Tag Archive | "Singaporeans"

S’poreans blame foreigners for xenophobia

S’poreans blame foreigners for xenophobia

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Because locals cannot cause xenophobia.

The primary cause of xenophobia is foreigners.

The primary cause of xenophobia is foreigners.

Some Singaporeans from some walks of life are blaming foreigners.

This after Singaporean-foreigner relations got a bit more testy these past few weeks as both sides engaged in territorial disputes over who has access to a place in Orchard Road, ironically named, Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza.

One Singaporean, Ben Di Ren, said: “If there were no foreigners in Singapore, Singaporeans wouldn’t even be xenophobic in the first place.”

Other locals backed up this logic.

Hui Jia Xiang, another local, said: “If foreigners leave Singapore now, there will be no xenophobia left.”

Some other locals also jumped to the defence of this logic

Wai Guo Ren, another Singaporean, said: “Singaporeans are very peace-loving people. It is the foreigners who are the cause of xenophobia. So you must blame foreigners for causing animosity instead.”

The fable of the horses and S’poreans

The fable of the horses and S’poreans

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horse-escape-singapore

One fine day, a herd of horses escaped their stable in Pasir Ris and galloped away.

With their new found freedom, they wandered one street down the road to a nearby cross junction and started grazing on grass.

Within a few minutes, a group of Singaporeans who were passing by stopped and gawked at the horses.

A few in the group whipped out their camera phones and started taking pictures, intrigued by the scene before them, as it is not every day horses appear by the road grazing.

The horses continued to graze on the grass, oblivious, or else, not trying very hard to ignore the commotion.

It was not long before one Singaporean, unable to hold it in anymore, raised his voice to address the horses.

Speaking what was clearly on the minds of all the other Singaporeans who were present, he said:

“Oh my god! Why are you all here? There are so many other places you can go, so many sights to explore. You have the means and the mobility to go anywhere you want. You can live your dream! The world is your oyster! You are free! Be not afraid! Why don’t you go elsewhere? It is so foolish to stay here and focus all your attention on this small area, thinking you can have your fill!”

Without breaking a sweat and nary batting an eyelid, one of the horses, who was clearly the leader, coolly raised its head and with a mouthful of grass in its mouth, said:

“Oh my god! Why are you all here? There are so many other places you can go, so many sights to explore. You have the means and the mobility to go anywhere you want. You can live your dream! The world is your oyster! You are free! Be not afraid! Why don’t you go elsewhere? It is so foolish to stay here and focus all your attention on this small area, thinking you can have your fill!”

With that, the Singaporeans and the horses looked at each other and appreciated each others’ lot in life.

The End.

6 in 10 S’poreans lie when giving survey answers

6 in 10 S’poreans lie when giving survey answers

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This after only 4 in 10 Singaporeans say they prejudge others based on race.

singaporean-survey

Singaporeans in general are not very good at being truthful when answering surveys, a survey showed.

This after only 4 in 10 Singaporeans openly admitted that they prejudge others based on race.

This was one of a host of findings revealed at an Institute of Policy Studies and OnePeople.sg forum on indicators of racial and religious harmony on Wednesday morning.

Everyone knows everyone prejudges other people.

Unless you are Pope Francis. Or Mother Teresa.

The IPS research fellow who led and presented the findings of the study is Mathew Mathews.

See? Can you not judge when you see a name like Matthew Matthews? Is it because he is so good they named him twice?

Illustration: A S’porean’s life on wheels

Illustration: A S’porean’s life on wheels

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When words are not enough to express how you feel…

By Barry Schmelly

An illustration of your life in terms of wheels.

The end.

Man’s ass stabbed twice during dispute

Man’s ass stabbed twice during dispute

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However, no fatalities reported.

Photo: WOUTER VERHELST / Creative Commons

ROMANIA — A row between two men resulted in one man stabbing the other’s ass.

By the time treatment could be sought for the injured fellow, the two stab wounds were found to have been infected and oozing pus.

In the process of trying to cleanse the infected area, hair around the open wounds on the ass had to be cut off and it was found to be covered with maggots.

The owner of the ass said his ass “almost certainly would have died” if he was left to treat the injury by himself.

