Saturday, 28 May 2016

Racist Chinese?

In case you haven't read or heard, a Chinese laundry detergent manufacturer has been accused of being racist in an ad they produced.

Specifically, this ad:

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Life and Death

In the US, states with the death penalty often take years to carry out the death sentence. Decades even.

So a man can commit murder in the heat of passion at age 25, may be caught and charged with the crime, convicted and sentenced to death... and then wait 20 years on death row while his lawyers and the system work out all the appeals and avenues to commute his death sentence.

In the meantime, over 20 years or so, he would have settled into prison routine. He is facing death, but in the meantime, he lives. And for as long as he lives, there is hope. Even if he is in prison.

But maybe he comes to accept his guilt, comes to terms with his crime, comes to understand that what he did at 25 was impulsive and wrong.

And he finds religion.

Or philosophy.

Because nothing helps one sees the futility of life, like impending death.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Three Elections. Three Candidates.

Chee losing the By-election was not a surprise. At least not to me.

Interestingly, he says his loss does not feel like a loss. It was a triumphant loss for him then.

Conversely, Murali was more sanguine and took the win with apparent humility and a focus on the work ahead. Magnaminous in victory, perhaps.

And of course there are various biases and partisan analyses of the results.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Overheard: Lightning strikes MRT tracks.


"Ok. Make a note. We use the "struck by lightning" excuse this time. Cannot use again for at least 5 years. People won't believe it if we say struck by lightning TWICE within a short span of time. What is the next excuse on the list?" 
"Er... 'hit by meteorite', sir." 
"WHAT? Who's going to believe that?!?"

Saturday, 14 May 2016

A stroke of bad luck - awkward.

Heng Swee Keat is rumoured to be the PM-designate, the most likely to succeed PM Lee.

If true, his aneurysm and stroke is most untimely. Yes, there is a chance that he might make a full recovery. But there is also a chance, a better than fair chance, that he might not.

If so, the PAP's succession planning has been thrown a curve ball. Maybe not into disarray, because like all good plans, there are back-ups, stand-ins, and contingency plans.

There are at least three alternates who can step up if Minister Heng does not make a full recovery (or enough of a recovery) to take over in a few years time. Likely PM Lee will want to hand over leadership in the mid-term (in about 2 to 3 years time).

Also who will hold the Finance portfolio while he recovers. Or if this job is too critical for a holding position, who will take over? If someone takes over, Minister Heng will have the "honour" of serving as Finance Minister for the shortest term.

[Edit: Missed the news that Tharman will be covering the Finance portfolio in the interim. But this is presumably temporary. But it may become permanent. Which would be a bad sign.]

(I had to rephrase the above sentence.  I first wrote, "Min Heng will have the 'honour' of being the shortest Finance Minister in Singapore's history" which might have been misunderstood as a jibe about his physical statute.)

Minister Heng is being treated by the National Neuroscience Institute. Professor Lee Wei Ling used to head that institute. Now she is the Senior Advisor and does not have direct operational duties (I assume). And recently she accused her brother of abusing his power.

Might make for some awkwardness if they bump into each other in TTSH.

And in case anyone is wondering (I'm looking at you, Chee), there probably will not be a by-election in Tampines GRC.

However, speculation about Tharman being PM as a stop-gap measure (to allow newer ministers get enough experience to take over as PM) may arise again.

Or (more likely) PM Lee will have to continue a little longer than he intended.

This is a major blow to the PAP's leadership. It's a bigger deal than if SDP had won the Bukit Batok by-election.

Monday, 9 May 2016

US Presidential Elections - Prediction and Counter Predictions

So it is The Donald.

The joke that went too far.

Will the joke ever get to "President The Donald"?

Well, here is an article that predicts a Republican win in 2016 "because voters typically shy away from the party currently in power when an incumbent isn’t running."

And they note that Obama's approval rating (in Oct 2015, when the article was written) was rather low (45%) and the model predicted that a successor from the same party (Clinton), would have only a 14% chance of winning the presidency.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Conversation: The Chee "Buy" Election

"So, the Chee By-election is on! Ho sei lah!"

"You just like to say, 'Chee By-Election', right?"

"Abuden! How many times do we get a chance to say this?"

"But don't think he can win, leh."

"You are wrong. He win already."

"Because it's a 'Chee By-election'?"

"Yes. But, spelt, B-U-Y."

"What do you mean?"

Sunday, 1 May 2016

"I hope he wins..."

A comment on Chee's aspiration to surpass PAP-run Town Councils (from FB):