Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Water Agency Chief Scared of Water Shortage Due to Climate Change

Tiny island S'pore is surrounded by water on all sides yet faces severe water shortage. There is still a water agreement with Malaysia till 2061.

Even if the sale of water expires in 2061, S'pore would be better off buying untreated water from Msia & purifying it ourselves than desalinating seawater with reverse osmosis process which is expensive.

Sidelining to housing, have you ever wonder how come there's housing shortage & yet there's no water shortage(nobody is thirsty) in S'pore? Is blatantly obvious the housing shortage is a deliberate move to vastly jack up the prices to seriously deplete the retirement $$ of the masses.

Chief of Public Utilities Board (PUB) said water is an issue of life & death for S'pore. His main worry is climate change & how that lowers water levels at reservoirs. He also said that his water agency is also working on reducing water consumption through measures ranging from mandatory dual-flushing systems for toilets & automatic faucets in all public restrooms.

Better way to reduce water consumption is for the govt to stop flooding in more & more foreign 'consumers' to drink & pee in this tiny island.

What's the point of growing the gdp at all costs like cancer when water resources are so strained?

If worry about climate change, why insist on more & more consumers to consume & deplete resources in an unsustainable manner? The planet does not belong to us. We need to think about the future generations.

So long as S'pore's incumbent ruling party ideology is grow gdp at all costs like cancer, i will vote against them till the day i die.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Lackey Managers That YES YES YES YES Even to Stupid Orders

Nparks's $2200 foldable bikes corruption incident is a resounding victory for the 2 netizens who shared their investigative results & other socio-political websites & forums who brought the issue to the masses.

Asst Director of park connector network dept has been suspended. However it seems people forgot to ask the question of how come the managers didn't raise alarm bells about the issue? If the loopsided tender process is brought to the attention of the asst director then is the manager/s silenced?

Or are the 5 managers simply are lackeys who just Yes Yes Yes Yes even to stupid orders?

Jean Paul Getty in his book 'How to be Rich':

Executive: "I don't question my orders & always carry them out to the letter, regardless of the consequences."

I can readily understand why this so-called executive hadn't been promoted. What i can't understand is why he hadn't been given the sack long before. Certainly he wouldn't remain on my payroll for 5 mins. He personifies the 2 worst qualities anyone holding down a responsible managerial job in a modern business firm could possibly possess. His attitude toward his superiors-at least to their faces- is clearly that of of a complete bootlicker utterly devoid of imagination or common sense.

It proves he is an extremely stupid person who has no concept of the responsibilities every executive owes to his superiors & the company for which he/she works.

If those 5 managers think they are playing it safe by following orders obediently even stupid senseless ones then a wise boss better axe these kind of managers in next round of layoffs. Why bother wasting paying $2800+/mth salary for these type of automaton lackeys?

If a manager raised the issue to highups it may have prevented the scandal from occuring & the minister from utter embarrassment. In doing so, he/she has enhanced his/her job security instead.

The incident has revealed a bunch of automaton Yes-men that the govt, govt-related companies & large corpserations like to hire.

Related reads:
- 26 Bromptons Bought by NParks At $2200/Bike
- What Expensive Brompton Folding Bicycles Can Teach SG's Pro Alien Party

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Not Flying Flag Again. More & More Sinkies Are Doing So

Is coming close to 10 days before S'pore National Day. Look around & marvel how many sinkies fly the flag......

It wasn't like this during my childhood days. Back then we don't need to be "encouraged" nor motivated to fly the flag. Now the mutated hybrid regime is wasting taxpayers $$ for website & printing leaflets & offering prizes to 'encourage' citizens to fly the flag. Situation has deteriorated to such a state......

Those few residential blocks with plenty of flags are blatantly obvious the grassroots govt machinery hang it for the residents.

More & more sinkies just treat the day as a normal weekend. What is there to celebrate? Instead of a nation, S'pore is like a corporation to milk profits out of the people. If local people aka consumers are not enough, the present hybrid regime has resorted to flooding in more foreign "consumers" to boost sales & consumption aka GDP at all costs like cancer to the detriment of social fabric, infrastructure capacity & culture etc.

Do consumers celebrate national day?

Monday, July 23, 2012

2 Main Lessons From Spiderman

Watched The Amazing Spiderman at JB, Msia. Surprised reboot is better. Must have been tough to surpass previous given the bar is already set high. I still prefer previous spidey actor (Tobey Maguire) rather than reboot's. Director Marc Webb of Spidey is his 2nd time directing a movie. So well done. What track record does he have? Dun get brainwashed about track record that S'pore's ruling Pro Alien Party likes to harp about.

