Monday, December 29, 2008


Ben is an ex-cop.

If one thing can be said about his career, it was destined even when he was in his teens. Ben was in the National Police Cadet Corp when he was in secondary school. His passion for drills and discipline allowed him to rise in rank during his school days in this extra curriculum activity.

It was in secondary school that Ben and myself became close friends as we were in the same class. Both of us loved to play mahjong and as we were beginners in the game, we usually shared our play as we took turns to play as a single player. And most of the times, we lost money. But it was all in good fun. Me being the early dozer and he'd play on throughout the night with our secondary school friends.

Ben joined the Police Force soon after we parted ways in secondary school. As I pursued on my university degree, he worked hard chasing down criminals. I believed he was in the force for slightly more or less than 10 years. The ten years in the force hardened him. It wasn't until recently that Ben tried to make contact with his old friends whom he haven't met for more than 10 over years.

His recent photos on facebook showed that he'd put on a little weight, most significant around his cheeks. He was a much thinner boy in our school days.
Through facebook, he'd made contact with many of his secondary school friends and had engaged all if not most in actively chatting on MSN.

It was there that we would chat about the more serious things in life. And it was also in MSN that he'd reveal some of the dark secrets that he'd uncovered during his time with the force.

The tales he told me about what he'd uncovered in the Force were shocking...
Perhaps too shocking to be published. It was one of the reasons he quit the Force after close to 10 years. It was also hard to leave the force as the system made it difficult for him to leave after knowing what he had knew.

Ben was always the calm one, he'd planned carefully his exit from the force so as to be as inconspicuous as possible. He cited wanting to seek better prospects in other government agencies and he even got an offer from a Government-Linked intelligence agency to be more convincing to his employers at the force. Just before he left the force, he made good connections to those whom will eventually assist him to really escape from the shadow of the long arms of the force.

One of the connections was another long time secondary school friend, RQ. RQ was also an officer with the force. Prior to being an inspector with the Serious Crime department, he was at one time stationed at the hospital. He stood guard mostly at the mortuary of the hospitals. Checking the identities of recently deceased due to mishaps or automobile related accidents. RQ shared also with Ben on the loopholes of identifying the recently deceased. On how fingerprinting could not be used to identify bodies of drowned victims.

As long as the body could be identified by a family member and if the body had photo credentials such as NRIC or driving license on him/her, the body could assume the identity of his credentials. DNA testing was only done at the request of the deceased family. Usually, DNA testing wouldn't need to be done as the family would want the poor soul to rest in peace and moreover, DNA testing is still a relatively expensive procedure to do at the expense of the authorities. RQ had seen many of such cases... Enough to know how to fake a death. RQ had also shared with Ben on how the bodies "John and Jane Doe's" can be collected with minimal security checks.

With a scheme in mind, Ben was also eyeing on the right time.

Ben had left the force 6 months ago. And he did not join the "other" agency. That had got the force worried as this meant Ben was no longer under their jurisdiction and could mutter out the exact details which I'm unable to share here. For the past 6 months, he'd been doing odd jobs for his relative's business. Off and on, the past 24 weeks, Ben had been jostling in and out of a Casket company. Most will call it Funeral Services, Ben just call it the Casket Company. He picked up quite a few good skills and knowledge there. All which will assist him to his escape. He used to tell me how one day he'd become invisible during our chats on MSN.

During his 6 months off the force, he'd been constantly followed and traced. The force also called on him a couple of times to ask why didn't he joined the other government agency. The force was relentless in keeping track of him. One of the reasons he wouldn't meet any of his old friends was because he didn't want us to be implicated in his situation. That was also why he usually chatted with us on MSN using a public computer in cybercafes.

On the 20th December, the "casket company" received an call from an Indian family whom had a son recently deceased due to drowning in a local river near to the Southern part of the island. Ben was one of the helpers tending to the funeral.

