15 August 2005

Mr Wang Reflects on the Lion City

Work is bogging me down, so I'll just present a quick selection of news bites:
Aug 15, 2005
Ex-soccer star fit to be president
MR GEORGE Weah, former soccer World Player of the Year, has been declared eligible as a candidate for the Liberian presidential election in October.

Mr Weah, 38, had an extraordinary career. With AC Milan, he won the European Player of the Year award in 1995. In the same year, he also won the African and World Player of the Year awards. \-- BBC, REUTERS

So it seems that Andrew Kuan was in the wrong line. Instead of being a Chief Financial Officer, he should have been playing ping pong or something.
Aug 15, 2005
No need for lavish constituency dinners

THE Upfront report 'Grassroots dinners go big, with 620 tables' by Peh Shing Huei (ST, Aug 8) gave me much food for thought.

It seems National Day constituency dinners, a major part of the celebrations, are getting out of hand. They get bigger with each passing year, putting pressure on grassroots leaders to find buyers for tickets and manage the logistics, and on corporate donors whose budgets must be spread ever so thin.

While these dinners strain resources, the citizens consultative committees (CCCs) seem hellbent on outdoing each other in organising the largest dinner, which makes no sense.

According to one CCC chairman, 'it's a loss-making business', but it seems the show must go on regardless. But must it?

Such dinners are usually rather impersonal affairs. Thousands turn up to dine for a couple of hours under a cacophony of chatter and inapt music. They dig into their hastily prepared dishes, almost never get into a good conversation with each other, and, after dessert (and often before), leave as unceremoniously as they came.

Many attend the dinners not because they want to but because they have been coerced to buy a ticket. Thus they come nonchalantly, taking little interest in the proceedings. Some don't even bother to show up, resulting in empty tables and chairs.

Where the gathering is large, it is sometimes difficult to hear the speeches amid the din. Disrespect for the speakers is common and irksome to watch.

Is this any way to celebrate National Day?

Frankly I think that the same point can be made about the National Day Parade itself. I feel sorry for the thousands of national servicemen like blogger Nicholas Liu who are forced to work Mondays to Sundays for weeks on end to prepare for this event. Poor little toy soldiers.

Aug 15, 2005
SM: Why I'm optimistic about future

Anti-terror fight at turning point
External environment favourable
Good team running the country

By Asad Latif
SENIOR Minister Goh Chok Tong last night gave Singaporeans three reasons to be optimistic about the country's future.

He said the global fight against terror may well have reached a turning point.

Singapore's economy is robust and its external environment favourable.

And there is a good team of leaders in charge, he said, in his National Day speech to his Marine Parade constituents.

Speaking in Chinese and then English, he drew on developments both here and internationally to explain his confidence.
Elections must be on their way. Hence the feel-good talk. Get ready for your election goodies, they come only once every five years!

Aug 15, 2005
Long hours in school take toll on students

I AM a parent of a student currently studying in a junior college. Recently, certain aspects of my child's school life have started to worry me.

My child starts and finishes school at the same time on some days. How is that possible? Simple. School starts at 7am and ends at 7pm.

A typical day comprises a few tutorials, lectures and practical sessions, not to mention the two-hour compulsory stay back for the S paper, and co-curricular activities.

Such a lifestyle takes a heavy toll on the physical and mental health of students. It is common for them to go to bed well past midnight, especially when revising for exams.

Psychologists have discovered that the human brain develops fully only well past puberty. As such, teenagers need a lot more sleep than adults for their brains to develop - and that means more than eight hours a day.

Secondly, teenagers need plenty of exercise, but how is that possible when they are released from studies only in the late evening?

If the school won't do anything, then Mr Wang can offer a few suggestions. Drop the S-paper; drop the 4th A-level subject and drop one CCA. The choice is really yours, you know.


Ellipsis said...

ha. wicked last comment. I skimmed through the parent's rant and missed the part about the school-going child's "S paper" and "CCA" commitments, and was wondering why in my time I never got to go home at 7pm everyday, and even had time to go dating.

Funny parents.

Heavenly Sword said...

The result for some students: burnout and inability to summon the energies back again at university...

beAr said...

hmmm... you've echoed what i've come to realise about the NDP... the worst part is that it has to become bigger and more grand with every passing year, as a proof that everything's fine with singapore.

i await the day where an enlightened government will dare to scale down the feel-good celebrations and use that saved money to do good.

regarding the parent, he/she is really asking to be bombed, isn't it =) lol

Nicholas said...

I hadn't noticed the NDP becoming more grand, just gaudier.

beAr said...

maybe not the actual parade itself, but like the mobile column moving into the heartlands, or the extra fireworks shows etc...

tausarpiah said...

yah ... the choice is really the students'. i wonder whether the parents talked and listened to their children's life in JC before getting to the letter.

petals said...

agree with wows as i suspect a lack of communication between parents and child which explains some of the concerns raised.

as much as i agree that the workload that pupils today have to contend with are a lot more demanding and challenging than when i was a kid, i don't think it is something they cannot manage if they practise good time management. furthermore, greater efficiency is now possible with the ease of access to information and technology so long as it is not abused.

seeing as how i am hooked on the internet myself, i wonder how much of the child's waking hours are spent fruitfully..

wrt what bear said about NDP:

i await the day where an enlightened government will dare to scale down the feel-good celebrations and use that saved money to do good.

err.. wait long long la.. don't think they believe in the philosophy of simplicity being the ultimate sophistication.

anyway, i supposed that such big scale operations are acceptable if the objectives are clearly thought through and sound and can help reap long term benefits for the nation and her people to justify the resources pumped into it annually. i dread to think that events of such magnitude are planned and executed merely to beef up the OIC's portfolio or impact on his performance bonus for the following year. the question to ask now is can the same objective be met with a smaller scale celebration?

PS: i hesitated when i used they as i think to a certain extent we have all been conditioned to believe that more is good. hence, pointing the finger at the government seems rather convenient and perhaps unwarranted. tis another one of those "i" versus the "other" mentality.