23 November 2010

Mas Selamat Took Shelter With Brother's Family

In the Ministerial Statement by the Minister For Home Affairs (see here)

"Mas Selamat escaped from WRDC on 27 Feb 2008. Two days later, on 29 Feb 2008, he made his way to his brother Asmom’s home in Tampines to seek shelter and assistance from his grown-up niece, Nur Aini bte Asmom."

Ape finds it hard to believe that no surveillance has been placed on Mas Selamat's immediate family members.

When questioned by MPs in parliament (read here), the answer given by the Minister was that

"... taking into account his family members, which numbered more than a hundred, and with contacts they number many more. I don't want to go into details on what surveillance was done because they are really operational security matters and it is not in the interest of our country for us to disclose these matters." (TODAYonline)

Fine. No details on all the surveillance for security reasons. How about just revealing the surveillance on Asmon's (Mas Selamat's brother) family? Was there surveillance on him? Yes? No?

The Minister also mentioned that investigations were conducted on a few hundred people including Mas Selamat's extended family members. In particular, Asmom was interviewed by ISD on March 3, a few days after Asmom had given refuge to Mas Selamat in his home yet Asmon was able to keep his cool and did not reveal anything with regards to his harbouring of Mas Selamat. The investigation at that point did not warrant any further actions.

" ... you get the best results when you know some of the facts and you are able to corner the person. I had pointed out in my statement that the intelligence at that point in time did not warrant us to take any other view other than that what Asmom was saying was accurate." (TODAYonline)

Ape wonders what new evidence has surfaced that allows the investigation to corner Asmon and his family. Mas Selamat's own admission?

17 May 2010

Society & Ape

ape was blog browsing and came across this particular posting by angry doc. angry doc titiled his posting "Elite-basing" and was relating to an article by Sandra Leong "Scoring High In Grades But Not In Values".

"... the pursuit of intellectual excellence to the exclusion of character or value excellence breeds an exclusionary attitude to the rest of society. Many of the products of our top schools forget they have to give back to the society that allowed them so many opportunities." Sandra Leong

"What is implied there is that people who are successful owe a debt to society, and that if they refuse to "give back" to society, there is something faulty with their character or values system.

But angry doc would like to ask: who in society is calling for this debt to be repaid? On whose behalf is Ms Leong calling for elites to "give back"? What makes us think that we are entitled to the time, effort, or the fruits of the labour of those in society who have succeeded?" angry doc

ape had a dream on that very night after ape read these two articles. ape met a being who called itself "society". However, ape couldn't really determine if ape met one or two of them who chose to call itself (or themselves) "society" because it appeared to ape that it was the same yet different being. However, there's something about the dream that ape wanted to leaf it down into KinJioLeaf.


ape: "Who are you?"

society: "Society"

ape: "OK.... but what are you really?"

society: "I'm the one who provides for you to be an elite!"

ape: "But I'm not..."

society: "You are because I say so! You went to an elite school. You have a decent paying job. You've paid off your housing loan."

ape: "That hardly makes me an elite. I only spent four years in an elite school. I'm not a scholar. I'm staying in an HDB flat..."

society: "You are because I say so, so stop denying."

ape: "OK... if you insist." ape wasn't quite sure what this meeting was all about but being in ape's nature to be helpful, ape asked "Is there anything I can do for you?"

society: "Ha! You've finally wised up. Yes, what can you do for me!"

ape: "I don't know... not be a burden to you? Do my job, feed my family, just follow law?"

society: "Not good enough. What about me? Can't you build roads, produce good policies, donate more to charity, help the poor, find housing for them, get more workers, kick out the foreigners, form a new government, arrest the rabble rousers, lock up the gays, give more freedom, uphold democracy, respect human rights, create jobs, build cheaper public housing, ensure property does not collapse..."

ape: "Wait, wait, wait... that's a lot to ask of me!"

society: "I don't care. You're an elite!"

ape: "I didn't say I am. You said it. Even if I am an elite, why should I?"

society: "Because I made you so. I am the infrastructure, education, etc... I'm the opportunities that make you who you are now. So it's time to pay back. To return what you owe."

