Chia Ti Lik’s Blog

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The Edge of the Horns

Tonight is the night.

I have two behemoths sitting in a corner of one of the rooms in my home. The babies in the boxes have been crying out for attention lately. Probably i have been far too cruel and unfeeling. Having had doubts as to whether they would fit into my living room, i had callously boxed them in and shoved them into a corner ever since they arrived at my door.

I expect to see them wholly blue when they re-appear from their boxes.

With the grace of an old friend, Jeffery, if he delivers the puny flea sized integrated tube amplifier tonight, i would be able to for the first time in my audiophile life, marry a single ended tube integrated amplifier with a true blue full range horn.

A 7 watt amplifier with 96db 8 ohm full range speakers.

The little birds up the tree sing of glorious immediacy and vocal renditions. I have the thoughts of various Jazz CDs running through my mind now. Even though i am supposed to be working.

God knows what i can expect from such a marriage. Made in heaven? Probably not. Made in my bedroom more likely 🙂

Pictures coming soon.

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November 30, 2006 Posted by | audiophilia | Leave a comment

PAP to act like the opposition

The interesting thing about SM Goh is that sometimes you question whether he is for the opposition or against the opposition.

During the election he offered voters in the two opposition wards to allow the PAP candidates there upon elected to function as the opposition – this of course was later retracted. 🙂

Today’s newspapers has SM Goh saying that the PAP now wants to act like the opposition.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

This is a feather in the cap for many in the opposition camp. 🙂

November 29, 2006 Posted by | Politics | Leave a comment

Something Seriously Wrong with Singapore

Dear All

As of this afternoon. Another letter to the straits times forum page. he he

Don’t think they will publish this though. It is far too hard hitting. 🙂

Happy reading! PAPpies and its supporters are invited to attack this posting with unrestrained fervour.

Regards

Ti Lik

What do we make out of this? 

We have a Government who promised the people immediately after the election that they will implement policies to stay together and move ahead with the people.

Shortly thereafter we had a Minister Mr. Mah Bow Tan deciding to keep opposition wards out of the upgrading queue because “the people had rejected the upgrading program”.

We have seen ERP charges increased, utility charges increased, public transport fare increased to silence from the 82 PAP MPs who claim to speak for the people.

We had a dozen post 65 PAP MPs who were happy to spend time training for a few months to dance hip hop at the coming Chingay procession.

We also have a Government telling us just days ago (with the accompanying articles of support from ST) that the GST needs to be increased to 7% because there is Government expenditure that needs to be financed.

Today, we have the ST attempting to explain that 40% of our bursaries go to foreign students is a justifiable policy which we should accept.

Today, we have the Government announcing a bigger bonus for the civil service of a total of 2.7 months for the entire year.

Given this little summary, we don’t need even a primary six education to tell us that there is something seriously wrong with this country is it not? Time to think.

Chia Ti Lik

November 23, 2006 Posted by | Politics | 2 Comments

GST Hike Propaganda (Letter to ST Forum Page)

The Saga of the GST Hike continues. The press is unrelentingly offering support to the PAP Government’s initiative. Over here, i wage a war against one sided information and skewed perspectives. This is my letter in response to Article at Page 6 Sunday Times yesterday 19th November 2006.

 

GST Hike Propaganda (Letter to ST Forum Page on 20th November 2006)

The article at page 6 of Sunday Times 19th November 2006 by Ken Kwek is referred to.

 

Lending support to the Government’s GST hike gig, the article reveals that Mika Sampovaara, a Scandinavian quitter is able to – earn the same and have more time for a better life in Singapore by fleeing from the heavy taxation levied by a welfare state. These are some points to put the article in proper perspective.

 

1.                  The Scandinavian quitter was a high-flying economist, stock analyst and broker in his own country. He was placed at the top income tax bracket of 60% taxation rate – in short the Viking was part of their elite!

 

2.                  The average Singaporean will never earn close to the Scandinavian elite. This then begets the question of whether this example of a Scandinavian quitter has any relevance to the situation faced by the people of Singapore.

