Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Things we put in our mouths decide on our future?


Who has had the bubble gum above?

Did it make you a smoker?

What would you do if you had the candy below?

-- Iron Bowl



Sunday, March 29, 2015

We will probably not have another leader like LKY.

LKY is a great leader, he voice out for Singaporeans and dares to challenge authority and create change. From his speeches, you can feel his passion and courage.

Eugenics: A social philosophy advocating the improvement of human genetic traits through the promotion of higher reproduction of people with desired traits (positive eugenics), and reduced reproduction of people with less-desired or undesired traits (negative eugenics).

"There are many sons of doctors who have married doctors. Those who married spouses who are not as bright are tearing their hair out because their children can’t make it. I have lived long enough to see all this play out.

So when the graduate man does not want to marry a graduate woman, I tell him he’s a fool, stupid. You marry a non-graduate, you’re going to have problems, some children bright, some not bright. You’ll be tearing your hair out. you can’t miss. It’s like two dice. One is Jack, Queen, King, Ace, other also Jack, Queen, King, Ace. You throw a Jack, Queen, King, Ace against dice two, three, four, five, six, what do you get? You can’t get high pairs, let alone a full flush." 

― Lee Kuan Yew

"I understand the Englishman. He knows deep in his heart that he is superior to the Welshman and the Scotsman... Deep here, I am a Chinaman." ― Lee Kuan Yew

"I believe in democracy. Here, Kuan Yew and I don’t agree. He says, “You are very na├»ve. You don’t understand. One man, one vote won’t work.” Recently, he said there should be two votes for every educated man." ― S. Rajaratnam

"In the older generations, economies and culture settled it. The pattern of procreation was settled by economics and culture. The richer you are, the more successful you are, the more wives you have, the more children you have. That's the way it was settled. I am the son of a successful chap. I myself am successful, so I marry young and I marry more wives and I have more children.

You read Hong Lou Meng, A Dream of the Red Chamber, or you read Jin Ping Mei, and you'll find Chinese society in the 16th, 17th century described. So the successful merchant or the mandarin, he gets the pick of all the rich men's daughters and the prettiest village girls and has probably five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten different wives and concubines and many children.

And the poor labourer who's dumb and slow, he's neutered. It's like the lion or the stag that's outside the flock. He has no harems, so he does not pass his genes down. So, in that way, a smarter population emerges." 

― Lee Kuan Yew

"Malays abhor the state of celibacy. To remain unmarried was and is considered shameful. Everyone must be married at some time or other. The result is that whether a person is fit or unfit for marriage, he or she still marries and reproduces. An idiot or a simpleton is often married off to an old widower, ostensibly to take care of him in his old age. If this is not possible, backward relatives are paired off in marriage. These people survive, reproduce and propagate their species. The cumulative effect of this can be left to the imagination." ― Lee Kuan Yew

"All the bright young men became Catholic priests and did not marry. Bright priests, celibate, produce no children. And the result of several generations of bright Fathers producing no children? Less bright children in the Catholic world." ― Lee Kuan Yew

In fact climate is only one of the factors against which the Chinese had to battle in coming to Southeast Asia. They were also coping with the debilitating effect of moving from a superior to an inferior civilisation. At the Institute of Engineers' din...See More

"The Chinaman who came out to Southeast Asia was a very hard working, thrifty person. I mean he faced a tremendous stride [sic] because he faced floods, pestilence, famine..., [but] we are getting soft. You know, all sunshine and bananas growing on trees and coconuts falling down by themselves - this affects people." ― Lee Kuan Yew

In fact climate is only one of the factors against which the Chinese had to battle in coming to Southeast Asia. They were also coping with the debilitating effect of moving from a superior to an inferior civilisation. At the Institute of Engineers' dinner in April 1965, Lee continued his dissertation on the problems of migrating to Australia or New Zealand: "I told my hostess that where I think it is a ghastly error all this large movements of human beings seeking a better life is that one has got to be quite sure that in the end [one] is going to offer a higher civilization.

Otherwise, you end up just eating more beef steak and pork chops and mutton chops and what happens when people cease to want to buy your dairy produce and leave you stranded in the South Pacific as I am stranded in Southeast Asia. I advised her against settling in Australia and New Zealand because I am quite sure that her progeny will regret all this because they were unlikely to create a civilization vaster and greater than the one they left behind. I say, before you leave behind all these things just make sure you are going to create something better. And if you are not going to, then perhaps it shouldn't be done because this is the way I thought about my great grandfather leaving me here."

