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Rant: Return our CPF?

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I was like blogging about how absolutely annoying Yang Yin was, and then I had to chance upon Han Hui Hui (HHH)'s speech at Hong Lim Park that lambasted Singapore's government (People's Action Party) for basically doing a poor job of governing the country.

Her speech was extremely incendiary, and as a student who studied the building of Singapore briefly in Secondary 1 and 2, I felt rather incensed by some of the sweeping generalizations she made in her speech, some of the absurd arguments she has against the local ruling party and her whole sail negation of all the effort that PAP has put into building this country.

Before I begin my own tirade against her arguments (and arguments only), I have confessions to make. I don't claim to be the person with the best and most well-rounded knowledge of the local political scene despite my frequent attempts at trying to catch up with the news and doing extra readings for the sake of General Paper (GP). I am also not saying that PAP is like the flawless government or that our leaders are infallible. Maybe it is because of the history of Singapore that I have studied, I have come to appreciate our government more for the things they have done for us, the areas they are always trying to improve, rather than to be wholly blinkered by the errors that they have made.

And, you are free to disagree with any of the arguments that I have:) After all, politics is always full of diverse opinions which are greatly influenced by our personal experience and beliefs as well as our individual doctrine of thoughts.

For background information, you can visit hardwarezone.
I apologize if any of the information above is flawed, because I did not write it: in fact I have no idea who HHH is before today, so I am researching as I write my post.

And here is the video that irked me so much:

Here is some of my thoughts (I will try to take on a measured tone as far as possible).

#Problematic argument 1
"What should we do with the [CPF] money that the government will return to us? We can take back our CPF and build our own flats!!"

First and foremost, why are we even worrying about "what to do with excess money"? Like goodness, if say suddenly maybe three thousand dollars fall out of the sky, I am very sure I would have some place to spend it in, starting with a good buffet. Whilst the use of rhetorical question is one of the commonly used public speaking device, this rhetorical question had me absolutely confused.

As for building "[your] own flats" as HHH excitedly suggested to all, it is logically impossible. Spoken in Chinese, her statement can either be interpreted as 1. using the money to hire people to build the flats, and 2. using the money and building the flats yourself.

I cannot decide which option above is more absurd. Do you know how to design a flat, know the materials to use? Do you know where to hire all the hard workers who toil endlessly to enable the timely completion of the flat? I doubt it. Building the flats by oneself is odder still, to the extent that it could have been like this comical punchline in a Jack Neo movie where the characters light-heartedly whine about the government and come up with solutions like building their own houses. Building a private housing would have possible, but not with the amount of CPF money  that you are banking on. I know people who live in bungalows and other private housings: those cost a couple of millions at least. In the recent Yang Yin scandal, Madam Chung's private estate is a whopping $40,000,000 (thereabout). I am sure your CPF isn't half that sum.

#Problematic Fact 2
"Is there a need to sell a flat up to 3 - 4 million?"

Have you seen a HDB flat (assuming they are talking about flats) selling for 3-4 million? Good riddance! The most common costs of flats in Singapore is about 300-600 plus thousand, where did the 3-4 million dollar flats come from?

Assuming that you are not talking about flat as the subtitles suggests, but about private estates, why are you complaining about the price of private housings? As in, buy what is within your means, if you can afford a 3-room flat, buy a 3-room flat. If you can afford a mansion, go ahead, no one is stopping you (unless you swindle people's money). The private housing prices here are high due to the scarcity of land, if you want to have cheaper "private housing", why not go to places with less people? Like somewhere near the edge of Gobi desert or Sahara. You can build a mansion the size of a football field and no one cares. If you can afford it, that is.

#Problematic Fact 3
"Take the land and build condominiums. Can Singaporeans afford to buy such properties??"

Well yes, apparently a great number of people can afford to buy such properties, because otherwise the logical deduction would be that all the condominiums existing now are empty for our good brothers to live in. Which is not the case.

I feel like it is a case of, "since we here cannot afford it, thus no one can afford it, so why build it?". It is a logical fallacy in itself, since just because the speaker cannot afford it, she assumes that no one can afford it. Gah.

#Hasty Accusation 4
"Money faced government. They are not caring for our accommodation. They are not caring for our medical healthcare. Is this how a government should behave?"

Think Middle-East. Think about Greece. Think about all the corrupted government that you read about in the newspaper and think about our government. Whilst I agree that I have limited knowledge about our politics, Singapore is the 5th least corrupted nation. Thus, the whole accusation of money faced is rather untenable, especially given the context of CPF where the money is returned to you eventually.

