Thursday, March 26, 2009

Some Happy News

Instead of sad news of our declining economy.....
Here's a happy note.

Eng Hwa cinemas are offering $8 movie tickets if you print out this coupon.

Terms & conditions apply.

Today is 26th March 2009
Time now is 12:28 hrs

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fine, No Fine, Legal or not Legal, Make Up Your Mind!

About a year ago, a high profile case involving a rich man and him buying kidneys made big news.

Kidneys for sale: CK Tang chairman charged with 3 counts
(Source: AsiaOne)

Mr Tang Wee Sung was dying of kidney failure and in his desperation to live, bought a kidney from a willing donor via a broker. Needless to say, there were significant remuneration for the willing donor.

But in Singapore, at that moment in time, this was considered illegal and morally unethical.
At the end of the day, Tang, his broker and the willing donor got some fine and relatively short jail term.

The Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA) in Singapore states that organs can only be donated in event of death. All Singaporeans are automatically opted in by law unless they choose to opt out of the scheme during their living years.

By the court proving the 3 whom conspired to buy,sell,brokered the kidney of a living donor, Singapore has taken its stand to stamp out such activities and make an example out of these 3 and warn its people that such activities are not acceptable...

Until now..

Singapore is considering making changes to the HOTA and is even considering reimbursements payouts for willing living donors.

A Tough Moral Choice
(Source : Today Paper)

Knowing Singapore and considering its previous history on the issue of opening the Casino, only one thing can be said.The chinese character above is the word for "Official" or government official.
The word has 2 "
口" in it which is the chinese word for mouth.
There is a saying in chinese which says "
两个口" which means the word "official" has two "mouths".
The hidden meaning means, the government can say anything they want to.

Today is 25th March 2009
Time now is 10:31 hrs

I bet very soon, some government official or his/her family will be making use of this change to the HOTA.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Better Sex?

Can better sex be achieved with modern technology?

Apparently some believe that normal sex is passé, and tries to improve it with absolutely stunning results. Though sex toys are usually harmless, this home-made one is the type that should have a large label that says "Do Not Try This At Home!"

DIY Sex Machine Injury

This woman whose partner attached a kind of sex toy, most likely a dildo, on an electric saw. And somehow the saw cut through the toy and into the woman.

Needless to say, bloody scene.

A few points to ponder.

How could they in their sane minds, come out with this contraption?
Considering this is not something that takes less than 30 seconds to build and install.
Before they turned into animals in heat, there should be at least some sane moments for them to turn around to each other and say," That's not quite a good idea.."

Is the guy "inadequate" to such extent that he require mechanical assistance to get him or her going?

It'd take 2 imbeciles for accidents to happen. Honestly speaking, the chances of that happening is so little that when 2 imbeciles meet and collaborate, their collaboration will usually be newsbreaking.

Today is 21st March 2009
Time now is 13:19 hrs

Would you like me to set the speed to LOW, MEDIUM or DRILL ME CRAZY ?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

AIG,Freddie,Fannie Bonus vs. Singapore CDC Bonus

Everybody knows, rescue package of US$700 billion from USA will be going to firms such as AIG, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to keep them afloat.

And outrageously enough, these companies ,'butt deep in their own faeces', are still audacious enough to announce retention bonus packages for their executives. Paying their top executives high dollar from the 700 billion that was given to them from the US Federal Reserves which was meant to tide them over this crucial period.

Frustrations from the US citizens and Federal Reserves had caused headlines all over the world in its different forms of broadcasting media. A raw nerve indeed.

Something closer to home now....
Singapore is the first country out of USA to follow suit in pulling the reserves out of the long deep hat in order to help out the Singapore banks that have been badly affected by the mortgage/loan crisis. Some 4.9 billion singapore dollars will be withdrawn from the reserves to balance the loan risks of banks and to ensure job stability of most Singaporeans. Both initiatives looks good in both its speech and printed form. The President of Singapore, S R Nathan, took 2 days to give his favourable reply and agreed in principle that in the deteriorating global economic situation, himself and his team of advisors have to accept the use of Singapore's reserves.

