Grandpa Tells Me – [Pilot]

Grandpa Tells Me – [Pilot]

BOTH my grandfathers passed on in the late 80s. I was too young and could not remember how they cared and played with me. I don’t recall any conversations with them. 
Recently, I met Gong Gong Richard. He shared his memories of 1960s Singapore. Gong Gong grew up in an attap house, in a family of nine. He father died at an early age, his mum was illiterate. 
Gong Gong wanted to study at University of Malaya and he used to read under a street lamp at Duncan Road. He didn’t get the opportunity as putting food on table was priority. 
Ironically, he did study at University of Malaya – but was during the Japanese Occupation. He was given the opportunity to study Japanese. 
He got distinctions and was employed as a house boy, serving one of General Yamashita’s directs. 
[End of Part 1] #GrandpaTellsMe

5 ways to save water in Singapore 2017

5 ways to save water in Singapore 2017

YOU HEARD da man, water prices will increase for the first time in 17 years. The increase in water prices seem to be the talk of the town, overshadowing most components of Budget 2017. We are a tad puzzled over how G does her communication work for this portion.

When announcing water prices increase, is there a real need for headlines like this: “Water prices to increase by 30% from July 1 in two phases”? First thing that comes to mind is fuck man, why is G trying to increase every god damn thing now? 

Perhaps a better way to package the news could be: “Water prices to increase by $0.30 to $0.80 cents per cubic metre” – at least the limelight won’t be on this topic. Anyway, the increase in water tax is to reflect rising costs of water. Singapore has been investing hevaily in water treatment and reclamation technologies, we do not want to be buying water from our neighbours forever.
In the current volatile world, who knows what will happen to our water contract.
From what we gathered, desalination, reverse osmosis invovlves a lot of electicity and skilled labour. It is simply not practical to keep the price as of 17 years ago. Alas, any increase in price will not be met with optimisim. Some are out for blood again – those criticising seems to take the GST vouchers for granted. GST vouchers have became a norm, most Singaporeans don’t appreciate the gesture anymore.
Before we end, here’s a short listicle on how to save water in Singapore
1. Use your office faciliites to shower
2. Head to your nearest swimming pool to shower, wash clothes 
3. Use bath tub like the Japanese (too bad if you are the youngest)
4. Use rice water to water plants, wash face
5. Shower with your partner (but if kiss and make-out and what not, might not be a good suggestion)

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G renames Syonan Gallery 

G renames Syonan Gallery 

DID G commit a faux pas? The purpose of a gallery is to remember, not to honour. Somehow, naming of the gallery has triggered numerous negative reactions – the name Syonan is not appropriate 😦
Two quick thoughts on the renaming of the gallery. 

First, Singaporean voices matter. G is moving away from a top down approach; you can call it the GE2011 effect. They got the feedback/backlash and made the changes. Seems that calling a spade a spade is not right in this case. 

Second, G is not afraid to do correct her misstep

Minister Dr Yaccob indicated: “But this particular exhibition name provoked a strong reaction. Over the past two days, I have read the comments made on this issue, and received many letters from Singaporeans of all races.

While they agreed that we need to teach Singaporeans about the Japanese Occupation, they also shared that the words ‘Syonan Gallery’ had evoked deep hurt in them”.

G will change their position, given it is the right thing. We hope that this does not signal a change where they now bow to populist pressures and choose the easier wrong over the harder right. 

No government is perfect and in this case, another learning lesson for G. At least G listens. 

Social media has changed the game. 

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Who let go gas sial?

Who let go gas sial?

WHAT, price increase again? What is the gahmen doing? Wah rao eh.

ST reported, “The gas tariff for households will increase by 1.5 per cent from Nov 1 to Jan 31, 2017, according to supplier City Gas in a press release on Friday (Oct 28).”

Arrggghh. Hate it when I read such information:

“Prices will increase by 0.25 cent per kilowatt hour (kWh), from 16.60 cents per kWh to 16.85 cents per kWh.
This is due to a 6.3 per cent increase in fuel costs from the previous quarter.”
Makes no sense to me lei. Sibei rocket science.

