Air con shirts make our army soft

From’ Air-con shirts won’t toughen our soldiers’, 22 June 2018, ST Forum

(Dr Michael Loh Toon Seng):  I applaud the Singapore Armed Forces’ efforts to minimise heat-related injuries during training (SAF can improve heat injury prevention: Panel, and Army combat soldiers get new uniforms that cool faster; both published on June 21).

The uniform introduced recently is designed to absorb perspiration and dry quickly. It also provides better air circulation, making our soldiers feel more comfortable and endure longer in a combat environment.

But isn’t the whole point of national service about readying our boys for a state of preparedness in as real an environment as possible?

NS should be a time when our enlisted soldiers train in realistic combat localities and learn to overcome the elements and endure whatever comes with it, rain or shine.

During the Vietnam War, American soldiers succumbed largely due to the lack of experience sweating it out in the tropics. If the troops had trained in the South-east Asian region, perhaps history would have turned out differently.

NS is not a fun-filled summer camp, and if we continue to mollycoddle our young sons and grandsons with “air-con” shirts and knee and elbow pads (these are now issued to NS men) we can never hope to transform them from boys to men; from boys to wimps is the more likely result, and the fate of the Americans in Vietnam may befall us.

Better training methodology could be the solution, and not necessarily more comfortable clothes because in the hot humid jungle, no clothing of any kind, no matter how high-tech, can make one comfortable.

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Yes, why waste tax payers money on fancy uniforms at all. If you want to breed REAL soldiers, our army should emulate these warriors below. Clothes only cause grazed nipples and no decent man would want that in the way of battle. Elbow and knee pads? Fuck that too! Give me a cape and a trumpet damn it!

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Use of handphones in camps? A disgrace!

Having a helper carry your load and a mother to wash your dirty uniforms? An online butler service for your fullpacks? Appalling!

Running on a treadmill in a GYM instead of the track? Useless! Wait, you mean the track is synthetic and you run in T-shirt and shorts! No pull ups during IPPT? Medicine balls instead of logs and boulders? WIMPS YOU ALL!

A lighter helmet? iPads for war games? Indoor shooting range? Brown rice for lunch? You mean our boys are not hardened with unsavoury gruel to steel their stomachs for trench warfare? What is this world coming to? You want to give our soldiers napkins and oxygenated water with their combat rations too? Why not just get our boys to sit on their lazy arses and have them experience 2 years of virtual reality NS from the comfort of home?

No wonder our troops are asked to do unmanly stuff like manage crowds at MRT stations during a breakdown, and our chief of armies are assigned to run public transport. We do not have the necessary lust for blood or an iota of heroic mettle in us. Dr Michael Loh, surely you are one of the last remaining diehard warriors left. If duty ever calls, I trust that you would be the first to sacrifice your life for Singapore, with cotton underpants or none. Your fullpack is probably the only one in Singapore where you have CB leaves in place of a toilet roll and a twig instead of a toothbrush.

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Construction workers not allowed in mall toilets

From ‘Mall apologies for barring construction workers, threatening $107 fine’, 9 June 2018, article by Noel Low, ST

A shopping mall owner has apologised for putting up a sign banning construction workers from its toilets and threatening them with a $107 fine for unauthorised use.

Facebook user Martha Tara Lee took a photo of the warning – taken at the new Marina One centre – and posted it online on Friday (June 8), saying she was “shocked”.

The sign read: “A penalty of $107.00 (incl. of GST) will be imposed for non-compliance and unauthorised use of toilets at level 1 and 2.”

…Ms Lee said she complained about the sign to the building’s management and added of the fine: “What percentage of their daily wage is this?”

Some Facebook users took the sign to be a form of discrimination, while other users pointed out that workers could tread concrete and dirt into the bathrooms

In 2016, Wisma shopping mall took their threat a step further by warning construction workers that they would be banned from working in the building entirely if they ever bring their mess into the toilet. Similarly in 1989, the Manhattan House management exercised its rights as a private property by barring construction workers and supervisors from entering the building, even for services like banking.