Ben's scheme had begun to unravel. He was there to collect the body with the deceased's family from the mortuary of a local hospital. One of the police officer stationed there was an ex-colleague whom had known Ben. The usual practice was done like clockwork. First, the family was shown the wallet and personal effects found on the body when it was recovered from the river during its subsiding tide. Then the family was brought to the "cold" room and shown the body. As the hospital orderly pulled the body drawer out, the family broke into sputter of tears. The body had started to bloat while it was submerged in the river and the face was already beyond recognition. This meant that it'd be a closed casket for the unfortunate drowned deceased.

On the 24th December, Ben executed his final part of the scheme. He went out alone from home at about 7pm. Ben's wife didn't accompany him as he wanted to have some male bonding with a couple of his closer guy friends. Ben was a good drinker and would always drive regardless of the traffic condition and jams expected along the way to town. But that fateful night, he chose to take the public transport to meet his close friends for a night of drinking. Ben was also known for being a good drinker and had never been seen drunk or behaving awkwardly after drinking. No one knew whom he was to meet in town for drinks on Christmas eve.

In the early morning of Christmas day, headlines flashed across all local major news media. Another person drowned in the famous river downtown. The nation's best divers had been engaged and could not find the body. It was not until after more than 26 hours that they'd recovered the body. The subsiding tide had made it easier to find the body.

On the body, they found Ben's credentials.
Bystanders whom saw Ben just prior to his death told reporters that Ben looked like he was going for a swim at the river in the wee hours of Christmas day. The body was found fully clothed. No one could be reached to clarify the comment of the bystanders.

A couple of our old secondary school friends went to his wake. I was told by him specifically to go on an overseas trip with my family during that period so as to prevent myself from being an alibi. I didn't know what he meant then. Only when I got the call from "B", another old secondary school friend, on 27th December, then I know the shocking news.

Friends whom attended the wake of our dear friend wasn't able to find out anything from his family. No one at the wake knew the real details on whom he went out with, how did he fall into the river. It was a closed casket. The casket along with Ben was cremated on 28th December 2008 at around 2pm SG time.

The above story is mere fiction created by me to ease the pain of losing a long time friend whom I should have met up with him when he contacted me on facebook about 2 months ago. We haven't met for more than 16 years. He drowned in Singapore river on Christmas morning 2008, after headed out for drinks with some friends on Christmas eve. I wasn't able to attend the wake as I was in KL and friends whom went for the wake did not get any closure on the how and the who and the why. The little fiction I created, hopefully, gives myself closure to my own regrets. And I hope Ben Tan Beng Sien [ Chen Mingxian ] is really in a better place..

Today is 29th December 2008
Time now is 17:07hrs

Rest in peace , dear old friend.
Ben Tan Beng Sien

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tis the Season to Share

A man's wealth is not measured by how much he or she owns but measured by how much he can give.

This holiday season, let it be the time for us to give.
It is always a greater joy to give than to receive and someone once said..
Happiness shared is Happiness doubled.

I beseech anyone whom reads this post of mine to give joy to another person.
That might not need tobe the gift of material comfort. Perhaps someone in need of your time. Your children or your parents or grandparents.

If you wish to give for greater satisfaction, you could also share a little bit of your wealth to charity.

If we came with nothing and will be leaving with nothing, then the least we can do is to give some hope and joy to those whom have nothing at all...
The above link is for those whom are willing to share and yet have little time to spare.

Today we are in a position to share, but there come a day when we may be in a situation of need.

On behalf of everyone receiving hope and joy, I thank you for reading.
You can help to by posting this message on your blog or facebook or forums.

This article was first posted on

Today is 23rd December 2008.
Time now is 15:15hrs.

2 more days to Christmas.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Sharing Wisdom

A colleague shared with me his wisdom on our monthly paycheck.

The paycheck according to him, is likened to be the menstrual period of most women.

The reason is as follow

1. It comes once every month.
2. When it does come, many things can be done safely and without fear.
3. It dries up after only 2-3 days.
4. If it does not arrive timely every month, it going to be a bad spell.