There are 2 main lessons from Spiderman:
1) Spiderman Not Helping To Catching a Robber Ends Up His Uncle Got Killed
This is the most obvious lesson for viewers of the movie yet is often neglected. In S'pore's case look at those who can't be bothered by the policy failures of the incumbent ruling party. Or the policy failures haven't "impacted" their own lives or those closed to them yet.

Again this brings us back to quotation text regarding the Nazis in WWII occasionally sighted in the comments of socio-political sites:

First they came for the communists,
& I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
& I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
& I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
& there was no one left to speak out for me.

by Martin Niemöller

Just because something doesn't affect you right now doesn't mean it won't impact you or your closed ones in future. People need to be reminded/drill this into their heads.

2) Responsiblity in Sharing Your Gifts With the World
'With great powers come great responsibility' is a harsh lesson shoved upon Spidey upon Uncle Ben's death.. Spidey have doubts-giving up his vigilante role so as not to bring harm to those closed to him.

However he is reminded that he is given the gift of the special power for a reason. It is his duty/responsibility to share it with the world to better it.

Again in S'pore's case so many sinkies's gifts are snuffed out due to the ultra competitive education system designed to churn out easily replaceable cogs. What a narrow-minded way to decide a person's fate through academic 'A', 'A', 'A' & memorising text & facts when there's wikipedia available to millions.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Death of S'pore From Sea Level Rise

Australia is a continent. There are places inland for their citizens to retreat to. For tiny island S'pore it is a deathtrap as sea level rises. The govt's S$750M war fund to combat floods & mandating future land reclamations be 2.25m above highest recorded high tide is just a temporary measure to stave off the inevitable.

Extracts from: Sea rise threatens paradise Down Under

3 neighbors have already lost their homes to the rising ocean & there are scores more at risk as roaring seas batter the idyllic beachside town, ploughing through 131 feet of foredune in just 8 years.

"I wanted water frontage, and frontage I'm going to get," Pearce joked.

Property values have dived along her once exclusive cul-de-sac, with homes once worth Aus$1.5 or Aus$2 million (US$1.5 million or $2 million) now abandoned & offered for Aus$300,000. Weathered 'For Sale' signs dot the sidewalk.

What is happening down under will happen to tiny island S'pore especially even tinier Sentosa island's $M waterfront homes eventually becoming worthless.

Sinkies buying exorbitant hdb thinking can monetise for retirement as per govt propaganda are living in fairyland. Mother of all crisis- Climate Crisis will put it at severe risk.

S'pore's once revered old politician said that property prices will always go up. Relentless rising prices have indeed made more & more people mortgage slaves but how can prices keep going up when the country is going to be submerged by seawaters?

Is sickening that S'pore's incumbent ruling party 's obsession is growing gdp at all costs like cancer. Grow like cancer also shiok(feels wonderful). Unsustainable. There are limits to growth. If every govt on Earth has same cancer-like-approach (massive influx to boost population & thus boost consumption) to grow the economy, humanity's fate is pretty much game over.

Even with a 50cm sea-level rise the government has warned that severe weather events currently considered to be once in a century, such as the major flooding of Brisbane in 2010, would happen several times a year by 2100.

Sound familiar? Our previous environment minister said a very similar thing about flooding in prime shopping belt Orchard Road occuring once in 50 years but instead Mother Nature unleashed more than the old assumption.

Major cities were expected to face profound challenges from erosion & inundation, with the government warning in a 2009 report that Sydney's airport faced closure in the next 100 years due to its low-lying waterfront location.

Ports, hospitals, power stations & other critical infrastructure were also deemed to be at risk.

What about S'pore's Changi airport & plans for terminal 4? I believe is same fate. From east coast to Changi area is low-lying as well.

England said Australia "certainly stands to be hit with massive increased costs" from sea level rise, with 85% of its population living near the coast & insurance & liability battles already looming in the courts.

100% of sinkies living in tiny island S'pore......

"And we're only at the very start of the projected trend from human-induced climate change."

The residents of Old Bar are banking on a government lifeline to help them build a Aus$10 million artificial reef offshore to protect their dwindling beach.

For her part, Pearce has little doubt about the cause: "Climate change. It's worldwide, isn't it."

Artificial coral reef offshore to protect S'pore's beach? Aint gonna happen since S'pore is a major port.

