May 2006


Um ?

 

There is another talking point in town after the election. Everyone is debating whether 66% votes signify a strong mandate from the people as what the government is claiming.  

What is the truth? The truth is: PAP did receive the most votes in this election and they will continue to govern Singapore for the next five years. It is not our job to do a post-mortem for them on the election result and I see no point in discussing the issue on ‘strong mandate’. For those of us who have voted, we have done our part as citizens of Singapore to tell them what we wish for the nation. We have appraised them based on their merits and demerits and the ball is now in their court to show us what they can do for us for the next five years.  

I have a lot respect for the PAP government and I think most Singaporeans do. We are not a bunch of disgruntled and unappreciative citizens like what some foreigners see us. The fact is that we do love our country dearly and we want it to progress and become a better home for all of us. 

The election is over. Shall we move on?   

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Yeah

Never had I felt so excited before on a Saturday morning when I got up from bed. Today is the highlight of my life. I went to vote!

The polling is held in a primary school located across the street where I live. A different atmosphere was lingering in the air when I joined the residents in my neighbourhood to the polling centre. Besides the World Cup, polling is the second common talking point in the neighbourhood. I saw strangers on the street asking one another: “Have you voted?” and I couldn’t stop smiling when I saw an indian guy so dressed up for the occasion! Perhaps he was expecting some reporters to interview him at the polling centre and take his pictures for tomorrow’s headline.

Surprisingly there were not many voters in the queues at the polling centre. I think majority of the voters need some more time to decide and plan to cast their votes later in the day. The registration process was swift and simple. Upon producing my poll card and identity card, I was given a ballot paper. My heart was beating uncontrollably fast when I went up to the polling station to cast my vote. I had to take a deep breath to calm myself down before taking action. After checking the two logos on the card twice, I drew a big cross beside the one I decided on. The most crucial moment came when I had to drop the ballot paper into a sealed cardboard ballot box. I stared at the box for a few seconds, hesitated for a moment, took a deep breath again and pushed the card in. That was it. The entire voting process took less than 15 minutes. I felt like I was walking in my dream when I left the polling centre.

I wish I had snapped pictures of myself at the polling station with my voting card. I have made a very important decision today for myself and for the nation. This is the second time in my life that I feel involved as a citizen of Singapore.

PAP Rally

No opposition party and therefore no distraction to the government is what makes Singapore succeed? Did I read it correctly in the Straits Times?

At the PAP’s lunchtime rally yesterday, Prime Minister Lee has reported saying that since there are only three opposition members in Parliament right now, the government can still manage them. However, it seems he is concerned if more opposition members got elected. He went further to cite an example of how opposition parties hamper Taiwan’s progress. I have questions racing in my head while reading the report: Why talked about Taiwan only? Why not also cite other countries where there are strong opposition parties and still remain strong and progressive as a nation? Is the government telling me that they can’t handle more opposition members, so please let us stop at three, if not less?

Now, I am really concerned. We are entrusting the PAP government to run Singapore and deal with foreign countries on international issues and now they are telling us they can’t cope with the opposition members. I hope my interpretation of PM Lee’s rally speech is wrong since I was not there personally at the rally to listen to him. But from what I read from the newspaper today, it certainly causes some concerns and I must say it is not very comforting.

Hougang Election Rally

Those people in the picture were 'party-goers' — they were there for the Worker's Party election rally. I have never seen so many people on the street on a non-festive occasion. This could be the biggest rally in Singapore’s history!  

So, exactly how big was the crowd? You may ask. Blogger Yawning Bread did an assessment of the crowd size:

If you look at the top picture, you'll see that there were 15-16 people seated on the stage. This suggests that the stage was about 9 metres wide and 5 metres deep. Now look at the bigger photo. Using the dimensions of the stage as the yardstick, and allowing for the fact that the bottom of the photo would be on a different scale from the back of the photo (due to perspective), I estimate that the area covered by the photo, excluding the road at the back, would be about 150m across and about 200m from bottom of picture to nearly the road. That's 30,000 sq. metres. This being the thickest part of the crowd, the density was about 3 persons per sq. metre (they were standing shoulder to shoulder – see bottom picture). That means the total number of people encompassed by the bigger picture was about 90,000. Add those outside the picture (less dense), and perhaps the total number of people at the rally was 100 – 120,000.

 

Read Yawning Bread’s full story at http://yawningbread.org/

  

ST report 

 

On 28 April, The Straits Times reported that LTA has ordered Crime library to remove the missing persons’ posters that are put up at bus stops and pedestrian walkways. LTA spokesman said the posters may obstruct passersby or distract drivers and pose a safety hazard. Ironically, LTA suggested to Crime Library to pay for advertising space at ‘good’ locations for effective display of banners and posters. 

In my opinion, the reasons cited by LTA are lame and laughable and their stand towards poster display confusing too. If the posters arguably cause obstruction to passersby or distraction to the drivers, how does paying for advertising space solve the safety hazard problem as claimed by LTA? In advertising term, 'good' locations are usually areas where there are high human and vehicle traffic, so wouldn't the display of posters cause obstruction and distraction in those busy areas? I have difficulty connecting the money and safety issues together. Can someone please help me out? 

Despite LTA’s warning that the Crime Library could be fined for displaying banners and posters without permission, the founder of Crime Library would not budge. Mr Joseph Tan said he would not order his volunteers to take the posters down, nor would he consider buying advertising space from LTA. “We are a charity and there is really no money to spare,” said Mr Tan.  

I wish the Straits Times would follow up with LTA and give an update on the ‘fate’ of the Crime Library. It would be interesting to know if LTA would issue fines to the Crime Library. There is nothing wrong with LTA enforcing its policies but adopting a compassionate approach and helping the Crime Library to continue its good deed would be more appropriate and giving.  

According to the report, the Crime Library has an estimated number of 230 volunteers and it provides free service to help with unsolved crimes and disappearances. Since last December, it has helped locate about 110 of the 143 missing persons reported to the Crime Library.    

Read the full article at:

http://www.crime-library.org/story/embody.asp?id=37200

  

My Laptop

I was having coffee and reading a book in a food court when I saw a young couple snapping pictures of some plates of food that they bought for lunch. It was funny watching the guy sprawling on the table trying to get a good camera angle of the tray of food, while his girlfriend standing around looking embarrassed. 

I kind of see a little of myself in what the guy was doing (ie. the snapping pictures part, not the sprawling on table part) and I think blogging is making everyone look crazy. We snap pictures of almost everything that crosses our path, write about them in our blog and show the 'evidence' to our friends thinking that they might be interested to know. But do they really care? Are they really interested? My guess is that our blog does not mean much to them.

So, let say our friends are not interested in what we blog about, why do we continue to blog? What do we want to achieve by blogging? Can anyone tell me?

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