Well, until early March 2009, several news agencies, namely Straits Times and Channel News Asia did an article about how the Northwest CDC are paying bonuses of up to 8 months to its staff. Many netizens are airing their disgust on how the CDC Mayor is responding to the queries.

Northwest CDC is the considered to be local management committee that is supposed to take care of the community under its region. Below is an extract of their function from their website :

The North West Community Development Council(CDC) is your local administration, initiating, planning and managing community programmes to promote community bonding and social cohesion.

Together with North West CDC, our residents get involved in the community and work towards making life better for themselves and their fellow residents.

Truth is that, with the financial crisis that the nation is facing now, added the fact that Singapore have to dig deep into its pockets now, can our government agencies such as the CDC's afford such high payouts of bonuses to its staff?

To make matters worse, Town councils are able to make investments with their sinking funds. And in late 2008, some of the town councils have some of their funds invested in the failed Lehman related products. An amount of up to $12 million of such sinking funds had been c0-invested by a couple of local town councils. And if these investments incur losses, how would it affect the town councils financial health and its commitment to the town that it serves?

The Lycan Times 狼人時報 helps to understand and elaborate how each CDC gets their budgeted funding.

If there are expected surplus from the budgeted funds allocated for the council, shouldn't it be returned to the government's financial ministry whereby the monies can be put into better use?

Whom have the decision to spend our money or invest it mindfully?

I doubt all Singaporean "whom doesn't have a ex-PM daddy" will ever know.

Today is 19th March 2009
Time now is 17:00hrs

A media blackout has been executed for the Northwest CDC 8 months bonus issue.
Channel News Asia and Straits Times have their articles taken offline.

Several blogs in Singapore are already noticing the blackout.

Singapore Kini : News Blackout [ 17th March 2009 ]

Dee Kay Dot As Gee : News articles on North West CDC 8 months bonus disappeared from Mainstream Media?

AsiaOne could possibly be the last news agency that had some reference of the news from Straits Times on this topic

Last but not least, Wayang Party's open letter to Dr Teo Ho Pin, Mayor of Northwest CDC, requesting more information .

Below is Dr Teo Ho Pin's response on Channel News Asia

If he don't know, then who knows?

Perhaps Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan's comment of the late 2008 town council's Lehman's investment fiasco could be of some use now..

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Best Claw Coin-Op Machine Ever Made!

This will rake in the much needed business revenue for the arcade industry in Singapore!
Invented in Japan and mistaken for onions most of the time.

Try your luck in catching one of the goodies in this claw machine.
Sadly, it's only available in Japan now.

[ Source : Buzzfeed ]

Today is 17th March 2009
Time now is 12:15hrs

Please please please buy me one!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Feline terms

A male cat is called a Tom Cat but did you know what to call a female cat?

Answer is here!

Did you know neutering your cats will 100% prevent them from getting testicular cancer if its a castrated tom cat and spayed queen cats will never get ovarian cancer?

Also, queen cats are superfecund, this means that they will mate with several tom cats when they are in heat and will eventually produce a litter of kittens whom may have different fathers.

Today is 11th March 2009
Time now is 13:44 hrs

9 lives, superfecund, cancer-free!
Dig it!

Monday, March 09, 2009

A Lesson in Game

A colleague shared with me something new in which I had not known throughout my academic and professional career. It's a concept of which can applied to almost any fields and it helps a great deal in making decisions or predicting outcomes.

This concept is actually several ideas grouped together as a theory (which also is a branch of "applied mathematics") that can be applied of non-numerical calculations to predict reactive behaviors to given conditions.

A simple example will be 2 persons playing a simple 2 step game whereby each player's decision at step 1 and step 2 will result in either both having equal points at the end of the game or having a winner and loser separated by a large margin.

