, the two mynahs staring at us eating at hawker centres, even the fucking peacocks in Labrador Park. Let us have our walks in peace, without having to worry about shampooing our heads with Dettol thereafter or listen to their terrible twittering that sends chills down our spines, their chirpy conspiring to end the human race once and for all, to bring back the age of the dinosaurs from which they all descended from.

How about this, AVA? Installing a scarecrow in public areas if you don’t want to call in pest control. I know the perfect effigy, one with the face that will send a thousand crows scattering into the sun.


Sylvia Lim’s dishonest ‘test balloon’ remark on GST hike

From ‘Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat asks is Sylvia Lim will withdraw ‘test balloon’ allegation on GST hike timing’, 2 March 2018, article in CNA

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat issued a statement on Friday (Mar 2), asking if Workers’ Party chairman Sylvia Lim was ready to apologise to the House and withdraw her allegation that the Government had floated “test balloons” about raising the goods and services tax (GST).

In Parliament on Thursday, Ms Lim said that the Government had floated “test balloons” before the Budget announcement, then possibly “backed down” on an immediate GST hike due to the negative public reaction.

She said: “We do note that in the run-up to the Budget discussion there were some test balloons being floated out about the fact that the Government needs to raise revenue. And immediately the public seized on the fact that DPM Tharman and perhaps other leaders had earlier said that the Government has enough money for the decade. So the public pointed out that ‘hey, you know, is this a contradiction?’

“And I rather suspect myself that the Government is stuck with that announcement, otherwise, you know, if their announcement had not been made, perhaps we would be debating a GST hike today.”

This sparked a testy exchange in Parliament with Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam, who called Ms Lim’s comments “baseless suggestions” that were “hypocritical and dishonest”.


According to the Parliament (Privileges, Immunities and Powers) Act,

There shall be freedom of speech and debate and proceedings in Parliament, and such freedom of speech and debate and proceedings shall not be liable to be impeached or questioned in any court, commission of inquiry, committee of inquiry, tribunal or any other place whatsoever out of Parliament.

Yes, even in a setting where freedom of speech is codified in law, you can’t bring out ‘suspicions’, ‘honest beliefs’ or even a ‘personal opinion’ without raising the red flag of FAKE NEWS. Poor Sylvia can choose to take back her words like fellow WP colleague Leon Perera, or take the long road like JBJ back in 1982 when he was threatened with possible breach of ‘Parliamentary Privilege‘. Likewise one has no qualms about accusing an Opposition member for being a liar or hypocrite because Parliamentary Privilege that’s why.

These leaders in the House serve as a sad role model for senior management in public service when it comes to dealing with feedback. Don’t complain unless you have substance to back you up. If not, you’re fucking Fake News. It reflects MP Louis Ng’s comment about public officers refraining from speaking up out of fear of retaliation. Turns out that Louis himself floated a test balloon that was promptly burst by Ong Ye Kung’s rebuke that this ‘does not do justice’ to the public service.

Why not let Sylvia’s supposedly off-the-cuff comment serve as a learning point and chance for clarification for the PAP, instead of an opportunity to flex some time-wasting verbal muscle and vindicate everyone’s opinion of the PAP as an uptight, arrogant party who won’t stand for a little intellectual tickle from their political opponents, only to be soothed by the orgasm of hearing someone like Sylvia saying ‘I’m sorry my lord’, like a bawling baby calmed by cooing and sweet nothings.

I say let’s just get on with it, people.




Escobar eatery named after evil drug lord

From ‘CNB to keep very close watch on Escobar eatery named after Columbian drug lord’, 8 Feb 2018, article in CNA

The Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) will be keeping a “very close watch” on a bar named after Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, following an angry complaint lodged last Friday (Feb 2) by the country’s embassy to Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“CNB and the Singapore Police Force will be engaging the owner of the bar and will take the necessary action to uphold our strict anti-drug policy,” said a CNB spokesperson.

“It will also be keeping a very close watch on the bar and its patrons to ensure that no illegal drug activities take place there,” said the spokesperson, adding that the agency understood that the Colombian embassy and community, as well as some Singaporeans were upset about the matter.

In a three-page letter, the Colombian embassy expressed “serious concern” over the eatery in China Square Central, saying that it was paying tribute to the “worst criminal in the history of Colombia”.

The way that Pablo Escobar’s name and image are being used to promote the outlet runs counter to Singapore’s approach towards drugs and government efforts in preventive drug education, the CNB spokesperson added.

“The glamorisation of a drug kingpin and associated drug use is irresponsible and insensitive.”

