Join Me for Next Training

New Year Resolution for 2008: Swim faster, Run longer, maybe return to cycling.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

3 Scenarios - Your Comments Please

I will present 3 very real scenarios here on the mindset of drivers in 3 cities. I would appreciate comments from all who read this blog. Thanks.

Scenario 1: Bangkok, Thailand

Anyone (who's not from Thailand) who has been to Bangkok would probably complain and curse the traffic situation there. The Bangkok Jam is always on the must-experience to-do-list when on 'vacation' there (jialat, I sound like civil servant). Truth is, Bangkok is still very mush a developing city. The road lanes are not the usual standard width of 3.6metres. Instead, lane widths range from 2+ metres to about 3.6 metres on the toll roads. But let's get down to earth where all the action is. Forget about the underutilised toll roads. The local roads are extremely narrow in all aspects. Coupled with uncoordinated signal timings and an unorthodox road heirarchy system, it looks like the Bangkok Jam is here to stay for quite awhile. FYI, traversing a 1.5km stretch could easily take in excess of 1 hour during peak hour traffic.

Scenario 2: New York City, New York

Right smack in the city, the streets are arranged in an orderly grid system. But the New York City Jam is also a legend in itself. This is due to the sheer number of cars and yellow cabs on the streets. The lane widths are somewhat close to standard width but I don't think it is 3.6metres. It's probably 10ft wide, so it's almost 3.6metres.

Scenario 3: Singapore

Hardly any jams compared to Bangkok and New York and we have standard width lanes. Kudos to the urban and transport planners who envisaged wide avenues and awesome signal timings to reduce congestion incidences. BTW, I'm not talking about ERP here - it's entirely seperate.

Now, let's imagine a clamity happens on either of the 3 cities and the need to get emergency access to the site of destruction.

New York has pretty much proven itself in her quick emergency response during 9/11.

Bangkok is constrained by physical barriers. I witness it myself when I was there. An ambulance simply cannot get through because there's just not enough space to weave through traffic.

How would Singapore handle this? Given the 'good' physical conditions that we have, would the very mindset of our drivers here be the barrier to social responsibility to get the injured attended to?

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Self-Realisation: I'm a True-blue Singaporean!

The truth hurts. It suddenly dawned upon me that I'm a true-blue Singaporean! And it's not because I'm a holder of the all-too-powerful red passport.

It's because I complain about everything from ERP, COE, the heat, the rain, the gahmen (this one, i complain 'quietly' in my blogs or else i kena rotan), etc.

Don't get me wrong, it's really okay to complain. But the problem is that I'm just a selfish, narrow-minded, and snobbish citizen of Southeast Asia who has failed to see the poverty of our neighbours. I'm actually complaining about the good life! Greed has come to eat me! ARRGGGHHH....

And therefore I'm a true-blue Singaporean - and (somewhat) proud of it. Now let me hide myself in my iconic, world-class corner of my room (which incidentally is bigger than most houses in Indonesia).

Disclaimer: This is not my fault that I'm like this. I can't help it if my uncle has taken care of me all these years.

Seeking Job: Renaming Expert to Name your Child, Property, Car, and even your Luohan Fish!

I was thinking if I should advertise myself as a "Renaming Expert" in light of our government's call to be creative, unique and entrepreneurial.

Chelonia Munnster, R.E.

Not bad eh?

I can offer parents some hints on naming their children. Here are a few examples:

Chew Ying Kum
Kan Nah Sai
Ho Seng Lee
Boey Pai Say

Of course some of them want 'unique' english-sounding names like Beckham and Owen.

As an example, I've also thought of what NOT to name my children. I'm not naming them Tom, Dick or Harry. Seriously! Tom Tham (Tom Thumb)? Dick Tham (Dictum)? Harry Tham (Hairy Thumb)?

And since I'm at it, anyone can approach me to name their dogs, cats, cars, plants, tables, chairs, and even their big-ass bays too.

I'll charge reasonable peanut prices and I guarentee nice-sounding names that will tug everyone's heartstrings, pursestrings and G-strings.

Watch out for Chelonia Munnster, R.E. as the New Entrepreneur of the Year!

Singapore in Serious Need to Review Government Dictionary

In my job, I have been attending several meetings with some government agencies.
It seems that in every 'official' meeting with them , I always hear the few ubiquitous buzzwords.
These words are:


Funny thing is that these words are used quite loosely in all the bloody different projects that are coming up all over the small island nation. Now, if all of them have these buzzwords in them, then how can they be 'stand-alone', 'iconic' and 'unique'?

I'm also wondering why these agencies are trying to squeeze the private sectors brains for ideas and 'creative' suggestions?