 

The article simply validates our suspicions that Singapore is fast becoming a haven for elite foreign quitters. This certainly was not what Singaporean voters wanted when they voted for the ruling party in the recent elections.

 

The elite Scandinavian quitter feels he has more than repaid his country (which he benefited from under the welfare system) just because he has paid 5 years of income tax at 60%.

 

How should the average Singaporean feel in having to stay and continue to pay 7% for all consumption for their entire lifetime here where in a non-welfare state?

 

Proportionately, the average Singaporean will pay far more than the elite Scandinavian quitter. As this means Singaporeans are more meek and compliant than our imported talent. The Government ought to rethink its obsession with flooding Singapore with foreign quitters.

 

In any event, if citizens’ fleeing their country for greener pastures is any form of measure Singapore’s administration would fail dismally, by this yardstick, in comparison to Finland’s.

 

For once, someone must get the message across into the thick skulls of the leadership that when Singaporeans ask the Government for a social safety net, we do not mean the Scandinavian model of welfare assistance. Singaporeans are too meek to make demands, Singaporeans would be too happy if the government were less greedy i.e. take less & spend less.

 

The PAP government should cease using the Scandinavian welfare bogeyman to frighten Singaporeans into accepting their twisted logic for further increases to their costs of living.

 

The fault in Singapore’s system is that the prevalent and uncritical support of the Ruling party empowers it to push through detrimental, unpopular and illogical policies, which hurt all Singaporeans including their supporters, a result of the arrogance leading to high-handedness and a lack of compassion for the people.

Singapore’s problems cannot be solved by this theatric GST hike and its supporting accompaniment because:-

 

1.                  Increasing consumption tax hurts the poorest people hardest and only serves to widen the income gap. This must be avoided.

 

2.                  all help schemes, however well intentioned, require resources to administer its disbursements and therefore are inherently inefficient and inevitably waste public resources. This is worse when the criteria make it difficult for the needy to qualify.

 

3.                  if the Government is really sincere about helping the masses, it can do more to lower the cost of living and certainly not continue to act to make it worse.

 

4.                  the Government should raise resources by cutting wastage and lavishness in its own administration. This will come across as being more resourceful. Simply raising tax indicates having lesser abilities.

 

The elite in Scandinavia are made to bear the heaviest burden – rightfully so. Singapore’s masses are on their way to bearing the bulk of the nation’s burden if they do not indicate their displeasure to the PAP in no uncertain terms at the next general election.

 

The challenge of administering a country is one of the highest calling and it does not augur well if the attitude of the PAP Government is to race others to the bottom.

 

Until the next general election, this 1st World Government still has opportunities to prove its worth (and cost) by producing policies which better the lives of the Singapore people.


Singapore will be better off without the GST Hike.

 

Chia Ti Lik

November 20, 2006 Posted by | Politics | 9 Comments

Questions Upon The Impending GST Hike (Letter to ST)

Dear All

Many a time, the Government will piss us off. Sometimes more than normal.
This instance of the impending GST Hike is one of those.
My reasons are given in my letter to ST Forum Page sent today.
Whether or not they will publish the letter, this I do not know, but what I do know is if this letter goes out into the forums, the pressure on them to publish will be greater.
Furthermore and for the early benefit of all, the letter is reproduced below:

Warm regards

Ti Lik

QUESTIONS UPON THE GST HIKE

Two phenomenae of the Goods and Services Tax:-

1. the GST is like a knife cuts across all social strata and classes; and

2. where the blade of GST cuts, the wounds inflicted are unequally deep.

People on the middle and lower rungs inevitably suffer more as they do not have enough to begin with and the GST increase further inflates the cost of living for their basic needs.

All Governments are duty bound to make life better for their people. All the more one which proclaims itself to be a 1st World Government.

Singaporeans voted for a 1st World Government and for a better life. Will this GST hike better the people’s lives? Is this to be expected of a 1st World Government? A Government’s inability to undertake initiatives without levying further burden on its people speaks volumes about its abilities.

