30 November 2007

Don't Ya Love Flowers?

Did I mention that I tried developing the green thumb? No, I'm not turning into the Incredible Hulk... the Incredible Sulk, maybe but certainly not the Hulk.

I tried planting my own flowers. Had wanted to do that years ago but my neighbour beats me to it. Now, his "lease" expired.. oh rather he gave up. So now, the sun facing corridor is made available and it's my turn now.

Here's the results of our efforts. Nice?

I'm actually quite fond of flowers. So in most overseas trips, I would snap pictures of flowers whenever the opportunity arises. I also realised that flowers are the most beautiful in their natural form... and not in a bouquet. Here's some of them that I took in my previous trip to Hokkaido. I promised someone out there that I would show these pictures to her... long long ago, sorry there. It really took me a long time to show these picures :p

I'll leave you to admire these flowers now. BTW, sorry for the bad layout... just can't get this blog to cooperate...

27 November 2007

The Importance of Responsible Media

I was in a course relating to safety management. In one of the case studies, we looked at the Uberlingen Mid Air Collision involving Bashkirian Airline and DHL aircrafts. Everyone, all 71 of them (45 were school children), on both of these aircrafts died.

I will not discuss the details of the findings from the investigations and certainly not point at who is to be blamed for this tragedy. You can perhaps find a lot more details from the internet. However, I would like to draw your attention to the role media or rather the consequences when media reports irresponsibly.

What happened immediately after the mid air collision was that the media went in to cover the news. Some media, without establishing the facts, reported irresponsibly that the fault lies on the air traffic controller. Such kinds of media thrives on "spicing" up the events to win readership afterall. That eventually became a contributing factor to the air traffic controller being murdered by another man who lost his entire family (wife and 2 children) in that accident.

Media has a very important role when reporting cases like these. If they are not sensitive to the emotions and reactions of their readers/viewers, they could easily invoke another tragedy to happen. In this particular case, not only was the media (the irresponsible ones) insensitive, they made bias judgement even before the official investigation team concluded their findings and recommendations for improvements on safety.

A similar case happened closer at home during the 1950s(?) when the media was not sensitive to the local and religious sentiments which resulted in the Mariah Hertogh Riots.

From these two incidents, it led me to think that media must not only be objective, media has to be sensitive to the reaction of their readers. This also serves as a reminder to me that I too, have to exercise some control over what I write because what I write can be viewed by anyone. You'll never know who actually reads your blog.

18 November 2007

Do The Right Thing

Heard about this from a friend and found it the net.

"An elderly man was trying to find a place to sit and observe the Olympic Games, as he went to each section. All the other Greeks laughed as he tried to make his way through. Some ignored him. Upon entering the Spartan section all the Spartans stood and offered the elderly man their seats. Suddenly the entire stadium applauded. All the Greeks knew what was the right thing to do, but the Spartans were the only ones who did it." (here)

During my Sec 1 days, a thought struck me. It seems to me that Singaporeans are sucker for rules and authority. Everything that we do (or should not do) must come with some form of written rule from the relevant authority. Now, I'm not saying obeying rules are bad. Rules are necessary to ensure things run smoothly, in the broadest sense. However, what I found strange was that some people regard the absence of rules meant endorsement of anything else that the rules did not cover, or the presence of rules meant endorsement of every privileges that may come with it... regardless of what common sense or moral values tell them. It's like saying,

"Oh...there's no regulations that says I must give up my seats to the elderlies so why must I do that?" or

"Oh, as a pedestrain I have the right of way at the zebra crossings. Motorists must keep a lookout for me and give way to me. I can take my own sweet time."

This thought came to me at a time when I observed a bunch of kids making a ruckus at the void deck. An elderly man, who was not related to these kids (except they're of the same race), told them sternly that their behavior was unruly and unbecoming. The kids quietened and left for the playground eventually, restoring peace to the neighbourhood. Initially I thought to myself that the elder had no authority nor responsibilities over the kids. What if those kids turned around and challenged him "Who do you think you are?!" Would it not be better if he informed the parents of the kids or the police or Town Council to let THEM handle those unruly kids? Afterall, these people can exercise some form of authority over these kids but not the elderly. However, comonsense and cultural values also tells me that elderlies are to be respected. Moreover, he did the socially correct thing and that was to tell those kids to respect the neighbours. He didn't need a warren card or a letter of authority issued by a Minister or Commissioner of Police to do that. He did what is socially and morally right of an elder... to educate the children.

