Sunday, November 30, 2008

Zoe couldn't hang on

Was at HortPark for a baby's 1st birthday. How wonderful! A garden setting for a baby's birthday. I don't think any of us can remember our first birthday. Photographs, or videos for the luckier ones, of the event are what we have to let us have a glimpse of what happened. .

As we grow older in life, we plan and plan the actions we take. Hoping to shape our lives by the decisions we make.

The paths we have taken led us down different outcomes. Although the path untaken does keep coming to mind but we continue in the hopes for a brighter future. Living a life predetermined is just unimaginable. Surely some of our choices make a difference.

But some don't.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A model for democracy

If I have to shoot 200,000 students to save China from another 100 years of disorder, so be it.
- Lee Kuan Yew evoking the ghost of Deng Xiaoping whilst endorsing the Tiananmen Square massacre, Straits Times, Aug 17, 2004

*warning! rambling post ahead*

A year after I returned with a degree and started serving my bond, I had a worry. It was that I might get jaded. The fear of having the grind of daily life seep ennui throughout my system.


I chanced upon this website while searching for quotes on democracy.

Amazingly, I agree with each and every quote found below at different junctures of my life. Many are contradictory hence I must emphasise "different junctures".

Did education and (mis)directed observations of our cultural, political and economic landscapes led to this conclusion?

Recently I was sharing with my big big boss that I was interested in the study of economics because of the central idea of "unlimited wants from limited resources". He pursued economics in his university days as well and was interested in the application of economic theories. Especially in the incentivising and disincentivising of humans to shape behaviours.

There was a recent article in AssTee about a Sri Lankan lawyer whose father was a former Sri Lanka High Commissioner to Singapore. The lawyer is presently a Singapore citizen.

Rather than lamenting the lack of liberal democracy, she suggests, 'our youth should be channelled to focus on the competitive advantages that they are going to enjoy in what has been called the 'New Asian Hemisphere',' by Professor Kishore Mahbubani, dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. That 'hemisphere' includes China, India, Singapore and the Middle East.

She believes our youth will 'out-perform' Western counterparts.

She is delighted that today, the friends of her offspring agree with her that 'Singapore's strength has been its style of leadership'.

Her house of debate may have opened a couple of doors in young minds.

No, this is not about the free-rider problem. Yes, defence is both a public good (non-excludable and non-rival) as well as a merit good (positive externalities, though questionable) and foreign talents, new immigrants and expatriates do free-ride depending on how you define payment. Instead, it's about the problem of choice.

“But we either believe in democracy or we not. If we do, then, we must say categorically, without qualification, that no restraint from the any democratic processes, other than by the ordinary law of the land, should be allowed… If you believe in democracy, you must believe in it unconditionally. If you believe that men should be free, then, they should have the right of free association, of free speech, of free publication. Then, no law should permit those democratic processes to be set at nought.”
- Lee Kuan Yew as an opposition leader, April 27, 1955


“Repression, Sir is a habit that grows. I am told it is like making love - it is always easier the second time! The first time there may be pangs of conscience, a sense of guilt. But once embarked on this course with constant repetition you get more and more brazen in the attack. All you have to do is to dissolve organizations and societies and banish and detain the key political workers in these societies. Then miraculously everything is tranquil on the surface. Then an intimidated press and the government-controlled radio together can regularly sing your praises, and slowly and steadily the people are made to forget the evil things that have already been done, or if these things are referred to again they’re conveniently distorted and distorted with impunity, because there will be no opposition to contradict.
-Lee Kuan Yew as an opposition PAP member speaking to David Marshall, Singapore Legislative Assembly, Debates, 4 October, 1956

These powers will not be allowed to be used against political opponents within the system who compete for the right to work the system. That is fundamental and basic or the powers will have destroyed the purpose for which they were forged.
- Lee Kuan Yew speaking in Parliament on the Preservation of Public Security Act, a precursor to the ISA, Oct 14, 1959

“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. The British have special schools for them: the gifted and talented are sent to Eton and Harrow.”
- Lee Kuan Yew, August 1966