ape: "But I'm not an elite!" (society was about to retort but ape cut him off since he is getting on ape's nerves) "OK. Cool down. Let's just say hypothetically I am an elite"

society: "You are!"

ape: "OK, I am since you say so. Isn't the infrastructure, education, the opportunities you mentioned offered to everyone? Since ape manages to do better than the rest...hypothetically, due to ape's own hard work and efforts, isn't ape entitled to whatever benefits that comes with ape's success and remain ape's own rights to whom ape wants to share the benefits? To whom do I owe this success? My parents who worked hard to bring me up. I'm not saying I am going to deny you but I don't see how I owe you? Whatever I have achieved so far is on one part due to my own efforts and another from my parents and the many mentors who guided me all these years. You make it sound like I owe you a debt. Do I?"

society: "You do!"

ape: "So if I refuse to study, refuse to work. Laze around and do nothing and become YOU, I can make demands that the "elite" must provide for me?"

society: "You'll never become me! I am the infrastructure, education... THE opportunities... not some lazy bum like you!"

ape: "See! I told you I'm not an elite. You've just admitted I'm a lazy bum so don't make demands on me."

society: "Don't try to play "elite" with me or you'll suffer! You just wait and see. I'll be waiting for you and hound you like an Ah Long if you don't pay back!" (ape was totally lost at this point and wonders how is he going to wait and yet hound on ape).

Whatever, ape was jolted out of his sleep and had to visit the bushes. After ape has... er... watered the plants, ape went back to sleep, not quite sure if he wanted to meet "Society" again in his sleep... (to be cont'd)

society: "Hi ape!"

ape: "Er... hi." (ape noticed something seems kinder in his tone and demeanor but can't help checking him out apprehensively for pig head or red paint)

society: "You look worried. Don't be."

ape: "Who are you?"

society: "Society"

ape: "Have you come to collect "debts" from me?"

society: "Debts?!?! What do you owe me?"

ape: "You don't? I thought... never mind. Is there anything I can do for you?" (ape fell back into his usual self)

society: "What will you do to me?" *dismayed* ape knew it! Pay back time! and ape wasn't paying attention to the choice of words society used.

ape: "... ... "

society: "... ... haven't really decided? Don't worry. Take your time. In actual fact, you've started doing something for me."

ape: "I did?"

society: "Yes. You have a job. You take care of your family. You did not upset me. You did not create unrest. All these are good enough."

ape: "Anyone could have done what ape did so it's really nothing worth mentioning... and we certainly don't need an elite to do all these."

society: "Who said anything about Elite? What is Elite?"

ape: "Nevermind. Who are you really? You don't seem to be the same "society" I met earlier."

society: "I don't know who you met earlier but certainly not me. Who am I? I am a product of you! I am you!"

ape: "Me?"

society: "You, people around you, people before you, people after you. I am who you make me out to be. I'm a product of you yet I am you. Enough about me... or you... or us. I'm more interested about what you will do."

ape: "Er... haven't really decided but since you seemed to like what ape has done so far, perhaps ape will maintain the status-quo until ape can decide. Ape is not quite smart so ape may take quite a long time" ape was actually confused and didn't want to make too much a commitment.

society: "Don't worry. Take your time. You'll know when you know. People who take their time tends to come out with better ideas. Sometimes, the smart ones, even with good intentions, moves too fast and hurts me more than those who take their time to plan. Of course there are those who think that they can destroy me but ends up hurting themselves more. I exist because you exist because I exist because we exist." ape is scratching his head and all over his body at this point... going bananas and totally confused.

ape: "So you're not the infrastructure, education... THE opportunities that provided for me to be who I am now and I do not owe you and need not do anything for you in return?"

society: "ape, you can confusing me." (Walao! Who is confusing who?) "Let me put it this way. You can say I am the infrastructure, education... THE opportunities who provided for you to be who you are now but who made me this way? You! OK, if you are particular about this since I know you are a technician by training and tends to think very straight. Your predecessors made me this way. If you do feel obliged to return the favour, or what you call "returning a debt", the obvious thing is to leave a legacy like what they did so that your successors can continue to do the same for their successors and so on. Let me put it in another way. I exist because you exist and I'll cease when you cease. However, who I am and what I am going to be will depend on you. I can give you a bloody big headache if you make me to be one. I can make you achieve things you never imagine if you make me to be one."

