Saturday, November 12, 2005

Holey smokes! Singapore is burning too

From 1 October 2005, it is a civil offense to smoke in a Bus Interchange or Bus Stop in Singapore. Singapore, and generally pretty much elsewhere, is taking the enlightened step of banning smoking from an increasing number of public places.

I wait for buses every weekday at a bus stop just below the Dover MRT (an above ground subway train stop) station that fronts Singapore Polytechnic (a large post-secondary educational institution) in Singapore. Before 1 Oct 2005, students of this institution light up (their cigarettes of course) and smoke away at this bus stop as if there is no tomorrow. They cannot smoke in the MRT station nor the school grounds because its not allowed by the station authorities and the Polytechnic. There are personnel manning these stations as well as wardens policing the Polytechnic grounds. So poor people like us have had to endure frequent whiffs of smoke that float over while I stand as far as I can while waiting for the bus.

Singapore outlawed smoking at bus stops from 1 Oct 2005 - not a moment too soon, and I had the pleasure of telling a student off for lighting up beside me while I was waiting for the bus. Well, yesterday, a group of about 5 students were smoking away at the same spot, oblivious (or defiant) of the law of the land. The smoke was swirling among them that it looked like a smoking party, minus the pubs. I decided that 1 against 5 wasn't good odds for me, so I sat as far away as possible. Sigh, it would seem that nothing has changed, law or no law.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Paris burning

One of the biggest news these past two weeks or so has nothing to do with natural disasters - but they are disasters all the same. Paris has been burning, literally, with thousands of cars torched and public places such as schools damaged due to rampaging young French people of African descent. One would have thought that the statement that these youths are trying to make, if at all there is one, would have been made by these acts of destruction, but no, it continues and is spreading to the rest of Europe.

While I understand that these people may have genuine grievances, destroying property is hardly the right way to address their grievance. Well, yes, it will serve to highlight their plight - one of poverty and discrimination in a land of (supposedly) plenty (so I read) - but they will not gain sympathy at all. Instead, it has attracted others, who have raised the art of destruction and evasion through the use of handphone sms and all, to coordinate the burning and destroying. Hold on, did I mention handphones? Now how can anyone be deprived if they can own handphones? How can they be poor? I wonder what's happening?

I suppose that Europe is experiencing a wake-up call and they need to be deliberate about social issues that different peoples of different races present. Singapore has been very deliberate in this instance - often criticised by the 'West' for its suppressive policies, but they have worked to a certain extent in preventing the spill-over of disenchantment onto the streets. Issues are addressed proactively, as in the case of the jailing of bloggers who had written derogatively of other religions.

Like the Chinese say, lets keep (the shameful) things in the family to itself - "jia chou bu ke wai yang".

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Moving from a to z

I just changed my wireless pcmcia network card (i.e. a Notebook Card) from the 802.11b SMC card to a 802.11g Linksys card and, as the McDonald's people say, I'm loving it - for:

  1. The overall better stability. On the old card, the signal keeps getting dropped even though the connection is always indicated as Excellent. Its ironic that I get a more stable and faster connection now with the new g card even though the connection is indicated as low. This goes to show you can't trust some of these software / cards.
  2. The overall increased speed. Well, the new card is connected at 36mbps (it varies) compared to the constant 11mbps of the old card - and I love it.

The investment is minimal - just S$55. Some are retailing this at S$59 - S$62. You just need to shop around. Got it new (no second-hand stuff for me) at Fuwell in Sim Lim Square last Friday. I could only use it today because I forgot my account id and gateway address into my router, so I couldn't configure the card properly for the router. This happens with set-it-and-forget-it type of equipment - literally.

Well, you can see that I'm not the early adopter type. By now, 802.11g has been around for quite some time. My b card was given to me free (in a bundled purchase), so I was quite reluctant not to use it, so I used it - until I got fed-up with the dropped lines while I was blogging. Well, good riddance. Anybody looking for a b card?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Mixed-up relationships on a cruise?

While looking through tour packages for the year-end holidays, I came across this:

Now, this is going to be a very clean cruise, no hanky panky, you see. But I think the tour organisers have gone overboard this time when they suggested that singles can be married. Hmmm...I take back what I wrote in last Saturday's blog ;-)

Bloggers will understand that I do not wish to reveal the URL from where this originated. Let's have some fun, but not at the expense of others by identifying them. Suffice to say that it comes from a Singapore operator on a Singapore website. Now, now, I am not encouraging the perception of Singapore society as puritanical in any way, just that we desperately need to up our birth rates due to the alarming decline over the last couple of years. That's why singles are a special target. Ahem, I am not suggesting that certain activities oriented to certain groups are planned for on this cruise...

P.S. All these remind me of the hit TV series, the 'Love Boat', back in the 1980s.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Losing posts in

I lost a blog post this morning on! I was mad as h**l because I had to re-compose that blog entry all over. When I lost that post, I had already typed in a substantial amount of material! I don't know what's wrong with the blogger servers this morning. Every time I tried to save my post - and no less than 3 times - every time, blogger insisted that it cannot find the post and directed me back to the dashboard. Grrrr...made me re-type the whole blog all over...more grrrr... Well, I've learnt a few things:

  1. Never rely on IE to blog on because when blogger reports an error, it'll move to another browser page to say it. Save your uncompleted blogs often. No amount of the 'Back' and 'Forward button would re-display your unsaved post. Use FireFox instead. Firefox pops up a window to report errors. Your unsaved post is still opened.

  2. Alternatively, use's MS Word blogging plugin. So far, I have not lost a single post at all using this method. Anyway, the post is stored on your PC so unless your hard disk crashes or you accidentally double deleted (that's a triple negative) your files, you will never lose what your wrote. But then, not everybody has MS Word.

  3. I have never tried e-mail blogging. Probably might want to try that some day.

The problem with moving away from IE is that is programmed with IE in mind. So you cannot access certain features in Firefox which you can in IE. Sigh, when will we ever get a truly standards compliant browser? I doubt IE7 will give us that. Sigh again...