So in the simple matrix game above, one player chooses the left or right, while the other player chooses up or down. With 4 different possible outcomes, each players decision will decide if they both gain positive points with a marginal difference between them or both lose or both lose with negative points. If each makes their own decision without knowing the other's decision, it'd be a completely random outcome. However, if the second player's decision is based on the first player's decision, then the second player have the opportunity to either "defect" to sabotage the first player or "cooperate" but gaining lesser points than the first player.

The first player can also have a choice in determining the results, because if he chooses "Down", and if the second player "defects" to choose a destructive outcome, then at least his initial decision of choosing "down" rather than "up" will not result in reduction in points, should the second player decide to play "defect".

The "Game Theory" aims to find an equilibrium in such interaction of decisions and results between subjects of human and non-human form. In short, if a chess player is trying his best and apply a constant regular pattern in his thinking/deciding behavior and has fixated on a set of moves which he or she feels is the best way to play chess, then his opponent will base his or her set of theories and fixate on their own constant pattern in playing again the opponent's moves. And since both challengers have fixated to a regular pattern of playing, it can be said that there is an Equilibrium since both are playing a strategy that is to their best knowledge and both are unlikely to change their strategy against each other. One of the more famous Equilibrium concepts, which can be calculated numerically to logically derive decisions, created and named after "John Forbes Nash" is the "Nash Equilibrium" solution concept. A movie depicting the life story of "John Nash" has been made with its film title to be "A Beautiful Mind" starring Russell Crowe.

However, there are quirks in the decision making process between 2 or more parties which will result in a solution which is considered abnormal or deviate from the logical explanation. From the above basic matrix game, repeated playing the game and alternating between the first and second player positions, an equilibrium will be achieved when both players repeatedly cooperate and achieve a "Up,Left" or "Down,Right" result whereby as they alternate between their player's position, they'd get equal points.** [ see bottom final paragraph ]

But in a unique case of the "Prisoner's Dilemma" game, a very different result, which deviate from the expected solution equilibrium, is produced. In the Prisoner's Dilemma game, consider 2 persons accused of murder and both present at scene of crime at time of murder. Both are detained by the police and in separate rooms undergoing interrogation. Both are aware of the possible outcomes.

Outcome 1 : Both remains silent, both accused are detained for 24hrs and can go free after that as the police have no case.

Outcome 2 : One of them betrays the other and proclaims his own innocence while the other remain silent, Betrayer will get 2 years and Silent will get life imprisonment without pardon.

Outcome 3: Both betrays each other, each get 5 years imprisonment.

Logically, it makes sense for both not to betray each other and they go scot-free after 24 hours. However, human nature of self-interest or fear will result in making a decision that is based on the mistrust of another human being. So the mind of each accused under such a situation will question what will be his best decision, should the other isolated accused chooses to betray? So for his own sake, he should also betray.

Though the result doesn't really fall into the Game Theory solution, (in which, one is playing his best based on knowing that his opponent will also play his best) doesn't apply in the scenario, but a Nash equilibrium can be said to be achieved [ ie each player is playing to maximize his own payoffs without consideration of the other player's payoff in the game ]. Such games are also known as "Zero Sum" games whereby one player's winnings equates to another player's losses and the winnings and losses sum up to zero and hence the title "Zero Sum". The card game "Poker" is an example of the Zero Sum game whereby one wins exactly the amount the other loses.

While looking up on the subject on Game Theory, it is also interesting that a more recent application of the theory was seen in TV, specifically the Monty Hall problem as demonstrated in the TV game show "Let's Make a Deal"

The show features a contestant and 3 closed doors. Behind a specific door, there's a car waiting to be won, the other doors will have each a goat behind it. The contestant is then free to make a choice on a closed door which he or she believes that there is a car behind it. Once the decision is made, the TV show host, Mr Monty Hall, will then assist the contestant by opening a door which doesn't contain the car. This eliminates the chances of choosing a wrong door and the contestant will then be allowed to change his choices between the 2 remaining doors.