CNB should also be keeping an eye on Mcdonalds’ because they name one of their breakfast staples a ‘HASH’ brown. They should also check out ACID bar at Peranakan place, and review a classical performance named ‘Poem of Ecstasy‘. Seriously, what exactly is CNB expecting? If I’m going to run an underground drug ring, the last thing I want to do is blow my cover by naming it after a crime lord, and choose something seemingly playful and innocuous like Gudetama cafe instead.

Some years back, people complained about a pub that called itself Aushwitz because it reminded everyone about the Holocaust. Yet nothing was done about a hotpot restaurant that honoured a brutal Chinese dictator responsible for 45 million deaths (House of Mao Hunan Hot Pot). Nor did we touch restaurants with suspiciously subversive communist elements, like Red Star Restaurant.

We disapprove of exhibitions that summon the sufferings of our forefathers under the yoke of colonialism, yet we celebrate the legacy of a man who was borne of that very same system, a man whose name graces a world-famous hotel that also is the birthplace of our very own Singapore Sling.

Would Christians complain if I opened a hipster cafe called ‘Satan’s Lair’?  Would the Russian embassy knock on my door if I open a gallery of Soviet kitsch? Would the police run checks on Hannibal restaurant to make sure they don’t store human corpses in their fridge?



Free desserts for returning trays

From ‘Give dessert voucher, free meal to encourage tray return’, 3 Feb 2018, ST Forum

(Dr Thomas Lee Hock Seng): The perennial problem of not cleaning after oneself in self-service hawker centres has stumped most civic-minded people.

So charging for trays is one example of a desperate hope to change the diehard habit of not bothering to clear one’s table after eating (Charging for trays can help change attitudes, by Miss Tan Lin Neo; Feb 1).

Singaporeans are familiar with the use of fines as disincentives to punish undesirable social habits.

We have earned our reputation as a “fine” city since the introduction of such measures a long time ago.

But we have failed most miserably with such measures.

Yet, there are still advocates who insist on using money as a disincentive to effect behavioural change.

I would suggest we reverse the equation: Use money as a reward or incentive for good social habits.

Instead of charging for the non-return of trays, give a voucher for a free meal or item, such as a dessert of one’s choice, for tray return. I suspect this would have more success.

Yes, it will be a success and there will be a surge of people returning trays. Just that these will be people who didn’t order a single thing from the hawker stalls because free ice kacang. Free diabetes too.

When it comes to rewards, some assholes will always try to take advantage of our intentions to make the world a better place. Take the Skillfutures fiasco for example.

So if you can’t beat Singaporeans into being kind and considerate, nor should one use shaming methods to ruin people’s lives, what made this writer reach the conclusion that giving rewards could make us better people? Do we want to issue National Day awards to Top Tray Returners as well?

We’ve been conditioned by enticements and penalties like lab rats since we were born. Don’t flush a toilet and you get slapped with a fine. Vote for the ruling party and you get GST vouchers. None of this made society any better for it. Courtesy is for free? Courtesy is for puiiii!

Here’s a better idea. Put sorry abandoned cat faces on trays. This is will make us return trays out of pure guilt.








Singapore is boring. What’s new?

From ‘Yeah, Singapore is boring: STB hits back at Timeout city ranking’, 2 Feb 2018, article in CNA

Is Singapore one of the least exciting cities in the world? The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) begs to differ – and released a tongue-in-cheek video on Thursday (Feb 1) to respond to the charge.

On Tuesday, Singapore came in 31st out of 32 cities in an anonymous survey by Time Out, which took into account criteria such as culture, food, drink, friendliness, liveability, affordability and happiness. About 15,000 people across the 32 cities took part in the survey.

Singapore was named “the worst rated city” for culture, and the worst for drinking apart from Dubai.

Saying Singapore, or any country, is boring is like saying watching MRT trains alighting and boarding passengers is boring. There will always be some people fascinated by it regardless of your useless opinion. No matter how much you want to add to the ‘vibrancy’ of our cosmopolitan state, the Casinos and the Jewels, we will always be viewed as unhip and sterile by marijuana junkies, Hare Krishnas and cowboys.

But what’s new? What would you expect for a small country? How much fun can you cram into this clusterfucked city?

We’ve been boring for 30 years. The Economist Intelligence Unit ranked us as one of the most boring countries in the world in 1987. More boring than IRAN and LIBYA. At least our stagnant night life today isn’t accompanied with bomb blasts or machine gun fire. At least if you’re not into watering holes or human company, you could hop on a train in the city and reach a mangrove swamp within an hour. Yes there’s not much that would excite you if you have a week to kill, but give her a day and there may be surprises in store. And if it still doesn’t thrill you, you could fuck off to somewhere ‘grittier’ where people spit on the pavements, piss on the walls or shit on the streets.

So really, there’s no need to be defensive about it. We cane criminals so instinctively we’ll be cast as party-poopers. Let Singapore be boring as a 50 year old marriage is boring, with the occasional orgasm to keep us going.