However, the donkey survived after an hour of treatment and antibiotic injections administered by members of The Donkey Sanctuary.

The cause of the dispute is unknown but two men involved are neighbouring farmers in Cernavoda, Romania, a country fondly remembered by Singaporeans as the home of diplomat Silviu Ionescu who fled Singapore after allegedly being involved in a hit-and-run accident that left one person dead and two others injured.

Read the original article here.

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Is Singapore a renaissance city?

Is Singapore a renaissance city?

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Not quite, but it’s getting there. All the government has to do now is to become less of a control freak.

By Terence Lee

Crazy Horse is lame compared to nyotaimori --serving sushi on a naked women's body. Secret Cooks Club -- a private dinner club in Singapore -- organised one such session recently.

SOMETHING strange is happening in Singapore, the nipple of an island-state in South-East Asia that’s more well-known for caning naughty American brat Michael Fay and banning chewing gum.

It’s no longer boring.

For years, the liberal Western media have drilled into readers ad nauseam about Singapore’s human rights violations and strict government control on every aspect of their citizens’ lives.

Most recently, a German TV variety show ridiculed the country, claiming that Singaporeans with fever are barred from entering any building. “Singaporeans are not just crazy, they are tremendously crazy,” concludes the host of the show.

Singaporeans, predictably, went mad over it.

But I think being called “crazy” is a good thing. I’m sure Singaporeans will agree that being labelled as bonkers is a step up from “boring”. Remember that just a while ago, a local journalist was whacked silly by her countrymen for calling Singapore a stale place.

Perhaps we can attribute another trait to Singaporeans: Hard-to-please.

Think of it this way: People are more likely to visit Singapore if it’s a “crazy” place rather than a “boring” place, right? No harm swindling tourists of a few extra gazillion dollars just so they can ogle at exotic Asian women (which Singaporean man cannot get),  and buy a few kitsch souvenirs from exotic Chinatown (which locals find too plasticky).

These things aside, the perception towards Singapore amongst liberal Western know-it-all journalists are indeed showing signs of change.

Take this article by the New York Times, for instance, which talks about the expanding “cultural realm” in the island-state. Singapore has a developing art and indie fashion scene. And if you want food, there’s plenty, and in all varieties.

Another write-up, this time by the Guardian from the United Kingdom, expands on this theme, exploring Singapore’s “culinary renaissance”. Secret dinner clubs are thriving in Singapore, and one of them, Secret Cooks Club (which is no secret anymore), recently held a dinner with sushi served on a naked woman.

If that isn’t crazy and sexy, I don’t know what is!

There are more examples.

The Pink Nipple swells.

Just a few days ago, a record 10,000 supporters donned pink and turned up at the Speaker’s Corner to support the right for Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgender people to love and be loved. The event, called Pink Dot, culminated in the formation of a giant, well, pink dot on the field. In a country where homosexual sex is banned, such show of solidarity is astounding.

That same week, Echelon 2011, a fledging annual conference for tech startups, was held. Eager young entrepreneurs from Singapore and Asia converged at the National University of Singapore to display their wares and network with angel investors and venture capitalists from all around the world.

The highlight of the event was a competition where 11 startups from Asia pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges consisting of established entrepreneurs and investors. It’s no surprise who won: Lee Min Xuan, who co-founded Playmoolah with fellow Singapore belle Audrey Tan, impressed judges and the audience with her solid presentation and quick wit.

Just a flash in the pan, you say?

Not quite. Last year, local mobile security company tenCube was acquired by McAfee in a deal estimated to be worth about US$25 million, making CEO and founder Darius Cheung a very rich man.

And consider how Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin and CD Baby founder Derek Sivers (both big names) have both made Singapore their home. I must say something is indeed brewing in the kitchen, and it smells really good.

That brings me to my next point: Singapore, as a renaissance city, is still a dish being cooked. It’s work in progress.

So far, the government has its hands in everything: Arts, media, business, and people’s sex lives. Yes, they care about who (or what) gets into your pants. No doubt, initial government support and funding is crucial to grow Singapore’s cultural and creative space. But letting go is crucial for maturation.

