Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Lee Kuan Yew is the loser

In the Lee Family dispute, there is one this clear to me. Its not about who is lying, who is incompetent, or who benefits from this.

One thing for sure is -- LKY is the big loser.

Seems like LKY wants to demolish 38 Oxley Road. There is even a video proof, besides countless other evidences -- even found in the museums.

But it seems that since LKY set the precedence of one man rule, created dogs and lackeys by paying them high salaries for obedience, no one in parliament is standing up for his will.

It seemed to be clear that LKY does not want to be up in a pedestal, he does not want to be worshiped, and he does not want to have his house kept as a memorial. I respect him for that as he seemed consistent in his drive to make Singapore a better place.

Now his son, LHL wants to discuss family matters in parliament, something which wastes a lot of public funds and time, because his son does not want to follow his wishes.

I guess, he was a bad parent.

-- Iron Bowl

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Flea Markets at important to the community.

The Sungei Road Flea Market has been around before I was born. And I guess I have to speak up as I have had great memories there, shopping for random things and then going to Jalan Besar hawker center to have lunch.

In Singapore, I do feel that many things have been destroyed and there is no after thought and simply regrets. Many places I cherish is gone. The old National Library, Victoria Concert Hall, even my primary school building. There are so much memories which brings communities together, and in the name of progress and profits, they are all gone.

When a 30 year old house is destroyed, all that remains are the memories. There are often regrets, but such regrets are irreversible. Clearing of the jungles, removing of kampungs, I do believe that some of which have brought progress and improved quality of living, but today, in Singapore, some people may consider it to be already "First world" and I don't understand why heritage is not cherished.

When it comes to the government talking about conservation, even the botanic gardens was once at risk of getting removed and turning possibly into condos and malls as it was sitting on expensive land. Yet 38 Oxley Road -- the home a Lee Kuan Yew -- a private house which LKY himself wants to be demolished and it was put in his will is probably going to be conserved.

As Oxley Rd is a highly restricted place, I would say most of Singapore, >99% of everyone have not been to Oxley Rd, let alone see the building. For something that private, there is not much more heritage value more than seeing it in photos at the National Gallery. If a person wants his house to be destroyed after his death, his wishes should be followed.


Flea Markets play an important role in society. I've been to many flea markets and in Singapore, the Sungei Road Thieves Market is the biggest (and the only) one.

I've often saw vintage items which I've not seen before and talked to vendors to learn how to use it. It is very educational to understand how some of these items were used in the past. As a maker, understanding how and why some of the inventions and evolution of technology is very important as it gives a good context to understand how things were before some technology were created. Its also gives a much hands on understanding more than any wikipedia page or books can provide.

Of course, the benefit of a flea market that sells used goods is for people to find good deals. When Singapore is pushing the "Green movement", we are told to reduce, reuse and recycle. And the flea market is definitely "reuse" of these old items.

I like re-purposing things for parts, and for costumes, the flea market is a great place to buy something, cut it up to fit your needs. It creates a very good way to save money and reduce the waste which we see too often in society today, the whole idea that most things are disposable.

For many people who lost their jobs and cannot find jobs, selling some of their possessions of useful things they find is a good way of making a living instead of begging. Some of the carefully curated items are great for bargain hunters.

Over time, a community is also formed. The vendors know one another, and some of these old people keep each other company and finding treasure and selling it is a great way to stay active.

When I go to Sungei Road, I see familiar faces and a strong community there, and it is actually a tourist attraction, something that was organically formed and quite well known to tourists.

In the US, you do see garage sales, but in Singapore, many things are prohibited, especially putting things on the sidewalk and selling. The only place that it happens is Sungei Road and it is very disappointing that this will go away.


I am very disappointed that street food, even many hawker centers have slowly changed to air-conditioned food courts. Everything seemed so artificial and I would argue that these locations have land use as some of the hawker centers and markets are only open half day and the foot traffic is low. A structure built for such activities seemed a lot more wasteful than an open air market. While hygiene may be a concern for food vendors, I would say what we have left -- second hand items at Sungei Road does not share such concerns.

Bazaars that pop up from time to time are getting worse as even the rents of these bazaars are creeping up and there are only the few that could afford it, and some of them own cafes and restaurants.

I guess when the government does not collect rent, and cannot regulate well, the option that the bureaucracy has trained them is to destroy what they can't control.  And with this, it will be a sad loss for our heritage.

--Iron Bowl

To me, the market represents the Singapore spirit:

A harmonious community of people, regardless of race or religion, working hard alongside one another. 
They bring value to the nation by showing us all that items we consider trash still has value, and can be reused or resold, instead of consigning them to the incinerator and harming the environment.

Monday, June 12, 2017

So Stressful in Singapore -- Otters have factions.

Singapore is a small island, many things are artificial. Even the rivers are man made (and dammed up)

It was surprising to see a family of back in 2010s, and even as early as 2013, the otters split into factions. One group living at Marina is at conflict with another group on Bishan.

Similarly, on bike sharing, Singaporeans seem to destroy the bikes.

It seems like some Singapore still have that very competitive mindset. To be successful, others must fail.

Back in 2008 when I was involved in digital media, the social media was fragmented once it got to a certain size. Similarly now with entrepreneurship and startups. The founders seem to have factions depending on which universities they come from.

Everything seems to be a competition, and it seems even Singaporean Otters have picked up that behavior.

-- Iron Bowl