Whatever happened to 'creativity' in civil service? What happened to the originality of words? Everywhere I see cut-and-paste phrases.

Tsk tsk tsk.... PM Lee was specifically referring to the civil service to wake up and be creative. I hope it wasn't lip service. Something has to be done to clear some deadwood - otherwise, water cannot flow.

I urge civil service to use more original wordings in their presentations, or here's a hint: use the thesaurus. And no, the thesaurus is not an iconic dinosaur fossil I'm suggesting to put on the world-class must-visit Marina Bayfront.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Quiet Day = Random Thoughts

It's almost 1500hrs and I haven't received a single email in my MS Outlook! This is unprecedented! - probably my first major step... I'll probably join APA.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Justifying the cost of branding - my way

For what it's worth, Marina Bay made news in South Africa too....

So sweet of Minister Mah... spending so much only to find out that a piece of undeveloped reclaimed land is tugging at our heartstrings... oh I hold so dearly onto dreams of exploration, excitement and experimentation on this barren soil!

Whatever happened to tugging at our pursestrings and that gahmen initiative called "Cut Waste Committee"?

Why not spend another $400,000 of taxpayers' money on having a namechange for that committee?

The Branding Exercise Whodunnit

It just intrigues me when I think about the process of this name branding exercise for Marina Bay. $400,000 for this exercise and I bet someone's a really happy person to name Marina Bay Marina Bay.

The place that was formerly known as Marina Bay just about 1 millisecond ago is now called... Marina Bay.

I can only think of 3 possible people who might have been given the $400,000 job:

1. The Fengshui Master:
'Bay' sounds like Horse in Hokkien. Horses are good omens in fengshui. Horses usher in luck. Horses are also used in betting. The casino there will have a lot of betting involved. Very auspicious.

2. The ah beng at a local 'branding' company:
One fine day, ah lian asked ah beng if he was serious about marriage. His reply was,"Marry? Nah beh!" And the name kinda stuck.

3. The usual suspect civil servant:
He was given the task of taking care of this branding exercise. Tons and tons of suggestions were given for him to look through. Of course, this meant well for him because then there would be a pile of papers on his desk, which would make him look hardworking. Then again, in a civic society largely driven by last minute work and countless layers of approval stages, he took it upon himself and did the ultimate. He thought out-of-the-box and a sudden gush of creative streak made him tikam tikam one of the papers sitting in front of him. The piece of paper turned out to be the initial RFP and was not one of the suggestions given. Being pantang, he stuck with the name of Marina Bay.

Singaporean Things That Just Don't Make Sense - Part Five of Infinity

I remember back in secondary school, Lau Pa Sat (Old Market) on Boon Tat Street was undergoing some renovations. That was 16-17 years ago when the "iconic" Lau Pa Sat was being transformed into what it is (not) today.

Sidenote: Structure of Lau Pa Sat is made up of the same cast iron frame that was the Crystal Palace during one of the World Fairs in London back in the 1800's. Ironically, the crystal palace burnt down and the cast iron frame was brought to Singapore for the construction of the 'original' Lau Pa Sat. Just about a week back, there was a small fire.

Anyway during the renovation stage, the Telok Ayer Basin had an interim market. And beyond those shores, I recalled seeing tongkangs and barges and reclamation on the Basin.

Land reclamation through these years made the place into Marina Bay. I have known this term since its inception. My understanding is that the Telok Ayer Basin became the Marina Bay abuot 15 years ago.

Recently, our cash-rich gahmen spent $400,000 on a branding exercise to rename Marina Bay. $400,000 later, I just read that our gahmen decided to keep the Marina Bay 'branding'.

FOUR HUNDRED FRIGGIN' THOUSAND SINGAPORE DOLLARS AND ZERO CENTS ONLY! (I don't even have space to write this long long phrase on a chequebook)

It makes me wonder... especially when there are recent TV blurps for the President's Challenge.

"Did you know that $5.00 can help support the operation of the ABC Home, etc..." or something to that effect. I'm sure $400,000 can go a bloody long way!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Singaporean Things That Just Don't Make Sense - Part Four of Infinity

... That our new tagline is 'Uniquely Singapore' when the gahmen is still in search of what is so damn unique about Singapore...

"Singapore is constantly re-inventing itself" - excerpt from SM Goh's speech at MICE Asia 2005.

Looks like we cannot find anything unique about ourselves but change itself.....

Why Thailand is called the Land of Smiles

It's a good thing, really - being named The Land of Smiles.

I have the utmost respect for the Thais. Maybe Rick doesn't, but he has his reasons. And that's absolutely fine with me.

Have you ever wondered why the Thais are so friendly, patient, and just plain nice to everyone from locals to farangs?