Today is 2nd December 2008.
Time is 10:39hrs.

Be eager to share happiness.
Especially in the morning.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Never Say Die!

On the contrary to what many self help books recommend...

One should never live his or her day as if it was the last day..

The reason is because we always need to plan for tomorrow and the future that is to be ours.

Planning for the day, week, month and year.

Today is 1st December 2008.
Time is 00:48 hrs.

The general outline of my book is in order.

Friday, November 28, 2008


If a black cat crosses your intended path means bad luck...
Does it mean if it was a white cat, it will be good luck?

Point to ponder..

Today is 28 November 2008
Time is 01:50hrs

When it looks like your luck hit rock bottom,
Probably it's the good luck that is keeping you still alive and healthy...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Midweek Epiphany

The Perfect Crime is the one without any Victims.

Today is Wednesday 19 November 2008
Time now is 10:17hrs

Another wednesday.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Democracy breeds Capitalism.
Capitalism divides the Poor and the Rich.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's just an accident

The year 1999 or 2000 when I was still an undergraduate in UK.

I constantly hung out with this group of friends from Singapore.

There was this time when a friend, Z, accidentally dropped something and apologised saying that it was a harmless accident..

Her boyfriend, J, funnily remarked that "People die in accidents".

In 2001, J, fell from five storeys and we lost a dear friend that night.
No one really knew what happened....

So what prompted my flashback... Z asked..

Saturday night, there was a case of suicide in the heartland.
A lady leapt from the 40th storey over some emotional argument with her spouse/boyfriend.

Somehow through the two unrelated events, it prompted my flashback.
Not much to say other than on nights which I'd like company with close guy friends, I'd wish very much that I have one more to call.....

J, you are sorely missed even after these years..
To rest of my cliche in Leicester namely, M,E & I, hope you guys still remember him too.

Today is 11th November 2008 [ Armistice Day ]
Time now is 11:26 hrs

Armistice or Remembrance day is to commemorate the end of World War 1 on 11th November 1918, on 11am.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


什么Power Bills
什么Fuel Surcharge


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Student and Teacher

When one is ready to learn,
There will be many ready to teach.

Today is 30 Oct 2008.
Time is 12:40hrs

I'd never forget the Halloween Party of 1997.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I spy with my ultrascan eye,
Add one more to my progeny,
After 9 moons are high.

Will it be X,
Or will it be Y?
Either will be a pleasant surprise.

Do you know Isabel?
Her next sibling will be
Natalie or Nathaniel.

Ask me how soon,
I'd say,
In June.

Today is 28 Oct 2008
Time is 21:25hrs

Words alone cannot describe my emotions at this moment.

Slice of Enlightenment

Imbeciles are bred, not borned.

Today is 28th Oct 2008
Time is 0910hrs

Admit It

You can't tickle the Devil's balls and tell him that you are not f**king around..


Friday, October 17, 2008

All I Need is a Winning Streak of 5 times in a Row..

Start off with 5 dollar bet on single number on the roulette wheel.

$5 wins $(5 x 35) = $175.00

Place $175 on the next number, winning will mean

$(175 x 35) = $6,125

Repeating the process for total of 5 times starting from $5 bet.

Roll 3 wins $(6,125 x 35) = $214,375

Roll 4 wins $(214,375 x 35) = $7,503,125 [ This my friend is already 7 million dollars ]

Roll 5 wins $(7,503,125 x 35) = $262,609,375 [ 262 million dollars ]

5 Times lucky wins this much from $5 initial wager.

Practice with a dice of 6 possibilities..
Guess it correctly for 5 times.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Gone GAGA!!

For my wife

Thursday, October 09, 2008


Thank you for taking the chance on me.
No one knew how far I'd gone or how good I'm going to be.
But yet, you took the chance.

Our time together is like a rollercoaster.
Sometimes high, sometimes low.
Sometimes just screaming our heads off.
But at most times, just happy to have someone beside throughout the ride.

It's been a good 7 year "front-seat" ride of our rollercoaster.

