Singapore

Johor Bahru Malaysia & Singapore Customs Jam Time!

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Photo taken: 11/05/2013 18:29

Been looking around the web for a list of bad timings to enter Malaysia from the Singapore Customs. Can’t find any, so I guess I will compile a list of timings for jam periods and their intensity, because as we all know Singaporeans and Malaysians working in Singapore often enter Malaysia for their great prices for (2.20 RM per liter for 97 and 1.90 RM per liter for 95) petrol as well as food! 😀

These are the bad timings for going in:

Monday  to Thursday 4:45 – 7:30 p.m Squeeze
Monday  to Thursday 9:30 – 10:30 p.m Slow
Friday 3:45 – 8:00 p.m Squeeze
Saturday 7:30 – 12:00 p.m Slow
Saturday 5:00 – 8:30 p.m Squeeze
Sunday 7:30 – 12:00 p.m Slow
Sunday 5:00 – 8:30 p.m Squeeze

This will be updated and soon it will include the timings for coming back as well! =d stay tuned.

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Words: Singapore; on smoking bans and areas

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As many of you may now know, the smoking blanket ban craze that the authorities have put out this January have extended to include HDB staircases and void decks as well as a host of other locations which can be found here.

in this post I will attempt to deliberate the period and cons of such a blanket ban in Singapore and perhaps a better alternative to the ban.

As I was discussing recently with a friend of mine, visakan, these smoking bans may actually make smokers more irresponsible. This is due to the fact that smokers are going to need to smoke. The ban actually stops smokers from smoking in certain public areas. This creates a problems

The problems:
Enforcement of such bans are difficult to carry out. I do not know the exact number of NEA officers employed however it is possible to estimate that (disclaimer: this is a rough estimate) it is about 400 people including the sub-contracted Cisco officers. If each officer is paid 2000sgd per month; a reasonable figure, that amounts to 800,000 per month and 9.6 mil a year just spent on enforcement units. This is a Ludacris amount when you consider that 400 officers cannot possibly enforce the blanket ban which creates a hit and miss strategy, i.e unfair judgement.

The simple and elegant solution:
Instead of creating blanket bans and having a large amount of enforcement, the welfare of the entire community, smokers and non-smokers alike stands to benefit from an increase in smoking areas. Containment is better than condemnation. Singapore has red light districts to contain the problem of prostitution so why can’t we have smoking areas in convenient locations around so that the smoking problem can be contained? This way enforcement can be lowered and smoking areas are one-off costs that would last longer. Besides that are many air filtration systems and technologies available to reduce the smoke percentage in the air in smoking areas.

Bottom line, smokers are not bad, irresponsible people, we will use the smoking areas if presented the chance and if the smoking areas are made accessible. So hell? Why not?

Motorcycling: Slow is not always Safe

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151246421888602 – A video in Singapore of a motorcyclist being struck down by a lorry.

So in this post I will be pointing out why slow is not always safe. Perhaps yes, going slow on smaller roads such as those in built up areas and such will provide some safety due to higher reaction time and braking distance. However, on highways it seems to be just the opposite sometimes.

This is a very usual tactic in MANY countries around the world that many drivers are guilty of; forcing a motorcyclist to yield by cutting VERY close to him/her. Usually done by drivers of larger cars and lorries, it starts by tailgating the motorcycle, then cutting into the “split” of the lane and passing the motorcyclist, quickly swerving back into the main lane. in pictorial form it looks like this,  The red blip is the rider and the blue blip is the larger vehicle.

Overtake

 

So as we can see the vehicle driver does not give a damn about the rider, and is more concerned with simply shoving the rider out of his/her way, forcing them to yield. Perhaps some people might say, “pull to the left and slow down” (Singapore’s roads are right hand drive it would be vice versa for other countries), but is that really effective? In the video clip, the woman rider did keep to the left of the lane, but the lorry swerved back too soon and she was struck before she could complete her move to the left. That my friends, is simply the irony of the advise of slow is safe.

Now consider this, if you pulled up quicker, the driver would have no choice but to go back into the lane behind you that gives you room to breathe, afterwhich you could use the room you now have to quickly make a lane change and slow down. Slowing down in-front of a vehicle that is tailgating you is not always the wisest idea, instead speeding up and creating that room, would give you the advantage of choosing to keep your lane or to yield and move to another lane safely, at a safe distance away from any inconsiderate motorists.

So rule of the game? Check your mirrors often to see if the driver behind you is trying to pull a fast one. Throttle away from the inconsiderate motorist and move to another lane if possible.

Words: On Singapore Casino Entrance Fee

The Problem

Well, firstly lets start about the topic of problem gamblers. A problem gambler can be defined to be “an urge to gamble despite harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop” (Wikipedia).

The very intelligent people running Singapore, have decided that to ‘hinder’ problem gamblers, one should impose an SGD 100 (USD 82) entrance fee into the casino, allowing an individual to play for 24 Hours. After the 24 hours, it would require the individual to re-enter once again. That is a very intelligent system to squeeze a huge amount of money from locals who go to the casino’s. Where this money goes? No body really knows.

