SPF – 警徽天职 (C.L.I.F)

If you follow Singapore’s local TV occasionally, you would know that Channel 8 has recently aired a Mandarin drama series named C.L.I.F. This short, 20-episode series depict the life and job of our policemen and law enforcers from the Singapore Police Force (SPF).

clif

Many have criticised that the show feels more like an extended recruitment drive advertisement for the SPF, some have even gone as far as to call it propaganda. But even if it was, is such “propaganda” always bad? Or are we too quick to jump to conclusions and judge near-everything associated with public services as propaganda?

Singapore is well-known to be a safe and secure nation – and I believe many people would agree that alot of the credit for this goes to the SPF (amongst other defense and law enforcement units). Sometimes, just because we don’t see the danger or crime happening, we assume that all’s rosy and that crime seldom happens, if at all. We forget that there are people putting themselves on the frontline to stop or minimise crime, defending our little red dot against crooks and criminals.

Even if the series might have featured some heavy doses of ad-copy-like-lines, I still feel that this show does provide a little more insight into the day-to-day duties of the men/women in blue, as well as, serve as a reminder of what is happening out there and what can possibly happen. Just because it hasn’t happen doesn’t mean it wouldn’t in future. Hopefully, this show will drive home the message that we shouldn’t take security for granted.

Although the series may have many possible areas of improvement, give the show some credit already. At the very least, they don’t seem to be issuing iPads right? 🙂

For more information on CLIF, you can go here.

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Happy 45th, Singapore.

Happy birthday, Singapore.

You’ve done well for yourself thus far, and I sincerely hope that we can become even better for the next 45 years.

Just like any other relationships, I do not think that you’re perfect. You have many aspects that I dislike, and even detest at times, however, you’ve also many fantastic qualities that played critical roles in my growing-up years. Thank you for the safe and stable environment, and sound infrastructure that you’ve provided. I hope that we can continue to improve and enhance our society to become a place where our citizens can all truly feel at home here.

Since it’s our 45th birthday, I thought it might be fun to commemorate this special occasion by highlighting 45 10 things that are uniquely Singapore. (Alright, 45 is just too challenging for a lone task. Contributions anyone?)

1. Singlish

Defined by Wiki as “Singlish, sometimes known in the academic community as Singapore Colloquial English, is an English-based creole language spoken in Singapore“.

For those who want to mingle in with the local crowd, here’s a “useful” guide (just for laughs please):

Singlish much?

Image source: Post entitled “Fly lice, anyone? The love-hate relationship with Singlish” by NLB blog

On a more serious note, the widespread use of Singlish has always been a topic of contention. Supporters take the usage of this self-made language with a pinch of salt, and highlight it as something that’s truly made in Singapore (as opposed to inheriting and localizing a tradition from other regions), while others feel that the use of Singlish is eroding the standard of English language locally. Personally, I’m more aligned to the former. As long as people still maintain their good command of language, and understand when and where it is appropriate to use the different types of languages, I don’t see why Singlish should be discriminated. At the very least, it helps to build a certain level of camaraderie among fellow countrymen, whether here or overseas.

2. Local delicacies, including Chili Crab, Char Kuey Teow, Laksa, Bakuteh

Besides an obvious cultural mishmash, our multiracial population has also given rise to some very exciting mix of cuisine here – Chinese, Cantonese, Teochew, Indian, Japanese (you name it) etc.

Some famous must-try local fare, that even local Singaporeans crave for when they go abroad for extended period, include cholesterol-laden Char Kuey Teow, which has juicy plump cockles (yum yum), Laksa (with the cockles again!), Chili Crab with small, deep fried man-tous, and aromatic Bakuteh (perfect after some hard partying).

Personal favorite picks (imho):

  • Char Kuey Teow: They say Old Airport Road’s hawker centre is good for this, but I’ve not tried it personally. Recommendations welcomed.
  • Laksa: Queensway Shopping Centre – Cheap and good! Get the additional otah as well, perfect companion.
  • Chili Crab (any sort of crabs actually!): Melban at Serangoon, Mister Crab at Ghim Moh
  • Bakuteh: Opposite Central Shopping Centre (at Clarke Quay). Haven’t tried this one personally too, but it’s packing in the crowds, so ought to be good?