Is going to get worse in the future with 2+billion consumers from China & India with their carbon footprint. As Al Gore explains in the below 2.5min video the melting & subsequent sea level rise will speed up more & more......

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Rebound in Oil Prices Likely in August 2012

Chart pattern for crude oil seem to indicate rebound in prices coming soon. On daily chart it seems a right shoulder is going to form or is going to form a double bottom.

  • Cheap oil era is over as drilling in deepwaters for oil is desperate. (Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster)
  • Oil is transacted in US$. As USA prints more & more US$, prices would invariably rise.
  • Massive energy demand especially by China & India

"Neptune Orient Lines said the poorer performance was due to high fuel costs & low freight rates in container shipping."
I wrote in just earlier blogpost about the desperation of NOL selling its HQ building & axeing staff in bid to stem the bleeding after 5 qtrs of losses.

High energy costs have resulted in recessions as evidenced in the 70s. This ought to be a piece of good news considering more & more sinkies are displaced from their jobs by flood of generally cheaper foreigners. When more sinkies are plunged into dire states as companies axed generally more expensive sinkies to stay afloat, sinkies would be 'highly motivated' to vote the incumbent ruling party out of their 2/3 parliamentary majority.

Property market crash would also be a bonanza as more sinkies are laid off & have difficulty servicing their ludicrous mortgage loans.

Oil prices are trending higher over long term despite fluctuations while on the way up.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Guillotining Middle Managers During Company Restructuring

Common symptom of govt jobs, govt-linked companies(GLC)) & large corpserations:
"Restructuring was done because the company had become bureaucratic & slow in decision making. It was to streamline our operations to make it more responsive to our customer needs."
Neptune Orient Lines(GLC) grabbed headlines when it announced it is selling its HQ building after 5 qtrs of losses. Larger shipping firms like Maersk & Evergreen have dumped higher cost S'pore & shifted to Tanjung Pelepas at Johor, Msia within sight from sg's Tuas immigration link.

News of selling the HQ came after annoncement of guillotining workers to cut costs in May. NOL can save more by guillotining those managers who follows procedures & orders to the letter - can be automated. Those NOL managers think they are smart playing it safe by follow procedures & orders to letter. Little do those Papa, Mama, Uncles & Aunties know they are at most risk. Act like robot = automate.

If can't automate, then those Papa, Mama, Uncles & Aunties can be replaced with generally cheaper foreign workers which the Pro Alien Party is fond of. Since so good at following procedures/orders to letter it means someone cheaper can follow as well. What's so difficult about following orders since school factories spits out cog workers who do as ordered?
"NOL said the poorer performance was due to high fuel costs & low freight rates in container shipping."
Again this brings us back to what local SME biz owners are lamenting:
"From biz owner's point of view, there's a limit how low costs can go, a limit how much people will pay for stuff, but there's no limit to rising rentals."
S'pore under the Pro Alien Party is on a downward spiral. With govt-linked companies (mostly run by scholars) making up 50-60% of the economy excluding govt jobs, 'renegades' such as the zero score student which can turn the company around with their unusual thinking are virtually non-existant in GLC's compliant & paper cert culture.

GLC's compliant culture doesn't like a cog workers for questioning superior about why need to find stuff to buy so as to spend the $$. In a sense those companies falling into tough financial situations with $M losses deserve what they get with their bureaucratic culture & just follow procedures/orders from their army of yes yes yes yesmen/yeswomen.

Another downward spiral is the peril of hiring cheaper foreign workers is they overwhelming dun care if the order carried out is bad. Just execute the bad order & collect S$ & then go back home country for a good life. Locals who question the order are seen as 'troublemakers'.

Monday, July 9, 2012

70.5Km Back of Knee Joint Discomfort Ride

Used to have numb hands on longer distance rides. After shifting my saddle back 1cm it seems i exchange a discomfort for another.

Back knee joint discomfort creeps in during return leg of journey. Will have a few more longer rides & see how it goes for readjustment. While there is a procedure to adjust the saddle fore/aft position i didn't do so as i use normal pedals as the bike also serves as a commuting bike.

Reservist lad like me have difficulty keeping pace with 2 teenagers doing the NTU campus loop & closing gap with main group who didn't do the loop & headed straight up towards end of straight road lim chu kang road. Moderate cycling & recreational badminton are my exercise. At least there's some fun in it. Jogging to train up to pass reservist fitness test is a chore to me.

