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Amerika! May 30, 2007

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.
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We’re all living in America, Amerika ist wunderbar
We’re all living in America, Coca-Cola, sometimes war

Don’t you just love America? Gahmen says we should!


Rügen! May 29, 2007

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.
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Pictures are not available yet. I’ll upload them once i’ve like…slutted them off enough people.

So! I spent the weekend in Rügen, which is actually an island, so it would be more accurate to say Binz, this beach resort place just am Ostsee. For me, it was a big eye-opener (like meeting all the students in Germany, especially the Aachener and Raymond, the guy who gets an orgasm from reading math) the people who are on immersion now, and also, more importantly, knowing who you CAN and who you CANNOT talk to. More on that later.

Another amazing thing about this getaway was the Amazing Race-type of travelling. In a space of 4 days, i’ve spend 1,5 days in a train…that says a whole lot, huh? I mean, nothing to complain, but feeling like you just faced off with a tank or Godzilla for that matter isn’t exactly the best feeling thereafter (and if you factor in the Weizen-Cola raymond and i were guzzling in Leipzig…you get the drift ja.) Looking back, i DO amaze myself. And to think i’ve read 250 pages of text in between (which is a phenomenal amount for me) i’d say the Zug rides ARE pretty damn productive – wouldn’t you? Thankfully i didn’t have to rush from Gleis to Gleis…THAT would have killed me.

Incidentally, i’ll also say this here: Thank God for iPods.

The Rügen programme was, well…HAMPERED by the less-than-perfect weather…when i first arrived, it actually was quite sunny, but after that it all turned grey and cold and windy and rainy…not the perfect weather for a beach! Not as if one could do anything it but bitch. Oh, well. It was however interesting to see how people react to seasickness…y’know, i actually expected to be pretty damn seasick! But it didn’t happen. Must’ve been the Kümmerling…i mean, we had people puking their guts up and stuff yo.

And just yesterday, i made my way to Dresden, where the new chief of SSAG, die Kurfürstin Samantha von Sachsen (or so raymond wants to call her) let me have a…15-minute tour through Dresden. I mean, it’s not a tour so i’ll call it a teaser. I’ll still be going to Dresden one day…and Leipzig too because i agreed to shave with someone and get tattooed together…ugh. So, yes, i’ve seen some but i’m not satisfied! I AM COMING BACK!

More interesting however was the human aspect…for one, i was really surprised how well i managed to mix in with the others who are in Aachen and well…in every other Bundesland excluding Bayern. I don’t know why so don’t ask – maybe it’s got to do with the way no one here understands Bairisch. Heh. Ahh, well. That’s life…ain’t never gonna know who you meet on the road. I’m not going to accuse or point fingers because well i don’t want to provoke anything and i do think we’re better together than apart, innit?

So now i’m back in Trier. Just a little Reisebericht for you guys aikes. And oh! oh!! Me, raymond and dilpreet intend to open a shit-stirring column at SSAG…akan datang!

Liebe Grüße…

I am Singaporean XXVIII – Postscript May 25, 2007

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.
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Look at what’s on the States Times today. Minister Lim Hng Kiang says that we should accept UNSW’s choice to pull out. I mean, that’s not the point of this postscript. Of course we have to accept it somehow. If not then how…

What’s interesting, though, is this part of the article:

Mr Lim, whose ministry oversees Singapore’s development into an education hub, was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Global Trader Summit at the Shangri-La Hotel.

When asked why the university’s offer to scale down its enrolment to 2,000 students was not acceptable to the Economic Development Board (EDB) – which spearheads the growth of the education hub – Mr Lim said that, with a scaled-back enrolment, the EDB would also have to reduce its level of support.

Hmm. So EDB is ‘spearheading the growth of the education hub,’ huh? Economic Development Board, take note. As you can see now, maybe the wrong people are in charge of developing the education hub, because now you see education in terms of money – from there, it probably is relevant to have quality education, but when it comes to economics, i think quantity comes first. To say that EDB made a bad choice and that it painted an overly positive picture of the Singaporean educational hub when it doesn’t exist yet (it’s only a plan) would be being too extreme – it takes 2 hands to clap, and the UNSW administration is in some pretty hot water too – obviously the groundwork was not done well on both sides.

The EDB has not disclosed the amount of funding it was to give UNSW Asia, but the Financial Times reported online yesterday that the university got $80 million in subsidies from the Singapore Government.

Despite this setback, Mr Lim expressed confidence that Singapore will reach its target of attracting 150,000 foreign students to study here by 2015.