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, from a speech during the 1960s, Success Stories

One-man-one-vote is a most difficult form of government. Results can be erratic.”
- Lee Kuan Yew, Dec 19 1984

We have to lock up people, without trial, whether they are communists, whether they are language chauvinists, whether they are religious extremists. If you don’t do that, the country would be in ruins.”
- Lee Kuan Yew, 1986

“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? But we knew the consequences. We would starve, we would have race riots. We would disintegrate.”
- Lee Kuan Yew, The Man & His Ideas, 1997

“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 Man & His Ideas, 1997

“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, Success Stories, 2002


Thursday, November 27, 2008

That's not what you really meant

When you are not a supporter of Obama, you are not automatically a racist. Not to me.
Bradley effect aside, being a non-supporter of Obama doesn't mean that you are not in favour of change. Just not the change they need.

If you are Christian, Catholic, Buddhist, Taoist, Muslim....and a very staunch one for that matter, I don't think you are conservative. Neither do I think you are holier than thou. And I judge you by your actions, not by your faith. Or the lack of it.

You are not liberal if you are gay and think people who don't accept your lifestyle are discriminatory. You are just gay. Even though the people who don't accept your lifestyle are discriminatory. Having "fuck buddies" doesn't make you more cosmopolitan. It may mean that you are more at risk of contracting STIs. Not accepting others who go for easy sex doesn't make you a prude. You are not any less liberal to me too.

Friday, November 21, 2008

What I learn in this crisis

Short-term goals in long-term strategies

Although you think of yourself as an investor who is in it for the long-haul, that doesn't mean fundamentals go out of the window. Yes, time horizon is very important in investing. You can dollar-cost average your way out of the cycles but equally important and blindingly obvious is the simple logic of "buy low, sell high". Although your long time horizon can beat the odds in the long run of economic ups and downs, you can make your money work even harder by adjusting when to pull back and when to throw (some) caution to the wind (light breeze). Now may not be the time to just plonk your $$ onto the table but money parked at the side remains static. Although that investment-linked policy you bought at the bottom of the downturn back in 1998 is super positive, you can choose to protect that profit by getting yourself into a "defensive" mode. But did you?

Set a cut-loss point and stick to it
You bought into China funds and other funds from other blocs eg. BRIC, MENA and GEMS but you did not go in with an exit strategy. Witness the mess in Afghanistan and Iraq. Even the Israelis are doing it wrongly against the Hezbollahs. Know what is the point at which you decide enough is enough (10%?, 20%?) and be disciplined enough to stick to the plan.

Lock in profits
Even if you are in it for the long haul, there is nothing wrong in protecting your profits by putting them into less risky funds (cash, bonds blah). And counter-intuitively, this is when the profits are being raked. Just like there is no "best time" to get into the market (don't ever try and catch the bottom), there is no "best time" to get out. Go in progressively and pull out in a likewise manner.

Keep an "opportunity fund"
This is for times like these. There is value in alot of investment instruments. Some people increase their principal by two-, three- and even four-folds during crises.

The problem with lump-sum investments
In a flooding tide, lump-sum investments will yield fantastic profits. But when the flood is ebbing, lump-sum investments gets you ballasted. If you bought into funds from the middle or 3rd quarter of last year, you know what I mean.

Why dollar-cost and value averaging can work for you now
If you don't know how to make the best use of this crisis, go read up on dollar-cost averaging and value averaging. Then start somewhere, not just anywhere. Find value. And start now or soon. It will pay back in 5 years or so.

Time can mitigate some risks in investing
Only some risks. And don't forget, you get older as each year passes and you feel your losses more than you feel your profits.

I will elaborate. And use this entry as a reminder for myself.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

sombody is damn free....




haha.....

Monday, November 17, 2008

She Who Dares

Got my print.and judging from the comments, i am damn lucky.

couldn't access from workplace because the server blocked the site "Art/Entertainment/Nudity/Shopping" - so got auntie to buy it for me instead.