Do let me know if you’ve other recommendations on the above, or if you’ll like to help me expand the list.

3. Almost-singular party

Our MIW. ‘Nuff said.

4. National campaigns for everything from family planning to promoting good verbal skills

In 1970s, we had “Stop at Two”, to “Clean & Green” and moving on to the more recent “Speak Good English”, we are definitely goal-oriented, and are highly focused and extremely structured in trying to achieve our objectives – for about anything. 🙂

5. Harmonious melting pot of different ethnic groups sporting multiple languages

Walk along the street, whether in CBD, Orchard, Chinatown, Little India etc, and keep a keen ear out. You’ll probably pick up a myriad of languages and dialects from English, Mandarin, Malay, Tamil to Hokkien, Cantonese, Hainanese etc. Where else do you get all of these on such a tiny island?

6. Enthusiastic pursuit of being world’s “first”s or “best”s in many aspects

We also seem to have a fascination in breaking world records, or winning the world’s best [insert item here]. Changi Airport, “World’s best airport for [insert years here]”, has been one of our greatest pride and joy. Other records that Singapore has achieved include having the largest group participation of country line dancing, world’s fastest text messenger and making the largest mosaic from collected plastic bottles. Oh well.

7.Seemingly ridiculous housing prices

Despite the recent BTO launches, it seems like HDB prices are still going through the roof (no pun intended). A quick check on PropertyGuru, Singapore’s leading property site (according to their website), a 2-bedroom HDB flat in Telok Blangah might set you back by more than SGD800K. It was also recently reported (26 July 2010) that HDB resale prices have set a record high in Singapore. Die lah, how to have a home next time? 😦

8. Chewing gum ban

We’re famous for this! Just Google it.

9. Love for shopping, food and technology (especially gadgets and electronics)

Our shopping districts are world-famous, we have new malls popping up every other month (or so it seems), almost our entire Orchard Road is shadowed by tall shopping centers that flank both sides of the street. According to Uncyclopedia, there are 2.1 million shopping malls in Singapore, or nearly one for every two citizens.

As for technology, it is pretty much self-explanatory – there are PC/electronic fairs held every quarter, and almost every show is packed to the brim with Singaporeans scouring to get the best deals for their laptops, smartphones, lcds, blu-ray player etc.

10. Queuing for Hello Kitty (A typical classic; old but good)

Until now, I still can’t understand why there was such a craze over the mouth-less cat in the past. Why?

***

Was giving this a little more thought – Right now, I’m pretty sure that one of the key issues that citizens are grappling with revolves around the issue of “foreign talents (FT)”. I think many are feeling a little displaced and unsure of what the future will be like, as the ratio of FTs:locals continues to spiral upwards. Taking this into consideration, perhaps it might have been more apt to select Kit Chan’s “Home” as our theme song to promote citizens’ sense of belonging to our home country, no?

Or maybe, I’m just bias as “Home” remains one of my favorite National Day songs. To me, the song, especially the lyrics (in both English and Chinese versions) come across as heartfelt, sincere and not the least pretentious.

For those of you that like it as much as I do, here you go again. 🙂

Post-AWARE Saga

I’m sure that, by this time, most of you would be aware that the no-confidence motion has been passed, with the Old Guards being restored as the ex-co of AWARE. Although I wasn’t able to be there in person at Suntec on Saturday, I followed the entire proceedings closely via Twitter. Watching post-event videos of the EOGM, I can only imagine the level of tension and emotions that run throughout the course of the meeting.

Yes, the AWARE saga has come to an end and needless to say, I’m pleased with the outcome.

1 for equality, 0 for discrimination.

However, the end of this saga is only the beginning of the ex-co’s work now. The brand new ex-co, led by Dana Lam, and the work that they do, would be scrutinized more closely than ever, especially after their enormous surge in membership in these past few weeks. I sincerely hope that they will live up to their promises to promote gender equality for all, creating an environment for women that is pro choice and inclusive.

