Saturday, October 01, 2005

Chew on it

Many people who do not live in Singapore, and even some who do, do not understand this matter about chewing gum in Singapore. Chewing gum is not, I repeat, NOT banned in Singapore. So, you can go ahead and chew gum anywhere in Singapore. You will not be arrested, much less incarcerated in the country's famous/notorious Changi Prison for it. Visitors who come to Singapore do not have to jettison their chewing gums or spit them out (now spitting is another matter entirely) before their planes touch down on Singapore soil. You can continue to chew your gums while clearing customs, although I would think that's not very polite.

Rather, the law is against the commercial distribution and sale of chewing gum in Singapore.

Many Singaporeans who return from overseas tend to hide their haul of chewing gum obtained while on holiday or business. This is because they are afraid that customs will seize them and charge them for 'importing' them. Actually, the only time when you need to conceal is when you buy boxes of gum (as against, say, 5 strips). When you bring boxes of gum into the country, the law assumes that you intend to sell or distribute them. It doesn't care that you actually bought them for your friends and relatives who either may never have seen or handled chewing gum before, or are starved of it. There is probably no profit motive behind the act, except perhaps to profit from the goodwill gained.

I am not advocating the practice of concealment at customs checkpoints. If you need to declare, you should declare. Otherwise, don't bring in so many that it raises a genuine concern among the law enforcement officers.

So I repeat - chewing gum is ok in Singapore. Selling chewing gum is NOT ok in Singapore. I hope this clears up the misunderstanding on a myth that even local writers perpetuate.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Deception in high places

Lies, all lies! It appears now that many of the widely reported atrocities that allegedly happened in New Orleans' Superdome and Convention Centre and its vicinity either were wildly exaggerated or never happened. And the sources of these rumoured events came allegedly from high places, from the Police Chief, who allegedly resigned without citing any reason and, allegedly, the Mayor. Now I am ready to sympathise with the victims of this disaster, but I am appalled by the allegedly opportunistic behaviour of leaders in high places who have to, allegedly, lie to get this sympathy.

I am no longer sure what really happened and who said what. Perhaps the videos that were circulated around the world in the aftermath of the hurricane gave credence to these lies, but they are lies nonetheless.

I am dismayed. Its a sad day for mankind.

Many of these revelations are coming out of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, no less. In the days to come, there'll be more finger pointing.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Impeachment circus

Impeachment seems to be the flavour of the times in political circles. The latest object for impeachment, so many bloggers desire, is President G.W. Bush. Not too long ago, some Filipinos mounted an attempt to impeach President Gloria Arroyo of the Philippines. The South Koreans, too, want to impeach President Roh Moo-hyun. Perhaps the most 'famous' of the 'impeach the President' movement in recent times is ex-President Clinton (the poor bloke, he's a right decent guy, never mind what he did in his private life).

He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. John 8:7

And if you really want to go back, former President Nixon is the only US President after World War II to have been successfully impeached. Of course, he lost his Presidency. Well, I won't go on, but it would seem that people expect their Presidents to be saints in the first instance, and secondly, that they should have prescience - with the ability to anticipate AND take action today for any untoward events tomorrow (as in the Katrina incident). This is in spite of the fact that any President (or his/her significant other) who sees a clairvoyant puts his ability to govern in doubt.

Life is cruel to those who aspire to high office, especially those who are humans and lack predictive powers.