More to come..
Happy 7th Anniversary to both me and my wife.

Chronological Calendar of Events of our Rollercoaster
06-Oct 2001 ROM
13-Dec 2003 Traditional Nuptial Ceremony
15-Dec 2003 Wedding Banquet
17-Dec 2004 Birth of Isabel Neo

Today is 9 Oct 2008
Time is 09:48 hrs

Inspired by Ronan Keating, ABBA, Christine, Isabel, Franklin

Monday, August 18, 2008

Unethical Business

Vote and win for Iphone....
That was the attraction.
Send in one sms and stand a chance to win a sparkling Iphone.

This unscrupulous company in Singapore used this tactics to lure mobile phone users to giving away their numbers..

By sending the SMS as a vote to their database, the law allows them to send the user sms at $4 a month at no more than 10 sms sent each month.

This means they can earn up to $40 from each user without the user permission as the permission was granted the moment the user sent the VOTE SMS.

Attached is a copy of their fine print..

Wixawin is not affiliated with, sponsored by or endorsed by any of the listed products or retailers. Trademarks, service marks, logos, (including, without limitation, the individual names of products and retailers) are the property of their respective owners This is an ongoing subscription service until user quits. This service operates according to the Singapore code of practice for SMS services. By sending an SMS to 72233, you acknowledge that you have read and understood the ‘Terms & Conditions’ and agree to be bound by these 'Terms & Conditions' To stop service? Text STOP to 72233. Subscription: Maximum 10 SMS questions per month, S$4 per question. Competition ends 31-12-'08 Age: 18+ only – obtain bill payer's permission Helpdesk: 6571 3999 Technical Service Provider: Sybase 365 Pte Ltd.

I urge everyone whom stumble across my blog to remind their friends and family..
Blog it, forum it, share it with others so they won't fall prey to this unscrupulous company that stoop to unethical tactics and charging for services which the user didn't opt for.

To stop their services, send "STOP" to 72233.
I hope the people whom work in this company die a painful and slow death for cheating young people. It's as good as those scammers sending out emails telling everyone they got tons of money in the bank and need someone from Singapore to help them unlock the bank etc etc.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pause and Mourn a great passing

A great man borned 23rd Oct 1960.
In Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Pursued academic interests,
Not known to many except those whom he taught as a Professor.
Married with 3 young children,
Cancer struck.

During his treatment,
He wrote a book "The Last Lecture" where he gave advice to all,
Citing examples from his life as reference.
And taught all how to "Really Achieve the Childhood Dream".

His legacy will outlive the generations to come.
He passed on, battling pancreatic cancer for close to a year.
I dedicate this post to him.

I bought 2 copies of his book,
Because I misplaced one on the plane.
I hope the finder will benefit from his teachings and continue to pass on his legacy.

Death comes to us all.
But each and everyone's legacy lives on.

A book about life without religious context.
About living on, even in the last moments.

Thank you , Randolf Pausch.

Today is 12 August 2008
Time is 10:23 am

Randy passed on 25th July 2008.

Friday, August 01, 2008

National Birth Rate

Singapore has raised the issue with birth rate again.

Declining birth rates and how employers and national policies can help push for a high birthrate.

It has always been the over-successfulness of the 2 child policy in the 70s where the same government imposed a myriad of benefits and penalties of having the third and fourth child.

And so the idea got stuck with the nation. IT IS ONLY ENOUGH TO REPLACE OURSELVES. ie a couple give birth to a couple. Since then the same government has accelerated our economy to what it was today. The 2 child policy ensured that both parents can afford to work while retired grandparents look after their 2 children. At the same time, as both parents worked, they were able to provide the 2 children with quality education and afford better luxuries for themselves and their kids.

A World Class nation, with both adult members of the basic family cell working.
An accelerated economy that made the country became a developed nation in 20 over years.
The almost strongest currency in ASEAN.
The working class gotta account for some of the achievements above.

