This is more than just homework..

are we spoilt? are we spoiling them?
October 24, 2010, 3:06 pm
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Most of us love to be loved and pampered with gifts; but is our generation receiving way too much of it that it comes to a point that the older generation looks at us and feel that we are very much spoilt? Our generation is indeed fortunate, that we were not born in the WWII era, that we lead such lavish and well safeguarded lifestyles. Knowing nothing about the pain of going through a war and facing life and death situations, we are bound to take whatever we have for granted and not shifting out of our comfort zone.

In today’s newspaper (Oct 24 2010), there was this article under the Special Report section of The Sunday Times, namely “Starting Young”, that talked about teens living the high life. The article talks about teens and their daily expenditure on material goods, that are, in my opinion, not necessities in life but they managed to make them one. One 19-year old was being interviewed by the Straits Times and what she said truly shocked me. The interviewee, known as Rachel claims that she spends about $6000 a month solely on shopping. She said: “If my mother can afford it and buys it for me, i will accept it. If I cant afford it, i wont buy it.” Sounds logical, but what shocks me is the product on its own. She was talking about a $5000 valued Chanel bag that her mother bought for her. $5000 could be a monthly salary for many people and for Rachel’s mother to splurge on her would probably be acceptable if Rachel was a well-working adult with a steady income, however, Rachel happens to be just a 19-year old girl probably still studying.

Many may say that lifestyles of each individual teen differs from each other due to their family backgrounds and their living environments and it is not up to us to judge and assess based on what they do or own. However, if we compare our current lifestyles to that of what our forefathers lived, we could easily conclude that our generation is spoilt and pampered. I believe we are allowed to pamper ourselves and enjoy once in awhile, not constantly. What we are experiencing now is an increase of teenagers looking to please their carnal desires, not necessarily at the expense of their parent’s hard work, but to easily spend their money without battering an eyelid would be very much revoking than admirable.

There are still parents around that instill good habits and make sure they do not spoil their kids, but those numbers are dwindling and steadily decreasing as more young adults that are influenced by this phenomenon take the place as parents. Does this lead to our society being a spoilt and pampered one sooner or later? I hope that such lifestyles will not take over the entire society just yet.


and the English-Singlish debate continues..
October 17, 2010, 2:49 pm
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The website above is a forum under Straits Times, that discusses about the never ending debate between English and Singlish. The debate was sparked off by Dr Lee who put today’s context into Marx’s analogies. However, i feel that Dr Lee has a very shallow perception of Singlish. To me, i can safely say that Singlish has become the ‘mother tongue’ of Singapore. It is a language that can only be understood among locals and anyone that resides outside this tiny red dot would not catch a word we are talking about. Just because it is not a lingo that is understood internationally, it does not mean that we should just chuck it all aside.

Many campaigns have been set up to promote proper English speaking in our country. Most of us would have noticed that in the past, or even the present, many advertisements are about proper English speaking, ones that use many celebrities to showcase their fluent and error-free grammatical prowess. Indeed there is a need to promote such globally recognized communicative language, of course for a good purpose, to be able to communicate with the world, simple as that.

However, the argument that Dr Lee brought about proves himself to be the least “Singaporean-like”, if he was a Singaporean to start with. With our multilingual and cosmopolitan ethnicity, we have brought about what is termed as “Singlish”, also known as the Singaporean-English. Natives would be familiar with lingos like “Lah, Loh, Meh” mixed up with some Chinese dialects as well as Malay. This just goes to show how inter-connected our culture has become. This proves that the history of Singlish itself was originated from not one nor two, but from all the races that are in Singapore! Why would we want to abolish our very own culture and creation, which happens to point towards it being our national identity? There is pride in using such language and of course, an extend of familiarity between natives using Singlish. That in itself would be a plus point in preserving Singlish, a major one in fact.

Ardent defenders of our home-brewed language, only recognized by our own native people, would choose to defend not because they are not able to embrace the global language of English in its full form, as seen in the comments regarding the article posted by Dr Lee. The English-Singlish debate has thrown up a vociferous group defending the use of Singlish. However, this group seems to be made up of people who are able to speak (or at least write) excellent English when they choose to.

Yes there is a need to speak proper English when its needed, like communicating with tourists, meetings and of course, educational purposes as well. I support Dr Lee’s argument in using Singlish appropriately, but definitely not abolishing it.

All in all, the main reason to preserve Singlish, is that this very lingo that we have created is very close to our hearts and it defines us as Singaporeans, it being a national identity. Its nothing to be shameful about because other countries actually do have their own lingo, countries like Canada and Australia, yet they have nothing to be shameful about. We can use Singlish, but we must know when and where to use it.

better late than never, does not work all the time..
October 10, 2010, 10:47 am
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Being the host of the Youth Olympic Games 2010, Singaporeans should have known better than to be late to register for their finals in the Commonwealth Games this year. The Singapore men’s 4x200m freestyle relay team was disqualified from their final as they missed the allocated time for the registration. It is not a matter of who is at fault and start pointing fingers, but more of the importance of the game to the entire team. It is not just the responsibility of the coach to be on time, but the participants themselves to take responsibility of the competition they are competing.

