Tuesday, March 30, 2010

No More Cross-Country Buses ?

When I read the headline "No More Cross-Country Buses" I was under the impression they are taking away those bus services from Singapore to Malaysia, JB. Instead it is about 'long distant' public bus services locally.

What they want us to do is to make more transfers in getting to our destination, make MRT our main mode of transport if possible, claiming it will cut down waiting time and improving the quality of the journey.

Are they sure ? Our basic public transport infrastructure has been overtax in recent years. Making more transfers likely will incur more waiting time, not less. Try making a transfer at Outram or Dhoby Ghaut - the long distant walk required to reach the platform is time consuming. How can this be improving the quality of the journey ?

Nowadays, the MRT is so packed, often one have to wait for the next train. Can we board the 'short' distance transfer bus service is a big question mark. Buses nowadays are packed to the 'brim' even at the interchange during the morning peak hours.

Besides, unless one is in a rush or late, if not most will prefer the comfort of not having to make numerous transfers for the journey. Anyway, likely one would take a taxi in theses instances rather then transfer to the MRT.

At least if it is a 'long distant' bus service, one can take a cap nap or do some reading (if one is lucky to get a seat)...etc without the need to be on the look out when to alight and make a transfer. Common sense has it that it is more tiring and stressful to make numerous transfers for our daily trip to work and back home.

Do these folks penning policies about public transport know what they are talking about ? Have they taken public transport often enough to know what the average commuters are experiencing. Perhaps they have only taken public transport at 'opening ceremony' of new MRT station and newly renovated bus interchange ?

Besides, the claim that it will not cost more to make all these multiple transfers. Is this possible ? Who is absorbing the cost then ?

All these inefficiency resulting in 'long distant' bus route is due to poor planning. In the first place Singapore is only a tiny dot of an island. But due to the 'merry go round' bus route - the experience is like a 'cross country' trip. They should solve the problem at its root instead of creating more hassle for the commuters !

Typical Government Officer's Reply

"Smoking in Casinos. None the wiser about the rules" - was a forum writer second feedback to NEA whereby he directed his enquiry.

Basically it is a clear case of double standard by National Environment Agency (NEA) in implementing the No Smoking Act. Casino has been given the special privilege for their patrons to smoke indoors in air-condition environment which is not allow in all other buildings in Singapore.

NEA just don't have the gut to come right out to admit it, thus giving a confusing reply instead and hoping to get away with it.

Well, this is not surprising as it represents the typical reply from government ministries. They will normally beat around the bush with their dated English sentence construction, quoting you the rules which we can read for ourselves in the website,etc. Basically do everything in their capacity NOT to give you simple direct answer.

I often wonder if their standard answers are 'cut and paste' from their predecessor, pass down from one 'generation' to another. This could explain why it only serves to confuse and does not answer the question posed by the public.

From their reply one can even tell if the organisation is an ex-govt ministry which has been corporatised or privatised in recent years. This is because they still exhibit government officials mentallity. Take for example SingPost. They have been numerous feedback from the public regarding their staff delivering junk mails to HDB residents. There has been a costly mass exercise to upgrade HDB letter box previouly in order to prevent this. SingPost action counteracts the whole purpose of the letter box upgrade. But SingPost usual 'standard' reply to the public feedback on various occasions is, that those who do not want to receive junk mails can write to them. Sigh ....we need to write to them to request them to stop putting rubbish into our letter box! Is there any logic to this?

Another possible reason is they are doing everything within their power to avoid changes, even if their existing policies are illogical. Pointing it out to them is ...sigh -useless. They will just tell you it is their regulation.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Creative advertising

This advertising gimmick is attention grabbing. We have a few models dolled up from head to foot lying on the floor of the 'crime scene'.

The music was blaring away, the area cordon off. Some crime scene 'investigators' busy snapping photos, while other putting tapes around the bodies to demarcate the position of fallen bodies. All these commotion got the attention of shoppers who all gather around to watch.

Just like a crime scene, each body has a labeling card. But the cards have more information in this case - the address of the fashion boutique shop.

The location of 'murder' was strategic too - right in front of the basement entrance door at the base of the escalators / stairs.

