Tuesday, August 31, 2010

National Day Rally -- $9,000 for NS men (Singapore)

I was quite unhappy when the Prime Minister decides to give "$9000 to NSmen" for their contribution, and expect us to take it like everything shoved in our faces.

I don't understand why by serving National Service, the government does not pay Market Rate for all deserving salaries. (Or at least give it back as CPF to be used for the further education or to buy house)

I do agree that it is 2 prime years of my life, which in most cases, a great loss of salary, advancement, and when you enter the universities, you are simply 2yrs + older than everyone else.

I think the amount is not enough. I remember receiving $300+ during my NS days which could not even cover cab fares and perhaps laundry. If actual salary should be $2000 for regulars, then why short change NSmen? Do they not have the same risks of accidents, getting shot, blown up or getting hurt?

When NSmen fall do they not bleed like Regulars? Just because its conscription? Years back was 2.5 yrs and if you multiply $1.5 by 30 months, its much more than $9000.

I just don't see the role of the army as that important now. The US army, perhaps one of the most advanced army with lots of soldiers still got attacked don't they?

Its terrorists that we should worry about, and having a big army does not help at all. What we need is dedicated people not NSmen. Highly trained response teams, emergency people and decisive leaders to deliver us from situations when it happens.

I don't buy the $9000 crap, gimme $50k, or can I give $50k and not have my son go army?

-- Iron Bowl

Monday, August 23, 2010

They took my tree again!

I feel violated as people came to my house and took my tree.

Tree was kinda bare, but still deeply rooted, and properties around the house belong to my family.

They came, they saw, and they took my tree (In my house)... Again.

They gave me only 24 hours notice.

They left me a bill.

-- Iron Bowl


Dear Mr Xxxx,

1. We spoke a while ago.

2. We have noticed a dead coconut tree at xx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxx
posing imminent danger to neighbouring properties.

3. This is to notify you that pursuant to Parks and Trees Act Section 38,
we will be entering into your premise within 24 hours to remove the tree.

Yours faithfully,
National Parks Board
For Commissioner of Parks And Recreation

XXX XXX XXXXX § Manager§ Streetscape (East) § Certified Arborist § National
Parks Board § Tel: +65 64651776 § Fax: +65 67621383
Privileged/Confidential information may be contained in this message. If
you are not the intended recipient, you must not copy, distribute or use it
for any purpose, nor disclose its contents to any other person. Please
notify the sender immediately if you receive this in error. § Check out
our website at http://www.nparks.gov.sg

Thursday, August 19, 2010

YOG Event, Go show some love!

Was at a YOG Event a few days back.

There were plenty of laser shows, and concerts at the Esplanade and Marina Bay area, however there was absolutely no crowd!

There was certainly loud music and lots of events going on, but simply no crowds.

It was very strange.

Nevertheless, I was there to support.

Come on Singapore, show some support, if you get free tickets like me, just go man!

-- Iron Bowl

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Worst MRT Train Ride Ever! (Singapore)

Previously, I thought failing to get on 4 trains was bad -- I was wrong!

This is what happened earlier today.

I got on a pretty packed train in Bugis and got off to change a train at City Hall.

Failing to get on 2 trains, I managed to get on the third train just after 6 minutes after the first train. Not bad at all. However, this train seemed to be a little empty... No... WRONG. There are 6 strollers in this carriage. As streams of people poured in, the train moved off.

Briefly before Dhoby Ghaut, (within 2 minutes) the train stopped and of course, a baby started to cry. The airconditioning seemed to be not working and the train became stuffy FAST.

Surrounding the babies in the strollers were a group A. From about 3m (3 baby strollers) away, I could still smell Group A and I guess the babies could too. 2 minutes later, the train moved again and reach Dhoby Ghaut, However, the train doors did not open, and Group B who were chatting loudly were getting impatient.

One of them shouted out, "按门铃!" ("Press the doorbell!") and moments later, there was an announcement, "Train will be delayed as the emergency button has been pushed."


It was during peak hours, and they have to pull off such a stunt. It took a few more minutes in the stuffy and smelly train now, before the doors opened.

By now, people are forcing their way in to the trains, the Group B by the doors refused to move out, and the train door opened and closed many times before finally closing and moving off.

Stop after stop, people are forcing their way into the train, and people are squeezing their way out, making their way past the baby strollers and Group B who are now playing games on their PSPs and phones loudly near the door. The baby is still crying, and many people could not get into the train.

There are actually more and more space around me as people get off, however no one wants to be near the Indians, and maneuvering around the Group B who do not budge is a great challenge.

Eventually, the train arrived in Toa Payoh, and I had to fight my way through the Group A and Group B to get off.

My whole trip from Bugis to Toa Payoh usually takes about 20 minutes, but my trip ended up to be like 1 hour!


I believe this will not happen if:

1) Baby Stroller are banned from MRT during peak hours. (They take up too much space!)
2) Train doors open on alternate side, so that even when people stand at the doors and block the entrance and exits, they are annoying only half of the time.
3) People are more considerate. Come on, don't block the doorways.
4) Singaporean Aunties do not rush to get in the trains, and prevent others from getting out.
5) People who have body odors should use deodorant.

-- Iron Bowl

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

YOG Tickets?

I got a phone call to buy YOG Tickets.

Q: Are you Robin Low?
Me: Yes.
Q: Do you support your country?
Me: Maybe.
Q: Do you want to buy YOG Tickets?
Me. No.
Q: Why don't you like your country?
Me: I'll be in Boston.
Q: Boston where?
Me: Boston, Massachusetts.
Q: Boston still can come what.
Me: Boston is in the US on the East Coast.
Q: Then can still buy for friends and family right?
Me: They are all working, no time to see children in sports.

It went on, and I finally had to go.

Cold calls to sell YOG Tickets... Really?

-- Iron Bowl

Interacting with some Singapore Agencies.

Govt: Can you teach these people about ebusiness?
Me: Do they really want to get into ebusiness?
Govt: Not really, but we've decided that it is best for them.
Me: WTF?

I gave a talk for an event, and wrote an article for them to pitch to the news as a feedback to them.

Here is the Reply:

Thanks for the piece.

Could you mention a bit more on the event, how it benefited you and what you have learn from it. Could you also mention how easy it was to work with us, and how well we facilitated your efforts.

And thanks for coming to the talk, nice working with you.


It is important to ask questions when you volunteer in Singapore, I found that it usually is a waste of time if you volunteer your time for people "WHO ARE FORCED" to attend some events.

I surely hope things change around here.

-- Iron bowl

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Anti-Social Foreign people in Singapore

With more than 50 people in the queue, 2 Young Chinese Nationals pretended not to understand English, and even "Singaporean Mandarin" and refused to move forward at the bus interchange.

The queue was very long, and they remained blocking the queue as there is a "flaw" in the design where people can choose not to walk around the barriers, and take the Short Cut.

The result is a lot of people standing instead of moving into the barriers where older people can sit down, and the long queue casing quite a blockage at the bus interchange.

But this occurrence is rather common, as I've seen a lot of young students doing it, however when people approach the students and ask them to move, generally, most students or people in general will do so.

This is not the case today however, as the 2 young ladies ignored more than 4 people who approached them and told them to move forward.

On the bus, a group of young ladies from China stood in the center of the bus, making it very difficult for people to get by. Although they were not sitting, they managed to block many seats and prevented many people from sitting, and when the bus driver tells them to move, they refused and the bus drive had to get off the bus to approach them physically to tell them to allow others to get by and sit.

They give foreigners a bad name!

-- Iron Bowl