― Lee Kuan Yew as quoted and written on by Dr. Michael D. Barr

"The numerical preponderance of the Chinese must be maintained, or there will be a shift in the economy, both the economic performance and the political backdrop which makes that economic performance possible." ― Lee Kuan Yew

"I have said this on many a previous occasion: that had the mix in Singapore been different, had it been 75% Indians, 15% Malays and the rest Chinese, it would not have worked. Because they believe in the politics of contention, of opposition. But because the culture was such that the populace sought a practical way out of their difficulties, therefore it has worked." ― Lee Kuan Yew


“If I tell Singaporeans – we are all equal regardless of race, language, religion, culture. Then they will say,”Look, I’m doing poorly. You are responsible.” But I can show that from British times, certain groups have always done poorly, in mathematics and in science. But I’m not God, I can’t change you. But I can encourage you, give you extra help to make you do, say maybe, 20% better.” ― Lee Kuan Yew

"There is only one other civilization near the Equator that ever produced anything worthy of its name. That was the Yucatan peninsular of South America - the Mayan Civilization. There is no other place where human beings were able to surmount the problems of a soporific equatorial climate. You can go along the Equator or 2 degrees north of it, and they all sleep after half past two if they have had a good meal. They do! Otherwise they must die earlier. It is only in Singapore that they don't. And there were good reasons for this. First, good glands, and second, good purpose." ― Lee Kuan Yew

“There are some flaws in the assumptions made for democracy. It is assumed that all men and women are equal or should be equal. Hence, one-man-one-vote. But is equality realistic? If it is not, to insist on equality must lead to regression.” ― Lee Kuan Yew

“We must encourage those who earn less than $200 per month and cannot afford to nurture and educate many children never to have more than two… We will regret the time lost if we do not now take the first tentative steps towards correcting a trend which can leave our society with a large number of the physically, intellectually and culturally anaemic.” ― Lee Kuan Yew

“I started off believing all men were equal. I now know that’s the most unlikely thing ever to have been, because millions of years have passed over evolution, people have scattered across the face of this earth, been isolated from each other, developed independently, had different intermixtures between races, peoples, climates, soils… I didn’t start off with that knowledge. But by observation, reading, watching, arguing, asking, that is the conclusion I’ve come to.” ― Lee Kuan Yew

“The human being is an unequal creature. That is a fact. And we start off with the proposition. All the great religions, all the great movements, all the great political ideology, say let us make the human being as equal as possible. In fact, he is not equal, never will be.” ― Lee Kuan Yew

“It is essential to rear a generation at the very top of society that has all the qualities needed to lead and give the people the inspiration and the drive to make it succeed. In short, the elite. Every society tries to produce this type.” ― Lee Kuan Yew

“They say people can think for themselves? Do you honestly believe that the chap who can’t pass primary six knows the consequence of his choice when he answers a question viscerally, on language, culture and religion?" ― Lee Kuan Yew

“If you don’t include your women graduates in your breeding pool and leave them on the shelf, you would end up a more stupid society…So what happens? There will be less bright people to support dumb people in the next generation. That’s a problem.” ― Lee Kuan Yew

 “The Bell curve is a fact of life. The blacks on average score 85 per cent on IQ and it is accurate, nothing to do with culture. The whites score on average 100. Asians score more... the Bell curve authors put it at least 10 points higher. These are realities that, if you do not accept, will lead to frustration because you will be spending money on wrong assumptions and the results cannot follow.” ― Lee Kuan Yew

“Three women were brought to the Singapore General Hospital, each in the same condition and needing a blood transfusion. The first, a Southeast Asian was given the transfusion but died a few hours later. The second, a South Asian was also given a transfusion but died a few days later. The third, an East Asian, was given a transfusion and survived. That is the X factor in development.” ― Lee Kuan Yew

However, with the system he built up today, it is impossible to have another LKY. When you have an opinion that is different or unpopular, you will be hammered down or worse, arrested by ISA or charged with sedition.

Conformity is the norm now. The pitchfork gang is waiting and the news is ever changing history on how Singapore is built and shaped.

Many people don't understand that you can still respect the man, but not agree with the policies. LKY did many things, some good, some not so good. But I do believe that in his heart, he was doing it for Singapore.

