Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pink Fluffy Hareancorn dancing on Rainbows...


Lets test your knowledge and see what you learn so far...


What color are the unicorns?

Where are they dancing?

Please use one word to describe the texture of their magical fur...



Pink Fluffy Hareancorn dancing on Rainbows...

-- Ironbowl

Monday, December 09, 2013

Peace vs Riots.



Riots do not happen for a reason. People feel that things are fair and they have a way to address issues and problems. That is why there is democracy and public representation. Laws are supposed to protect you and you have a certain amount of rights as a person and to address issues.

However sometimes things do not work out. Sometimes governments are perceived as corrupt or weak or serving the rich, and when this happens and the people involved have different frames of mind with authority when a situation happens, conflict is inevitable.

Please do not take peace for granted. We need to work and pay for peace.

-- Iron Bowl

Monday, December 02, 2013

Throwing money at the situation don't really work (Part 2)

Singapore’s first social enterprise hawker centres opened for 1 year and closed down, probably wasting more than $1 Million.



Sadly, Kampung @ Simpang Bedok is another victim of a waste of funds just to show that the Government is "doing something"

A question I often ask, "Is there any social impact when this project fails and the hawkers which consists of people from low income group or ex-offenders?"

I'm sure these people are hardworking, and there are a lot of people wanting to "help" however, how much engagement is there and real mentoring?

I've seen many food business fail in Singapore, and many succeed. And it is indeed a very tough business as rents are generally the major cost. Construction and Renovation costs are not cheap and in the end, there is a lot of competition.

Many projects are started by the government by sponsoring a student from a Polytechnic full rental for a year to start their hawker business. Sounds good for the first year, but when rent bills come the second year, most of these projects fail. (So the funds put in are wasted, and lessons are not learned)

There is always a question in my mind, how did the hawker centers in the past run? Why is the running cost so much lower in the past? Is it just rent?

Running a hawker store or F&B business, there are a lot more to it than just cooking good food. Finding the right employees, reliable cleaners and other important staff if key. The entrepreneur will also need to negotiate rental and in this case, the group that run the facility will also need to know the different codes and costs involved in running the facility.

Doing business is not charity, Social enterprise is not charity. Businesses need to make profits, and having the subsidized model does not work unless it is subsidized permanently. (where the businesses rely on subsidies forever). I'm sure Far East Organization that owns the location will be more interested to charge a full price after 1 year of operations and the "social enterprise model" cannot support that.


The lean model in Dominican Republic where the food truck in the day drives to an empty parking lot in the business district, drops a tent, tables and chairs and start a pop-up restaurant seems much lower cost and allows the business to pivot, change location, etc.

Sadly, in an efficient country like Singapore, this will not pass the codes as carparks are not zones for "restaurants" etc.

I guess Singapore will just throw more money to show that it is doing more to help people.

-- Ironbowl.



Sunday, October 27, 2013

Coke Light, Diet Coke, Coke Zero

Coke Light, Diet Coke, Coke Zero difference


Coke Light and Diet Coke is almost the same thing, just different packaging made in different country. European countries and pan American/south American countries, Diet Coke is released as Coca Cola Light.

So what is the difference between Diet Coke and Coke Zero?




Although they both contain caffeine, the amount varies:Coke_Diet_Zero
Regular Coke               9.7 mg/100ml
Diet Coke                     12.8 mg/100ml
Coke Zero                    9.6mg/100ml

They taste different



The food acids used are different. Regular Coke contains 338 (phosphoric acid), Diet Coke contains 338 and 330 (citric acid), whilst Coke Zero contains 338 and 331 (sodium citrate). Not much of a difference really but at least you know.


