Friday, February 29, 2008

Traffic Jam of A Life Time

Today I witnessed the traffic jam of a life time. When I passed by Kranji MRT station at around 6pm, all the lorries, trucks, and sedans came to a stand-still on the road leading to the Woodlands check-point. Then at around 9pm, when I passed by Kranji MRT station again, there was absolutely no improvement at all, if it didn't become worse. The traffic light near Kranji MRT station became almost completely useless. Red light, green light or whatever light, the cars still had to stay where they were. There was no room to move.

Wow, what a spectacular scene! What happened? All because of one single person lah. Who is the guy that can caused so much trouble? His name is Mas Selama Kastari, the head of JI in Singapore. He escaped from a detention centre Wednesday afternoon. Guess what, he couldn't even walk properly, as he was described to be 'limping'. My gosh, our 'high quality' security force, police force, or whatever force, with world class leadership, world class ministers, world class blah blah.. yet, a 'limping' man could still escape under broad daylight. What a joke! Now after 3 days, he is still at large. Some heads MUST ROLL TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for this serious mistake.

Even since then, traffic through Woodlands checkpoint had been slow. Officers check every single car. Hundreds of police officers and Gurkha guards had been deployed to search for this wonderful man.

Wow, until then, do even think of going to Malaysia through Woodlands checkpoint, unless you want to be caught into a massive traffic jam.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Back Online Again...

It is the 2nd time that I write about feeling good of being able to come back online. My internet service by Starhub was 1st setup last Thursday. After using the internet happily for 2 days, or a bit more, my cable modem just went on a strike on Sunday morning.

I called the technical support at Starhub. The guys there had been helpful, but at the end, they said they couldn't find out the root cause and had to send a technican down to take a look. Their hypothesis scared the shit out of me. They were claiming my SCV point in the flat might have been altered by the contractor that did the renovation work for the previous owner! In that case, Starhub could do nothing and I had to hire a subcon to get it done properly. Oh my....

Then tonight, the technican came down and tested the SCV point. Signal strength is good. He replaced the cable modem, and everything went back to normal. Alama, such lousy Motorola modem!

The technician was supposed to come between 6.30pm and 8.30pm, and he only arrived at 9pm. I almost thought my order was misplaced again! But the guy at their technical helpline assured me the technician would come, but there might be some delay.

The poor chap came at 9pm, still having not had his dinner yet. Luckily my case is his last for the day. By the time he left, it was almost 10pm. I know how it feels when one has to work till 9-10pm without having dinner.

I had a conversation with the guy. He in fact is not an empolyee of Starhub, rather he is a subcontractor and he is considered to be self-empolyed, as he is his own boss. His pay is job-based. Ok, that makes it feel much better even you work till 10pm. You are making money for yourself!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Tighten the Laws for Property Agents

Again, some bad light is shining on the property agents. News about agents and flat owners play out prospective tenants surfaced in the mainstream newspaper again.

It is high time for Singapore tightened its grip on the property agents, weed out the black sheep before the reputation of Singapore is put at stake.

A decade ago, one of my Indian colleagues working here in Singapore was cheated of a couple of thousand dollars by a property agent. He exhausted all the possible options, including making a police report, approached CASE, the consumer rights group, and even the small claims tribunal, but none managed to help him get back his money. His property agent obviously was fully aware that nothing my colleague could do, and she was not worried of any of the 'authorities' that my colleagued approached.

That was a decade ago, and now, similar incidents surfaced in the newspapers again. Singapore is trying to become an education hub, blah blah hub. For these hubs to be a true success, foreign people have to come and live in Singapore. If we can create a conducive environment for people to rent a place comfortably without even duped, all these talks of successful hubs will be nothing but nonsense.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


I called a lighting store last Sunday for them to send someone down to install the kitchen light for me. The girl over the phone said the appointment was confirmed to be this Saturday 10.30am. Then 10.30am passed yet nobody turned up. I called them up and only found out my order was not put in at all. The lady was rude, a leave it or take it attitude.

Then I ordered my dining table before Chinese New Year. The delivery was supposed to be today. Again, last night they called up to say the set reserved for me got some problems and they had to get another set for me. So, obivously I will have no dining table today.

There is such a big difference between Singapore and Italy, or Europe in general. You see the Italians are always in a mess, but then if you put in your order, everything will just turn out fine, although sometimes I really worry whether I can get things done, and my message has been understood properly. Then in Singapore, they sound so confident and yet they don't deliver. Worse, they don't compensate customers for their late delivery. To many of the business guys in Singapore, there is no such thing as a 'Reputation'. Do they have to bother? Maybe not, as business has been very good in the past few years.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Iron Wok

I brought an iron wok all the way from Guangzhou back to Singapore. There is few iron wok available for sale in Singapore. For the few that are available, the quality is in serious doubt, even by this novice to the kitchen.