I reckon that the reason stems from the infamous Bangkok traffic jams. Thai congestion cultivates patience and mutual tolerance. Experiencing the extremely congested non-standard-width Bangkok streets on a daily basis is a test of inner strength and self-control. It's the modern day equivalent of a blended form of taiji, qigong, pilates, yoga and controlled bowel movement. It is no damn joke being stuck in Bangkok traffic. I figured that the Thais have got no choice but to tahan the daily grind. What else can they do but smile?

Just smile and get on with it!

I bet the Bee Gees were in Bangkok when one of the Gibbs wrote Words - 'Smile an everlasting smile. A smile can bring you near to me....'. Okay, I'm digressing.

I think Singapore should have traffic jams to train Singaporeans the meaning of true patience and tolerance. We'd definitely see a marked decrease in road rage incidences. Or at least send Singaporeans to Bangkok for a Traffic Jam Appreciation Programme for those who complain too much about "congestion" in Singapore.

Kop Khun Krap!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Island Nation Unveils New National Icon

Compared to our friendly neighbours, our country is undoubtedly the cleanest and greenest.

The Garden City has maintained its pristine image by being touted as such a beautiful and speckless city. Many cities around the world have tried to emulate the true tropical atmosphere that Singapore is so 'unique' about. I really have to give her credit - actually credit to the ah peks and ah sohs and foreign workers - in keeping up with this image.

This reminds me of Bree Van de Kamp from the Desperate Housewives TV series. The first season just ended its run in Singapore. Bree plays the obsessive-compulsive housewife who keeps the house spick and span, and her peers envy her lifestyle and family as the ever-so-perfect ONE. But deep inside all that glazed surface is a repressed woman with a dysfuctional family.

Come to think of it, isn't it so uniquely Singapore to relate an analogy with Bree Van de Kamp?

Beneath that porcelain surface is a woman with a repressed inner-self. A thought to ponder.

Therefore on the impending 40th birthday of the nation, the gahmen will oust the Merlion from it's Fullerton mantel and unveil Bree as the new national icon. In line with making bold changes to corporate names (for fengshui, modernity and plain stupidity) like A*Star (formerly NCB), Spring (formerly SISIR), and i.e. Singapore (formerly TDB), 'SINGAPORE' will therefore be known as 'Breeahpor'.

Yes. We are Bree-ah-por,

We are Bree-ah-por.

We will stand a-lone and hear our inner roar....

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Real Story of ITS

Once upon a time in a small nation somewhere one degree north of the equator on the Southeast Asian side of the world, a few gahmen blokes came together in an apparently 'high-level' meeting at a 'very important place'. Now, it is very important to take note of the people who were present at the meeting. After all, we have to give them the rightful credit. So it is hereby stated that at the 'high-level' meeting at the 'very important place', there was Al Tay, Eu Aw Ray, P. Dabludee and Ee Ah Pea (Reference: 'Minutes of Meeting held at the 'High Level' Meeting at the 'Very Important Place' dated 21 August 1995).

The topics of main discussion were mainly hotly-debated issues such as the comparison of bosses from various statutory boards, guesstimation of year-end bonuses, and the never-ending talespinning of what-goes-on and who-does-what on working Saturdays.

"I truly enjoy my breakfasts on Saturday mornings! I buy breakfast to office and eat till 10:30am. I send email to my boss after that and I read the Classifieds. Sometimes I chabot at 12 noon", boasts Al.

"Haha, that's nothing! I go home by 11 o'clock! I just walk to the toilet and pretend I need to pang sai. Everyone thinks I got stomachache. Actually I already escape to the bus stop!" Paramalingamanikam Dabludee(or P. Dabludee for short) proclaims.

And the debate went on and on. Then the blokes managed to slot in the topic of "Introduction and Implementation of ITS" at 5:13pm, just before the official knock-off time of 5:30pm in the gahmen.

Of course ITS stands for Intelligent Transport Systems but during its infancy, ITS was actually known as "System for Highly Intelligent Transport" until some clever acronym-obsessed minister noticed that the moniker was SHIT. Mind you, it took a record-breaking quick 8 months to realise the acronym of this major ministerial taskforce! To think that so many layers of vetting were breached in that process!

Anyway, SHIT was finally approved to be changed to ITS after another 8 months and through 27 gruelling stages of scrutiny and sitting-on-the-desk. In modern terms, Lance Armstrong could have died if this was equivalent to the Tour de France.

And so the 'High-Level' meeting focused on this topic for about 12 minutes. (Note: the 5 minute discrepancy to make up for the official 5:30pm timing is attributed to the standard procedural time alloted for 'going to the john before official knock-off time")

It was decided that the small country would set a precedence for other cities to emulate. How? The nation was going to have a 'world-class transport system'!