$80 million lei…that’s about how much we pay our Mini$ters in 2 years (i.e. A LOT) and it makes you wonder what kind of economic planning EDB is doing, it makes you wonder if they are just selling Singapore based on trust and a brandname which is starting to lose its punch. So this money is considered lost – and the Minister comes out and not only does he not apologise, he tells the displaced to ‘just accept it.’ I bet he’s got a bigger problem dealing with the lost $80 million. Is there going to be any help for the displaced? Nope. UNSW offers help and a shift to Sydney, but any help from EDB? Of course not la…you’re not going to breed a crutch mentality!

As for the last sentence, i would just like to ask: how confident are you really, Mr. Minister? 150,000 foreign students in Singapore…with such a reputation of Singaporean education as being very quantity-based (and note that quantity is NOT equal to quality,) and not so much focussing on other areas, if the system does not change, then we’ll see 150,000 second-class foreign talents. You want the top right? But our system is not the top!

I am Singaporean XXVIII – The Hubbub about being a Hub May 24, 2007

Posted by The Truth in I am Singaporean, Vol. I.

Just yesterday, UNSW announced that it would be pulling out of Singapore. Yet another blow to the Singaporean vision of being an Educational Hub. After so many setbacks, and so many wild drives to court foreign universities to open a campus here in the hope that we can draw young foreigners to Singapore to study and hopefully keep them in our labour force (thus displacing many other locals,) it is worth posing the question: can we really be an educational hub?

And by posing, i mean asking yourself that question, sitting down, reflecting. What the PAP says has fallen flat time and time again. Are we ready to be an educational hub, a transport hub, a whatever-hub? Yours truly truly (ha, ha) believes that you should sit down and reflect and not just accept what’s being fed to you by the States’ Times and the State. Can we be an educational hub?

Let’s start at home, shall we? Is Singaporean education the best? Are we ‘world-class’, so to speak? In terms of factual knowledge and the conception, it IS world-class. But there is one component lacking which makes it really top-notch: the ability to reflect, to think, to believe in what one believes and to defend it. What is, then, education? Education is the ‘process or art of imparting knowledge, judgement, and skills.’ In Singapore, you only have the knowledge component which is fully developed. There is little judgement being taught, apart from what is absolutely right and what is absolutely wrong, like how it is absolutely wrong to criticise the Gahmen. Skills which are taught range from the physical to the intellectual – sadly, the intellectual skills being taught rarely, if ever, get applied. The success formula for a Singaporean student is: study hard and memorise. Don’t think so much. Don’t use short-cuts. The old time-tested method will see you true.

Thus, these intellectual skills degenerate and fade into nothingness. As for judgement, in terms of syllabus, i think MOE has done a perfect job of exploiting the Asian mentality and depicted everything in the books to be the gospel truth. Personally, it was only through my reading outside the curriculum that i discovered the alternative dimensions. In school, however, an alternative dimension only brings you bad marks. This results in the cowing of generations of students, the refusal to accept a new view or even to formulate one, instead forever referring to the books, because what is said there must be right.

Why? It’s not just the exploitation of the mentality. There’s also the (maybe perceived) dimension of fear vis-à-vis the Gahmen, the bosses. Even if the Gahmen doesn’t do it anymore, but Singaporeans have become so self-conscious and so possessed by this fear that if, say, a student writes a very brilliant essay attacking flaws in the Gahmen and gets good marks for it, the teacher can expect to find himself in very, very deep shit. That’s why topics like philosophy (in the form of KI, only theory of science, math, language are taught – nothing about ethics since it makes people think and ask why) are left out of the curriculum (or very carefully tended to) and teachers in general are wary of approaching such topics because of their jobs. This fear, or this general refusal, leads to the dumbing-down of society as a whole.

This dumbing-down has caused Singaporean society, Singaporean culture to degenerate into a papers chase, a money chase. No longer is anyone interested in deeper issues, the question of identity (some people leave it to God and forget it), the problems of the society. Education has degenerated into a wild attempt to force-feed students with the gospel truth in the books (which is fine with math, but not with history or lit or GP – remember the teaching that we should write our essays LIKE THIS and not in any other way?) and the students’ attempt to memorise everything without even attempting to understand it. This lack of understanding, or the lack of an attempt to, is transferred from school (MOE says molding the future of Singapore. In this sense, it is very very true) to society – no one understands what’s around him anymore, and the lack of ability to reflect and think only causes him to be cowed, to bend to the first authority which appears to know what they are doing.

So from home, are we ready to be an Educational Hub? No, we are not.