Diet Coke


Motto: Always Great Taste
Nutritional Information: Many say that a can of Diet Coke actually contains somewhere between 1-4 calories, but if a serving size contains fewer than 5 calories a company is not obligated to note it in its nutritional information. Diet Coke's nutritional information reads 0 Calories, 0g Fat, 70mg Sodium, 0g Total Carbs, 0g Protein.
Ingredients: Carbonated water, caramel color, aspartame, phosphoric acid, potassium benzonate, natural flavors, citric acid, caffeine.
Artificial sweetener: Aspartame

Coca-Cola Zero

Motto: Real Coca-Cola Taste AND Zero Calories
Nutritional Information: While the label clearly advertises this beverage as a zero calorie cola, we are not entirely certain that its minimal calorie content is simply not required to be noted in the nutritional information. Coca-Cola Zero's nutritional information reads 0 Calories, 0g Fat, 70mg Sodium, 0g Total Carbs, 0g Protein.
Artificial sweetener: Aspartame and acesulfame potassium
Ingredients: Carbonated water, caramel color, phosphoric acid, aspartame, potassium benzonate, natural flavors, potassium citrate, acesulfame potassium, caffeine.


In a few tests, 50% of the people can tell the taste difference in taste. So they are indeed different formulas.

Last note: Aspartame and Acesulfame Potassium are considered Toxic. So when you are planning to drink this, take note.

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I can tell the difference in Cokes, but for the cost of Taxi in Singapore, I am still in the dark. Many vendors, many different cab companies, many different fare structures, reservation fees and surcharges which is more complex than understanding the chemical composition of Coca-cola.

-- Iron Bowl

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Accident in Toa Payoh, Cars drove by



Witnessed an accident in Toa Payoh, minutes ago. Pedestrian was shocked by a Taxi and fell on the ground.

She was lying in the middle of a 2 lane road and she was holding her head from the impact of the fall. For the first minute, people were curious on the bus, but as the bus stopped for more than 1 minute, people got impatient and exited the bus.

As for the other vehicles on the road, it took about 100 seconds before the first car proceeded to drive by the accident scene followed by many others. Even when the bystanders tried to slow down the traffic, many cars forced their way by and drove by.

Why is everyone in such a hurry?

I hope the victim is ok.

-- Iron Bowl

10/10/13 2:30pm

Singapore Happy?


Singapore is the happiest Nation in Asia, in 2013, up from 90th out of 151 countries in the Happy Planet Index (HPI) 2012.

Do you believe it? Perhaps? Because UN is soooo trust worthy...


Well, they caused cholera and just tried to cover up right?

To be really happy, and not just reported by UN and by random statistics thrown by the government, there are a few things to consider.

First, the widening income inequality. Singapore’s Gini coefficient has been above the warning line 0.4 for decades, and rose from 0.454 (before Government transfers and taxes) in 2001 to 0.478 in 2012. Singapore’s income gap between rich and poor was higher than the well-developed Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries and even worse than the still developing China.

Next, Singapore’s rank in the World Giving Index (WGI), compiled by the Charities Aid Foundation using data gathered by Gallup, fell significantly from 91st in 2010 to 114th in 2012. Singapore was far behind its regional peers Hong Kong (19th), South Korea (45th), Taiwan (52nd) and even lower than the least developed country Bangladesh (109th).

When Singapore -- a materialistic country, with a severe income gap and a society where giving is clearly lacking -- tries to compete in the happiness index, focusing on the measurement index and trying to score points and "win" the system is not a real victory as the root of the problem of unhappiness is still there. There are also many rules and regulations, yet lack of minimum wages and social safety nets.

I guess UN can really help Singapore in the happiness index by running a UN-happy Day in Singapore so it can be ranked highly... Oh wait, they just ranked Singapore as #1 happiest country in Asia.

-- Iron Bowl



Thursday, October 03, 2013

HDB Unnecessary Construction + dangerous grass


The grass is greener outside HDB estates... This saying may be true as the contractors that take part in the numerous unnecessary construction to be blamed?

Recently, my apartment at Toa Payoh installed parking barriers, and after the construction, the contractors dumped the concrete and other debris hacked up into the soil back again.

This is very irresponsible and dangerous as now, buried within  the grass are broken tiles, hacked up concrete, rusty ree bars and many other construction waste. I cringe when I see children play and run on the grass, not knowing what dangers are buried within.

Why build a Woodball court in Toa Payoh Central in 2009 when no one ever plays Woodball?

I really want to see more transparency on the usage of funds of Town Council. I also want errand contractors who leave behind dangerous waste be fined.