Already, this is slowly happening in the political realm, where laws governing politicking using social media were loosened. Just as importantly, no politicians were sued during the last elections.

But more can be done: Censorship of positive gay portrayals in the local TV channels still occur. In that space, gays are treated like bogeymen who are used to scare children. The Singapore entrepreneurial scene, while growing, can do with more mentorship and private funding.

As Singaporeans embark on a trip towards cultural and financial nirvana, I propose they smell the roses a bit more. Stop the car, pee in the bushes, shag your wives, and watch the sunrise together.

Alternative news websites like The Online Citizen and Temasek Review, while serving an important function in the country, whine way too much. They feed off the negative energy of angry Singaporeans, creating a vortex of discontent and pessimism.

And in the process, they forget that Singapore is in many ways the envy of the world.

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Presidential hopefuls can learn from Worker’s Party

Presidential hopefuls can learn from Worker’s Party

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White is out these days. Which is why pro-establishment figures won’t stand a chance in the coming Presidential Election.

By Terence Lee

Tan Kin Lian trying too hard to be David Copperfield.

WHEN the Worker’s Party swept into Parliament in May, it was largely because they hammered home their campaign slogan: “Towards a First World Parliament.”

Never mind that many of their policy proposals were lame: People were clamouring for more opposition voices in Parliament, and they got it.

And I hope Presidential hopefuls Tan Kin Lian, Tan Cheng Bock, and maybe even George Yeo and former Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan, were watching closely.

Because therein lies the key to riches, glory, power, and fame — maybe not riches, because the Presidential salary is expected to be slashed.

But here’s the deal: Whichever candidate that comes across as the most independent-minded and sensible stands a good chance of winning.

And not just that. He must be like the Rock — the People’s Champ. He must be perceived as the People’s President; an advocate for the voice of ordinary Singaporeans.

In other words, the Presidential hopefuls must strike a balance between lame dog S.R Nathan and mad dog Chee Soon Juan (version 1.0).

Why do I say this? Two facts to chew on:

1) People have grown more comfortable with dissident voices in Government

Very likely, this Presidential Election will be contested. The last time there was a dogfight for the position was in 1993 where Ong Teng Cheong ran against a reluctant Chua Kim Yeow, henceforth called The Other Guy.

Both Elections have one parellel: They came after a surge in Opposition support in the preceding General Elections.

In 1991, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) captured three seats in Parliament, and the opposition parties secured 39 percent of the votes. The SDP was still intact in 1993.

Ong Teng Cheong from a bygone era. Photo: LEE CHIN

According to Warren Fernandez, then writing as a journalist with the Straits Times, The Other Guy won a substantial 41.31 percent of the votes largely because of his independent streak. This despite how people got angry that his campaigning efforts were largely non-existent at the beginning.

“Opposition parties, which had earlier asked voters to spoil their ballots, began urging them to vote for Mr Chua instead. As polling day approached, the front-runner’s lead narrowed,” wrote Warren.

A few things here:

Ever since the People’s Action Party had a track record, they began harping on it like annoying insurance salesmen. Teng Cheong tried it, and the Men in White did it again in the last polls. But if the results were any indication, this track record will not always play sweet music.

The gap between the General Election and Presidential Election will only be three months at most, compared with two years in 1993. Which means the Men in Blue’s victory in Aljunied GRC is still fresh on people’s minds.

This could galvanise Singaporeans. George Yeo could benefit from his defeat should he decide to contest this time around. Tan Kin Lian, who is friendly with the opposition parties, would surely welcome an endorsement from them.

2) Less is at stake at picking a dissident President

Think Chiam See Tong’s by-election strategy, Presidential Edition.

Lee Kuan Yew is famous for invoking the bogeyman of Singapore politics — the freak election. What happens if the opposition parties win by a large margin, and form the Government despite their ineptness?

Fear-mongering, for sure, but not invalid. Technically, if everyone voted because they want more alternative voices in Parliament, disaster would befall Singapore. That’s because the Worker’s Party had said that they are not quite fit to rule.

No such concern for the Presidential Election.

The Singapore President has limited powers. The Cabinet will still be around even if you pick a rabid dog to fill the post, and so will the Prime Minister. Less is at stake.