The Government attempts to justify the GST hike by dressing itself as a righteous knight juggling a number of problems. However in doing so, it missed out on the following introspective questions:-

1. Has it not occurred to the Government that Singaporeans fail to replace themselves because the Government has made life too stressful for its citizens to consider adding helpless dependents into their lives?

2. What is the logic of increasing GST on one hand and setting up schemes to attempt to alleviate the pain on the other? If it is so difficult fund the expenditure, would Singapore be better off not increasing the expenditure?

3. Has it not occurred to the Government that there are places within the establishment that can afford to have their expenditure and wastage reduced?

4. What happened to the PM’s call to Stay Together and Move Ahead?

5. Is the GST hike our PM’s idea of leaving no one behind?

6. Has the Government considered levying tax on luxuries instead to meet the expenditure?

In short, our Government has a flawed character: A recalcitrant unwillingness to spend the people’s money on the people and an assiduous need to balance the account books at the expense of the people whenever any expenditure is required.

If the recent suicides (via MRT or otherwise) have caught the attention from our Members of Parliament, then none of them should stand by and allow this latest GST hike.

All public office bearers, the people who have benefited and are still benefiting from this country have a sacrosanct duty to their entrusted ward, the people at all times.

A Government has duties to fulfill, questions to answer and a people to take care of in its entire term of office and not only just prior to the next General Election.

It is depressing to every Singaporean to have to remind the PAP Government of its duties and its own promises so soon after the recent General Elections is but what needs to be done has to be done.

Let this be a gentle reminder to the Ruling Party: That no amount of figures and arguments can rationalize the illogicality of a Government’s actions and the inherent contradiction with its own promises. Let not the administration of Singapore degrade itself to mediocrity.

Chia Ti Lik

November 15, 2006 Posted by | Politics | 4 Comments

Questions Upon The Loss of a Big Toe (Letter to ST)

Letter to ST Forum Page (Unpublished) – Questions upon the loss of a big toe

 

Dear All

 

I had on noon of 6th November 2006, written a stinging letter to the Straits Times Forum Page in an attempt to provoke some critical thinking on the part of the relevant authorities on the escalator incident which resulted in the loss of a toddler’s right big toe.

 

The injury was a serious one as it physically impaired the toddler for the whole of her life! Henceforth and such incidents must be prevented!

 

The Straits Times Forum Page again failed to publish my stinging letter. Coincidentally, the reporter who reported on the incident produced a further report which seemed to point blame on the rubber footwear of the toddler.

 

The report appearing on today’s Straits Times differs from the yesterday’s in 4 areas:

 

1.                  Expert points his finger to footwear (significant increase in “side entrapments”);

2.                  toe was found 2 ½ hours later => too late for surgical reattachment as opposed to too badly damaged to be reattached as reported yesterday.

3.                  Safety strips and PVC bristles as a possible solution;

4.                  Sembawang Town Council saying that it will install more safety switches.

But was the lack of safety switches the cause of the loss of the toe? J

If one pays close attention, the “rubber shoe” of the toddler seems very much different from the “rubber clog” which the expert Mr. C. C. Toh had used to demonstrate the culpability of such footwear.

 

My sources tell me that the Mainstream Chinese Press LianHe Zaobao had in today’s issue carried another report of a similar accident in which the SCDF performed with dramatic improvement in response time of “immediate response and freeing the 2yr old in 10 mins” for a Tampines Mall incident.

The combined effect of these reports essentially direct the finger pointing away from the Town Council. Escalator supplier, escalator manufacturer and the SCDF.

 

As I have said previously ad nauseam, I am a proponent of free speech and critical thinking and I will not be silenced by elements of the mainstream press or whoever and all the more so if I have very pertinent questions have yet be answered.

 

The essence of my concern is this: How can we be sure that our SCDF, Town Councils will be able to handle the next escalator or elevator (lift) accident?

 

To cut the long story short, I hereby now append my letter dated 6th November 2006 to ST Forum Page (Unpublished) to fire up some critical thinking.