However, it has become an evil cycle.
As parents work harder to afford simple luxuries and better education for their children, they have inadvertently set the wheels of inflation into motion. Work harder, earn more, employers pay more for staff and inevitably raising cost of products to ensure business continuity.

Of course, this phenomenon is global. Better economy also means higher cost of living.
Simple luxuries such as owning a car becomes an expensive luxury.

I recalled about a decade ago, there was a speech given my Ex-PM, the father of the current Prime Minister. I vaguely remembered the details, but one sentence got stuck in my head for good. The statement he made was , "Singaporeans must be greedy!".

There were several articles and comments about that statement in all newspapers the following few days. And it is exactly this greed that ensured Singapore's continued strive for success.
And it was also this greed that made the nation worked harder to afford the desired luxuries such as owning a car and a private apartment. It is also this greed that made Singaporean employees more attractive to hire.

So here we all are now, consumed by our greed to strive for better jobs and better salaries so we can chase our dream luxuries...

The stress of the upwards spiraling economy coupled with the rising cost of living and transport.....HOW CAN WE HAVE A GOOD BIRTH RATE??

And encouraging the nation to be greedy, this somehow succeeded, many strived and manage to attain their desired luxuries, owning cars and private apartments. Now seeing that the nation can afford cars, even with its expensive costs, toll charges and insurance premiums are increased, making sure the nation doesn't slack by always increasing the cost of living a notch higher than what the working class can afford. Keeping us on our toes... HOW CAN WE HAVE A GOOD BIRTH RATE??

A greedy nation bred by a greedier administration. Again they are a notch higher in greed.
A recent report shown about 1000 people give up their citizenship every year.

I congratulate them on their escape.

Singapore is an island,
But I can safely say that it is not a resort.

FarBird's Wisdom

Farbird sez...

"If you are not earning money, then you must be spending money!"

Today is 1st August 2008.
Time is 0955 hrs.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My sudden epiphany..

Just a couple of weeks back, I was having a chat with my dad..
He is a person I look up to... mostly because he has achieved a lot and most of his achievements, I'm trying very hard to attain.

But his lifestyle leaves him little time.
Most of his time is spent on his business.

I had a sudden epiphany after chatting with him that night.
Perhaps in life.... what we want to own and what we want to do, sometimes they do not necessary compliment each other...

We might chase so hard after what we want to own, but at the end, we lose time that could be used to do things that we wanted to do.

Things I want to own, I will dedicate ample time and resources to achieve them without having to sacrifice what I want to do, especially spending time with my family.

Owning a big house isn't going to be of much use if there's no one to share it with?

I share with my readers a proverb, incidentally my dad translated and written a chinese version of this few verses and pinned on his wall... I hope he reads it again soon.....

Money can buy a House............But not a Home
Money can buy a Bed..............But not Sleep
Money can buy a Clock............But not Time
Money can buy you a Book.........But not Knowledge
Money can buy you Medicine.......But not Health
Money can buy you Sex............But not Love

Today is 17th July 2008
Time is 12:38am

I am home now.
I am flying off to Jakarta in 7 hours time.
Back in Singapore in 30 hours from now.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Frequent Flyer

Work has been bringing me to many places in the past 4 years.

Though the airmiles and cultural exchange has been interesting, you know when you are travelling too much when..

Here's the ala David Letterman Top Ten list :

10) You have 4 currencies in your wallet
9 ) You take the plane more than you take the bus
8 ) You need to have a new passport every 1 year
7 ) You spend more time in hotels than in your own home
6 ) Your credit card is filled with overseas expenditures
5 ) You start getting hooked on cable channels which you don't subscribe to at home
4 ) Your car's fuel tank starts getting rusty
3 ) Your wife is complaining you don't spend enough time with her
2 ) You never unpack your suitcase
1 ) Your kids start forgetting your name...

Today is 1st June 2008.
Time is 19:42 hrs.