The other leaders today however do not seem to be of the same caliber, would rather follow status quo than make lasting change for the better. For many who loved LKY, it is disappointing to see the things he stood for, "Clean and Green Singapore" becoming a "Cleaned" country even at his wake.

He was against the casinos, and now that is part of the skyline in Singapore. A wise man said, the greatest asset of Singapore is its people. However, today, more than half the workforce is imported.

Change is here, and sometimes not for the better. The tools which he used to stay in power, controlling the media and ISA are still running strong.

His passing has seen many Singaporeans come out to pay their last respect, hopefully they can relive the good times if in 2016, the government can finally work for the people, regardless of language, race or religion, providing prosperity and progress for our nation.

-- Iron Bowl

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Mourn Fatigue #Singapore


LKY was a great man, he achieved much with his greatness. These few days of 24/7 coverage on everything LKY is getting a little unbearable as there is so much repeats and loop covering his funeral and all things great about the man.

3 Days of mourning is what I can take as the media coverage seems to be very one sided, not acknowledging other founding fathers of Singapore, claiming all the success of Singapore to just one man.

I respected the man for the things he has done and the civil liberties he has taken away. I do not agree with many of the things he has done, and the choices he has made, but I do believe everything he has done was for Singapore.

For much progress made from 1965 - 1990s, I thank you sir for your great conviction on getting things done.

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Well this is also a good time to hide in a corner, away from TV, media and everything because the constant glorifying of the man is a little too much to handle for me.

I feel that this is actually a time for change. Singapore has progressed so far, and built up so much reserves, but many principles which the country is built on needs to change.

I confess that Singapore is very much a nanny state. Censorship is rampant and people are not at liberty to discuss many things in public. The university -- a place to nurture critical thinking -- cannot hold anything form of political activism, and students cannot even demonstrate in campus about the things they believe in dearly.

With China opening up their economy, their media and society, China has progressed much. In the past, our forefathers came together and built the National Libraries and the communities seemed to be much more connected. There seems to be too much competition to be #1 in Singapore today, and society is fragmented.

The top down approach of solving problems, paying top dollars for consultants and ministers does not seem to work. The scholarship system also creates an elitist society which a small pool of ruling elites paid highly and so disconnected with the ground as they get feedback from a few layers of middlemen which filters out the bad.

I feel that SG50 is a good turning point where Singapore needs to learn to let go. Let go of total authoritarian control and embrace the fact that today, the average Singaporean is much more educated than 50 years ago. We are able to solve problems together if we are enabled to do so.

We do not need high paying ministers to speak and think for us. PAP does not need to control PA, NTUC and other government linked companies, and we should be more lax on censorship and allow dialects and various movies and programs to come to our countries.

Singapore is not a religious society, and outdated laws should be slowly phased out and people should be treated more humanely. Economic success is important, but GDP should not be the only measure we should focus on.

Social safety nets should not be seen as taboo and even when people should be responsible for their own health and finances, there will always be circumstances which make people fall off the track and there should be ways for them to climb back up.

Singapore is a small countries, and we share the same aging population and income gap problem as many countries, and having an inclusive system which eliminates poverty in Singapore is something that can be a model for the world to see and learn from us as well.

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Mr Lee has built Singapore up , and we should not be afraid to take the lead and rebuild the fragmented communities. Moving forward, perhaps we can move in another direction that is more inclusive, allowing more human rights and civil liberties.

-- Iron Bowl

Monday, March 23, 2015

The beginning of a new era: Singapore 2.0


Today marks the beginning a a new era. The passing of a man -- Lee Kuan Yew. Many people credit him for turning Singapore from a Malaria ridden British Colony to an air-conditioned Metropolis.

There is no doubt that his style of leadership with single minded push to bring Singapore this far is commendable, and his ideals that help shaped the country, while benefiting some groups of people, had some consequences which will indeed affect future generations as well.

One of the policy "Stop at Two" is largely effective in reducing the population growth, but with TFR at 0.8, Singapore does face a situation where the population does not replace itself.

When Mr Lee took a step back, but is still involved in politics by being Mentor Minister, MM, many policies which he and his team designed and built were slowly eroded. Casinos were allowed in Singapore, Formula 1 came to Singapore, the public were more eager to voice their opinions on the government's policies and PAP suffered their worst performance with 60.1% approval rate, yet getting 81/87 seats in parliament. Change was inevitable.