 

“Letter to ST Forum Page – Questions upon the loss of a big toe.

 

I refer to the report on the front page of the Straits Times of 6th November 2006 on the Mall Escalator Accident reported by Ms Tanya Fong.

 

It was revealed that the paramedics arrived at the scene 25 mins after the incident. I am unaware of when the emergency call was actually made as it is not apparent from the report. The paramedics contacted the Sembawang Town Council 10 mins after and the technician arrived only after a further 45 mins.

 

It must be noted that the technician’s arrival did not seem to speed things up more as the toddler’s clog and severed toe were only found 1 hour and 15 mins after the technician’s arrival.

 

In so far as the matter is deemed as an accident, and that such an accident has happened twice, I now request the relevant authorities to explain what has been done since August when the first of such incidents happened. In short, what has been done since then to make escalators safer for young children in order to ensure as safe as possible a passage and commute by our citizens in our own country.

 

In the light of the latest incident, I further request the relevant authorities to disclose what further steps they intend to take in order to avoid the occurrence of and to mitigate the damaging effects of such accidents if they ever occur again.

 

The authorities must understand that the incident resulted in the loss of the big toe of a young toddler, little appendage which from my understanding is crucial to a person’s ability to balance her body in day to day life. This incident caused permanent disability to a young girl, and a loss which will follow her throughout her life.

 

The establishment prides itself for having run a tight ship and possessing the requisite foresight to deal with potential problems. This incident provides an excellent opportunity for the relevant authorities to tighten up their loose ends, if any.

 

In this incident, there exists a question of potential liability on the part of the relevant authority for the injury and disability caused by the escalator. However, this is a separate issue. In any event, to strive for improvement, steps must be taken forward.

 

The first incident caused no injury. The second and latest incident caused the loss of a toddler’s big toe. I shiver to imagine the outcome of the next incident. I hereby stress to the relevant authorities that the lesson to be drawn from these incidents would be to take these incidents as warnings of a potentially more damaging mishap in the future.

 

In this case, I presume that the SCDF officers present at the scene found the toddler’s toe once the steel stair panels were removed. I do not question the competence of the SCDF officers whom I presume are properly trained.

 

However, despite being properly trained by SCDF’s standards, the officers were obviously ill placed to deal with the situation and they were rendered hopelessly ineffective. We will recall that in this incident, they had to depend entirely on another person, the escalator technician, who not a member of their emergency service to complete his task before they could start theirs.

 

The time taken to contact the technician, for him to respond, for him to arrive at the site and perform his task of unlocking the steel stair panels was a staggering 130 mins or 2 hours and 10 mins. This was more than enough for a soccer match to run its full course, go into extra time and sudden death.

 

Reading Tanya Fong’s report of the incident left me with a sick feeling in the stomach, a surreal pain in my right toe and several questions in mind.

 

The toe was severed for almost 3 hours before medical staff evaluated it. Would it have been possible to save Shiyr’s toe if it was found earlier, packed in ice and rushed to the hospital? Would a faster response time have helped?

 

If the escalator so damaged the toe beyond rescue that it would not have mattered if the toe were found earlier. Then my question would be: if escalators have been proven to be so damaging a contraption. What can and will be done to make them safer?

 

Furthermore, as Singapore is densely populated and jam-packed with multi-storied buildings where escalators and lifts abound islandwide, would it not be an apt time now to set up a properly trained quick response medical and rescue team competent enough to tear apart an escalator / lift system to deal with such accidents involving our escalators and (I shiver to venture) our lifts?

 

Members of the public, both foreigners and citizens alike would be keen to know of the plans and measures intended to be taken. I await eagerly the substantive response from the relevant authorities.

Chia Ti Lik”

 

Dear All As of this morning 8th November 2006, the ST Forum Page has published the letter in its edited version.  

