What's up, Singapore?

Let’s go to the…airport!

When I was a kid, going to the airport was a real treat. It meant dinner of fish and chips at Swensen’s followed by an ice-cream dessert. And then, a post-dinner stroll along the viewing gallery at the arrival floor where my siblings and I would sometimes be able to catch a glimpse of an airplane taking off in the dark.

At 28, going to the airport is still a bit of a treat for me. There’s something about that 15 minute drive along the ECP, tucking into a hot meal (hopefully) and then freezing your butt off because you chose to wear shorts out of laziness. And as you walk past each check-in counter, be reminded of the dozen trips you were supposed to plan.

Having absolutely no idea where to go for dinner, the Boyfriend and I found ourselves cruising along the highway towards Changi Airport Terminal 3. I had hoped to have a little taste of my childhood by going to Earle Swensen’s but we arrived 15 minutes too late for last orders.

We turned to the food court because, well, Singaporeans and food courts/hawker centres go together. And it felt like one of those moods where we wanted something simple and nostalgic (somewhat).

The seafood olive rice made me almost sorry for not clogging my arteries with Popeye’s instead; the Boyfriend’s grilled chicken set meal was just as dissatisfying. The experience compelled us to have toast and tea/coffee at Ya Kun Kaya.

And as we sat down sipping our teh ‘c’ and kopi amidst screeching parents and hyperactive children, and other adults talking above the noise, we saw more people streaming in from the carpark at 11pm.

Everyone else also goes to the airport just because.

Filed under: Things to do around Singapore, , ,

“Please, Sir, can I have more money?” (or Budget 2011)

Yes, what we have all been waiting for – pre-Election handouts from the incumbent government!

I haven’t caught up with the latest reports on Budget 2011 but this is an awesome stop-motion video of the Budget in a nutshell (without the fine print) if you haven’t the patience to read the transcript of Shanmugaratnam’s speech:

$1.549 billion in Growth Dividends.

And once you’re done, read these:

Budget 2011: an analysis – P1

Budget 2011: an analysis – P2

God bless TOC.

Filed under: Politics, , ,

We are a nation of gamblers

I happened to catch the trailer for Singapore Talking one evening. The host mentioned something along the lines of gambling is on the rise and if it’s becoming a national culture.

Gambling isn’t becoming a national culture, I’m sure it already is. How can it be an emerging trend when we’ve had Singapore Pools (incidentally, Singapore Pools was established in 1968 as Singapore’s legal lottery operator by the Singapore Government) and home-hosted mahjong games the beginning of time?

The IRs have merely exacerbated the gambling issue by providing more gambling opportunities – encouraging it, even. The $100 levy imposed on Singaporeans and PRs is barely a deterrent if one is a consummate gambler or you have money to gamble away – you can always purchase a yearly membership for $2000. That’s going to the Marina Bay Sands casino at least 20 times in a year.

If you go once a week for a whole year, that’s 52 visits for $2000 – that’s so worth it.

Anyways, the gambling industry is lucrative. It seems almost everyone benefits. If you have a pretty good lucky streak, you can amass quite a fortune. And according to a recent article, the amount of betting taxes and Goods and Services Tax on business receipts collected from the two IRs came up to $420 million between April and November last year. Legalised money lenders are also seeing a rise in business.

(Imagine how much more business the loan sharks are getting these days.)

I don’t think I’ve been imagining the increased gambing-related crimes – those that were reported; what about unreported crimes?

Filed under: Politics, , , , ,

Ignorant, much?

Saw a snippet of a netizen’s blog post on Facebook – he was praising MM Lee in the post. He definitely raised the heckles of some people – considering the alleged seditious (alleged because some people in the government have either casually brushed aside the Old Man’s comments or defended him), this blogger should expect some not-very-nice remarks to his blog post.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, of course. But sometimes, one has to wonder from which well did some people crawl out of. And what kind of people has the Singapore education system been producing?

Case in point: The infamous “MM Lee is Singapore’s Nelson Mandela” from a YPAP leader.

Whoa, seriously.

One is a Nobel Prize winner who was jailed for more than two decades, fighting against the Apartheid.

The other jailed “alleged” political dissidents for several decades (without trial) and triggered potential racial discord with his latest book.

Perhaps some people are determined to be blissfully ignorant to stay out of trouble.

Filed under: Politics, ,

MM Lee incites controversy with comments on Malay Muslims

The exalted ancient leader of Singapore Inc strikes again with hisĀ  comments on Malay Muslims drawn from his recent literary offering, Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going.

According to Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, who just had to “speak candidly to be of value”:

I would say today, we can integrate all religions and races except Islam…I think we were progressing very nicely until the surge of Islam came and if you asked me for my observations, the other communities have easier integration — friends, intermarriages and so on…

AMP stepped forward with a firm and systematic response to MM Lee’s remarks (here) while PKMS suggested that he be investigated under the Sedition Act (here). Even our Malaysian neighbours had something to say about the “very senile old man” (here).

Add this to the Singapore government’s recent move to mute this year’s Thaipusam celebrations with a slew of restrictions, the incumbent party hasn’t exactly endeared itself to the people.

But wait, here’s the real kicker. Minister for Malay Muslim Affairs, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim jumped to the Old Man’s defense, describing the latter’s comment as a “worse case scenario” and that he has a “certain perspective.”

Et tu, Brutus, much?

Great going, standing up for the community you represent, Doctor.

Filed under: Politics, , , , , , , ,

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