Birds in cages crying for help

From ‘Stop bird-singing competitions’, 20 Jan 2018, ST Forum

(Tan Kim Hock): Mr Donny Ho Boon Tiong is right – keeping pet birds should be made illegal (Have animal activists forgotten about birds?; Jan 17). Although Singapore is a small island, bird lovers should have no difficulty finding places to admire the animals in their natural habitats.

The keeping of birds in small cages is very cruel. I often wonder whether they are singing or crying for help when they call out. I also wonder if there have been any studies carried out on the welfare of caged birds.

The keeping of songbirds has been a practice in Asian societies for many years. Hence, the banning of the practice will certainly face objections, initially at least.

In Singapore, bird-singing competitions are regularly held by some grassroots organisations. This practice indirectly promotes the keeping of birds in cages.

As a first step, the People’s Association should perhaps discourage such competitions.

Like fining people for burning incense during Hungry Ghost month, it would be hard to crack down on bird hobbyists, especially since ‘Bird-singing corners’ was recognised as an official SG50 icon in 2015. Yes, if you want something for a tourist to remember the Garden City by, it’s a yellow bird in a small cage.



Just like we have no idea what it’s like being a bat, we can’t judge the emotional state of a bird by the ‘sweetness’ of its melody. If a bird in a cage starts pecking its face off on the cage bars, it may look to me like it wants to get the fuck out, but to a songbird contestant, it could be just part of the avian maestro’s vocal ‘training’. As a songbird I may get daily massages and premium birdseed, I may be the reigning champion of Bukit Ho Swee constituency, but for all my talents I’m stuck in this pretty cage while the noisy bastard  Asian koel is out there laying eggs and using its wings to do the stuff birds do.

One of the silliest explanations given in support of Bird Idol contests is that a bird wouldn’t be singing if it weren’t HAPPY. Which is the same flawed anthropomorphic reasoning as saying dolphins are happy being held captive entertaining their human overlords because they look like they’re smiling all the time.

Besides, even as a human, singing doesn’t mean that I’m overjoyed. It could be a cry for attention like crooning ‘Tissue Paper One Dollar’, or raging against an ex-lover through Ceelo Green’s ‘FUCK YOU’. In the case of songbirds, it could very well be their version of Queen’s ‘I Want To Break Free.’






Radiance of Resistance banned for skewed narrative

From ‘IMDA bans film on Palestine-Israeli conflict, citing its skewed narrative’, 2 Jan 2018, article by Yuen Sin, ST

A documentary film that was due to be shown at the Singapore Palestinian Film Festival on Thursday (Jan 4) has been banned from public screening by the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) for its “skewed narrative”.

The IMDA gave Radiance Of Resistance a rare Not Allowed For All Ratings (NAR) classification, over concerns that the film may cause disharmony among different races and religions in Singapore.

…According to the IMDA website, the one-hour film was banned from public screening and distribution here as it explores the Israeli-Palestine conflict “without counterbalance”.

“The documentary focuses on the Tamimi family, and two young girls, who are presented as the new faces of Palestinian resistance. In holding up the girls as role models to be emulated in an ongoing conflict, the film incites activists to continue their resistance against the alleged oppressors,” said the IMDA.

The trope is all too familiar. The rise of an underdog against the might of a superior power. A lone figure standing before a tank in Tiananmen Square. A Japanese soldier fending off American marauders. Tom Cruise in a conspiracy to assassinate the Fuhrer (Valkyrie). Hua Mulan charging on a horse against the Huns. Braveheart vs Mighty England. Pocahontas vs the Great White Male.

You get the point. ‘Skewed narratives’ are what STORIES are made of. The posthumous LKY film ‘1965‘ was skewed, so is Jack Neo’s juvenile depiction of NS life in the clusterfuck of Ah Boys to Men sequels. The Passion of Christ was biased towards the Romans. The Journey of the West epic put deities in a bad light. None of these got banned, or even a R21 rating, because filmgoers were trusted to form their own impressions. Because we’re sensible adults. We read books. If ‘counterbalance’ is desired, then it would be mandatory to view ‘To Singapore With Love‘ after ‘1965’.

Then a film from the Israeli-Palestine border comes along and the authorities suddenly decide to interpret its message as inflammatory propaganda on our behalf because national security. The thing is, if Singaporeans want to take up arms for some war-torn country in the name of religion, they’re not going to be inspired by an arty-farty documentary about teenage girl warriors. They’ll get self-radicalised from ISIS rap videos that promise rivers of wine and  virgins in the afterlife on You-fucking-tube.

Which is where everyone will turn to to watch Radiance anyway, thanks to IMDA’s inadvertent pitch.