Saturday, July 29, 2006

Ask Yourself. Donate Your Question.

Came across dropping knowledge today. The film featured in the home page tells of how Isrealis and Palestinian can work and play together.

Interesting initiative, which aims to turn apathy into activity. Can this work in our context?

Email Marketing Site

There are hundreds, or even thousands of email marketing sites out there that claims that you can earn money from reading emails of their advertisements. Too bad these companies are usually U.S.-based and a lot of the advertisements turn out to be useless to someone like me staying in Singapore.

Enters, a Singapore Email Marketing Site that was just launched on 1 July 2006. A friend of mine, Shooperman, refered me to this site. Another friend, SimonTay, gave some level of analysis on his forum. I did not spend much time researching this, but thought, hey why not, exchanging a little of my online time (I spend a lot of time online, additional 30 secs per advertisement is not a big deal) for possible future returns.

If you also think like me, that there is no harm in spending 30 secs more to read each email advertisement to earn some spare cash, head down to

Thursday, July 27, 2006

You want home theatre system?

The last thing I expected from the fellow driver who pulled up alongside my car while stopping at a red-light junction was the question: "You want home theatre system?"

I was on my way to work in the late morning today, and stopped at a red-light junction. I heard some loud thumping coming from my left, and the driver in the van that pulled up beside me caught my attention. Having past experiences of kind-hearted fellow road users giving suitable warnings like "switch on your headlight", I thought this was another case, and thought to myself whether I have missed anything this time round.

I scrolled down my car window, and the driver popped the question, "You want home theatre system?" It took me a while to digest that, but before I completely understood him, he continued, "I took out too many units, if I send back to my boss, he will also sell away, so might as well give away."

Give away? For free? There is no free lunch, and so I asked him, "For free?"

"You give me a beer treat lah, I give you the system." Yah, sure, exchanging goods worth a few hundreds, or even thousand dollars for a couple of beer. Alarm bells started to sound in my head, and I quickly waved away, "No, sorry, I don't want that."

"You treat me to beer only, don't want?" "Sorry no. Thanks." With that, the green light came on at the same time, and we both went our separate ways.

Reflecting on this incident, any of the following scenarios is possible:
- It is a scam, cheating someone of maybe a hundred or two on beer money in exchange for faulty goods.
- The goods are stolen goods.
- The employee really hates the employer to his guts and took the opportunity of a big delivery to make some fast bucks, before going MIA from the employer.

All of the above cases involves illegal acts, which I believe is happening everyday around Singapore. The alarming thing is that manner in which people (or victims) are being approached now, openly and without fear. Does this show how desparate the guy is now? What are the fundamental reasons for such desparate behaviour? Food for though, my friend.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Are you prepared?

You might think that living in Singapore is reasonably comfortable, with the basic needs available within your reach: cheap food, cheap electricity, clean water.

Think again. If you did not already know, there is now a growing awareness of a Crisis (with a capital 'C') that started with renowned individual in the United States (include geologists, a Presidential Advisor, and even one Vice President). This is known as the Peak Oil Crisis.

Find out more about how this will impact your life in Singapore at SingaporePeakOil.

I have also started my own little peak oil related blog at We are not prepared....

Monday, July 24, 2006

Is it really so scary?

I got interested in local politics during the recent General Elections, interested enough for me to spend hours of my free time to read up numerous blogs, search through the various Acts, comb through the Parliamentary reports, devour a book or two and attend a number of Open House Sessions at the Workers' Party headquarters at Syed Alwi Road.

What brought me to the WP Open House Sessions was the strong feeling I get (from all the reading I have done) that something needs to be changed from the current status quo. Something is not quite right about how decisions are being made and matters are being handled.

This strong feeling overcame another feeling I had: what would be reaction from family and friends if they hear that I have attended the Open House Sessions. After all, in Singapore, a supporter of the opposition party is usually looked upon by the majority as some anti-establishment activist trying to rock the stable boat called Singapore Inc. This has changed some what amongst some during this elections, but still there are those who hold the firm view that one will be labelled with an unknown label once he associates himself with any opposition party.

The righteous feeling overcame the fear-of-being-ostracised feeling, and I proceeded to sign up as a volunteer. There is fundamentally little difference between a member and a volunteer, as far as I understand, with the difference that members get to have a say in party matters. When I told my parents about this, they gave me "the look", but conceded that as long as I don't "show-head" (出头)they have no objection. I interpreted that as meaning they don't want me to be someone so prominent that I might get to become a potential "target".

I joined the public outreach and sale of the WP newspaper on Sunday (23 July). When my parents found out about this, they were angered because I "showed-face". In my mother's logic, once I show my face, I will be marked in life: I will never get a government job in future; my son will not be able to obtain a scholarship in future; basically she feels that I will be jeopardizing everything. My father, the usually smiley and optimistic man, was a full-black face when I visited them for dinner on Sunday evening.

Being the obstinate son, I stood my ground, pointing out that I have the freedom to make my choice, being all of 33 years old now. They have no choice, but to grudgingly tell me that I have to be careful (of what? I don't know).

I came home and reflected on what was debated during dinner, and I know I should not have been too harsh with my mother when refuting her claims. What is absurd to me though, is the mere fact that I only helped out in the smallest possible way to an opposition party, and the reaction was already so strong. Is the fear factor really so strong that it has become so scary?