I was serving reservist from 28th April 2008 to 17th May 2008,
I was in Batam from 23th May 2008 to 24th May 2008,
I was in Australia from 26th May 2008 to 30 May 2008,
I will be in Philippines from 1st June 2008 to 6th June 2008,

Isabel is starting to forget her daddy's name.
She just remembers that there is someone always driving her around in a small blue car.

I love my wife, my daughter and my family.
And will commit more time to them in the month of June 2008..

Once I come back from Philippines.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Race to be the best

"There is no match for Stupidity"
Farbird said that.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

$400,000 coming from whose pockets?

SMRT, the incumbent public rail tranport company in Singapore has been slapped with a heavy fine in March 2008 for a train delay incident which happened in January 2008.

According to the Today's paper [ Source Article ] , SMRT has been fined by the Land Transport Authority, LTA, for about SGD$400,000 for the 7 hour delay which affected more tha 57,000 commuters. SMRT admitted to their fault for this incident which they claimed was due to human error and complacency. Though buses were rolled out during the incident as contingency plan, peak hour traffic impaired its efficiency.

It is up to the public transport operator to operate within LTA's guidelines and naturally, if there is a breach in the guidelines set out by LTA, a penalty will be imposed onto the operator. Given such tight guidelines, wouldn't it be more appropriate if LTA routinely check on the operator's operating and maintenance procedures, rather than to impose a fine whenever a guideline is breached? Bear in mind that the rail system was designed and built by the LTA jointly with the operator before it was fully handed over to the operator.

A grand fine of $400,000, the grandest ever penalty imposed by LTA on a public transport operator. Singapore is one of the countries where public tranport is not subsidised by the Government. In fact, one of the even fewer countries where the public transport operator is privately owned and making a generous profit.

However, as SMRT is a public listed company with directors and CEOs, annual reports are shown to all shareholders. Top level management are committed to show positive figures and maintain profits so as to maintain interests of directors and shareholders... not to mention also save their own jobs.

One has to ask, how is SMRT going to pay the fine and still keep up to its positive financial records. the main revenue from a public transport operator is naturally its transport business, namely, everyone whom uses their public transport contributes to its revenue. Everyone like you and me, using the trains, buses and taxis to get to work. With LTA imposing such a heavy fine, how is SMRT going to recover this $400,000 fine to keep up to its annual profits as compared to last year.

Are we going to see a dip of $400,000 from their annual profits?
If so, this will mean a smaller bonuses for their staff and shareholders alike.
Will the $400,000 come from their operation overheads?
Will the $400,000 be translated into lower gross profit for their financial year?


Was a fine of $400,000 from LTA the only way to ensure public transport operators maintain a certain standard of uptime and reliability? Or could LTA be more involved in their maintanence to prevent a reoccurance of this incident?

What is LTA going to do with the $400,000 anyway? Build a 3rd set of rails on existing tracks for emergency use when the 2 sets fail? Can the $400,000 be used by LTA into developing some system to track failures before it happens?

Each and every system that the LTA implements will cost money and these monies are recovered from the public transport operators via a lease-purchase agreement, such investments from the public transport operators are then recovered from...... the public whom uses their system.

One fine example is the EZ-Link system. Millions are invested into the system... Did LTA pay for this without public expense? No doubt the system is good, but since the introduction of the system, it seemed fares increased almost 2 times every year. To the public, it merely seemed like easier access for the public transport operators to raise fares.

Was it fair? $400,000 penalty?

How can the operator, after losing $400,000, continue to appear in the blue financially and make similar profits to appease its shareholders and directors?

What is LTA going to do with the $400,000?

Will the next fare rise justification take into account of the $400,000 lost/gained?

Do Singaporeans really care about this $400,000 and its complex repercussions?