The new iron wok is designed for use with the western kind of stoves so the bottom is flat. The weight of the wok is at least a few kilograms. It is a challenge for me to lift it with a single hand. I am not used to such a heavy wok. Every time I cook something, it is like I am doing some weight lifting. Ok, do exercise and cooking at the same time, kill two birds with one stone :D

This wok is somehow different from the iron wok that I used back home. I still have not mastered the heat level yet. The dishes I produced from this wok still have a lot to be desired. I should cook more often to get used to the wok, and to build some muscles :D

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I just discovered that the SurfSafe feature from Starhub has been automatically turned on. Now I can't get to any 'harmful' sites. Ok, how did I find out? I was just about to check whether I won anything for last Saturday's 4D, and see what are the lucky numbers for this year's 10 million-dollar Toto, then I found out the Singapore Pools website has been blocked by SurfSafe.

Those who have children may tell me whether such protections are useful, but in general, I doubt the effectiveness and the virtue of such protections. No matter how protective you are as a parent, sooner or later, your children will have to grow up and face the real world. Shielding your kids from the real world will only make the transition from a kid to an adult more painful. When the kids grow up, they will find what the world really is is so different from what his/her parents painted to him/her. He/she may be at a loss as how to handle this brand 'new' world. I am always of the opinion that we should let the kids to grow up themselves, parents will only provide some guidance. Let them see the real world from young.

Back to Life

Voila! I am back online. I had been left without internet access at home for almost the entire Feburary. I can again download data onto my computer, and see the stock market more clearly.

In the past week or so, many counters had their 5-day EMA crossing their 20-day EMA. It is an early sign for those counters to go up trend, but will the current rise be a bull trap, or a genuine reversal of the downtrend? I still need to adopt a wait & see attitude. It pays to be prudent these days.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Coldest Winter

I am back to Singapore, finally, after experienced the coldest winter in Guangzhou. On the day of my arrival in Guangzhou, it was raining and cold. Temperature was below 10C. Wind was blowing. I was lucky, as Guangzhou was already my destination. Many others on the same flight still had to continue their journey home, although they were a bit lost. Nobody knew what was in store for them. Many airports were closed due to poor weather, trains were stopped because there was no electricity. Long distance coach service was also halted as roads were closed.

A few hundred thousand passengers were straded at the Guangzhou Railway Station. Thousands of police, military & paramilitary personel were deployed to maintain law & order, as well as to provide humanitarian assistance.

It was a sad scene. Those stranded at the railway station were the workers of the world factory. After a year, even a few years' work for some, they wanted to go home for lunar year, yet they had to experience such disaster. Many of them can't even afford a ticket in the sleeping class train ticket. Many of them were stranded in the railway station for days, standing in the rain and the coldest weather ever in Guangzhou, with only instant noodle to survive.

In northern Guangdong province, the scene is almost exactly as the movie The Day After Tomorrow depicts. Everywhere was white. Everything is frozen. Transmission towers that were designed to support up 6 tons of loan collapsed under the weight of snow and ice. Thousands of cars, trucks were stranded on the highway. A living hell!

Luckily the weather turned for the better on 3 Feb, and train service restored fully on 6 Feb, the eve of Lunar New Year!

My mum's friends, who survived without electricity and water for almost two weeks in Hunan province, finally got electricity again on 7 Feb, the first day of Lunar New Year, after Chinese premier Wen Jia-bao paid a number of visits to the province.

This is a human/natural disaster that should be recorded in the book of history.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Happy Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is just around the corner! It is time of the year again to meet family and friends, and look back at the past year for all the good, the bad and the wathever :)

China is facing the worse winter weather in the past 50 years! The temperature in Guangzhou now is between 2-5 deg C. In my memory, the temperature in Guangzhou seldom goes below 9 deg C even in the coldest winter. Obviously this year,the recorded has been broken, with no cheers though.

Those from the much colder places may think 2-5 deg C is really nothing comparing with the usual -10 deg C winter temperature in Switzerland or Denmark. But you must know Guangzhou is traditionally a warm place, with no real winter if the strict winter definition is applied. Looks like all my winter gears will be put into good use this year.

However, Chinese say a winter with heavy snow fall will lead to a prosperious year ahead. May this coldest winter in 50 years get rid of all the bugs, pests, bacteria, and all the bad things. Next spring, we can have nice and beautiful world.

Anyway, wishing everybody a happy Chinese New Year, and a prosperious year of the RAT! ^_^