-- Iron Bowl




Sunday, September 22, 2013

Bikes are Status Symbols - Bitch Please



I might agree if this was used in other countries.


This article clearly shows that while the number of motorcycle is dropping, the COE of motorcycle which is primarily used for those who cannot afford cars, is not.

In fact, there are more electronic parking that is appearing everywhere, which actually charges motorcyclists more for parking short duration. $0.65 per secession rather than per minute parking for car which costs about $0.30 for lunch at Holland Village for example.

Motorcycles are not allowed to enter Sentosa, Marina Bay Sands... The list goes on.

The most expensive motorcycle, say S$70,000 is still cheaper than the COE if you intend to get a Cherry QQ in Singapore.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I was riding a Burgman 400, Burgman 650 and I realized that public transportation actually costs more than riding a motorcycle.

Riding a big motorcycle that may cost more than $20,000 requires a Class 2 motorcycle license, which you need 1 year experience of riding Class 2A, which you need 1 year experience of riding Class 2B.... It is not something that someone that decides that he wants to show off his Brand New Ducati will simply do because its a status symbol.

I have a question, is it glamorous to be sweaty, rained on or have black exhausts blown at you?

Motorcycles are simply an efficient form of transport, using less gas, producing less CO2, using less space on the roads. Many bikers are very down to earth people with the passion of riding.

Is the writer of the Mypaper Article trying to say or justify that it is right to tax the people who cannot afford cars more than the car owners?

BITCH PLEASE, there is not LUXE in riding a bike. Just humble commuters trying to get to places with a lower cost and perhaps saving some time by riding between lanes.

Please focus on the real problem, motorcyclists and public transportation commuters are facing more congestion, and higher cost and we are not rich, and yet the public transportation companies are making record profits.

Stop taxing bikers and justifying that there are LUXE bikers, because the fact is, most bikes are not big and the bike population is getting smaller despite the high car COE prices.

-- Iron bowl

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Singapore Guys.



Have you ever searched for the term Singapore Guys on Google or any search engine. You will find that all Singapore guys are shirtless, good looking and have great body.

It is no doubt that many guys like other guys, however, even when the Pope is agreeable to Gays and Lesbian, the draconian Laws, namely Section 377A does not.

A gay couple challenging a Singapore anti-gay sex law had their application to have a Queen's Counsel argue their appeal dismissed. But the court dismisses the bid.

What is Singapore trying to prevent harm from?

Morals? Well we have 2 casinos, prostitution is legal, highly paid public servants are corrupt, you can have sex with lecturers for better grades -- God Apologizes to Kong Hee...

Yet, the law criminalizes a whole community of people... From Google's View -- all men in Singapore. Yes, all men at some point of their lives in Singapore live in close proximity in a community of other men, learning skills and training together to be fit and trust one another. I remember I had a buddy which we lived on top of the other for months.

This is Singapore. Our men spend years keeping fit and we are proud of who we are.

If the society accepts us, why does such a law exist, and how to we even prove if a person is guilty?

-- Iron Bowl.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Has Singapore lost the food war?


I feel that you can easily find Japanese food, Korean food, French food, German food in Singapore. Today, even Swiss feed, Swedish food can be found in Singapore. Years back, you can only find Thai Food, and "American food" but looking at Lau Pa Sat, I find that the local hawker fare with Singaporean food is getting harder to find. Most of the stores, even at hawker center is from other countries. You can get Shanghai "La-Mein", Korean Bulgogi, Japanese Ramen, but at 8pm, besides satay, I can't find much other Singapore food like Hokkien Noodles, Fried Kway Teow or Prawn Mee.

I live on the East Coast in the US, and I can hardly find Singapore restaurants. In fact, by searching Yelp, most of these stores sell Malaysian food. So are you telling me that there are no good food in Singapore?

I mean I can find most Singapore like food in Boston as well, in Chinatown Boston, there is a restaurant called Penang -- but it is different. In fact, on the whole of the US East Coast, I think I've been to 4 restaurants which may have Singapore like food. One in DC, 2 in New York (One is called New Malaysia) and 1 in Boston (Yeah, and its called Penang)

So has Singapore lost the food war?