Today is 11th March 2008
Time now is 12:19 hrs

To some, $400,000 is about $200,000 short of being a peanut's price in Singapore.
Singapore's short of monkeys working for peanuts and one famous ape just died recently.
Anyone wanna take its place?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Middle Class Woes

The 2008 Singapore Budget has acknowledged the importance of the middleclass..
Singapore's TodayOnline on 2008 Budget Speech

Mentioned 16 times, the middle class Singaporeans, which form the bulk of the working population. Looking at a bell curve, the 2 extremes which are the extreme wealthy and the extremely poor, should have no worries. Afterall, the rich have excess abundance of wealth for grand homes and able to pay their taxes , the poor are subsidised to the extent that they pay almost lesser than 100 dollars for monthly rented housing.

The bulk of the population falls under the category of Middle Class. Politically speaking, the Florida state of USA 2000 elections, which means it is the tipping point for elections. Win the tipping point and win the elections.

For Singapore, the tipping point would be the bulk, which is the middle class population.

As Singapore holds no natural resources, its humble beginnings relied heavily on the local workforce. Being strategically located, its port has been one of the major revenue and besides depending on techology, ports are operated mainly by a huge workforce. From there, sprouted its oil and gas refining beginnings as the ports made easy access from Asia to the world and vice versa.

In a way, it was good vision that made Singapore the famous port it is now and we should not forget that human resources are also a major factor in making Singapore so successful today.

With skilled labour and strategic location, there were still several needs to be addressed. Needs to ensure a productive workforce. Then in the early years of country development, housing issues were addressed by the Housing Development Board, HDB, to provide affordable housing for the workforce. Stability of the economy to ensure that the workforce need not worry about losing their jobs, Government initiated pension schemes [Central Provident Fund,CPF ] to assure the workforce that their retirement fund is covered and that will also assist in paying for their affordable housings.

I quote the following from Dennis Kucinich's rally for US presidential election site about his take on the middle class which I see happening in Singapore today.

Extract from above site subtitled : Survival of the Middle Class

It is a shocking - and dangerous - trend in the USA over the past 3 decades: the plummeting rewards and respect for hard work.

As a result, the middle class who has produced this magnificent American engine of economic growth is under intense pressure from the governing elites - of both parties. Risk envelopes the life of the average American employee while the casino capitalists at the top prosper. Global elites scour the globe in search of slave labor while some of them earn 36,000 times the wage of the average American worker and 580,000 times the average Chinese worker. The middle class has watched as their jobs are being exported, health care costs are soaring, wages are being depressed, tuition costs are rising and retirement savings and pensions are disappearing. All while wars damage their family's economic health and security are being waged in their name.

Perhaps not all that are mentioned above are applicable to Singapore's middle classes today but its easy to spot the similarities between the two nations.

Little subsidies are given to slow down the rising cost of living.
Much of it goes to investments elsewhere which is not in the country which the middle class contribute to.
Housing are no longer affordable and retirement funds which was extracted from the working employee is being governed as if it didn't belonged to them anymore.
Rising healthcare costs ensures that more money from the CPF is being funneled out and back into the state.
Education costs are higher than what it was and it seems to on the rising trend with yearly revisions up Northwards.

We are in no war but defense budgets skyrocket and take a significance portion of the annual budget.

Stability is rocking with the incumbent government is opening its doors and attracting foreign talents to work in Singapore. Perhaps in hope to fill the overpriced housing which the locals can no longer afford. Basic HDB houses actually costs 10 times more than what it was 20 years ago. I believe the middle class income for the same job did not match such inflation.

Taxes rise upon Electoral wins as opposed to other countries which promise tax cuts which their political parties win.

Usage of the infrastructure for commuting between home and workplace is getting more expensive as more road tolls are implemented for roads and highways, which were built more than 10 years ago. All in the name of preventing congestion. Funny how it works when a commuter pays a toll and still get stuck in a jam. Roads are built for a reason and it seems it is discouraged for commuters to use these roads or highways by implementing a toll. I'm sure the revenue from these toll collection will go into technology to create even more ways to collect toll charges.

Today, the nation is facing a shortage of babies. I'm sure there's a reason or combinations of reasons why this is happening....

Just choose a reason listed above..