What better way than to put it? A 'WORLD-CLASS' Transport System. Whatever they decide to do to the existing transport system, the mere statement would send shudders to neighboring cities! Their rickshaws and tuk-tuks would be no match to the high-speed (but questionable) LRT!

Hence the introduction and implementation of ITS. (By the way, it was a stroke of genius from Mr. Eu Aw Ray while he was washing his hands after the standard john time at 5:25pm. Besides, he could claim overtime when he announced his eureka statement at exactly 5:32pm)

In the years that followed, more 'important' people became involved in ITS. In 2000, there was great fanfare and publicity when the CTE tunnels were 'interactive' with messages of warning (Dead Cat on Lane 3 Ahead), seasonal greetings (Gong Xi Fa Cai! Selamat Hari Raya!) and reassuring words of advice (Drive Carefully, Police Ahead).

Until the original Fantastic 4 crew of Al Tay, Eu Aw Ray, P. Dabludee and Ee Ah Pea left the gahmen one by one 'due to personal reasons'.

The legacy of ITS left with them and the passive others had no choice but to shut down the ITS. It was heartwrenching for many citizens and road users - now, there weren't any avenues to vent their frustrations at utterly useless technological tax-wasting devices. Yes, even the newspapers were silent at the demise of ITS.

While the nation mourned at the loss of opportunity to engage in friendly banter with the gahmen, a fresh gahmen-sponsored graduate from the prestigious School of Ten Year Series and Model Answers returned from his studies and joined the ranks of the elite in the gahmen.
His name was KSYP(name not in full to protect identity of Kisma S. Y Peet).

One day, Kisma stumbled upon a manual that was stuck in between the toilet cistern and wall of the third cublicle of the 24th floor of a stat board. The cover was tattered and torn and smudged beyond recognition. Upon opening it, Kisma knew he had found a gold mine!

The 5-page manual had a contents page, an executive summary page, 2 pages of 'useful' material, and an index page.

The manual was called "Common Phrases Used For ITS"

And now, everybody knows why "Jam in Tunnel" appears on every electronic message board along the CTE even though there is no jam.

Then there's also "Road Closure. Please Use Public Transport". Yep. And everyone who reads this message ARE ALREADY driving on the EXPRESSWAY.

How about "Tree Pruning" - At night?

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Selamat Hari Raya!

Happy Deepavali!

And we're all paying useless tax money for an "Intelligent" Transport System. Let me use my radio anytime.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Mid-Season Evolution Analysis

Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2004
5 December 2004

10km Run - 1:09:15 hours

Bib Number: 13123

Average Speed: 8.7 kmph

Overall Placing: 1843/4294
Gender Placing: 1360/2573
Country Placing: 1237/3019

NUS Biathlon 2005
February 2005
Tanjong Beach, Sentosa

800m Swim - 19:36 minutes
5km Run - 34:58 minutes

Total Time - 54:34 minutes

Bib Number: 3218

Men's Open Placing: 403/499

Navy Singapore Biathlon 2005
27 March 2005
East Coast Park

1.5 km Swim - 44:44 min
10 km Run - 1:12:10 hours

Total - 2:00:38 hours

Bib Number: 1127

Napa Valley "Grape Escape" Sprint Triathlon
California, USA
14 May 2005

1/2 Mile Swim - 18:14 min (T1 - 4:22min)
15 Mile Bike - 59:11 min (T2 - 2:26min)
4 Mile Run - 47:48 min

Total - 2:12:03 hours

Bib Number: 687

Overall Men's Placing: 176/205
Age Group: 21/24

OSIM Singapore Triathlon 2005
2 July 2005
Sprint Distance

750 m Swim - 19:35 min
20 km Bike - 47:04 min
5 km Run - 35:13 min

Total - 1:41:51 hours

Bib Number: 1303

Men's Open Placing: 154/296

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

And Eating Will Be An Official Olympic Sport

This time, our China-trained 'National' athletes will really have a very good chance of winning the Olympic gold in shopping and eating!

Monday, July 04, 2005

OSIM Singapore Asian Triathlon Championship 2005

The OSIM Tri was held last weekend (2 & 3 July). I took part in the Sprint Distance Tri which was on Saturday. The distance that challenged me was a 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run.


Dad was there to support me. JA came later. I was very happy and motivated - it was the first time dad came to see me take part in the races. Mom couldn't make it coz she had something on but she wished me all the best as usual. The fact that your loved ones think about you is very reassuring already. I don't expect them to come and be my tri-fan everytime. Tri-fans Sit-wait-cheer while we swim-bike-run.

I was enjoying every bit of the race.

I'm thinking of pushing myself further. Olympic Distance next year.

Bib number: 1303
Unofficial Time: 1 hour 41 minutes.