ape: "Wow! ape didn't know he has so much influence on society. ape thought it is only the elite who can influence you."

society: "Ape talk about Elite again. What is Elite? Anyway, ape alone cannot have so much influence lah. The act of a single person or even a small group of people may give me goosebumbs of fear or elation but I recover pretty fast if the whole is intact. I cannot be destroyed unless you cease to exist. However, I can change drastically depending on what you do to me. If you make me bad, I'll be and it is going to take more effort to make me good. If I am good, you can make me better. Do you know how easy it is to make me bad? Just ignore me. Want to give it a try. Ignoring me won't make me go away. I'll just turn bad and give you a bloody nose. When it reaches the point of no return, I'll destroy you and myself."

ape: "Isn't that suicide?"

society: "Yes. It is suicidal of you to ignore me or take me for granted."

ape: "ape is just a small fry. What can ape do? Isn't the care and development of you the responsibilities of the government, the smart people, the rich... the er, elite?"

society: "HAHAHAHAHAHA! So this is what you mean by elite. Ape is giving too much credit to these 'elite'. They do have a certain amount of influence on me no doubt, just like anyone else. However, I am the sum of you, all of you. You alone, the government alone, the smart, the rich or the Eeeeeelite you mentioned, operating alone may give me moments of joy or depression but to change me takes the effort of everyone. Boleh?"

ape: "Hmmmm. OK. Back to basics. Since you, society, is me, the people around me, people before me, people after me. You must have the experience and wisdom of everyone, ya?"

society: "Yeap... and the stupidity."

ape: "Can you tell me, what can I do to make you better? Or at least make sure you don't turn bad? I mean, after talking to you, you seem fine and jolly and helpful so I assume you must be good now but then again you could be creating an elaborate scheme to trap me and give me a bloody headache and perhaps ape is thinking too much and ... "

society: "Ape, ape, you're talking bananas. Focus, focus. I am who I am now due to what your predecessors has done. One thing for certain is that over the last centuries, I am getting better and better in most ways. The reason for this is that your predecessors developed me so that I can reciprocate them and their successors. By successors, I'm not talking about the father who hordes money for his son or people who keeps their success within their own family. I'm talking about people who benefited from what the pioneers had done. These 'beneficiaries' wanted to honour the pioneers and did what their predecessors had done - leave a legacy for everyone. Think of people like Tan Kah Kee and Lee Kong Chian, two people whom you should be familiar about since your secondary school days. I'm not talking about just the elites. I'm talking about everyone. Of course, there are some who did more than others but remember your primary school motto - From Each His Best? Some can do more, some can do less. It doesn't matter. Everyone has a part to play."

ape: "So it is not about returning debt or owing anyone?"

society: "Certainly not. Even if it is, once you return the 'debt', than what? You will ignore me and forget me. The end. No. It is about legacy. Continuation. Continual improvement. You benefitted from me because of the efforts of the people before you. You don't owe me anything because I am the creation of the people before you. Obviously, you can't pay them back since they have left. If you feel obliged and wanted to honour these people, do what they did, leave a legacy for the people after you. Once you ignore me, what is left is disaster for the people after you and they WILL definitely remember you, the whole lot of you, provided WE survive.

ape: "So... what shall I do?"

society: "Wake up now or you'll be late in sending your daughter to school! If you don't do anything now, she will suffer, you know?"

By then, ape woke and realised that he is running short of time. Daughter was all ready and waiting for ape. Soon, she will be ready and need not wait for ape anymore. When that time arrive, will it be easier or harder for kids of her generation to get to school?

02 February 2010

Back To School

It's been more than a month since ape walk his daughter to school everyday. Ape's daughter is in primary one now. The school is just across the road from where ape stays.

The first week was kind of messy but the school has prepared the parents well. The school has invited parents for briefing weeks before school starts. The principal spent almost an hour briefing us about the school, explaining the approach, describing what would happen during the first week or so, where to drop our children, where to pick up our children, what would happen, etc. Yes, the first 3 days was messy but that's expected. Everything more or less settled down by the fourth day base on ape's observation... except punctuality.