The Middle Class, I believe, were not merely acknowledged for their existence but the Middle Class, are FEARED, for the majority of the population that they are and their ability and capacity as a Citizen to exercise their vote-casting rights.

I end this post on my blog with a quote from V for Vendatta [ A TV series that was made into a movie recently ]

The People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their People.

Today is 18 Feb 2008
Time is 1725 hrs

I am having financial difficulties paying for my house, my kid and my car.

Monday, February 11, 2008

We are Singaporeans!

The most dreadful thing a driver can see on a Singapore road these days is not an accident. We got insurance and airbags to cover both damages and safety.

As a new driver to Singapore, I'd begun to feel the pinch of paying the local road use toll charges on Expressways and entering the City. The word "City" in Singapore is used ambiguously. On one hand, most would recognise Singapore itself as a city as it is too small. To locals, City will mean the shopping belt and hotels area.

To prevent congestion, The Land Transport Authority has implemented Toll Collection aka Electronic Road Pricing [ERP] for vehicles entering the "City" area. This makes sense as it reduces traffic jam in the shopping area where we get the bulk of overseas tourists visiting. Singapore doesn't want to portray itself as like Bangkok with severe traffic issues.

Next, the expressways are also in the ERP scheme, having motorists to pay for smooth traffic to go to work in the morning. Now that makes sense as most expressways converge in the city area anyway.

In short, motorists would have to pay toll charges for entering City or using expressways to get to work. This also prevents motorists from travelling through the city to reach their destinations. Motorists will then have to detour by another road in order not to pay toll and the result was achieved, easing the traffic in the city.

Next, short notices were given that even on the route back from work, to homes in HDB heartland, ERP gantries will be installed. Not much explanation were given, other than to reduce traffic on the expressways. White and blue collar still went home, however, if your home is along places such as Ang Mo Kio, Toa Payoh, Yishun, Woodlands, you will most likely have to go through CTE and passing "several" toll gantries along the way. That will mean that if you are to drive home before 8pm, your journey will be more expensive than others living in areas such as Bedok or Tampines.

Funny how the incumbent Government is trying to promote family lifestyle and having more babies. Not sure if the Ministry of National Development and the Ministry of Transport are in sync with each other in the direction which the country is headed.

Now right in 2008, the LTA has announced even more gantries, it seems the city limits have been stretched to even places like Kallang and Boon Keng, which surprisingly have zero malls. When ERP was implemented for the expressways, to head to places near to the city, it appears that most motorist will avoid taking the expressway and thus travel the old routes [old days prior to the construction of the expressways] and this means travelling across places like Kallang, Lavendar, Boon Keng, Geylang.

There is no doubt that with the initial implementation of ERP on expressways, the traffic will detour via the roads going around the expressways. And now, the reason of implementing the new ERP gantries around these routes is the same. To "ease" traffic congestion. You can already expect the response from the motorists. However, as Singaporeans as tame and obedient, the response was not great enough for the authorities to reconsider their decision. Well, the people making decisions are ultimately chosen and elected by the public whom deem them as good decision makers.

So I quote my opinion from an engineering point of view based loosely on the Venturi Effect.

The law of fluid dynamics states that for an incompressible fluid, the rate of flow for the entrance and exit as it goes through a passage has to remain the same. Blocking or restricting the entrance or exit will only result in slower flow.

Imagine the fluid passing through a tube, blocking the exit will result in build of of pressure and also will reduce the rate of flow. If pressure is large enough, the tube will then break and the fluid will naturally flow out via the cracks. And at the cracks more blockage is also implemented. There seems no clear funnel for the traffic to go to with these gantries. ie I haven't got the faintest clue where LTA expect the traffic to go.

It just seems another method to collect revenue where ever possible without much obligations to the people whom had elected them. The backbone of the economy is based on the workforce. Sadly, Singapore is a place with zero natural resources. With cost of personal transport and public transport growing and totally out of sync with the manner which the income is rising, a big build up of pressure and a major slowdown is expected.

And when the pressure is big enough, there is only one imminent and inevitable result.