I am quite impress by the creative marketing.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Eat and Hear from the Horse's Mouth

I attended an event organised by SIM this year - it is a dinner which comes with an experience sharing by the founder of Pu Tien (a Chinese restaurant). As he spoke in Mandarin, he had his staff to translate it into English for him. Actually most of us are bilingual, but it only shows his consideration and being well prepared. He told us that he knows how to cook but started the eatery business without experience in the food industry. He has experience in some other business and venture into eatery business out of homesickness – cook and share Pu Tien food with folks from his home town and introduce it to Singaporean at the same time.

After his restaurant business sort of gotten stable after 3 years – he was just doing fine but not making big bucks. His friend advised him to think big. His original place was of coffee shop setting. He renovated and upgraded it to charge higher price for his food.

Then MediaCorp interviewed him and his restaurant becomes well know 'overnight'. But, trouble started – there are lots of copy cats – using the same name (Pu Tien) and offering the same food menu.

A friend advised him to do something as this 'road block' would make his future rocky, just as his profit was going up. He could take the legal action, but it is costly. He decided to think BIG again and embarked on an expansion program, so his customers can get to him all over S’pore. Currently, he has 7 restaurants in S’pore and 1 in Indonesian.

He was very passionate sharing his experience with us and it is motivational as he strives on in spite of all the hardship. He told us he did not even know where get his food supply initially (he is from China and don’t know the local well). He has no idea where to set up his eatery and decided on Kitchen Road area because this is where the initial immigrants from Pu Tien resided in S’pore. He was told his location choice is not favourable. But against all odds, he succeeded in building his restaurant empire. This pioneer place which kick starts his success is still around. We had our dinner there that night.

SIM organised a wide range of interesting programs & events. For those who are interested, do take a look at her website. It is open to public too, though the fee may cost slightly more.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Charity or Business ?

I do wonder if some religious organisations are running charity or doing business. Since they are exempted from taxation, one would expect them to focus their donation and resources into charity work.

However, from the recent reports of one such organisations paying 314 million to purchase part of Suntec City is disturbing. If they have accumulated so much fund, how much has been going into charity ?

I believe most who contributed is under the impression that the money is used to help the needy in society. But seems like some are using the religious charity front to amass large fund to go into business venture. There is also report that one is buying land and building a ultra modern entertainment center, which will also house the congregation of worshipers (if I remember correctly).

Looks like the vast amount of money which goes into getting or building a 'hip' place for worship is to attract more rich patron worshipers rather than for carrying out the good work of the Almighty. Wonder what the Almighty thinks of his flock of worshipers.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tiger body parts sold in S'pore

I read with disappointment that body parts of tiger, an endanger and protected species are sold in local jewelery and and antique shops. I used to think that only medical shops are involved in sales of tiger parts for 'medicinal' purposes. In the past, tiger parts were sold openly, but now some of these medical shops sell them discreetly to their customers.

It sadden me to find out that folks think nothing of sacrificing tigers just for their vanity and collector mindset for antique. I suppose the tiger being majestic and beautiful only put it at a disadvantage as it is the target of collectors. The worst part is many people believe that tiger parts serve as lucky charm and could shield off evil. So we have these poor tigers killed for their body parts due to superstition.

It is a irony that an animal welfare group, ACRES discovered this infringement of the law, as S'pore is a signatory of CITES, besides having an Act to protected endanger species.

Our local authority, AVA which is the CITES authority and administers the Endangered Species Act seems to be in the 'blur'. But this is expected as they have never been much active in animal welfare nor protection. Thus, we now have a situation where 59 out of 134 jewelery / antique shops investigated by ACRES sold tiger parts. It is disappointing to know the prevalent of such illegal activities.

First AVA allows Resort World to import in dolphins captured in the wild for their Marine park, and now we hear tiger parts are on sale all over S'pore. In the past, they allow Sentosa to import in the 2 pink dolphins which are highly endangered species.

During the SARS period they go around culling cats, helping to fuel rumours that cats spread the virus. They perpetuate the misconception that civet cat is a cat and carry the SARS virus - both of which are untrue. Civet cat is also an endangered and protected species, but 'thanks' to AVA, they are treated like pest by the public instead of accorded its protected 'status'.

AVA lack lustre track records speak for itself. Sigh !

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mother of all Roast Chicken

I was walking by this eatery at Raffles MRT station and find their creative marketing phases amusing. The joke about Singapore being the Mother of all Hubs, now this eatery claims that they are 'The Mother of All Roast Chicken'.