If mud from boots and pieces of cement in the sink bothers you, then we should also impose penalties on people who can’t aim with their buttholes when they shit, or those who throw fucking tissue paper in urinals. What about a squad of sweaty boys after football practice in the rain? Ask the cleaners if they would rather mop up footprints or a floating condom in a sea of diarrhoea. I suppose there’s a nicer way to let not just workers, but EVERYONE, know that toilets are public amenities and we should all play our part out of mutual consideration and respect.

It’s easy for us to cry ‘inequality’ and ‘discrimination’ when management gets tough on our guest workers, or if the authorities charge them for plucking leaves from the Botanic Gardens, yet it’s equally easy to be a hypocrite too. Someone who lauds the Good Samaritan qualities of a foreign worker, whether they’re rescuing kittens from drains or risking their lives to save dangling babies, who lambasts a shopping mall for discriminatory practices, who empathises with their shitty wages and how much money they send home, may very well take a stark NIMBY U-turn when it comes to worker dormitories being too close for comfort. 

It’s like saying ‘OK you’re doing good work for country and you deserve the same rights as any self-respecting citizen, but please, can you not hang around the neighbourhood at night? My kids come home around that time after evening tuition. Thank you’. Yes, even if the plush condo that you live in was once built with the sweat and, unfortunately sometimes, the literal BLOOD of a foreign worker. Or if you’re mulling their plight in your cushy bed while they’re out there, without even the luxury of a portable fan, napping in the void deck.

 

 

 

Esplanade promoting bestiality with man on a chicken sketch

From ‘Esplanade to take down Vincent Leow artwork after kerfuffle’, 6 June 2018, article by Justin Ong Guang-Xi, Today

The Esplanade will be removing a sketch showing the back of a naked man on top of a chicken from its exhibition walls, after the artwork sparked an online furore.

In a statement by Esplanade’s chief executive officer-designate Yvonne Tham on Wednesday (June 6), the performing arts centre said it came to this decision following a discussion with Mr Vincent Leow, the artist featured in the exhibition BLANK at Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay.

…Facebook Group Singaporeans Defending Marriage and Family accused the Esplanade in a Tuesday post of “promoting bestiality” by featuring the work in a public space. The group noted that the exhibition, which spans the school holidays, is located near a children’s art space and play area.

Several parents and passersby interviewed by TODAY on Tuesday also expressed concern. A 69-year-old retiree, who gave her name only as Madam Chan had said: “We don’t want to see our children being exposed to this. Their values will be shaken. They will find that there is a new norm appealing to people.”

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I believe there’s a long history of naked people sitting on animals.

Lady Godiva, for example, strode through town riding a horse.

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There are also stock images aplenty of man-gods straddling their noble steeds.

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Ancient folklore and mythology is chockfull of twisted human-beast carnal affairs. Men falling for and marrying demon snakes. Cow-head monsters seducing peasant women. Adolescents seeded by wolf-fairies in their sleep. Children borne out of forbidden pairings between mer-men and milk maidens. In the realm of sci-fi/fantasy we have mutant alien spawn, gods inseminating mortals, orcs gang-raping elves, Jaba the Hutt keeping Princess Leia as sex slave. It’s the bane and beauty of the human imagination. We have such an intimate kinship with creatures big and small that it’s inevitable we’ll develop attachments that go beyond domestication and consumption.

So the only reason why Singaporeans defending Marriage and Family would think nasty bestiality thoughts about a naked man on anything other than a horse, like a chicken, for example, is because it seems easier to penetrate a innocent bird. It also doesn’t help that a synonym for chicken is cock. Wonder what they would say if it wasn’t a clucking bird but a dragon or a dinosaur for example. After all, a donkey could have babies with a dragon, according to Shrek. So such inter-species consummations are fine but man-roosters are creations of the Devil?