What effect does the SGD 100 fee actually produce? Well if one were to consider it carefully, 100 SGD is roughly the price of 10 packets of cigarettes. That does seem to be hefty. Though, looking into it carefully, there are still many Singaporeans who enter the casino. Well I cannot find the stats online, but just take a look around MBS and RWS and you’ll see many; especially elderly, standing outside with no money, some even willing to sell their watches to you for some money or sitting around just basically waiting for a ride home. It is a terrible sight. Now, when you consider the fact that SGD 100 imposed, and many Singaporeans still enter the casino, it is obvious that this is an ineffective hindrance strategy, and with all ineffective strategies should be replaced or done away with entirely, i.e., it has no effect on the number of consumers of the casino.

It should be done away with entirely, as the eventual effects of charging an SGD 100 fee may actually be counter productive. It may cause individuals who have entered to actually want to gamble more because, “hey I already lost SGD 100 even before playing so I must try to make back at the very least my entrance fee!”. This is observably one of the weak points of the current entry fee system.

What could be done?

Well perhaps after more careful consideration, it can be noted that to hinder individuals from gambling, it may be wiser to utilize a tag system, where individuals who enter, have to get a tag and have to step out of the casino for 1 hour, for every hour they play, these tags should be made to be secure. This would allow the individuals to actually step outside the gigantic stimulating window-less room and allow for them to keep track of the time. Perhaps the circadian rythm would encourage them to get some sleep. Also it would condition them to be unable to play for longer hours.

https://i1.wp.com/messigoals.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Casino.jpg

Words: Equality; Minister Shanmugam’s remarks on Amy Cheong

In the temasek times article. 

Minister Shanmugam was quoted as saying the following.

He described her comments as reflecting a deep-seated racist attitude:

“Her comments reflect a deep seated racist attitude coupled with contempt for those who are less well off, or who wish to spend less. I had said, in 2002, in Parliament, that we should look deep into our hearts and ask what the attitudes of non Malays are towards our Malay brothers and sisters. We will be a truly civilised society only when we deep in our hearts accept everyone as equal.”

Well, while his comments are politically right, and it seems to sit well with the times. I would question the last sentence “We will be a truly civilised society only when we deep in our hearts accept everyone as equal.” I will address the latter part of the sentence, and then the former.

Well, “only when we deep in our hearts accept everyone as equal”. There is no such thing as equal individuals, everyone is born into different circumstances and makes different choices. No two people would ever be “equal”. Deep seated cracks in our society, comes from trying to strive for that equality. Even if you take two chinese or two indian people, they would not be equal, there are rich chinese and their are blue collar chinese as well. How different is that from malay people. Personally I feel that it is a common misconception; perhaps there may be an underlying trend, i may not know because i have not seen the statistics. It is also a misconception to strive to deep in our hearts accept everyone as equal. Maybe i’m right maybe i’m wrong, but personally, it is better to accept everyone as different. Accepting the differences means accepting the inequality, and that sometimes there would be snobs who think they’re better than anyone else. But if you leave this snobs alone, they might make worse comments for awhile, but for how long? After a short while, they’d realize that its REALLY stupid to play your own game to pretend you’re winning.

“Truly civilised society” is another issue that I feel strongly about. Firstly I’ll state that my personal view is that there is no truly civilised society. However, lets for the sake of argument, assume that there is one. We cannot correlate accepting everyone as equal in our hearts to a civilised society. A civilised society is described as the following:

1. Having a highly developed society and culture.
2. Showing evidence of moral and intellectual advancement; humane, ethical, and reasonable
3. Marked by refinement in taste and manners; cultured; polished.
courtesy of (thefreedictionary.com) <= because i’m poor i use a free dictionary.
Now, how does any of the above correlate to accepting everyone as equal in our hearts? I can prove however, that it can be linked to accepting differences and inequality “moral and intellectual advancement; humane, ethical, and reasonable”. A society that is morally and intellectually advanced, would all the more comprehend and deal with differences on a day to day basis. You cannot be a society that attempts to enforce concepts of equality; trying to hide away and sweep under the carpet all the ideas of inequality and still hope to be civilised. When there is light there is dark, when there is hope, there is despair, and where there is calm, there is chaos. Inequality should be accepted and treated as a norm, only then will society advance, to see what is the cause or reasons for the inequality, and if the consequences and the causes of the inequality are justifiable. There is a reason for the inequality symbols in maths. Its just that social value is a lot more difficult to quantify.

Words: Singapore’s 90% Subsidization on Drivers’ Licenses Costs

Driving as a vocation in Singapore isn’t a very big thing among Singaporeans. So, as usual it is outsourced to foreigners. However, the recent influx of foreigners have caused many problems on the road as well as other public spheres. Mainly the immigrant drivers are causing accidents due to their devil-may-care style of driving. It is not a pretty sight and my personal encounters with foreign lorry drivers have not been all that great as well.

