22 December 2006

Mr Wang Has Decided to Stop Blogging ...

... here. Do update your links! From January 2007 onwards, come to Mr Wang's new blog to read his new posts. See you around and Merry Christmas!

18 December 2006

Cultural Heritage Tour

So Mr and Mrs Wang decided to take the little kids to Chinatown. You know, so that they will appreciate our cultural history, Asian values and all that.

Along the way, we stopped by an McDonalds outlet for breakfast. Then just a few doors away, I noticed this shop:

Click to enlarge. The picture, I mean.

Isn't that funny? This being a country where the government tells us that people are supposedly so conservative that we need laws that impose life imprisonment on gays.

14 December 2006

The Singapore Government Plays The Religion Card Again

And basically it is a false, deceptive play. Yesterday's Straits Times carried the following article about the sex laws of Singapore. Note the part highlighted by me in orange:

    ST Dec 13, 2006
    Feedback focuses on sex laws
    Marital rape law reforms inadequate, say some; continued outlawing of gay sex also questioned

    By Ben Nadarajan

    THE private lives of Singaporeans appear to be the main concern among those who responded to the Government's call for feedback to last month's proposed changes to the Penal Code.

    After a month-long feedback period which ended on Saturday, the Home Affairs Ministry received 252 responses from individuals, groups and some lawyers.

    Most of the comments touched on the country's controversial sex laws, especially marital rape and gay sex.


    Another hot topic was the continued outlawing of gay sex, with at least four groups raising the matter.

    The Free Community Church, which supports homosexuality, said this was 'not reflective of the moral values of today's Singapore'.

    Aware also weighed in with its support to scrap section 377 (A) - the part of the Penal Code which bans acts of 'gross indecency' between men.

    Calling this law an 'unwarranted intrusion' into private lives, Aware said the police should be spending time on more pressing matters than enforcing anti-gay sex laws.

    The Free Community Church - which has under 100 members - also argued that singling out a certain group in society was unconstitutional as everyone should be equal before the law.

    The ministry explained last month that society, especially religious groups, was not ready to tolerate gay sex.

Of course, that is not a valid reason.

The government often likes to say that things must be just so in Singapore, because we are a multi-racial, multi-religious society, and we shouldn't offend each other's sensitivities. However, as I've pointed out on many occasions, Singapore is not any more multi-racial or multi-religious than your average big modern city - for example, London, New York, San Francisco, Sydney, Jakarta or Bangkok.

Yet in none of these cities (or their respective countries) is homosexual intercourse between two consenting adults punishable with life imprisonment.

Unlike in Singapore.

The Singapore government is making religious believers in Singapore look like obsessive extremist fanatics. This is not true. Therefore what the Singapore government is doing is just not right.

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12 December 2006

Mr Wang's Answer to the 2% Increase in GST

Apply for the POSB Everyday credit card:

... buy all your groceries at Carrefour, and get a 5% rebate. And it will be as if the new GST increase never happened at all. Also, apply for the Citibank SMRT Visa Platinum Card:

....... which works like an ez-link card. Earn up to 2% rebate as you tap and go at MRT stations. For your other credit card expenditure, you earn rebates redeemable for free SMRT rides.

(It did occur to me that the number of people who qualify for platinum cards and regularly take MRT may be relatively small. The government did recently say that it wants to encourage more Singaporeans to use public transport - I wonder whether this had something to do with SMRT tying up to Citibank to launch this new credit / ez-link card ).

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09 December 2006

A Question of Size

    ST Dec 8, 2006
    Oversized condoms a headache for many Indian men

    NEW DELHI - Condoms designed to meet international size specifications are too big for many Indian men as their penises fall short of what manufacturers had anticipated, an Indian study has found.

    The Indian Council of Medical Research, a leading state-run centre, said its initial findings from a two-year study showed 60 per cent of men in the financial capital Mumbai had penises about 2.4cm shorter than those condoms catered for.

    For a further 30 per cent, the difference was at least 5cm. A poor fit meant the prophylactics often didn't do the job they were bought for, and led to some tearing or slipping off during use.

    'One of the reasons for a failure of up to 20 per cent (of condoms) is the association of the size of the condom to the erect penis,' the council's Dr Chander Puri said, adding another reason was couples often put them on in a hurry.

    He said many men in India, which has the world's highest HIV positive caseload, were too shy to ask for condoms.

    'We need more vending machines for condoms of different sizes so people can pick a condom with confidence that is suited to their needs,' he said.

    The Times of India reported the ICMR survey had studied 1,400 men between 18-50 years of age in cities like Mumbai and New Delhi as well as in rural areas in a report. It entitled its story 'Indian men don't measure up'. -- REUTERS

After a quick check on the Internet, I have ascertained that it is hardly a problem unique to India. It seems to happen all over the world - men struggle with condoms that are either too big or too small. I guess the nature of the product is that it has to fit very well - there isn't much much margin for error.
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06 December 2006

Singaporeans Always Come ....... First?

The article below suggests a significant change in policy thinking. I could feel pleased, or I could feel skeptical. On balance, I am more inclined to adopt a "wait-&-see" attitude. I still remember distinctly the last time PM Lee made such grand pronouncements. He had told us that he would make Singapore an "open society". Heheh.
    ST Dec 4, 2006
    Singaporeans 'always come first'

    By Zakir Hussain

    THE first responsibility of the Government is to Singaporeans, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday, when he announced plans to charge non-citizens more for education and health care.

    He told some 1,000 People's Action Party cadres at the party's conference that 'while we have non-Singaporeans here, citizens always come first.'

    Education and health are two areas in which the Government has not made a clear distinction between citizens, permanent residents and foreigners, Mr Lee added.

    This will change, he declared.

    In education, non-citizens will be charged higher fees, but the charges would not be set so high as to drive away foreign students.

    Tuition fees for foreigners at universities and polytechnics here, for instance, are now 10 per cent above what Singaporeans and PRs pay.

    As for health care, PRs will be charged more, while foreign workers are going to pay the full amount and their employers will need to buy medical insurance to protect them.

    The Education and Health ministries will make these adjustments in the next few months, Mr Lee said.

    'We have to treat visitors well, too, but citizens have to be treated better,' he added.

    'Citizens come first in our priorities, in our thinking.'

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