Without preconceived notions about what depraved people do in barns when Farmer Joe isn’t looking, Vincent Leow’s art is, in essence, a man astride a slightly distraught looking rooster. A work that a child may find amusing, while a grown-ass adult with repressed sexual anxieties would find it utterly detrimental to the moral fibre and ‘norms’ of this society. Because clearly anyone who sees this profane image would be struck with the urge to trawl through Lim Chu Kang in the middle of the night looking for chicken butts to rape and leave a trail of semen-stained feathers all over the coop.

Poultry of the world thank you for your concern. Maybe you guys should change your FB name to Singaporeans Defending Chickens’ Virginity.

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?

 

 

Who wants to watch live feeds of Parliamentary proceedings?

From ‘Videos of parliamentary proceedings belong to the Government: Chee Hong Tat’, 7 Nov 2017, article in CNA

Video recordings of parliamentary proceedings belong to the Government which in turn commissions national broadcaster Mediacorp to cover the sittings and show the footage on various platforms, including free-to-air television as well as on Channel NewsAsia’s Parliament micro-site and its Facebook page.

Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Chee Hong Tat clarified this in Parliament on Tuesday (Nov 7) in response to a question by Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Leon Perera from the Workers’ Party (WP). Mr Perera had asked which entity owns the copyright to the video recordings of parliamentary proceedings.

He also asked if the Ministry would consider removing the copyright if indeed they are protected by one, and make all video footage of parliamentary proceedings freely available for use.

To this, Mr Chee said the public can use the recordings for personal and non-commercial purposes with attribution to Mediacorp. He said the recordings are already used regularly by social media sites and political parties, including the Workers’ Party.

Mr Perera then questioned why Parliament is not given the funding and ability to makes its own live feed and video recordings available with a searchable archive as is the case with countries like Australia, Taiwan and the United States.

Mr Chee said demand for a live feed of proceedings is low.

To be fair, it’s probably true that there are less people willing to sit through a live Parliamentary feed than a Crime watch episode. Mediacorp being a business entity struggling with ratings overall however, has a vested interest in making Parliamentary sessions not so much informative than ‘entertaining’ in bite-size snippets to cater to the general public, yet at the same time refrain from making their political masters look bad, no matter how attention grabbing it would be. Like when they’re caught napping for example.

Beyond intellectually stimulating debates, TV is also the perfect politician toolkit for drama. You have MPs bawling like a baby.

Begging for mercy.

Pointing to the heavens like in Taiwan drama serials seeking divine justice

Could anyone forget the saga that is ‘Tang Liang Hong is Not my Brother’

Some make grand exits like a boss without saying a single word.

And you have the occasional stand-up comedy bringing the House down, like Chan Chun Sing’s ‘Madam President’ skit.

In fact, when Today in Parliament debuted on SBC in 1985, while it was welcomed with much fanfare, there were already calls by Parliament fans for full uncensored telecasts, an act that would symbolise ‘democracy in action’. Though it’s often assumed that PAP speakers would reap the most airtime from these sessions, there were also complaints of opposition MPs hogging the limelight, like JBJ’s ‘unending complaints’ ‘unending complaints’ and ‘belching hot air’.

One MP, Tay Eng Soon, opposed the format of TV broadcasting altogether, recommending that viewers ‘close their eyes’ and listen to the crux of debates rather than picking on visual distractions like a politician’s dress sense, body language, or shiny reflection off his bald plate. But what is politics without its histrionics and theatre anyway.

Despite Chee Hong Tat’s claims of low viewership, I do believe there is value in putting up videos wholesale (by topics at least) as a supplement to the standard edits since the government has always emphasised on digitalisation and transparency, so that hardcore Parliament fans should be given the chance to dissect discussions, warts and all. Isn’t the purpose of the party whip or Speaker to serve as a real-time moderator/editor of the proceedings anyway, so that debates don’t get out of hand?

Besides, in the age of Netflix, TV viewership has been anaemic for years anyway. Given a choice between Parliament and watching a run-of-the-mill drama with actors spouting foreign accents, I’d rather spend my time on the former. The acting may even be better.