Yayness!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Happy Holidays

Why people should look forward to 2009. (It's NOT the economy, stupid.)

~ from the MOM website.

start planning...............

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Friday night

Avenue Q was rad. Fantastic entertainment. Never knew puppets/monsters f78k like humans.

Broke the St James chastity belt. Movida, Dragonfly (William Scorpion!) and Boiler Room. Blood outside the dance floor. Action packed dance floor.

New track from the Killers (sounding so much like a dance track because it's produced by Thin White Duke aka Les Rythmes Digitales aka Jacques Lu Cont who is really Stuart Price whose dancetrack Jacques Your Body was such a fun moment in dance music history), Human. Coming across like a offshoot from a collaboration between New Order and U2 (not from the Zooropa era).

And not much sleep.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Why I hope Xiaxue will be proven wrong

Ronald Reagan said that the US will never negotiate with terrorists.

Let me further make it plain to the assassins in Beirut and their accomplices, wherever they may be, that America will never make concessions to terrorists — to do so would only invite more terrorism — nor will we ask nor pressure any other government to do so. Once we head down that path there would be no end to it, no end to the suffering of innocent people, no end to the bloody ransom all civilized nations must pay.

But witness the Iran-Contra scandal. Arms for hostages, anyone?

Gen. Petraeus and McCain seemed to be potential hunting buddies. McCain will not sit down with the leaders of Iran.

Obama will.

"Contrary to the claims of some, I have no interest in sitting down with our adversaries just for the sake of talking. But as President of the United States, I would be willing to lead tough and principled diplomacy with the appropriate Iranian leaders at a time and place of my choosing - if, and only if - it can advance the interests of the United States."

And it seems that Petraeus might. Or has already done so.

I do think you have to talk to enemies.

The General continued,

I'm not trying to get into the middle of domestic politics, but I mean what we did do in Iraq ultimately was sit down with some of those that were shooting at us. What we tried to do was identify those who might be reconcilable.
What happens in a world where there is a single calming hegemonic force is the progress we saw during the Clinton years. And that is why I hope Xiaxue is wrong. But she provided some sanity amidst this clarion call to the church of obama.

Let's see what happens in 2009.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Esplanade is a good thing


Avenue Q this Friday

and Kraftwerk next month.


NICE!

My X'mas!

from audrey kawasaki.

Lessons in life from fishing

They say don't give fish to the hungry. Instead, show them how to use a fishing rod.

I suppose if you give fish to the hungry, you are spoiling them. Because you cannot feed them forever.
Show them how to fish, you are teaching them. But you restrict their creativity.
Tell them that fish can eliminate their hunger. Then motivate and allow them to discover how to fish efficiently. You will then open up something very different from the other options altogether.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Egged

As part of my "are geese altruistic" line of questioning, I have decided to ask this question.


Are humans the only living thing that will intentionally remove their unborn child ie. abortion.

We used to think that humans are the only living thing that will have sex for pleasure. Well, apparently dolphins, swans, elephants and certain species of monkeys do it for "fun" as well. And get this, we are not the only living thing that "rapes". But what about abortion?

When a farmer goes around collecting eggs from the hen house, do the hens weep, assuming they are fertilised?
Will a mother hen intentionally roll her egg (fertilised of course!) down a plank just to abort her baby? Or in a more likely scenario (assuming she wants to abort), she will not incubate her egg?

What will Republicans say?

Friday, November 07, 2008

Best Act Ever!

Guess who won Best Act Ever at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2008?

You're Too Shy To Say It

touché

"The most expensive clothes in the world are those that are too cheap in construction—or too cheap in taste—to permit long-continued use."

- Brooks Brothers

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Lynn's (who wanna be anonymous) interpretation of Jeff Koons' Balloon Dog



Artwork by Lynn (who wanna be anonymous).
Picture of funny dog taken off from here without permission sought.

This is RANT

There is a Japanese city named Obama and is located in Wakasa area of Fukui Prefecture.

If there was a city named McCain, would it change the US Presidential Election results?