The school expected the children to be in the school by 7:25 a.m. so that tthe flag raising ceremony can begin at 7:30 a.m. sharp (exactly like the way it was several decades ago when ape was in school). Therefore, ape was a little surprised that after leaving his daughter at school, (occasionally at 7:25 a.m. sharp), while walking back, ape saw some students strolling to school... with their parents. Ape reckoned by the time they reach the school gate, it must be 7:30 a.m. or later. Are parents really that indifferent towards punctuality? Anyway, by the 3rd week, the school has taken a firmer approach and closes the gate at 7:30 a.m. Apparently, some pupils (and parents) are undeterred still, although there's significantly lesser now.

Anyway, school is fun really or rather, ape enjoys walking his daughter to school. The walk might be 5 minutes but it allows ape to indulge in small talks with his daughter. Seeing so many people walking towards a common direction for a common purpose makes ape feel so alive again. It's very unlike the zombies in trains, bus and roads where everyone seems to be rushing to somewhere to do something but dunno what.

The routine ape went through in the last 2 decades was wake up, wash up, go work, wake up , wash up, go work, wake up, wash up, go work. Before this year, ape couldn't recall when was the last time when ape wakes up before the sun rises to feel the cool morning, steps on the cold tiled floor and speak in low soft tones. The only times when ape feel the dawn were days when ape had to stay out late or worked overnight and arrived home at daybreak. This year is so different and walking my daughter to school brought back so much fond memories.

When ape started school, some 3 decades ago, mommy ape walked him to school. Ape's mum works in the school so that's not too much of a problem and we usually arrived in school at 6:00 a.m. You see, ape's mommy is what one might call, a school janitor or back then, she's called Ah Soh. Mommy has to open the school gate, school office, turn on the tuckshop (canteen) lights, etc and ape delightfully helped her do these... afterall, not everyone has this privilege to sneak into the principal's office and sit on his chair. Then, ape would go to his usual corner and wait for his classmates to arrive. We'll chat and as more friends arrive, we'll play games such as police-and-thief (catching), tok kar (catching but hopping on one leg) and sometimes when the girls were more obliging, they'll invite us to play zero point (skipping ropes) or five stones. Almost everyone was eager to go to school simply because school was fun. Playing together made us feel good about learning together and it didn't hurt so much when we were punished together. It was the "togetherness" that give ape so much fond memories.

In case you're wondering, the picture is the school that ape attended... in fact, ape was in the class situated at the highest floor at the corner. You'll never see another pupil wearing the school uniform anymore. It's been closed down and merged with two other schools.

05 January 2010

Residents' Committee

Ape moved to a new place not too long ago. Ape joined the Residents' Committee (RC) there as an observer... for the time being. For those of you who wish to know a little bit about RC, a good start is to google or go here.

Before anyone jumps to any conclusion, ape's joining the RC is rather impromptu. It started with wifey enquiring about the lift upgrading program around the flat where ape stays and the possibility of elderly, disabled or pram friendly walkways from the MRT station ape's flat. Wifey was eventually connected to the CC and as sort of btw thingy, was invited to join the RC. Invitation was extended to spouse of wifey - that is ape :p

Ape was reluctant at first and still is. Reason being ape is not sure exactly how much commitment one has to put in. However, ape reasoned that one will never know until one starts participating actively, right? Furthermore, RC is run by volunteers which means there is really no obligations for the members to participate in each and every activity. So that resolve the first hesitation ape had.

The next worry is, how objective or nonpartisan is the RC? So far, after attending a couple of meetings and activities, ape has yet to see any die hard fans of the ruling party (or die hard fans of the opposition party for that matter). That's good. This is important because one of the functions of the RC is to liase with and make recommendations to the governmental authorities on the needs and aspirations of the residents. So regardless of who seats in the ministry, RC has to work closely with them.

So far the experience with RC is not particularly exciting but then again, it's too early to tell as ape is not only very new to this particular RC, ape is very new in this estate. As mentioned before, ape is still an observer so ape shall continue to observe :=)

What is ape's objective in joining RC then? The reason is simple. Life is not simply about work work and more work. Ape wanted to get involved in some activities that allows ape to has more "visuals" about what is really going on around ape. What better way than to start getting involved with matters that surround the place where ape stays?