"They are not caring for our accommodation." Just a moment ago, I remember someone declaring that she wants to build her own flat or something with her money. Wait, so now you would like the government to care for your accommodation (which they have already been doing and is still trying to improve).

"Is this how a government should behave?" How then, should a government behave? Like the Greek government perhaps?

#Bad sentence structure 5
"Don't let them play like monopoly."

Sorry, I can't help it, I had to really gawk at this one. I mean, you either play monopoly, or you monopolize something, right? I presume it really meant "play this country like a game of Monopoly".

#Rhetorical Question 6
"It has been 50 years under their rule. Did our lives become better or not?"

Well, I wouldn't know for sure, since I have only lived for 18 years...hold on you won't know either! Furthermore you haven't even been living here for your whole life.

I feel like the above could be a false dichotomy. Our lives has indeed been better in some ways. Think about public transport. Bus 189 used to have very low arrival frequency, but now it comes so frequently that I don't have to wait for more than 10 minutes. Back when I was a child, most buses didn't have air-conditioning, so you can imagine the heat. Now we do. We have more places to relax, more places to shop, better facilities. There are simple exercise equipment below most flats. All these weren't around 50 years ago. Why can't we appreciate the small good things too?

Yes, there may be areas that are not as good. Like how the traffic is always pretty congested in the morning, the public transports are so crammed. I cannot count the number of times I felt grouchy because I was shoved up against someone's sweaty armpit in the public transport, but it is too absolute to claim that our quality of life did not improve at all as the speaker seems to suggest.

Besides, if you have so much time to grumble, why not try to make your own lives better? Or, go to whatever places that you think will make your life better. A discontented heart will never be satisfied.

#Claim 7
"Lee Family must go!"

That made me angry. That made me really upset that anyone could say that so easily without feeling guilty for saying it given all the good things that Mr Lee and his family has done for the country. I am not saying that they are flawless government. I am not saying that they haven't made any mistakes either. I am just saying that perhaps we need to think about the amount of effort they put into coming up with policies that strive to make our lives better.


I would have continued pointing out all the illogical and warped arguments that inundated her speech, but I am too irked now to continue in an organized manner without bursting into a string of expletives. I couldn't even finish watching her video because I was so hopping mad. Yes, our government has their flaws. Yes, they are not perfect. Yes yes, they could have  done more. But our government is made up of humans, and humans are prone to flaws, so why do we expect our government to be perfect? It is like, we are picking out flaws and magnifying them. (Remember what HHH says about having to eat grass at Hong Lim Park?) Or distorting their intentions.

At the end of the day, it would be prudent to note that a perfect governing system doesn't exist. No, you cannot just grab "90 people out of the 3 million" (it is 5.4 million btw) to form a new government just as you cannot grab 9 people to form SNSD (lame, I know). I am trying to say that while governing a country may appear easy to people like HHH, it is not. (Think about Obama's white hair, whoot.) We have leaders like Kim from DPRK, Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao (says my GP teacher), and I feel that our government is much better by comparison.

I know I am presenting an overly idealistic or even rosy image of our government, but that's because I am trying to focus on the small good things that we too often overlook. It is natural for us to complain and grouch about the shortcomings of the government, but at the end of the day, we also need to look at the things they have done for us, the sacrifices they have made, and be fair in our judgement.

Btw, here is petition you may want to sign if you have watched the video above and are fuming like I am.

Till next post, ciao~~
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Gah I haven't finished prelims yet and I am already looking forward to the end of A levels.

Bad me. Very bad to be distracted now.

Anyhoos, I was thinking that post A-levels, I have so much things that I want to do...such as:

1. Blog more often, and blog lengthier and funnier posts. Hey com'on I am a naturally good joke teller, it is the A levels that is seriously killing all my funny cells xD

2. Finish learning Korean. I think I will just be satisfied with relative fluency in speaking, and being able to read basic characters: enough for me to, say travel around Korea without having to resort to pantomime when asking for help xD

3. Learn French Latin. Then Latin French. Then Spanish and Italian. Speak to my dad about getting him to teach me both Cantonese and Hokkien. Erm...seems like I am being overly idealistic, but hey, I can hold onto my dream of learning as many languages as I can! Learning languages is fun, unlike Maths. >:D
Cantonese and Hokkien is probably important because if I don't learn it, those two language are so gonna die out in my family, which is a tragedy, me thinks.