It pays now to throw some light upon why then the Gahmen has this idea that being an educational hub will be the future of Singapore, Inc. Lately even, foreign undergraduates have been offered the chance to come to Singapore and earn as much money as they wish. Competition to the locals is one thing, but to what end is all this? This is blind courtship – unconditional permission for anyone and everyone to come and work – take note that not everyone is a foreign talent. And the locals? I don’t know about us anymore.

Why this blind courtship? Is it because we’re not alternative enough, is it because we’re too one-tracked? Well, we’re brought up to be so. We’re conditioned (not educated) to think like this – we’re conditioned to accept only one system and not see things from a greater perspective. And then the Gahmen uses this excuse to say that foreigners are great, foreigners are good – i’m sure they are. I have a lot of foreign friends here who are really very interesting people to meet, partially because of the diversity of thought, and their own philosophies. What do we think in Singapore? What philosophy do we follow? No one poses these questions. But if you were posed it, could you answer it?

For so much hubbub about being a Hub, i’ll say no, thank you. A better way out would be to sort out education at home before we even think about going transregional.

怒发冲冠! May 17, 2007

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.

读了报章报道:一名华中初院生竟动手打司机!此事不仅令我感触良多,也使本人的血压起了不少。 真的是太荒谬了!一个就读一间十分注重所谓的 《传统华族文化》 的学校的年轻人,竟然会在光天化日之下对一名53岁的巴士司机大打出手,真不禁叫人发指!身为这间学校的前学生,此事对本人之影响更是深刻。


在众人的阻拦下,该流氓竟然随后趁机刮了司机一记耳光!该名学生在冷静下来后立即拨电给他的父亲,痛哭流涕地告诉他所发生的一切。巴士在抵达巴士集 中处时发生了更叫人匪夷所思的事件。该学生的父亲竟然在巴士集中处等待着司机,在见到司机时竟双脚下跪,向司机道歉并恳求司机之原谅!司机之所以起了怜悯 之心,身为父亲的他也理解当家长的痛楚。

该学生也曾通过学校写了一份公函,以解释他的所作所为。他说,他对司机的攻击其实只是一场误会。此事是因司机先对他的女同伴动手而引起,而他对司机 的一拳只是在两人的拉扯之间无意中发生的。若此话能当真,那么请问为何要痛哭流涕的拨电给父亲寻助?分明是做贼心虚!还多次向司机道歉,难道一句《对不 起》能弥补你的过错吗?要是搞不好把司机打死,难道你要下地狱跟他道歉啊?辛好我不再当场。。。否则我的拳头都让他尝一尝了。

该流氓的如此推卸责任,自己敢野蛮霸道, 责任却一概推在他人的身上,实在是可耻。难道这就是华侨中学今日所培养的价值观吗?男子汉,大丈夫,一人做事一人当,自己动手打人,就必须要懂得承担后 果。这一切的一切,就是所谓的后果吗?连个屁脸都没露,你那他妈的面子有那么重要吗?还要你老爹代替你跪地向司机求饶!我呸!

另一方面还有学校的包庇。为何要包庇该名流氓?为何不让他面对现实,为何不让他了解,犯罪是要面对惩罚的? 难道当今社会只能包庇和掩盖,省得了面子省不了道德?此事曝光后,网民议论纷纷。该名学生事后不仅没受严惩,反而能拍拍屁股一走了之,令不少网民既困惑又 愤怒。若不严加惩罚,杀一儆百,那么此事将会给下一代的华中生带来什么样的印象?口口声声说不容忍此类的动粗,却又把事看成是一场误会而不加以调查,华侨 中学的说一套做一套,真是令人失望。


Genitals? Balls to you! May 14, 2007

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.

So i was reading our nation-building press when i came across this letter which was so absurd that i don’t know whether to laugh or to cry. Either way, here it is. Actually, i’m just quite amused.

We have here a perfect example of an angry man championing the cause of ‘decency’ and who would rather have no culture at all, as long as we can stay decent. A part-by-part breakdown for you…

What is wrong with this 50-year-old man who is not only self-absorbed but also oblivious to the rights of the majority who want to be protected from gross indecency in the media?

He should know that in any civilised society, the private anatomy of the human body must be respected and that it deserves proper covering.

Maybe this man is self-absorbed. But he is NOT oblivious to the rights of the majority. Who are you to talk for the rights of the majority who are just CRYING OUT to be protected from gross indecency in the media? Haven’t you heard of ART? Obviously, this person here has never been into an arts museum which have sculptures of naked men and women made by famous sculptors? He’s implying that these sculptors are actually perverted twisted individuals. (This is cause for a defamation lawsuit…yes you can use the tools of the strong to aid your own ends!)