Our government has always been good with subtlety, and hence, instead of banning foreign license holders, they decided to play the good cop strategy and get more locals to drive. How do they go about doing it? The government coping with this problem; recently, the government has decided to waiver 90% of the costs of a drivers license, for the lower income bracket. So, instead of spending about SGD2000, which is pretty normal, the participants would only have to pay about SGD200, which is about 10 times less, or a 90% discount.

There are a few conditions for this measure though:

1) You have to have a salary of >SGD1700 per month or a Household Per capita of >SGD1400 or you are unemployed

2) You have to be a SINGAPOREAN or a PR <= YEAH BITCHES SUBTLE

3) NTUC will assign you to jobs after you get your license

Check out the Straits Times article below.

So now, let me tell you how this strategy would not work. By encouraging locals to drive, and offering them a higher pay incentive, the unions are putting pressure on the companies they are supposed to be representing. If the company owner can higher an Ah Tiong (Chinaman) for almost 60% of the cost, why should they higher a local? This may lead to an excess or redundancy of vocational “drivers”. Hence, those that are laid off, would simply be a waste of tax-payers money, i.e the tax payers money pays for their license, without them contributing back to society. 

Also, out of the bulk of drivers who complete the scheme, some of them are bound to have bad work ethics, as compared to the AhTiongBu who are able to work 16 hour days without complaining. This would again, lead to those whom have bad work ethics to become unemployed and basically non-beneficial to society.

Now, lets consider that 25% of the drivers who sign up for the scheme will get laid off structurally, thats not too big an estimate right?

Now, Singstats, has stated that in 2011, there are 9.8% of households with NO WORKING PERSON in the household. 1,146,000 households in Singapore, 9.8% of that is roughly 100,000. So, those households contribute to the 10th percentile, a safe estimate of people that qualify for the programme would be somewhere within the region from 0 – 20th percentile, hence that adds up to about 200,000 households. If an average household is roughly 4 individuals,  and lets say 1 in 4 people take up the scheme. That’s 200,000 people, which will amount to a subsidy of close to 4million dollars. So now, say 20% or 1 in 4 drivers who sign up fail to productively contribute, that equals to a nice 1 million in tax dollars being wasted.

So what do you think is the right alternative?

Words: Churches and Money Issues

The temasek times article: http://temasektimes.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/an-analysis-into-the-wealth-of-city-harvest-church/

The trend of supersized / mega churches recently has been growing. Growing to the point it resembles a cancer, a horrible tumour that is eating into society, a parasite. In Singapore recently, a few of the top echelons of church leaders have been arrested regarding misappropriation of funds. One of the top leaders, from city harvest church was picked up from his home to assist police in investigations. These transgressions if proven to be true, could incarcerate these religious leaders.

I can only imagine the anguish of some of the church members at city harvest right now. No not at their leader for being a cheat and liar; but for the government suspecting that he is a cheat and liar. To them, he is the perfect emblem, no stains, even if there were; it is immediately absolved, as “we are only human”. To be that trusting and placing that much faith in someone is absolutely dangerous and does not represent logical or rational thinking, do not ever put so much faith in a single theory, person or ideal, to a point that you become blind to other points of view; if there is even a shred of doubt, consider that the alternative might be true.

However, I am sure that these arrests are a wakeup call for some of the Christians in Singapore.  Those whom are not as sucked into the ploy might be able to step out and take a look at what really was going on and not just what they perceive their little perfect church world to be.

Somehow, it is pretty much clear how these things would play out, the leader might be found guilty as sin, though, the church followers, which include some pretty high profile people and members, would petition and pull their strings and contacts, “for it is gods will” The leader will be punished with a fine and maybe, maybe, and this is already stretching things out quite far, some jail time, maybe a month or three months. Either that, or the investigations will continue and the leader will somehow escape conviction in the first place.

Sadly, the world usually favours people whom tell you that there is a life after death, and that god, being all loving and kind would love for you to donate your hard earned money to him, and because the ‘church leader’ is a holy man, he is an embodiment of god, he would never do wrong, he will not misappropriate the funds. IT IS NOT POSSIBLE.

Think about it for a moment, this ‘church leader’ is a human being, as dumb, clueless and frivolous as the rest of us, what makes him any better to be a “man who walks with god?” I am not one to judge, but I’d say that at the very least, presidents, prime ministers even though how horrible they may be, have the credentials to stand there and say I am a worthy of leading a nation. Though sometimes practically they prove themselves to be pretty useless at their job, this usually results in unhappiness and a re-election of a newer leader, a process of natural selection, if things were purely democratic.

Though, what does a church leader have? Good grades in Sunday school? A life of piousness? A stringent regime? No. All it takes is someone who is able to talk other people into believing their god is right. Then it sort of turns into a game of “my god has a bigger dick”. Then comes the HARVESTING, the name “City Harvest” In itself is kind of ominous, when I first heard the name a long time ago I imagined some one harvesting the city for all its worth, looting and plundering innocent souls. Who would have thought the devil would be wearing an angels disguise?