There was no doubt that Mr Lee dedicated his life to build Singapore in his vision and he believed it was for the good of all Singaporeans. (except for those who threatened him in 1963 and later in 1987)

With the passing of this great man, I expect some change to slowly come to Singapore. The principles we learn from the founding fathers have changed much and although, many of them were still relevant today, some of them were not followed anymore.

There future presents many challenges ahead. The government and PAP can continue with the authoritarian rule and build an elitist society or build a more inclusive society which supports everyone no matter which economic background you come from.

In the national budget 2015, there seem to be a slight move towards this direction, instead of the rhetoric, "Everyone needs to be responsible for their own health and finances."

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There is a lot of talk about Singapore failing without the lead of PAP, and with the passing of their glorious leader, there seems to be a heavy solemn mood in the air today, rather than anarchy breaking on the streets burning Singapore to the ground. (There is burning in the air due to Haze and Forest Fires though)

I guess with this historic event happening, we should all reflect -- both citizens and ministers -- on how to proceed forward. It is a wake up call for those who are politically apathetic to perhaps be more active in their communities if they wish to participate in building and shaping their nation, a Singapore 2.0.

Perhaps a more inclusive society, with less restriction on the media space is a good start, after all business, arts and culture does support one another, and restricting opinions will only limit our options in better solutions to face the future.

-- Iron Bowl

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Singapore Inc. - Taxi


Public Transportation is quite ok in Singapore. Although the reliability could be better, overall, Public Transportation seems to be ok.

I am however not really happy about oligopoly of the public transportation. It seems like the government, PAP, and many of the Temasek owned companies are in cahoots when it comes to making profits from the public.

SMRT and SBS seems like a riskless private company as the infrastructure is paid by the government and they get to keep much profits, raise fares despite breakdowns and lower oil prices. The CEO is an Army general who does not seems to add much value to the company, yet earning millions a year.

The Taxi system seems to be a mess as well. It is even hard to predict how much the trip is going to cost due to ERP and surcharges. The same culprits are in the game, NTUC etc, and taxi operators (almost like a oligopoly) charging taxi uncle about $120 to $140 taxi rental a day. (This adds to about $50k a year) So if a Taxi cost $120k, then the operator can break even in 3 years?

Much of the risk is upon Taxi drivers, the $1000 deposit withheld when they get into an accident, pay rental everyday, and not guaranteed customers. Taxi passengers pay for booking fees and even the booking system is profitable for taxi operators.

The most handworking taxi driver only take home about $2k plus a month. And perhaps the taxi operators can make the same amount per taxi as well because of their high costs? I assume LTA is regulating Taxi, yet allowing the operators to make so much money? Why can't Taxi drivers own their own Taxi?

If the lifespan of a Taxi is 7-8 years, say the cost of taxi is $140k, should the rental be set to around $2000 a month? If there are about 30,000 taxi drivers, they would be able to make easily $1 - $2k a month from the lower rents. This would allow them to save up more as they do not have CPF and other savings yet standard of living in Singapore is high.

It seems like many of these companies that have monopolized the market are just out for profits. They seemed to be run with the public servant mentality -- do as little as possible, just to get by.

I feel that companies that are funded by GIC or Temasek holdings should have a primary focus to better the lives of Singaporeans before making unreasonable amount of profits off hardworking poor Singaporeans.

-- Iron Bowl

Monday, March 09, 2015

Green Wall... So yesterday.


Once hailed as a great invention, the HYGROWALL or Green Wall where plants can grow on a vertical surface was largely marketed and installed.


As seen in the photo above, the Green Wall was just installed in 2013 and looks pleasant. The Government promoted it everywhere.

A lot of promotion and support was given to the Green Wall, however, I've tried with some of the plants and setup my own version of the Green Wall, and I've often face with dead plants.

I've spoken to some people at Hort Park, and they even informed me that there is 18m high Green Wall at 118 Killiney Road Condominium. Singapore condos get Guinness World Record for biggest green wall, and many companies started research and development on improving the Green Wall.

I was doing some tests and I wanted to find a purpose for this Green Wall (like growing vegetables or other edible plants) but many plants just can't grow sideways. When I looked at my control plants, they died too after a few months.

The system needed much maintenance, it needed piping for water and power. It does cost quite a bit of money, and overall, besides being "Green in color", I do not feel that it is much green at all.

So going by some of these places with Green Walls installed, I realized that most of them that had plants constantly replaced when the plants died, were now bare, and all it took was 2 years.

Great job / Great innovation / Great Recommendation.

-- Ironbowl