Secondly, in any civilised society, yes, we have to cover up our privates. But what’s wrong if it’s for Art? Take note that these are NOT pictures of nude men and women – they are sculptures. So are nude drawing classes dens of uncivilisation which deserve to be eradicated? Apparently, our man here thinks so.

Conversely, he should also be aware that in a backward and morally regressive society, humans would cast off all restraints and roam naked in the open.

They are given to a debased mind and would regard what is shameful to be their glory in public.

Wait a second. ‘Backward’ and ‘morally regressive’? I think the Americans wouldn’t like that very much…and uncle Lee just praised Uncle Bush to stay in Iraq! But seriously. How good are our values really? Have you ever paid some thought to that? We are ‘backward’ and ‘morally regressive’ too because we simply refuse to move on and accept that there are changes in the World. We are clinging on to ‘Asian Values’ and dismissing everything else as being ‘backward’ and ‘morally regressive’ when the people who are backward and morally regressive are ourselves. Morals give us a certain code of social conduct, BUT they do change. What we are doing in Singapore is morally regressive in that we are just hanging on to our previous morals. And what’s more, it’s art. ART. It’s not a picture of people having sex in a taxi!

Don’t forget, last time it was morally correct to drown your wife if she cheated on you.

‘Humans would cast off all restraints and roam naked in the open.’ If i’m not wrong, Adam and Eve were roaming around without any clothes too in the Garden of Eden. Granted, they were thrown out in the end, but…so is he implying that the Garden of Eden was a backward and morally regressive place? Tsk tsk…

The reason why our country today is enjoying much peace and abundance is that the people accept and apply good moral standards.

We support laws that govern and underpin righteous behaviour and public decency. We are blessed with a Government that did not waiver and yield to licentious demands of the minority.

If we, as a people, are unable to uphold good moral laws, including the Penal Code, then we will surely lose our next generation to perversion. This is not what we would want to see happening to our country in the near future.

Another great piece of nation-building writing! Well, if we are supporting laws which govern and underpin righteous behaviour and public decency, i’d like to know why we are supporting some people paying themselves more peanuts, which is seen by many to be selfish and obscene. Blessed with a Government which does not yield to the ‘licentious demands of the minority’? Well…the poor and underpriviledged are a minority, you know. And i know that asking for more money or WELFARE (oops) is licentious. But is this a blessing, really? I don’t know.

And wait! It gets better!

Losing our next generation to perversion, for example. What perversion? You mean, perversion from looking at naked sculptures? In an Art gallery? That’s very unusual. It’s a very good example of a logical fallacy known as The Slippery Slope. And this slippery slope isn’t even fully developed. It goes like this: younger generation sees a picture of a naked sculture in newspaper. (*implied 2nd step: picture causes perversion in younger generation.) Younger generation is lost to perversion, which can cause blindness, uncontrolled fornication, carnal relationship with minors, and teenage pregnancy.

Do you think, perhaps, that this picture can cause perversion?

Oh dear, i’ve just posted porn. Please arrest me. If not, our younger generation will be lost to perversion and we’ll all die!

The Fray – How to Save a Life May 10, 2007

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.
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Sigh. Grey’s Anatomy.

I am Singaporean XXVII – The Question of Survival May 9, 2007

Posted by The Truth in I am Singaporean, Vol. I.

Normally i think that Gopalan Nair only writes hate mail. Here’s another piece for you

There’s only one thing to refute here in this post. Singapore’s population is going up. Going to be 6 million by 2025, of which maybe 50% will be foreign talents. Happy loh! Also, the way he writes is like he’s painting a picture of the Apocalypse in Singapore already. It’s one-sided negativity, and nor does he go into further details on 1) why we hate our Gahmen and want to migrate, 2) and all the bad news.

But, seriously, it makes me wonder if Singapore can survive. Can we, really? As a Singaporean, i am doubtful. Too long have we been weak and lazy (see Chapter XXVI.) Although we still have a brand name which will still sell to a certain extent, people talk in terms of money. Singapore too…remember all the ‘outsourcing’ and local workers being told they should thank their lucky stars they still have a job, so just accept the pay cut and the leave restrictions already? In this sense, i believe that Singapore will soon become a victim of its own success. We can only diversify so far, and without any variance and deviation from the norms (don’t forget, what’s right in Singapore is what the PAP says is right) we’re hanging on to the words of very few people who don’t necessarily see things with our eyes.