Singaporeans will be less disincentivised from picking a dissident as President.

For sure, all the potential candidates so far are ex-PAP men. But all display some semblence of independent thinking. Right off the bat, Tan Cheng Bock portrayed himself as a vocal backbencher who was not afraid to say it like it is. He has the first-mover advantage in this campaign, although his support of the arrests of the so-called Marxist conspirators will disgust left-leaning voters.

George Yeo calls himself a “minority voice” in the “broad church that is the PAP”. He’s widely respected by moderate voices, and you can count on fangirl Xiaxue to campaign on his behalf again (not sure if that’s a good thing).

Tan Kin Lian’s claim to fame was when he organised a rally for investors of the High Notes and Minibonds investment products, which saw a turnout in the thousands. He’s the candidate that the opposition parties and supporters are most likely to endorse.

Tony Tan is, well, Tony Tan. Although he opposed the Graduate Mothers Scheme, his low profile in recent years will work against him. Should he decide to run, he has a lot of media schmoozing to do, although that won’t be a problem.

———

Already, online discourse has placed Ong Teng Cheong as the President by which the upcoming contenders will be measured against. That’s no surprise, considering his vocal opposition against the government, plus the fact that he was never given a State funeral.

Ironically though, the candidate that stands the best chance to win it all would be the one that can emulate The Other Guy’s campaign message: A “credible apolitical alternative”, they called him.

But scratch that “apolitical” bit; it’s an uncool term nowadays.




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Skype to acquire phone app company Qik; Singaporeans lent a hand

Skype to acquire phone app company Qik; Singaporeans lent a hand

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Local NUS interns contributed to app development during their stints at Qik office in Silicon Valley.

By Terence Lee

Elisha Ong tests out the Qik app at the Yosemite National Park with his Russian colleague. Picture by ELISHA ONG.

FOR Elisha Ong, 24, the moment felt zen.

The Singaporean was in Yosemite National Park, California, making a video call to a Russian colleague in Moscow. Awakened by the cold at 5am in the morning last May, he wore thick layers of jackets, a beanie and headed out.

He showed his colleague around the Park, while the Russian showed Ong around his office.

“That moment displayed the tremendous power of video communications in breaking geographical and time boundaries,” he said in grandiose terms.

No big deal, you would say. But considering that Ong was the lead designer for Qik, which was the app he used to make the call, he had every right to feel ecstatic. It was his baby.

Today, he has another reason to feel like a proud father: Internet phone giant Skype has entered into an agreement to acquire Qik, which was also the name of the company he interned at together with five other NUS students. The deal, according to one source, is said to be worth over US$150 million (S$194 million).

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong demonstrated Qik at the National Day Rally Speech in 2008.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong demonstrated Qik at the National Day Rally Speech in 2008.

“Skype and Qik share a common purpose of enriching communications with video, and the acquisition of Qik will help to accelerate our leadership in video by adding recording, sharing and storing capabilities to our product portfolio,” said Tony Bates, Skype CEO.The move was announced at the second day of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Qik is a phone app for all major mobile platforms that allows live video streaming and video calls. From just 600,000 users at the beginning of last year, the figure has ballooned to more than 5 million.

While Ong was there, he led a team to redesign Qik’s user interface to incorporate video calling, then a new feature. He was also involved in marketing campaigns and overhauling the company website.

Scott Png, 23, the only one still in Silicon Valley, is a customer support specialist who resolves problems for querying users.

Both are a part of NUS’s Overseas Colleges programme, which has been sending students to Qik since 2008. Under the programme, NUS undergraduates get a chance to study entrepreneurship courses in locales like Beijing, Sweden and Bangalore, and of course, Silicon Valley. At the same time, they get valuable work experience at start-up companies.

Three others interns assisted in Qik’s social media campaign under the NUS-MDA Singapore Hollywood Attachment Programme. They are videographer Farkhan Salleh, 25; and social media specialists Liyana Sulaiman, 22, and Farhan Hamid, 24.

In their own ways, Singapore’s home-grown talents are already contributing to the success stories of technology companies abroad.

The challenge now is to replicate these same breakthroughs at home and egg on Singapore’s technopreneurs to create the next Big Thing.