Friday, July 6, 2012

'Oil' Beneath Student's "Barren like Desert" Score

Q1) In which battle did Napoleon die?
his last battle

Q2) Where was the Declaration of Independence signed?
at bottom of page

Q3) River Ravi flows in which state?

Q4) What is the main reason for divorce?

Q5) What is the main reason for failure?

Q6) What can you never eat for breakfast?
Lunch & dinner

Q7) What looks like half an apple?
The other half

Q8) If you throw a red stone into the blue sea what it will become?
It will simply become wet

Q9) How can a man go 8 days without sleeping?
No problem, he sleeps at night.

Q10) How can you lift an elephant with 1 hand?
You will never find an elephant that has only 1 hand.

Q11) If you had 3 apples & 4 oranges in 1 hand & 4 apples & 3 oranges in other hand, what would you have?
Very large hands

Q12) If it took 8 men 10 hours to build a wall, how long would it take 4 men to build it?
No time at all, the wall is already built.

Q13) How can u drop a raw egg onto a concrete floor without cracking it?
Any way you want, concrete floors are very hard to crack.

Had a hilarious laugh reading the answers. Student would have failed going by conventional standards but he is a valuable asset if a boss is wise enough to hire him to tap into his unique way of thinking. Certainly such a person cannot last in govt jobs or large corpserations where yesmen/yeswomen & conformity run rampant.

So many of us go through the 'school factory' where we are taught & trained to think & answer in a certain way so that the factory can spit out 'moulded' student products as easily replaceable cogs in the economic machine.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Steps for Buying Bicycle or Other Stuff

A newbie asked for advice to buying a roadbike & Steven Lim who got a dayjob dealing with safe cycling offered good advice:
  1. Identify purpose of riding, for fitness, for race, for triathlon, for touring..etc.
  2. Set budget with a buffer of not more than $500 difference & stick to it.
  3. Do research on various frame materials, carbon, Alu, Steel..etc, know their characteristics, pros & cons..etc.
  4. Know your frame size, can get it from website of various brands or get it with a professional bike fit.
  5. Do research on various brands, their size, geometry, their strength & weakness, models etc. 
  6. Do research on various bike shops here that carry the brands you want & their sales & after sales service. But this one sometimes need trial & error as one man's meat may be another's poison.
With these process & information gathered, it is easier for you to shop for a bike & easier for decision making.

I went through more or less the same questions when buying my commuting road bike. Just first two steps alone can narrow down to a small list of possible candidates. However some people just goto bikeshop blindly & let the salesperson influence them which i consider unwise. I encounter the same situation upon stumbling on an acquaintance who is at a bikeshop to buy a bike but don't know which kind of riding she is doing the most.

Is astonishing that some people intent to buy an item without knowing the primary purpose of using the item for.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What Expensive Brompton Folding Bicycles Can Teach SG's Pro Alien Party

A minister of the Pro Alien Party exhorts sinkies to be Cheaper, Better, Faster. I don't own a Brompton folding bike due to its high price. However there are lessons that the Brompton Bicycle Manufacturer can teach those overpaid & poor performing 'scholar' ministers.

Can you out-Amazon Amazon or out-Walmart Walmart? If can't win the race to bottom why blindly follow? Do Switzerland race to the bottom by producing cheap cheap products?

There are cheaper folding bike competitors primarily from taiwanese companies. But do Brompton just follow blindly & do what the taiwan companies do with mechanized mass production process to bring costs down & mass-produce as many as possible to sell?

Brompton focus on segment of market that appreciates its product:
  • hand made bicycles
  • Made in London, UK
  • Steel frame bicycles (stiff, but heavy but people still buy...)
  • make only folding bikes. Not greedy venture into making other types of bikes

CBF (cheaper, better, faster) doesn't work for Brompton folding bicycles. Brompton bikes aka brommies are expensive.
  • Brommies are NOT cheaper but much more expensive
  • Brommies are NOT necessarily better
  • Brommies are NOT faster made (hand-made vs mechanized production)

With ludicrous housing payments making much of the population mortgage slaves together with high cost of living, it is absurb for that minister to exhort sinkies to be CBF. As an overpaid minister he needs to exercise leadership with his CBF formula himself before telling others to do so likewise.

Brompton is not the only case-study. There are others like Mercedes, Swiss chocolates, watches, Denmark's Lego toys etc ...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

China's Rare Earths Advantage

Abundance of cheap labor advantage possessed by China (won't be in future) is known by many around the world. Few know of another advantage possessed by China.