That aside, I think this AWARE saga is also a fantastic case study to examine the role and impact of the new media. Through virtual word-of-mouth,websites, blogs, Facebook and Twitter, the Old Guard had quickly made their side of the story heard by the online masses. By communicating and promoting awareness of their situation and challenges, they were able to garner the support of many within an extremely short period of time – such is power and dynamic nature of new media and its tools.

This saga has showcased the might of virtual communication and online communities. As much as you and I might think that this is a good development, I’m sure there are those that are kept awake at night thinking how this could work for or against them, and what steps they can take to mitigate this risk. Wait and see.


Save AWARE

I’ve been back from Cambodia since the second week of March, but work and life, in general, as kept me away. Despite the busy schedule, I’ve kept up with news and happenings of the blogosphere. With much disgust, I’ve been closely following the developments that were unfolding in the AWARE saga thus far. I’ve read numerous articles on traditional media, dailies, blog posts and tweets.

As a woman, here’s how I feel about this:

Amazed, Disgust, Consoled

I’m thoroughly amazed – amazed at the level of deceit that has played out in this entire saga, right from the planned and callously calculated takeover, amazed at the type of comments the new exco seemed to have expressed during their hastily called-for press conference and amazed that these people are actually respected and successful professionals in their respective fields.

Next came disgust. I’m disgusted at how some people can proclaim God’s name to deploy such questionable tactics. Although I’m no formal Christian, but I have an enormous amount of respect and belief for the religion, being educated in mainly missionary schools throughout my schooling years. And I still do maintain my stand on this. The AWARE saga is not about religion, it’s about some selected group of people exercising their perceived sense of “self righteousness” to discriminate against a certain group of minorities. This is about discrimination.

Amidst all the bullshit, I’ve found solace in one thing – that I’ve seen many speak up, voicing their thoughts, their views, their opinions with regards to this issue. Of course, to be honest, most of what I’ve seen go in favor of the old guards, of which I heartily agree (if it’s already not obvious to you now). I do, however, feel a tinge of regret: Why does it take such an incident to wake us up from our apathy?

Don’t take it from us. Go, look at the information, look at what both parties (new exco and old guards) are saying, and make an informed decision about who you think best personifies what AWARE should stand for.

Remember, AWARE was formed to protect women’s rights and equality. Save it, protect it, preserve it. For more information, please read: http://www.we-are-aware.sg/

You can make a difference.

Make your choice at the EOGM on 2 May 2009. Refer to the above website for further details.

Singapore bank supports anti-gay efforts – possibly encouraging social discrimination?

I’ve always known that homosexuality is a sensitive issue in Singapore, since a large majority of the general public still might subscribe and/or adhere to more conservative traits and perceptions. Fortunately, most of these people are also broad-minded enough to accept the possibility that people might be or can be different – hence, discrimination isn’t rampant – especially amongst the younger generation.

However, I am extremely appalled and deeply disturbed to find that one of our Singapore bank seems to be supporting anti-gay efforts by a “supposedly charitable organization with religious links” to spread the Christmas cheer. Irony, i suppose, will be an understatement here.

Find the full story HERE.

Here are my questions after reading this:

To the alleged Singapore bank

  • Are you positioning yourself to be an enterprise that is associated with anti-gay sentiments?
  • As a reputable organization, are you NOT prone to check and verify the status/reputation of other organizations that you associate yourself with?
  • Are you aligning yourself to a particular religion and are you insulating that that particular religion holds certain perceptions with respect to sexual orientation?
  • If there was any mis-communication involved, why are you not stepping forward to make clarifications? Do you think that quoting a un-named spokesperson is sufficient to clarify these issues?
  • Do you recognize the fact that you can possibly be creating social discrimination on some level?

Until this issue is clarified or resolved, I would definitely stop using the alleged bank’s services and would encourage other friends to do the same.

Corporate responsibility – step up to it.