Sunday, July 24, 2011

Inconsiderate Cardboard Collector

There is an old man collecting cans and cardboard boxes living in Blk 81B, Toa Payoh Lor 4 (2nd floor) and there is nothing wrong making some extra money recycling, however, it is how he gets to these things to recycle.

For example, he would take everything from an LCD TV box out, throw it on the ground beside the refuse bin and keep the box for cardboard, but leave the styrofoam on the ground.

He would also go to the refuse bin and empty the rubbish out just to get to a few cans. At times I would pity him, but when he empties the trash on the ground, it simply annoys me as the trash may get into out drains, clog them and attract pests.

I have picked up some of the trash after him, but this has been going on for years. I've spoken to town council people and they say there is nothing they can do. Really? I can litter and there is nothing they can do but to clean it up?

I know the rents of the Toa Payoh HDB 5 room flat can be as high as $3k a month, and I have a question, why don't you live some where else and freakin save $$ on rent and not dirty our living spaces!

-- Iron Bowl

Singapore Slums.

No, this is not a Kampung, but rather slums found in Singapore.

Although there are a lot of homeless people in Singapore, these homes are generally made by foreigners. Shortly after Singapore took over the KTM land, enforcement officers patrol the area to chase the inhabitants away.

There are also a lot of other urban slums. I visited some foreign friends living in apartments in Geylang area, HDB flats in Sembawang and Seng Kang area, for a 1000 sq ft 5 room apartment, up to 14 people can stay there.

No, these are not your laborers, but rather, your Engineers from China, India and even Malaysia who feel that housing is too expensive here. With the combined buying power of 14, they can pay S$3000 for a whole apartment with airconditioning, etc.

Well, these "transient workers" can endure it because they expect to work for a few year, earn some $$ and leave. But where does it leave Singaporeans? Can we pay S$3000 for an apartment when we cannot public housing? Who can we turn to to help us? If inflation is too high and public transportation unaffordable, can we march on the streets to protest?

-- Iron Bowl

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pleasureless Drones

What is wrong with hanging on to a "stable job" at all cost and not taking risk?

Financial District

It seem like a lot of the people I know seem to subscribe to the mentality, work hard, play safe, and make lots of money. I know in Singapore, people still subscribe to the 5 "C"s -- Car, Condo, Credit Card, Cash and Country Club. And in their pursuit, they seemed to be locked into the rat race.

For some others who have read "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" and other non-fiction books, many of them just focus on some of the book's messages, and mainly on one -- GETTING RICH. I do not deny that being "Rich" is nice, but one thing is for sure, how do you consider yourself rich?

Time and over again, I meet a classmate who asks me about investing in properties, or purchasing luxury cars. Sometimes, I get asked if I know anyone selling country club membership for golf clubs. To keep up with appearances, some of my friends spend a significant part of their salary on nice things. (Not that this is wrong) However, they make a lot of sacrifices to get there, mainly by spending long hours at work, keeping secrets to hold their managerial position, or be involved in office politics, climbing up the corporate ladder.

I read this quote recently and it really resonates with me. "Even if it means getting it wrong; the average Singaporean professional would rather do the wrong thing, the right way - than the right thing the wrong way. " Yes, this is totally Singapore, and somehow, the culture makes the workers follow a "procedure" even if it might lead to failure, and when it does, no one is really to blame for following procedure.

When you think out of the box in Singapore, many organizations do not reward you as they feel that you are a "loose canon" even when it may lead to certain success.

Singapore workplace from an employee perspective is about receiving instructions, following them closely to protect from accountability, and continue on a crooked path - as long as it was the one set out. And if you're asked to innovate new solutions? Freeze until further instruction and solid approval. Everyone wants to play it safe.

In such work environment, coupled with the huge expenses everyone is incurring from buying nice homes and driving expensive cars, STRESS is very common, and I feel that many of my friends do not have time to socialize and are pretty much "lifeless drones" working to make payments, securing their position in their companies and playing it safe.

In recent years the Singapore government started movements to encourage innovation and productivity in the workplace -- even entrepreneurship! But with a cookie cutter policy, standard operation procedures and tons of red tape and bureaucracy, Innovation is trapped.

Being in Silicon Valley, Massachusetts, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and now even Jakarta, I realized that one other thing is missing BIG time that is wrong with the attitude and mindsets of the people in Singapore -- Passion.

From young, children are trained in schools to take exams, learn to do "past years papers" and assessment books. Most of the pleasure in learning and experimenting is easily washed out by the tons of unnecessary things that is taught in class because it is "examinable"

In universities, the best students will go to the "most popular" courses, and upon graduation, work in positions and companies that pays best. It can be seen by the Government's plan to steer students in certain jobs, by "creating an industry that pays well" and then offering courses, but as shown from experience, forcing students good in maths and science into Electrical Engineering did not help Singapore's semiconductor industry, nor is the life sciences yielding any results.

Simply, there is lack of passion.

Without passion, companies in Singapore can still get the most out of their employees by offering $$$ however, they will not get the best. The average worker in Europe or Australia who works from 9am - 5pm with a 2 hour lunch is still far greater productive than a Singaporean who works from 7am - 10pm. Poor leadership and unmotivated teams mean people wait around for instructions, and then run in circles trying to get a job done they don't know how to carry out without proper guidance.

Getting talented people in a hardworking team is not always the solution. Nurturing the right business environment, and making the best of the members in your team, rather than picking the best team, and working them to their strengths is key.

In short, we need more empathy and passion, and a new change in mindset if Singapore wants to compete to be world class. But for now, money may motivate, but companies must realize that they cannot buy passion and creativity.

-- Iron Bowl

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Fun Pack Song FAIL

ORGANISERS of this year's National Day Parade (NDP) may have flouted copyright laws after they modified the lyrics of a Lady Gaga hit to create a song about its goodie bag, said lawyers on Wednesday.

The Fun Pack Song rips off Lady Gaga's Bad Romance by using the tune but substituting lyrics that celebrate the items inside the pack such as Newater, biscuits and sweets.


Why are so many incompetent people in charge of organizing the National day Parade?

Watch this Video on Youtube.

If you look carefully, there are many other songs which

1) no one asked permission to use an original song, and change the lyrics into something really stupid.
2) "Bad Romanace" is not the only song parodied.

I mean parodies can be fun but for National Day.. Really?

There is double fail as the songs lately for National Day is largely lame and the failure to comply to copyright laws. This is really troubling as the person in charge is simply incompetent, however, he is probably a scholar with a high position who thinks it is all "ok"

-- Iron Bowl