I first come across the term 'Rare Earths' in Stephen Leeb's book 'Red Alert'. He wrote about China hoarding the coveted resource. Cheap oil is running out as what Deepwater Horizon oil spill diasaster in 2010 has proven - drilling in deep waters for oil is desperate.

So what has end of cheap oil & rare earths got to do with each other? Stephen Leeb mentioned that rare earths are a critical ingredient needed in alternative green energy sources such as making solar panels & magnet generators for wind turbines. China's govt has foresight to recognise need to switch to alternative green energies & its infrastructure in future.

Sure, China can sell the coveted resource but why sell it for short-term gains when there's much greater long-term gains down the road? - again the foresight of the chinese govt to make China strong.

"Middle East has oil, China has rare earths" - Deng Xiaoping in 1992

With its rare earths supply & severely limiting its exports to other countries, China has in a way 'force' foreign companies to set up factories in China to manufacture high-tech products. It allows China to move up the high-tech ladder faster since rare earths are required in many high-tech products.

When the world finally wakes up to the fact of end of cheap oil era & mad rush for alternative green energies, the demand for rare earths is gonna be astronomical. China's hoarding & its reserves is not enough for its gargantuan population of 1.3B for its transition to alternative green energies & infrastructure, let alone the world population of 7 billion......

Is not all doom & gloom yet as Japan has recently discovered a large deposit of rare earth minerals in its Pacific seabed.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Surviving D-Day is Best D-Day Documentary I've Watched So Far

Passed half year mark of not watching tv. Day by day the veterans of WWII dwindle & with them their wartime stories which is why i like watching WWII documentaries with veterans' accounts of the war.

I've watched a few documentaries on D-Day & 'Surviving D-Day' is the best. WWII history buffs know Omaha Beach Assault is the most gruesome. Men in first few waves are literally going to their deaths.

Surviving D-Day -87mins.
Acceptable quality for full screen. Opens in new window.

Watch the 1st 5 mins & you'll be compelled to watch till the end. American documentaries really know how to captivate the audience especially those non-enthusiasts. Why i consider Surviving D-Day the best so far:

- It ties in many D-Day factors in other documentaries into a fabulous episode
- Great music to keep the audience glued
- How breakfast decides who drowns when seasick (Wow! Is a revelation to me)
- Simple design flaw to detach parachute - Life or Death (New realization)
- Lack of Tank Support - Many DD Tanks sank due to huge waves (mentioned in other shows)

- Norman Cota (Great new piece of revelation to me)
Superb leadership. A Brigadier General lands on beach to rally demoralised & shell-shocked survivors. Leads men to charge MG-42 machine gun nest. I doubt such qualities exists in S'pore scholar generals. One need look no further how s'pore general turned ministers are out of touch with ground situation.

- Franz Gockle
Surviving german soldier at Omaha Beach. 1 of 2 in his platoon to survive. He can be seen in a few D-Day documentaries. He shot over 100,000 bullets with his MG-42 machine gun.

D-Day 6.6.1944 BBC Documentary
118mins. Acceptable quality for full screen.
British D-Day documentary. Worth a watch too though is not as 'entertaining' for non-enthusiasts.

D-Day 6.6.1944 Part 1 [All opens in new window]
D-Day 6.6.1944 Part 2
D-Day 6.6.1944 Part 3
D-Day 6.6.1944 Part 4
D-Day 6.6.1944 Part 5

My Other Fav WWII Documentaries:

Sunday, July 1, 2012

28km Night Exploration Ride to Deserted Portsdown Road Area

Blue bridge & secret path is what grab my curiosity. Went for a 28km leisure night ride to explore with the group. Need to add some adventure besides always riding the usual boring routes. Haven't join them for 2.5 months.

There's a patch of gravel path in route description. Anyway i still went for it. Upon mapping my ride i realise the gravel path is where the railway track(dismantled) is behind Alexandra Hospital. I push my bike with slick tires while the rest on MTBs just roll ahead.

It was my first ride at night at Portsdown road area - very quiet place. There's a bridge lighted with blue lights (also a ramp) at Mei Chin area. I'm not sure of exact location. My sense of location ain't good at night at unfamiliar areas.

While other cycling groups ride on main roads primarily for training, this leisure group's strength is in widening one's horizon to shortcuts & other lesser known places i'm not aware of. Downside is their pitstops breaks are long like smoking 3 cigarettes which put off some riders though this ride is an improvement- a 4-5min break at end of blue bridge/ramp with no eating in between.