Anyway, got this from this dude – When you buy gas they charge you by the gallon. When you buy electricity they charge you by the kilowatt-hour (kWh). When you use 1000 watts for 1 hour, that’s a kilowatt-hour. For example:

Strawberry nation
So, some basic calculations: 

· If I use air con 8 hours a day, it will be 8 x 16.85 cents = $1.35

· For a month, the new rates will be $1.35 x 30 = $40.50.

· The old rates will be 8 x 16.60 cents x 30 = $39.84.

Okay, easy to understand. 

From official source:

“City Gas reviews the gas tariffs every quarter based on guidelines set by the Energy Market Authority, the gas industry regulator. The fuel cost has risen by 26.2 percent compared with the previous quarter. Despite this increase, the tariff is still lower than the preceding quarters from August 2015 to April 2016.”

In plain English, there will be slight increase in gas tariffs due to rising fuel cost. The below diagram will provide you with a quick summary of historical prices.  We added the average line somemore. Don’t complain. Don’t KPKB. #effectiveCOMMS

Strawberry generation


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Source for tariffs chart:


In A Trade War, Everyone Loses

In A Trade War, Everyone Loses

WITH Trump tearing up Trans-Pacific Partnership and pledging to impose a 45% tariff on Chinese imports, are we looking at a potential trade war? Or is this just another rhetoric by Trump?

A trade war refers to two or more states raising or creating tariffs (or trade barriers) on each other. For instance, Country A raises tariffs on Country B’s imports in retaliation for Country B raising tarrifs on Country A’s imports.

Unfair trade deals have been heavily used and critised by Trump; but an interesting observation by Jack Ma dispels USA not reaping any benefits. Jack Ma highlighted: “IBM, Microsoft, the profit they made was larger than the top four banks in China put together. … But where did the money go?”

Hmmm, where ah? In the same interview, Jack Ma added: “The other countries steal jobs from you guys — that is your strategy. You did not distribute the money in the proper way.”

China is the obvious target of Trump but China won’t be bullied. Other countries have suffered ‘the Dalai Lama effect’. In 2010, the University of Gottingen in Germany coined the term “the Dalai Lama effect” after its study found countries whose top leadership met with Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader lost on average 8.1% in exports to China in the two years following the meeting. Interesting.

Recently, the ‘infamous’ Global Times claimed: any new tariffs would trigger immediate “counter measures” and “tit-for-tat approach” from Beijing.” “A batch of Boeing orders will be replaced by Airbus. US auto and iPhone sales in China will suffer a setback, and US soybean and maize imports will be halted. China can also limit the number of Chinese students studying in the US.”

But US is not just any other country.

Will Titians clash? If they do, trade wars can lead to shooting wars but while there will be heightened geopolitical tensions, the nuclear factor will ultimately hold the peace.

We don’t have a crystal ball but in a trade war, everyone loses.


Pursuing protectionism is like locking oneself in a dark room. Wind and rain may be kept outside, but so is light and air” – Xi Jinping

Related reads:




The Brave Small Country

The Brave Small Country

THE big country small country narrative comes up again. Is a small country always on the losing end?

A small country can have a great idea but the idea could be easily disregarded by bigger countries. Big countries, on the other hand, can have a stupid idea and everyone has to take their idea seriously (cos they lan lan/bo bian or scare of the repercussions). With that being said, a big country can also use bullying tactics on small country and no one would say a thing.

Neighbouring countries start chewing their popcorns.

Anyway, what did we do wrong? We are law abiding country, yea? Our position towards China and other countries remains the same. We want to be friends with countries that want to be friends with us.

As a small country, our position is this. We follow international law and adhere to agreements. Cannot suka-suka change this change that right? Say we give in to China, kowtow to them, take their lollipops and put the Terrex issue to bed by saying sorry. Will another country try their luck with us? Will our close friend come to our doorstep and insist we pay them more for imported water? This is why regulations and agreements are important to small countries and we must adhere to them.

