Ipoh 2013

December 30, 2013

Spent 2 days in Ipoh with HS and her friend.

There was plenty to eat, but precious little to see. We went to the mildly-interesting train station and city hall, but not any of the caves or temples. I’m given to think they would have been only mildly-interesting as well. The nightlife was, as far as I could tell, non-existent.

I’m not entirely certain if it’s Ipoh’s fault for being boring, or if I just had a guide who was somewhat lazy and ill. To be fair, he was a local and the problem with asking locals about interesting things to see is always a tricky business. After all, it’s difficult to gauge how interesting something you’ve grown up taking for granted is. Also, I was a bit of a third leg, so my views on Ipoh may have been somewhat coloured.

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Still, HS and I weren’t supposed to be there for the sights anyway–it was meant to be a working trip, after all. We didn’t get much done, though–well, not the work we set out to complete, anyway. We did get our hair done and put on a couple of pounds.

Overall not one of the most productive or enjoyable trips I’ve taken, but at least it didn’t cost much.

Expenditure Review – 2013

December 30, 2013

Decided to take stock of the year in terms of my finances, after getting a bit of a shock looking at the bottom line. I spent quite a bit this year. Inflow did not match outflow.

Biggest sinkholes were: cash spending (meaning day-to-day food, taxi fare and petty cash), travel and rent.

I can’t believe I spent that much on travel. Only made 3 lousy trips this year to Cambodia, US and a couple of R&R days in Hong Kong / China / Malaysia.

2013 Expenditure by Category

2013 has not been a good year for my bank account. Hopefully 2014 will be better. I can’t believe my new year’s resolutions are going to be:

  • Move in with parents
  • Travel less

It’s like I’m regressing to when I just started working and had to struggle to make rent. Sigh.

From ChannelNewsAsia – Scores of foreign workers skip Little India
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/scores-of-foreign-workers/923692.html

Some of his peers chose to watch cricket while others took the time to get fit at the gym, or engaged in leisurely pursuits at their dormitories.

That’s right–despite working gruelling hours at construction sites doing manual labour, our migrant workers are still spending their spare time GOING TO THE GYM. It’s not enough, lifting heavy things during their day jobs.

*I* skipped gym last weekend because it was raining and so the air conditioning in the gym would be uncomfortably cold.

I am ashamed.

 

Singapore Riots

December 12, 2013

The Little India riots have left Singapore’s media, traditional and new, in a flutter. The causes prescribed are varied and far ranging, and seem to depend largely on the agendas of the analysts. The xenophobes blame it on poor integration and the large number of immigrants; the liberals blame unhappiness wrought by poor living conditions and employer abuse; the government insists it’s an isolated incident fuelled by alcohol; the anti-PAP-groups insist it was due to the lateness of our civil services, which as usual are evident of our terrible leadership.

Who to believe? Perhaps they’re all correct. After all, the xenophobes and liberals are both arguing opposite sides of the same coin and alcohol definitely played a role. As for the anti-PAP comments–those hold true for any event in Singapore for those who can’t stand the PAP.

I suppose what’s important is what comes next and what actions are to be taken. And something has to be done–after all, if Singapore has any “natural” resources to speak of, it’s the peace and stability of our little island, and a forty-year record has died together with poor Mr Sakthivel Kumaravelu.

In a bid to boost Singaporeans’ and investors’ faith in the continued placid continuity of Singapore’s safety and prosperity, there has been no small PR effort, with ministers of all stripes reassuring everyone that it’s business-as-usual.

In an odd little bit of news, the heroism of our boys in blue has also been highlighted by DPM Teo:
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/dpm-teo-reveals-first/919122.html

“We knew we were going into a very hot situation, and were mentally prepared.


Our troopers had encountered real-life situations dealing with unruly and violent groups, but not on this scale. We had faced such situations in training and this prepared us to deal with this situation. We had some young troopers, including NSFs, among us who had recently graduated from their course, and we were pleased to see that they carried out their duties well.”

It’s prepared and unexciting, but exactly what I’d expect of a professional who makes his living wrestling with rioters rather than writers’ block. Maybe in a couple of years, when things have settled down enough someone can write something with a bit more (literary) blood. Perhaps with a tongue-in-cheek title, like “300: Singaporean Warriors”.