It has also been brought to my attention this morning that:

1.                  the Chinese newspaper which reported on the 3rd incident yesterday was Lianhe Zaobao;

2.                  another Chinese newspaper which seemed to point the finger at the rubber “Croc” shoes was “My Paper”; and

3.                  the ST Forum Page has published my letter this morning, albeit in an edited version Hence, apologies to ST Forum Page for jumping the gun. However, my questions and concerns raised in my original letter and posting here remain. Hence, this update instead of an edited posting.

Cheers to All and Freedom of Speech

Ti Lik

November 2, 2006 Posted by | Politics | Leave a comment

The Wee Siew Kim Affair – Letter to ST Forum (Unpublished)

Dear All

I had on the morning of 25th October 2006 responded with biting criticism to the Straits Times report on MP Wee Siew Kim’s comments in defiant defence of his dear daughter.

I was totally disgusted by MP Wee’s comments which I will not let go pass untouched.

The ST’s Forum Editor had passed over my response and published another letter which was far less critical.

I am a strong proponent of freedom of expression, I will not stop at being silenced by elements of the mainstream press. Attached below is the letter that was targeted at our PAP AMK GRC MP Wee Siew Kim.

My purpose for publishing this letter is to encourage greater freedom of expression stronger and unrestrained criticism of the Ruling Party by all and I am taking the lead here.

Coincidentally, MP Wee made a statement in the press today which was of course published. This statement claims to be apologizing to the readers who were offended.

I have read MP Wee’s statement and I am not of the view that the apology is full and unreserved. I trust Singaporeans can come to their own conclusions on the matter.

“RESPONSE TO PAP MP FOR AMK GRC MR. WEE SIEW KIM’S COMMENTS IN STRAITS TIMES REPORT OF 24TH COTOBER 2006.  I had read in amazement of what Ms Wee Shu Min had written in her blog. I ruminated on her statements and her lineage and illustrious background and after much thought, decided not to criticize her in spite of the callousness she had exhibited at such a tender age. 

For to me, there is simply no reason to overreact to the ignorant bigotry of an 18 year old girl and that the matter is best left to rest after the barrage of criticism she met with on the internet. However, when I saw the Straits Times report of 24th October 2006, I read with disgust what Ms Wee Shu Min’s father PAP MP for AMK GRC, Mr. Wee Siew Kim had said in brazen defence of his dear daughter justifying her callousness and adding further insult and injury to Singaporeans. 

MP Wee, in his dismal attempt to soften the effect of his daughter’s ramblings, had sought to downplay the incident as a lack of sensitivity on her part and to quote him “Some people cannot take the brutal truth and that sort of language, so she ought to learn from it.” Whilst the less discerning may opine that MP Wee has apologized on behalf of his daughter, in truth both father and daughter have exhibited no more empathy or remorse than when the remarks were first made in Ms Wee’s blog. MP Wee’s remarks albeit more diplomatic had in fact exhibited an even higher level of arrogance and lack of empathy. 

MP Wee must note that her daughter has since removed the offending posting from her blog. That is itself discordant with the stance he exhibited in his interview in the Straits Times. One wonders whether the removal of the posting was a father-sanctioned public perception management exercise for damage control or was it a true indication of remorse and regret?  If indeed MP Wee had similarly been just as careless with his callous remarks, he ought to acknowledge so and then extend nothing short of an unreserved apology to all Singaporeans especially those who are in situations similar to that of Mr. Derek Wee. And upon doing so, MP Wee should also take steps to inculcate the appropriate level of humility in his daughter and do so in an early stage of her life, for MP Wee must remember that the government that he backs has taken bloggers to court, punished and shamed them for the undue comments they have made similarly for a limited audience.  

Whilst I do not hope that the current establishment gets richer as a result of whatever discussion that takes place, I do hope that the former does get a lot humbler and wiser for Singapore will need leaders who can truly empathize with the people instead of having to live with parrots perched tree high above ground and their dissonant cacophony of callousness and insensitivity.”

The PAP and its supporters are invited to attack this posting with unrestrained fervour.

Regards

Chia Ti Lik

November 2, 2006 Posted by | Politics | 1 Comment