So, what has changed?

It is China. They are THE rising power.
This rising power has become more assertive. How shall we cope with the NEW China?

Strawberry generation
We don’t have a crystal ball but one thing is for sure, China is testing us. They want to see if we will cave in to pressure. We have been put to the test many times. Take the territorial disputes in the South China Sea (SCS) as an example. Back in 1999, China wasn’t too pleased that Singapore (as host of 6th ASEAN Regional Forum) decided to raise the SCS disputes as part of the discussion topics. Bilateral visit to Singapore was postponed and China even got other ASEAN countries to put pressure on us.

What transpired? We went ahead with the discussion and ensured that the discussion was not a finger-pointing session. It was focused on managing territorial claims so tensions do not escalate and prevent conflicts. We also reaffirmed the “One China Policy”.

On relationship with Taiwan, it is not something new. We have been training there for ages and we could not simply break off this friendly agreement because China tell us so. Yes, this is sensitive but back then, we were unable to break the encirclement our “neighbours” wanted to squeeze us into. Training in Taiwan was important for our national security and that was a sign to display how we viewed national defense. Taiwan agreed to allow us to use their facilities and we are somewhat indebted to them. Loyalty is important to the Chinese right?

Singapore is old friends with China. We are also their largest foreign investor. Managed to find this on the web:

For the second consecutive year Singapore was China’s largest foreign investor with investments amounting to US$5.8 billion in over 700 projects last year. At the same time, Singapore is China’s largest investment destination in Asia, and one of the top investment destinations for Chinese companies investing abroad.

We are definitely not fucking around with a country that we have so much investments in. A strong and prosperous China is good for Singapore. We are loyal to old friends.

Countries are watching how Singapore take the next step. We will not be intimidated and will not give in to pressure. We seek peaceful diplomatic ways to close issues. In international relations, there is a saying that goes “There are no permanent friends, only permanent interests.”

I beg to differ. Singapore could be the permanent dependent that looks over your shoulder. Let us close the Terrex issue and go la-kopi together.


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Others reads on the relationship with China: 

The Terrex incident: We shall not be movedddd….., we from Singapore, we shall not be moved:

China-Singapore relations: United Front Tactics, Yesterday Once More:

China-Singapore relations: United Front Tactics, Yesterday Once More

China-Singapore relations: United Front Tactics, Yesterday Once More

At the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hangzhou in September 2016, President Xi Jinping told Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong that Sino-Singapore ties had always been a step ahead of China’s ties with other ASEAN countries.

Since that summit, Singapore had encountered 2 major incidents.

First, Global Times accused Singapore in taking sides over the South China Sea ruling and second, the detention of Terrex vehicles. 

China clearly wants us to support their actions in the region and as we continue to remain neutral, China is resorting to Communist United Front (CUF) tactics of the 60s.

What are the CUF tactics?

1. Use of proxies to put pressure. Instructing Global Times to slam Singapore and subsequently Hong Kong to detain our amoured vehicles, China is using their “resources” to gently remind Singapore. 

2. Spreading influence and attract supporters. Of late, China became closer to many of our neighbours. Duterte went for a state visit. China poured investments into Malaysia. Is this a sign that Singapore can be excluded?

3. Whispering campaigns. The word is out that Singapore businessmen have heard a lot of negativity about Singapore and they are worried about bilateral relationships. However, there is no official new from the central China Government criticizing Singapore. What is the truth? 

From time to time, Singapore is put to the test. As a small country, we cannot afford to flinch. Our core interest is to maintain credibility and we have always stood our ground and respond clearly and calmly. We follow and respect international laws.

We will not allow others to pressure us to change our position. Our relationships with other countries will be permanently altered if we buckled under pressure. On 09 Jan 2017, PM Lee Hsein Loong has officially written a request to Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying on the return of our amoured vehicles.

As a small country, we are not pro-US or pro-China.

We are pro-Singapore and we need to maintain our core interest, to remain relevant and credible.


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