OH WAIT THERE IS JAPANESE! I can get my mom to teach it, no sweat. Wow, only now I realized my family is rather multilingual...hmm

On second thoughts, I may learn Latin first. Quidquid latine dictum, altum videtur.

3. Maybe get LASIK. I don't know yet, because to me the risk doesn't really feel like it is worth it, but my mom is all for me to shed those horrible glasses of mine (prolly because I scratched mine badly, and need to change it relatively frequently) Between contact lenses and LASIK I can't decide which one is worse. Aish.

4. Buy tons (by tons, I mean more than 3) of circle lenses. Because I need to look good in Shanghai. Yes yes I need to look good in front of my family who likes to judge people based on their looks. I know people would tell me to be myself and not give a damn, but it is a little hard, and besides I would do that if say, I look like Park Min Young or the likes.

5. Take up fashion sketching more seriously! Recently I can't even produce a proper skeleton, it always look so awkward and disproportionate. Argh. And I forgot how to draw ruffles (on skirts), and jeans. Blearrrrgh.

6. Read all of Shakespeare's plays because I suddenly got interested in them. A good place to start would be "Measure for Measure"? :D

Then again, maybe not. Thinking about Romeo and Juliet is a enough turn-off.

7. *Maybe* get my hair trimmed. In China. With my personal hairdresser. Because he trims it best. But it rather costly (considering that the trimming isn't that special), and it costs about 150RMB. Oh wells, we will see.

8. Go shopping in the night markets in Shanghai. I super love night markets: cheap stuff makes me happy xD

9. Rebond my hair perhaps? Not sure either, because: a) I am too lazy to sit through 4-5 hours of merciless heating b) I can't wash my hair for 3 days after that c) it damages my hair. a lot. Hrrrrmph

10. Earn money. Plenty of money and bring my mom out for dinner often :D

Gah~~! Thinking about post-alevels make me so happy and excited that I forget about the terrors of A levels. Bad bad bad :(

Btw, today before lit or after lit exams, Amy, Clarissa and I were chatting about Lit A levels, and I was told that CJC really wanted to beat our schools' lit. (I think? Not too sure, I was told that.) I heard that their teachers put in super lot of effort into lit, but it's okay, our teachers are super hardworking too :D I like the CJC lit website though! It is so well organized and I can always get extra info there hehe xD Mr Simpson is a sly genius since he uses googlesites xD

Anyways, gtg, shall post again, but not so soon ^^||

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I haven't posted in a while~!

Since last post, I have been making some radical changes to my life. For instance, I have been slowly trying to convert to vegetarianism (is there even such a word?). I have been eating almost no meat for the past four days, because you know, the initial change is bound to be a little harder. Okay, on the first day I still ate a bit of fish, but for the next three days, I thought I was doing pretty well with my no-meat  agenda.

I am not gonna sit on a moral high horse just because you know, I ween off from yummy meat now. I am not going to preach to each and everyone of you and try to tell you to convert to vegetarianism either, because honestly, I don't even know how long I will last.

I am thinking I wouldn't be a full-blown vegetarian, because to a meat-lover like me, doing that is like taking all the cream off a cupcake: life would be pretty boring. It is more like, I think I would eat meat once a month perhaps? Or every time I really can't sustain anymore.

I know that "true-blue" vegetarians may deride this effort thinking that you know, that is just a lack of will (to save cute little chickens and ducks) and principle, but they are right I guess. I mean in the first place, I am not converting entirely out of my altruistic love for all things warm and furry and breathing, but for my own health in the long run. So if I am called weak-willed, then okay, I accept that too.

I am converting partly because I always feel so lethargic and lacking in energy, and it is very detrimental to my studying process because my brain always feels de-oxygenated and sluggish, and my eyes are always heavy with sleep. Furthermore, studying Cancer as part of my biology module reveals that meat in general increases chances of getting cancer, which spells a lot of trouble. Some more, my experience with Helicobacter Pylori bacteria infection actually puts me at a higher chance of getting stomach cancer, which is like SCARY MAX (not even gonna lie).

So, no meat. Nope.

Do I miss eating meat then?

Well, actually not really. Probably because it has only been 4 days, and I don't really feel that kind of overwhelming urge to propel my lumpy body to the nearest Old Chang Kee to inhale all those greasy fried delicacies. I can still abstain from meat even when it is cooked in the dished, I just pick them out and put them in this tiny little pile in a corner.