The Singapore team is not new to the procedure, but have taken traffic in Delhi, a unfamiliar place, for granted. Knowing full well that the registration closes at 3pm, head coach Ang Peng Siong still chose to leave the Games Village and 2.45 pm, and even estimated the travelling time to be 20-30 minutes. His excuse for departing later than he should was, “I wanted to hand in as late as possible in case of injuries so i could make changes to the line-up.” Undeniably, I felt that his excuse was unacceptable as instead of antipating an injury to take place, it is the head coach and the participants responsibility to take good care of their body and health hours before the competition. Furthermore, Ang took the grace period of the submission for granted, and even had the mentality to fall back on this grace period to get them to compete in finals.

To me, although the stress that Ang was facing did contibute to his inability to manage the team, however, these are the responsibilities that he has to uptake in order for him to be head coach. 4 promising swimmers was enthrusted under his care, yet due to his carelessness, he deprived the boys of such a valuable experience. No matter how tough the situation was, he has to be able to think clearly and make the best decisions on his swimmers behalf. The long wait at the venue for their competition should nto be the pressing issue, getting a confirmed spot in the finals for the boys was. However, not all fingers should be pointed to Ang as the boys should have voiced out when they knew they were running late.

Do we all sometimes take time for granted? Thinking that time would stand still  and wait for us. Knowing that there was a grace period does not necessarily mean you should use it. Do we all take grace periods to deadlines for granted, hoping that by a sheer of luck we could push back the deadlines? To me, deadlines are deadlines for a reason. When we expected to complete something by this deadline, we should strictly adhere to it and not hope for a grace period. The deadlines set are reasonable and even if they weren’t, we should have voiced out our opinion when the deadlines were first set. No excuse, valid or not, can cover up for it. When it is time to face the music of our delayed reaction, we just have to face it head on and admit our mistake. I hope not only the swim team but all other teams for any major games, in this aspect, would respect punctuality and learn from this heartbreaking mistake made by the Singapore team.

The passing of a great lady
October 2, 2010, 5:49 pm
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Lady Kwa Geok Choo, as seen here with MM Lee Kuan Yew

As the entire of our country would have known, this evening marks the passing on of one of the greatest ladies in Singapore, lady Kwa Geok Choo, wife of our Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and mother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. She suffered two strokes in May and June 2008, and was bedridden and unable to speak, but remained conscious and able to understand speech. She passed away on 2nd October 2010 at the age of 89.

I would like to express my deepest condolences for the loss of a wife to a great man whose contributions to Singapore are countless, and a wonderful mother to a promising prime minister that has also given much, and still giving to our country.

Behind every successful man, there’s a great woman.ALthough little has been said about her contributions, The things she has done for the family, more so the country as well, is very much worth mentioning.

Being the wife of a man that raised Singapore from what it was left after WWII was no easy feat. As wives, sharing burdens of their husbands is a known thing to everyone. The burden that our MM Lee Kuan Yew carried was not something small, it was monumental. It is indeed respectable for Lady Kwa Geok Choo to brave through the trying periods with MM Lee Kuan Yew. Her support as a wife played a great deal of influence to who MM Lee is today. The decisions he had to make were not the what-to-eat-later kind of decisions but decisions that would impact a whole country. And I am sure Madam Lee was not only his wife, his best friend, but also someone whom he could seek advice from and confide in. It is therefore, evident that Madam Lee played a pivotal role in Singapore’s growth. Braving through the good and the tough times with MM Lee, Madam Lee, to me, displayedher support and love for MM Lee, not a challenge that every woman can go through.

In this very year, we have seen a few deaths of prominent figures in our society like Goh Keng Swee and of course, Lady Kwa Geok Choo. Will the future dwindle for Singapore as more of these figures slowly step down from the rostrum and retire, or would we ride on our forefather’s cornerstone and hopes for the country and continue to progress? To me, it is no doubt that these great role models have left behind a legacy, but they have done their part in building Singapore up to what it is today. It is now the duty of this generation to carry on this legacy and not throw our forefather’s efforts down the drain.

Create awareness yet many unaware
September 26, 2010, 9:54 am
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Many Singaporeans not aware of World Car—Free Day initiative

Just like for everyone else, Wednesday was just another typical school day for me. It was only until I open my internet browser and the report on World Car-Free Day on the default xinmsn browser caught my attention. The perpetually jam-packed Clementi road proved the indifference of people to such a day.

Wednesday marked the World Car-Free Day. A day where Singaporeans are encouraged to cycle, walk, or take public transport instead of driving their own car. Although this initiative is theoretically successful, but in reality, the results are disappointing. The awareness they tried to create was responded by indifference and ignorance. Only a handful of people are unaware and do their part to save this depleting planet. Such a person was Jennifer Oh who chose a 1 hour cycling journey compared to a 20 minutes drive to her workplace. Although it was no doubt admirable of such enthusiast to cycle to work,  it is however only 1 out of 365 days that she cycles to work and, when measured, it saves less than one out of a million gallons of petrol.