At the beginning, the law of probability will show that the initial choice has a 1/3 or 33.33% chance of guessing the correct door. However, after eliminated one empty door, the contestant is given a choice to make another decision again, ie to stay or to change. Though many will say since that the final choice is a decision between 2 doors, the probability of getting it right regardless if he switch his choices or not is irrelevant since it is still a 50/50% game of chance.

However, with all the possible outcomes presented (see diagram below), it is interesting to realize that, switching choices at the 2nd stage give the contestant a 2/3 or 66.67% chance more of winning the car than sticking on to the original choice which will only give him 1/3 or 33.33% of the chances to win. Hard to work out mentally but if you add up the switching probability of winning the car, you will see that its 66.67% chance of winning if the contestant switches door when given the opportunity to change.

The Game Theory has been applied to many fields of science to predict the behavior of plants and animals. It has also been used in predicting human behaviors reacting to politics, economy, etc. Marketing campaigns between different brands of similar products can also be analyzed using the theory. An interesting explanation of competing cigarette brands and their advertising costs and how it relates to the Game Theory can be read here.

The Game Theory can be applied onto any situations whereby a decision can cause a reaction and to help make the type of decisions to cause the best expected reaction or least negative impact with best positive results.

Today is 9th March 2009
Time now is 12:26 hrs

It makes sense to alternate winning more and winning less as the 2 players switch between player 1 and player 2 positions between them and hence reach an equilibrium when both understand that if they keep doing this, they will have equal points throughout. But what if the last game is to be played on an odd round?
ie last game to be played is game 49. And at game 48, each player has an equal score of 84 points each. The question now is, if you are either player, would you defect or would you cooperate?

To be or not to be..
THAT is the question.

Friday, March 06, 2009

For all my friends whose name is Jason....

Something interesting I realised recently about the name "Jason"..

If you take the first letter of every month ie, "J for January, F for February etc" and place it in sequence besides each other.. The name "Jason" will magically appear.

So it can be said that:

"JASON" will start to appear after June,
It'll take about 5 months to fully go through "JASON",
"JASON" will be there right until before December,
There is only one "JASON" in a calendar year.


Today is 6th March 2009
Time now is 12:53hrs

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

On the Edge of it

Breaking news on 2nd March 2009

About 150 whales beach themselves on the beaches on Australia.

Though the news may not be significant for most, this is not the only incident that happened this calendar year.

Another happened also in Tasmania
Of the 50 sperm whales that beached, only 1 survived.

And in late 2008, another 53 pilot whales died after beaching again in Tasmania.

While the similar location raises some doubt as the Oceania region accounts for more than 80% of whale beaching incidents, another more serious question comes into mind.

Most of the whale beaching reported by the media only serves to inform and not much scientific reasoning can be derived from these incidents.

Maybe someone from the same region has already given some light of such happenings as early as 1859. Charles Darwin published his theory "On the Origin of Species" which explains the process of evolution by natural selection. In short, his theory is based on the belief that in the natural world, the strongest will survive. Derivatives of his theory also mentioned that to evolve is also to adapt and that the species that is able to adapt will so continue to exist in the natural world.

Backtrack to the beaching whales to dissect their suicidal behaviour.
Whales are fairly docile creatures that do not have aggressive nature.They are also constantly migrating from colder to warmer waters for breeding and feeding purposes. Studies have shown that their sense of direction for guiding them back to where they were born may be due to the fact that they are able to navigate by the Earth's magnetic field.

As much as some will argue the fact that it is because of the number of ships which transmit radio frequency signals to and fro and the increased number of submarines which have sonar systems that disrupt the whales' sense of direction, it should also be noted that the earliest whale beaching incident recorded was as early as 1598. It was a painting by the way.

It then cannot be said that it is due to modern communications equipment which caused the whales to lose their sense of direction and beach themselves.

So from 1598 to the current day, the only fact known is that the number of whales beached increased at an exponential rate. What can also be said is that us,humans, are also polluting the environment at an almost similar exponential rate.