Why do Singaporeans dislike the Gahmen? Of course the States Times’ whitewash (also known as the HOME section) states that we actually do love our politicians and our mini$ters very very much. Aww. I’m like BURSTING with love for these people who sweat their guts out and have many superhuman abilities (for example, raising their own $alarie$…) so the words they tell us, like being prepared to work til we drop dead one day, should be the accepted with fanfare, carnivals and fireworks! But, seriously. It’s very simple: the Gahmen never keeps in touch with the people. Sure there are people out there who are willing to serve for a smaller pay packet. But once they voice their thoughts and concerns, the PAP says: we challenge you to challenge us during the next GE. Or, they get absorbed into the party, get paid lots of money and promptly forget the ideals they held on to.

So, the people promptly get forgotten. The Gahmen sees what’s most viable to keep Singapore Inc. running, forgetting that they’re running a COUNTRY, not a fucking company. Never are the people consulted because they’re not mature enough to know what it is like to run a country – i agree that the people are immature, but by cutting this chance off how will they ever know how to contribute to their country and mature as a people? Tax raises are conducted to help the poor – fat load of good it will do – and in the meantime, let’s give ourselves a raise too, shall we? After all, they deserve a pat on the back…while everyone else who suffers a pay cut does so because it’s their fault.

Is this the right way to run a country?

In terms of the people, i am also losing faith in the Singaporean people. Day in, day out, they live from day-to-day, following blindly the instructions, never railing against the boss or saying anything even if it’s downright wrong. Wait kena pay cut then you know. And it is this weakness, and this laziness, the layman’s preference to live in whatever life he has instead of trying to improve it, the hypocrisy of ‘opposition is good, but not in my ward’, the voting not according to conscience but by fear – this is why i have lost faith in the Singaporean people. LKY’s prophecy is a self-fulfilling one because he has made the PAP and the current style of government a kind of cocaine, a drug which is administered to children since they are 6 years old. We’re all addicted to it, you and i. Without the PAP, most Singaporeans would not see a way Singapore could survive. So we let them raise their pay, let them raise our taxes – surely you need money to feed a drug habit, don’t you?

The politicians will say but we have a unique Singaporean identity to fall back on and that we are all Singaporeans. The Singaporean identity however is but a chimaera. What identity are you talking about, when you try to exterminate Singlish, a creole tongue of english? (compare this with yiddish: it became the language of millions of Jews in eastern Europe who came over from Germany, a language which was their culture AND identity.) What identity can you talk about, when the message from the state is clear: work until you die, and we want your money, but not your problems? No one is going to fight for Singapore as an institute. We fight because it is our homes. We fight for our loved ones, our friends and family. If anyone does fight at all. Singaporean identity? NEH!

And with Minilee saying that the ever-unpopular Iraq War should be upheld by the USA, which is a geopolitical bad idea IMHO, without any discussion, i wonder how long Singapore can survive. We are a people of automatons, led by a man driven by money – America is a huge market but in supporting Bush personally, i think that Minilee was trying to coddle some support. Once again, the thoughts of the American people don’t matter. The thoughts of Europe don’t matter. What matters is him, the money, and the investing in Singapore Inc. I believe many of us don’t support the war. But we’ll never get to express it now because our Prime Mini$ter just announced that we think the war’s a really groovy idea! Yet another example of differences in thought here. And if we offend the EU, we may suffer a lot of loss in terms of trade and economic investment – you think we can run on money from the US? Then we can be the 51st State of the USA already.

Singapore surviving? You mean, Singapore Inc. will survive. Singapore is dying. Slowly…slowly…

Jam & Spoon feat. Plavka – Right in the Night May 5, 2007

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.
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I miss the ’90s.

Appalling – And Then Some! May 5, 2007

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.
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Earlier on in ‘Appalling’ i told you about the case of this woman who now faces working conditions which are…barely human. MoM replied, saying that they could lodge a complaint if they wished and that they would protect the identity of the complaining parties.

But the person in question refused to do so.

The reasons given are very valid – and it is because of this kind of work attitude and the permanent fear of the boss (well you should fear him but not to the point of giving him free reign over your life) that makes power abuse so so widespread in Singapore. From the public to the private sector. It’s everywhere.

Meritocracy is, strangely, not directly to blame. It’s the bad side of Asian-style working that is. Bosses here expect a certain amount of respect, but being pressed by their bosses and so on to produce good work results, they are forced to impinge more and more on the lives of their workers. And workers, like the good ol’ Asian value system, don’t go about biting the hand that feeds them, even if that very hand does nothing but take flesh from the workers and feed it back to them.

So who are we selling our souls to now?