From that moment on, whenever I notice something not so right, I asked myself if that particular situation require the relevant "authorities" (including parents, teachers etc) to step in and make some rules. I was a "young adult" or "old child" (depends on how you look at it) and should start to take on more responsibilities. Instead of "Teacher! Teacher! He took my rubber!" or "Mommy, mommy, he called me a monkey!", I started to approach my classmate directly and say "If you need to borrow my eraser, you could have asked and I'll be more than willing to lend it to you" or "Mind you, I am not a monkey. I am an ape, Orang Utan. To be scientifically correct, I am a Pongo Pygmaeus."

But of course, if I was up against gangsters who are out to wallop me... I would still run to teacher and yell, "Teacher! Teacher! Ang Kong Beng want to wallop me!" and the teacher would go "Mata, mata! Got Ah Beng want to beat my student!" There are times when the relevant authorities have to step in. Don't try to be a hero when you do not have laser eyes and wear your red underwear outside like Superman.

If you know you are doing something right and not harming anybody (including yourself), do you really need some figure of authority to support you and make some rules? All the time? In every situations?

I end this post with a short clip (here). The stand up comedian is Peter Russell... the way he said "Do The Right Thing" is hilarious.

15 November 2007

This Used To Be My Playground

We used to play here. It was near the block where my gandma stayed. All landscape that you see in the picture are gone now. This was our "kampung". On any festive occassion, all the relatives would gather at my grandparents' place. The adults would play socialise over mahjong, coffee or talk about whatever topics adults talked about. The children would gather downstairs and play. Once in a while, an uncle would showoff his camera and snapped pictures of us. I suppose this was taken during the Chinese New Year period or we wouldn't have dressed so nicely.

Notice the drain on the left? My cousin and I would arm ourselves with slippers or sticks when night falls. We would scout the drain for cockroaches and *smack*... NEA would have been proud of us :p

Also, note the phone booth and the phone inside. That phone was the second generation. I can still recall the first generation is a green phone with dialling disc... yes disc and not pad. The type where you need to dial the numbers one at a time... to let the disc roll back before you can dialthe next.

If I do recall clearly, we were the only children that roam this place frequently. There were a couple of households with less than a handful of children staying in that block but none of them managed to gather as many children (or grandchildren) as my grandparents. Games we used to play include Catching, Tua Beh Long (Big Road), Zero Point, Hop Scotch and a lot more. The eldest chap in the picture is my brother...the eldest grandson. He was the one who came out with most of the games. A very innovative person who improvised games and tools with used items.

We had so much fun and now we've all grown up and most of us are parents ourselves.

07 November 2007

I Must Remind Myself

Sorry folks... it's been a terrible day. Skip this if you don't want to feel miserable. I don't want to talk about this anymore after post so comments off. I just want to let it out of my chest and enjoy my holiday.

I must remind myself to keep my mouth shut... the only time when I should open my mouth is to say "I'm sorry, it's my fault, I'm to be blamed"

I must remind myself not to give opinion... except when my opinion is to fully support my boss' opinion

I must remind myself not to offer explanations... I can never have explanations, only excuses

I must remind myself to eat my humble pie... sorry, I don't even deserve a humble pie

I must remind myself of my place and position in the corporate ladder... that is the bottom where all shit flows

I must remind myself I have nothing to offer except my labour... until a scapegoat is needed

05 November 2007

Day and Night

Day and Night are as natural as Sun and Moon

While dawn signals the start of day and end of night
Dusk announces the beginning of night and end of day

Some enjoy the warmth from the sun
Other appreciates the tranquility of the moon

In day, we see the forever changing clouds
At night, we visualize the permanent constellations

Day shows us the colours of the mountains and flowers
Night gives us the sounds of waves and crickets

Day and Night are as natural as Sun and Moon
Why should we welcome one with open arms and shun the other