Lately, I've noticed that food and culture is very related. Korean food, Korean stores, Korean music... does it pave a way for us to buy Korean cars and Korean phones?

The lack of awareness of Singapore overseas does not really help Singapore companies go out. IE Singapore and Spring Singapore tries to help companies venture overseas, but in terms of really having a Singapore brand that people can identify, little is done.

There is a Singapore day, once every ... long long time, and people can try Singapore food in New York City, but our music, culture, and supposed world renowned food which I do crave from time to time cannot be found.

I think Singapore should stop all the "trying to be like Silicon Valley" and STB and EDB should promote our Singapore food overseas. With food, we can share our local flavors and our creative, diabetes inducing drinks like Milo Dinosaur to the world!

And also look at Singapore food courts... many of them are chains and the quality had been going down a lot as the people working in there are mostly untrained workers with low wages. If Singapore wants to remain a tourist hotspot, we must win the food war again!

-- Iron Bowl

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Schadenfreude - Making Singapore a better place.



Schadenfreude by 
GARY COLEMAN:
Right now you are down and out and feeling really crappy

NICKY:
I'll say.

GARY COLEMAN:
And when I see how sad you are
It sort of makes me...
Happy!

NICKY:
Happy?!

GARY COLEMAN:
Sorry, Nicky, human nature-
Nothing I can do!
It's...
Schadenfreude!
Making me feel glad that I'm not you.

NICKY:
Well that's not very nice, Gary!

GARY COLEMAN:
I didn't say it was nice! But everybody does it!

D'ja ever clap when a waitress falls and drops a tray of glasses?

NICKY:
Yeah...

GARY COLEMAN:
And ain't it fun to watch figure skaters falling on their asses?

NICKY:
Sure!

GARY COLEMAN:
And don'tcha feel all warm and cozy,
Watching people out in the rain!

NICKY:
You bet!

GARY COLEMAN:
That's...

GARY AND NICKY:
Schadenfreude!

GARY COLEMAN:
People taking pleasure in your pain!

NICKY:
Oh, Schadenfreude, huh?
What's that, some kinda Nazi word?

GARY COLEMAN:
Yup! It's German for "happiness at the misfortune of others!"

NICKY:
"Happiness at the misfortune of others." That is German!

Watching a vegetarian being told she just ate chicken

GARY COLEMAN:
Or watching a frat boy realize just what he put his dick in!

NICKY:
Being on the elevator when somebody shouts "Hold the door!"

GARY AND NICKY:
"No!!!"
Schadenfreude!

GARY COLEMAN:
"Fuck you lady, that's what stairs are for!"

NICKY:
Ooh, how about...
Straight-A students getting Bs?

GARY COLEMAN:
Exes getting STDs!

NICKY:
Waking doormen from their naps!

GARY COLEMAN:
Watching tourists reading maps!

NICKY:
Football players getting tackled!

GARY COLEMAN:
CEOs getting shackled!

NICKY:
Watching actors never reach

GARY AND NICKY:
The ending of their oscar speech!
Schadenfreude!
Schadenfreude!
Schadenfreude!
Schadenfreude!

GARY COLEMAN:
The world needs people like you and me who've been knocked around by fate.
'Cause when people see us, they don't want to be us, and that makes them feel great.

NICKY:
Sure! 
We provide a vital service to society!

GARY AND NICKY:
You and me!
Schadenfreude!
Making the world a better place...
Making the world a better place...
Making the world a better place...
To be!

GARY COLEMAN:
S-C-H-A-D-E-N-F-R-E-U-D-E!

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Guilty as charged... When Kong Hee is charged in court, the room is filled with people. When the highly paid civil servants are arrested and their photos are on the front page, people buy the Straitstimes.

When people are trying to squeeze into a over packed MRT train and crushed by the train doors, when parking aunties give tickets to the double / triple parked cars in Geylang or Serangoon Road, many people smile and are glad it happened.

STOMP... Where trolls post controversial pieces and make people's blood boil and sit back to watch the argument unfold.




Its Singapore... Its our way of life. When accidents happen and people bring their phones out and instead of calling for an ambulance, they record it and share it online. -- Iron Bowl

Friday, September 06, 2013

Desmond Who?