Looking from an evolution point of view, could it be possible that these whales are trying to adapt? And if they are unable to adapt to the polluted habitat, are they trying to change their habitat by migrating to another different one?

Perhaps, it is a desperate physical attempt at trying to evolve to be able to leave their natural underwater habitat and move on to a less polluted on-land habitat so as to ensure their species' continual existence.

There has been some recent findings on prehistoric whale fossils which showed that some prehistoric whale species gave birth to their young on land.

Most if not all would have read at some point in their lives that most land animals, including the human species evolved from underwater creatures leaving their habitat to live on land for their continual existence.

Are we closer to the edge of evolution as we speak?
If so, will we in the distant future be still the smarter species?
Or will we be the species of lesser intellect and preyed upon by other species?

Today is 4th March 2009
Time now is 00:35 hrs

"Today the human species is the only one with the self-knowledge and the capacity to protect its own future."

Al Gore

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Only If I Say So!

An interesting debate was broadcasted in several forms of media over the past 3 months. A Christian publication wanting to publish their gospel in the Bahasa Melayu aka Malay Language has blown the skirt high above the knee of the Malaysian government.

Apparently to make the Christian publication more easily understood by the locals, it had to be translated into Bahasa Melayu. This is natural as most missionaries create awareness of Christianity in a foreign land by translating text of the Bible into the local language. But this publication got into trouble when there is only one word used to describe the Almighty.

Or so it appears that in the Bahasa Melayu, there is no other words to describe another Almighty Being other than "Allah" which refers to the "only" Almighty Being quoted in the Quran. And so it is debated that the use of the "Allah" word if quoted in the Christianity publication in the Malay language will confuse Malay speaking Muslims.

Seriously speaking, a language should be designed to be able to be expanded with new text when there is a need. In the Mandarin language, the word "
神" which is the equivalent of God, can be referred to the Almighty of the Quran or the Almighty of the Bible or the Deities of Chinese folklores etc. We don't see the Chinese Muslims getting worked up over the word "神" that is also used commonly in Chinese temples or Churches. Nor are we getting any feedback from the Arab world where they live and breathe Islam and practice the Hudud law.

And so the resolution that came after months of debate was this. The Malaysia government finally allowed the use of the word "Allah" to be quoted in the translated Christian publication in the native Bahasa Melayu aka Malay language. But here's the catch, only if it is not meant for non-muslims that speak Malay. In Malaysia, almost 100% of the ethnic Malays are Muslims. And in Malaysia, Islam is the main religion which its followers makes up more than 60.4% of the population.

If the original intent of the Christian publication to be printed in Bahasa Melayu is not meant to reach out to ethnic Malays, then why did they want to translate it in the first place. To put a stumbling block to the Christians' intent shows that the nation or its incumbent goverment takes a stand to defend its rights to maintain its Islamic preference.

The most interesting derivative that came from this debate over the various sources of media is that, Malaysia, or rather its incumbent government had a big debate over if it was a "Secular State" or "Islamic State" just a few months ago when Malaysia went to the Polls. And several ministers have to seek clarification from the incumbent party with regards to public statements made from its former Prime Minister and a few other ministers from the same party which insinuate that Malaysia is an Islamic state. As at time of its recent polls, other than adding more cloud to the topic, there were no clear statements on the issue. And hence it suffered greatly at its recent polls.

So the real question here is, how forgetful can they be to not realise that the "secular/islamic state" debate had costed them a few states. The media can be forgetful in the old days when the only archives are the old newspapers, stashed under the shoe cabinet, are the only way to retrieve old news for the everyday Malaysian.

But bear in mind, with the technology in hand nowadays, we all know that:
Wikipedia is not forgetful.
Blogs are permanent memories.
Google brings everything up in an instant.

They have got to realise that the voters are no longer easily convinced.
Every act, every statement and every bill is taken apart, scrutinised and etched forever somewhere on the internet.

Today is the 2nd March 2009
Time now is 10:24 hrs

I'm not Malaysian and I'm not a Muslim.