We all know that Sarah Palin was chosen as veep for McCain because she is going to be running for Prez in 8 years time. She admitted it. Not a Freudian slip. So in another 8 years, she could either fade into obscurity (Tina Fey on the other hand will still be around) or be running against (you guessed it!) Hilarious Clinton.

Why do we know that Mrs Clinton will be running in that campaign, 4 or maybe 8 years down the road? Well, because Joe Biden was chosen as the veep for Obama that's why. Joe (not the plumber) will be 74 years old when Obama steps down (assuming that he continues for 8 years). Mrs Clinton will be 69 by then. A tad old yes, but certainly not the oldest.

I like the current drama series on Channel 8, By My Side. Fantastic stuff. Renewed my faith in local drama productions. It's as good as the plastic surgery series that had Michelle Chia and Thomas Ong. Beats "Beach.Balls.Babes". I don't see any point in comparing.

I like the way Aids awareness is brought into the living room of Channel 8 viewers. Although Aids is not a homosexual illness, I thought it could enhance the series. But this being Singapore....well.



Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Jeff Koons at Chateau de Versailles

So we took a 1/2 day trip to Chateau de Versailles. Where Sofia Coppola filmed Marie Antoinette.

Weirdest thing was that Jeff Koons was being exhibited within the palace. The first piece I saw was Balloon Dog in one of the rooms. While the others were wondering what was this giant pink metallic dog doing in the middle of a stately 17th Century palace, I immediately thought, "Jeff Koons!".

Balloon Dog

Haha! I'm no art expert but there is something serendipitous about this artwork. And to think that auntie and I were just talking about his famous Balloon Dog days before leaving for Paris. We couldn't remember how it was brought into our conversation but imagine my surprise when I saw it in one of the many halls in the palace.

Balloon Dog

There were plenty more of his works in the other rooms. But none of the raunchy "Made In Heaven" series. If you're not aware of this series, just google it and erm, be mindful that Ilona Staller, a former(?) pornstar/member of parliament (she works hard for her million dollar a month pay) is also Jeff Koons' ex-wife.

Michael Jackson and Bubbles

There were some which looks wrong on many levels. Like this piece of Michael Jackson and his pet chimp Bubbles. Whatever happened to Bubbles anyway? Bubbles is like Andrew Ridgeley (aka the other half of Wham!) during MJ's Dangerous era.

Lobster

Some were even more inane. Like the one above. But strangely, when Lobster is juxtaposed next to the crystal chandelier, it takes on a whole new meaning. Oh! I love the way I used the word "juxtaposed". So artsy.

Moon

I am not a fan of Jeff Koons. Most of his works don't go down well with me. I know pr0n when I see it and pr0n is all over in the Made In Heaven series. But some of his works are really spectacular and make really fantastic public pieces.

Balloon Flower

And pieces like Pink Panther, Ushering In Banality and Bear And Policeman, well, kids love them. In fact, TPY took a picture of Bear And Policeman because he thought that his kids will like it.

Pink Panther

Ushering Into Banality

Bear and Policeman

And who knows, you might some treasure amongst this trove.

Hanging Heart

Such luck.

Monday, November 03, 2008

No time to blog

Just wanted to put up some pictures in here.

Yes, this is THE Paris Hilton. Was staying on the 4th storey and this was the view from the balcony:


As France is the sitting on the EU Presidency from Jul - Dec 2008, the Eiffel Tower was specially lit for this period of 6 months.


And every hour, on the hour, the spectacle is enhanced with thousands of glittering lights (gotta rotate the screen or head...).

video

There was also the amazing french dinners at Philippe et Jean-Pierre, Marius et Janette and Pershing Hall.

More of these later....

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Hilton Suffren

I will check out if the Hilton in Paris (Paris Hilton)

  1. is easy to get into - Yes.
  2. has a wide entrance - Yes, revolving door.
  3. allow entry from the rear door for VIPs - Possibly maybe.
  4. allow double or triple occupancy - Definitely.
  5. charge by the hour - Didn't ask but unlikely.
Be right back with more. Pictures to follow.