Besides this, they refer to their beef dish as 'Heart Warming Beef Stew' and their noodle dish is 'De-stress Noodles'. I suppose since there as so many stressed up working folks around Shenton Way, their noodles would be an hot item.

Likely their Heart Warming Beef Stew would be popular during Valentine, Mother / Father Day ?

Pity they are close on Saturday. I was pondering to give the chicken or the beef dish a try.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


It is a mockery that Singapore being a signatory of CITES which regulate animal trade activities is trying to import in 18 bottlenose dolphins for Marine Park Life, Resort World Sentosa. This is in spite of the legal and welfare concerns.

The recent fatal incident at SeaWorld, Orlando is a grim reminder that whales and dolphins in captivity suffer. It is not evidence enough that 12 of the 28 wild dolphins captured for Resort World Sentosa have died! The high mortality rate even before they are shipped to S'pore is shocking.

Sentosa already has 2 existing dolphins, to bring more in is plain irony since S'pore is suppose to support protection of wild animals (seems like it is only on paper). Should the dolphins died, they will be replaced and this creates the vicious cycle of perpetual capturing of dolphins from the wild.

The excuse given by Resort World is that it is for educational purposes. Why don't they be out front about it that it is all about profit generation instead. What sort of education are we talking about if we endanger the animals. Instead of protecting them Singapore is helping to 'extinct' them.

If Resort World is serious about education there are other means of doing so. They should not capture wild dolphins and train them perform just to please the public. This is certainly not education. In fact Resort World is imparting the wrong message to the public and the young that it is ok to capture wild animals, force them to perform, upset the eco system, endanger the species and ultimately drive them into extinction.

Perhaps Resort World can learn from Science Center whereby they regularly screen animals filmlets at Omni theatre which truly is educational. Without harming the animals, the public can learn how animals behave in their natural environment.

Please show your support against such inhuman act -Visit Facebook Group: I will boycott Resorts World Sentosa and its Marine Life Park.

Monday, March 8, 2010

SeaWorld at Orlando

The recent report of a performing whale at SeaWorld, Orlando killing its trainer is evident itself that animals should not be used for entertainment and force to spend their whole life in captivity living in stressful environment.

It is unbelievable that those running SeaWorld are in self delusion saying that it is another freak incident, that the whale is well behave and was playing with the trainer accidentally killing her. Come on, this is the 3rd time this whale has hurt someone !

Studies have shown that whales and dolphins being highly intelligent animals could suffer from depression living in captivity. Besides their sensitive hearing system makes them unsuitable to be in a performing arena, where the noise level is high subjected them to extreme stress. When animals are in stress, their behaviour becomes unpredictable.

The only reason SeaWorld continues to use this whale for performance is because they have invested heavily in it. The profit generated everyday is enormous. In fact, they only stop the show for less than 2 days for investigation before continuing as usual, as if nothing has happened.

It is not easy to trap whale in the wild and the years of training needed to prepare it to perform to a live audience. The dead rate is high amongst the trapped whales.

For those of you who care, please boycott all performances involving animals during your holidays overseas.

Veterinary Rescue Vehicle

There is this program on Tuesday night about animals. I have read about animal welfare groups rescuing stranded animals during natural disaster they are often left to die, since the focus is only on rescuing human.

But it I did not know about such humane set up in Western countries whereby they dispatch a veterinary vehicle together with the usual emergency response team like the police, fire engine and ambulance.

There was a kitchen fire and the family escaped with 2 of their 3 dogs. The 3rd dog was trapped in the house together with a cage of stick insects which the family kept as pets.

When the fire was extinguished, the animal rescue team attended to the dog and stick insects! In Asian country, it would be a miracle if the house dog/cat is saved during a disaster,...saving insects...well it is unheard of over here.

In recent years, keeping pets is in 'trend'. However truly caring for them is not in every pet owners mind. They are often abandon when a baby is added to the family, as the couple no longer has time for it. Or when the child of the family who asked for a pet gets tired of it. The cute little pet grew up and is not longer cute. The child is looking for another new toy for entertainment.

Going by the number of abandon animals each year and the reported cases of cruelty, I wonder when S'pore will ever reach the stage where we truly care about our four legged friends, not to mention six legged ....etc pets