Okay, maybe the picking them out part is understating the amount of control I am having. Yep, I do feel tempted to pop a piece into my mouth, I have to consciously tell myself not to, partly because i am so used to guzzling down all the meaty goodness in every dish that it has become second nature to me. Think Pavlov's experiment. Ah-ha~ That's how it is like.

So generally, I am still going good, not missing meat too badly, and I don't feel an urge to eat any so long as no one puts, say KFC or McSpicy in my face. Mom has been super supportive (since she has been practicing her semi-vegetarianism for almost 2 years now?) and she is super glad that I have hopped on the healthy bandwagon.

Not only so, I am trying to squeeze in some time for work out and exercise each day, be it just simple brisk working or brief figurobics, to improve my stamina. It sounds really out of place, maybe, to be doing this now, but I am holding fast onto the hope that it will ultimately pay off.

I was really astonished that it actually felt good to exercise and breathe in and out deeply from the need to pay off oxygen debt during exercise. And this is something that is coming from an ultimate slug who prefers sleeping to shopping even, simply because shopping requires one to walk around the mall. A lot. (If you wheel me around, I can consider it!) So I am surprised at how addicted I am now to my morning routine which involved exercising and eating healthier: it makes me feel really happy and good. Ahhh...must be all the dopamine released!

On a completely irrelevant sidenote (ahh that's why it's a sidenote!), I am so so in love with Asapscience channel on youtube, I swear it is my favorite educational channel on youtube! Check it out here: ASAP science

So before all these changes to my life, like I have said, I was really tired all the time, and I sleep at around 10pm average daily, sometimes I sleep at 8.30pm-9.00pm when I really can't function anymore. And I take like 3-hour long afternoon naps....so majority of my productivity comes from sleep.

I am not sure if it is my diet now or exercise, but I can feel myself slowly becoming more energetic and sleeping (slightly) less (it is only 4 days!), and I have absolute faith that if I keep this up, I would become super energized (WHEEEEEEEEEE)!

Oh yes, I have totally cut off any sweet drinks, but have some trouble abstaining from sweets/chocolates. :( I am really attached to those, so I am now eating them in very very moderate amounts. I am also not eating most wheat/gluten products, primarily bread, because of gastric problems. My stomach is causing me to eat more healthily than I would like to! ^_^ Which is not a bad thing I suppose!

So far for now, I guess! I would really try to take this to the end and I would continue to make random updates to tell you of my progress! :):)

Om Nom #5 : Cute Candies

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I came across some super cute candies some time ago, called the "Fruits Roll". :)

Fruits Roll candy
The reason why they caught my attention is that the wrapper was so brightly colored, and also the depiction of the roll: I was curious as to whether they really roll it or it is just another kind of scam. xD

The one on the left is apple-grape flavor, the one on the right is orange-grape flavor. I was surprised at how affordable each small sachet is: just 20 cents. I mean, it is like the perfect kind of little gift for people to give out to, say, 200 people, without having to declare bankrupt. Imagine giving stuff like Cadbury or Hershey.... I shudder to think of the costs.

The fruit loop inside is kind of small, which is perfectly okay, given that we only pay 20 cents for each, we really cannot expect the diameter to be that of Moses Lim's waist. (Sorry Moses, it just came to mind >.< But I assure you that you are one of my better-liked celebs in Singapore.)

I unpeeled it
 I love, love, love the color. It is this beautiful, translucent color: never in my life would I imagine that the colors purple and orange can coexist without creating this horrible clash. This is the type of colors that I would love my pencil case to be in heh xD Such a toned-down, dreamy sort of color, and look at that sticky shine! Oh yum!

The taste is really not bad for just 20cents, like it is not too sweet, and eating it kind of stimulated my salivary glands to result in some drool-reflex, and it prompts you to eat more. I think that part of the reason why I was so happy eating it is because the peeling is really fun. It makes your hand sticky, but it is kind of worth it. I

I also get like a sense of deja vu, like the taste reminded me of some long forgotten childhood memories that threatened to resurface, but ultimately I am just left with some odd feelings without being able to recall anything.

The grape-apple one looks like that: again, I really love the color combination ^u^

I kind of got them for Denyse and Clarissa (Clarissa just have to be absent on that day), and it was kinda funny and cute watching Denyse eat it carefully xD Like I said, love buying things for people without burning a hole in my pocket :p

Till the next post, adieu~~~ :)