Minister of State (National Development)
 
Who??
 
-- Iron Bowl.
?

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Serf-apore


I've been introduced to the term Serf back in 2010 when I was in Haiti.

Serfdom is the status of peasants under feudalism, specifically relating to manorialism. It was a condition of bondage or modified slavery which developed primarily during the High Middle Ages in Europe and lasted in some countries until the mid-19th century.

Serfs who occupied a plot of land were required to work for the Lord of the Manor who owned that land, and in return were entitled to protection, justice and the right to exploit certain fields within the manor to maintain their own subsistence. Serfs were often required not only to work on the lord's fields, but also his mines, forests and roads. The manor formed the basic unit of feudal society and the Lord of the Manor and his serfs were bound legally, economically, and socially. Serfs formed the lowest social class of feudal society.

Toussaint had introduced a system call fermage and managed to significantly rebuild the sugar trade. After Dessalines, Henry Christophe would have even greater success with this system, but eventually the plantation system died out within the first decade of independence. Under fermage the land belonged to the government. It would be leased out to managers and worked by workers who were obligated to remain on the land in much the same way that serfs were in Europe. The workers, while bound to the land, did receive 25% of the value of the crops to divide amoung themselves, and housing, food, clothing and basic care. However, their lives were vigorously regulated and discipline was strict. While the old slave whip was gone, discipline did use the cocomacaque stick. Haitians were Serf-like free people unlike slaves when the French was in power. 

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So Serfdom is a form of modified slavery. The serfs can occupy the land to work for a lord, in return, they get enough for subsistence and some protection.

Looking now at Singapore, it does feel like a modified serfdom -- Serf-apore. Many people work to pay into a Central Provident Fund CPF system. Basically, you pay into this system, but cannot really use this fund. It is not like a 401k, as you cannot use it anyway you like. Also, you still get taxed your salary even though you contribute CPF which is not tax deductable.

Next, housing is pretty much unaffordable. No matter how you look at it, public housing in Toa Payoh, the HDB flat that I live in costs S$800,000. It is a 5 room flat that is about 1,200 sq ft. Lets say my average salary is $3,000 a month, it costs 22 times my annual salary to live there. So buying the public housing is sort of impossible.

Not only that, public housing as the name suggests, is actually a 99 year lease. So you don't really own it, but rather, a very long term rental of the air space.

Lets not even talk about cars.



Instead, lets look at public transportation. Oh wait, its privatized... So, the government pays for the infrastructure and private companies run it to get record profits year after year. Not much external competition, and bidding is not open to all.

Energy, is also privatized. Healthcare is privatized, even security. Yes -- Security. The Singapore customs seems to employ security guards to man our borders. Is it cost effective to hire directly or go through a private company, you decide.

So the cost of many things are very high. Singapore is the most densely populated country and salaries are in fact not very high with inflation through the roof.

It is not hard to get into Serf-apore. A condition by which you have to work to pay for a public housing you do not own, pay into CPF which is used to build HDB which they sell to you at a profit. If you own a car, you pay a more than any other county in the world, and at the end of the day, you own nothing much and you have to work and work just to get by.

Its not slavery as you are free to leave the country if you can. But anyway, you will not starve. The lord of the land simply wants you to beg. Through means testing, you may be able to get subsidies if you are a good Serf-aporean and jump through hoops and fill up forms as requested. If you indeed beg, the subsidies can make the seemingly unaffordable medical services sort of affordable again. You may even be able to afford public housing -- far far away from the city, requiring you to either have a car or spend hours on over crowded public transportation to get to work.

Think of Serf-aporeans like pets. Even when ill treated, everytime there are treats given, in the form of resilience packages taken out from the reserves the Serf-aporeans build, all is forgotten and Serf-aporeans continue on with life. Complains are made, committees are formed to look into the complains, and somehow things did not change but the complains are "heard". Years later, the same complains resurface again, and the lord declares an action plan with no definite start date because the situation is "complex" and the cycle happens over and over again.

This is the modified modified slavery I call Serf-apore.

-- Iron Bowl