This draws me to argue that shouldn’t such an awareness be a whole year round and not just a one day attempt? In fact, it should be a lifestyle and natural instinct to save Mother Nature and not be forced upon us. But at this day and age, it is nearly impossible for people to give two hoots about Mother Nature. With rising consumerism and other nonsense, saving the environment is the last thing one everyone’s mind. I’m sure many would not mind paying a few cents more for supermarkets to provide plastic bags for our groceries as long as it convenient for us.

To me, there is not way we can revert back to the days where there was abundance of crude oil and what seems like a never ending flow of natural resources. However, there is still a need to reinforce the need to use such scarce resources wisely and sparingly. We cannot stop people from driving their cars in which they spent tens of thousands on and take public transport. Instead, to further encourage such an initiative, it should not stop at publicizing but to take a step further to incorporate miscellaneous companies for  more active participation on such a day. For example, imagine a whole company of let’s say,  500 employees cycling to work and the impact it would make to all other working adults in Shenton Way. In this way, it is no longer an attempt to create awareness but a statement for the whole of Singapore to follow.

celebrities with not much to celebrate about…
September 19, 2010, 12:09 pm
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None of us can deny that we are unaware of a celebrity’s life.  In fact, their life achievements and failures whether big or small are published on papers globally. Although not for all celebrities, many of them succumb to the temptations in the industry, sex, drugs and alcohol. Examples of such superstars are Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, where reports of them involved in felony were made recently.

What shocked me was not their excessive and abnormal involvement in drugs but how it always seems that their punishment is never as severe as their crime. For instance, Paris Hilton was arrested for the possession of drugs, yet she was given a plea deal which included a fine that is worth lesser than her Prada bag, 200 hours of community service and a drug abuse program. The least I thought the authorities could do was to impose a higher fine since money would not be a issue for Hilton, or at least a compulsory punishment and not one in which she can avoid. Why should Hilton be given a another chance yet first time offenders face heavier chargers in which they have no choice but to complete? True that drug laws in America is much more relaxed compared to Singapore, however it is not Hilton’s first offence. Therefore, technically speaking,  shouldn’t Hilton’s punishment be heavier since she has repeatedly broken the laws and given many chances to repent?

Hilton is not the only example, Lindsay Lohan is another example of a celebrity who receives ‘better treatment’  when on trial. Currently she is facing the possibility of being thrown back into jail for breaching her bail terms in her previous offence. Lohan too has had previous records of felony but yet her previous jail term has been shortened due to the excuse of jail overcrowding. It never occured to me that a jail could be overcrowded and even if i were to close an eye to such a flimsy excuse, Lohan’s sentence should not be shortened without a replacing punishment. In that case, why can’t another regular offender’s jail term be shortened to fit hers?

Undeniably, superstars are given endless chances to redeem themselves, so much so that even when the verdict is already decided upon, it can be easily changed into something lighter so as not to put them out of their comfort zone. Celebrities are humans too and its normal that they make mistakes, but like any other person, they should pay for the mistake they made, accordingly. Such exceptions for celebrities makes me really question what makes us different from them, apart from their fame.

never ending chase
September 10, 2010, 9:36 am
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Recently, a friend of mine was raving to me about the release of the latest ipod nano, in which i was obviously unaware of, and how much he wanted to buy it. No offence to anyone else out there who are eager to get the nano, but dont all ipods whether nano, shuffle or touch serve the same purpose, to listen to great music. Maybe not the same for the itouch as it includes games and tons of other applications that could kill time on a one and half hour bus journey to school. But my friend’s enthusiasm on the latest ipod nano, activated my neurons. The questions that immediately popped out was, will there ever be an end to this chase for the latest technology? Is the current technology not convenient enough for us that we constantly need to upgrade to something lighter, faster and smaller? 

I arrived to my conclusion almost immediately, knowing that there will never be an end to this chase. We have to admit we no longer live in a stone age and thus can no longer use the caveman era as a comparison to our current technological state. So are our expectations on technology are undeniably higher. It is not that the current inventions are not good enough, but it is the greedy nature of humans that we all desire for something better, more convenient, faster, to keep up in this fast paced rat race. I, myself, am guilty of such material desires. Then again, who isn’t? As much as I would like to depend on such technologies, it has already beome a part of us and without it, we are lost. Take for instance the cellphone, can anyone live without a cellphone for a day? I’m making a wild guess that 9 out of 10 would be unable to live without their cellphone. I used to think I was the oddball that cold live without my cellphone. Until one day, I left my poor cellphone alone at home an was uncontactable for a day. The pain of being able to borrow a phone but cannot remember the number is horrible. And the cellphone is just one of the many technological inventions that we rely on. Truth is, we need technology. It is no longer a choice as we are surrounded by technology and depend on it, whether we like it or not. I am pretty sure no one can remember those days without computer, cellphones and ipods. Instead of looking back and reminisce those old school, handwritten messgaes days, everyone is looking forward to the next launch of a possible of the coolest, fastest gadget. Like I said, it is a never ending chase.