Linguine for Christmas

LinguineThis has got to be the worst Christmas present given this year. It was given to my dentist by her sister-in-law.

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Chinese bus drivers stage work stoppage

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CHINESE BUS DRIVERS STAGE WORK STOPPAGE IN S’PORE

(AFP, 26 Nov) – More than 100 mainland Chinese bus drivers in Singapore refused to work on Monday in a rare case of labour mass action in the city-state.

The drivers, disgruntled over their pay from state-linked transport firm SMRT, refused to board a shuttle that was going to ferry them from their dormitory to a nearby depot.

After talks with SMRT management with police on standby, the protesting drivers said they would report for work on Tuesday.

SMRT is 54 percent owned by state investment firm Temasek Holdings. Singapore has been hiring bus drivers from China and Malaysia because of a chronic shortage of manpower.

One of the Chinese drivers, who declined to be named, told reporters the dispute arose because they felt aggrieved over a disparity in pay between Chinese and Malaysian bus drivers.

Drivers from China earn a basic salary of Sg$1,075 ($879), while those from Malaysia earn $1,375, the driver said. The dispute was also about the lack of bonuses for Chinese bus drivers, he added.

Strikes and other forms of industrial action are rare in Singapore, where the labour movement works closely with the government and private business, making the city-state an attractive place for foreign investment.

The Ministry of Manpower issued a stern warning to the 102 drivers who took part in the stoppage, saying it “takes the workers’ actions very seriously” and was closely monitoring the situation.

In a statement, the National Transport Workers’ Union urged the Chinese drivers — who are not union members — to return to work immediately.

No major disruptions were reported during the work stoppage, which took place during Singapore’s year-end school holidays, when demand for public transport is lower.

Source

Who says there is “strike”in Singapore? For so many years, there is no strike in Singapore at all. It’s unheard of. With our unique “tripartite” where our unions, management and government working hand in hand in a holy trinity for the betterment of the workers, why should there be a strike?

But when it did happen, as in the recent China bus drivers case at Woodlands and not too long ago when some Bangladeshi workers at Tampines went on strike, it became big news. Even foreign press reports on the latest incident. Our local press soften it by using euphemism in its news reports describing it as an “industrial incident!” Why cant they just call a spade a spade? Too ashamed to use the word “strike?”

Under The Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act of Singapore, strike is illegal, in other words against the law in certain industries. There are broadly 28 categories of industries where the workers cannot stage a strike or “industrial action”. Transport workers in the essential transport industry is one of them.

Illegal strikes and lock-outs in essential services

Part III of the CLPTA deals with illegal strikes and lock-outs in essential services. Section 5 of the Act defines a strike as “the cessation of work by a body of persons employed in any essential service acting in combination, or a concerted refusal or a refusal under a common understanding of a number of persons who are or who have been so employed to continue to work or to accept employment”, and a lock-out as “the closing of a place of employment or the suspension of work, or the refusal by an employer to continue to employ any number of persons employed by him in consequence of a trade dispute, done with a view to compelling those persons, or to aid another employer in compelling persons employed by him, to accept terms or conditions of or affecting employment”. Essential services are any services, businesses, trades, undertakings, manufactures or callings included in Part I of the First Schedule to the Act…

But to be fair to the NTWU – National Transport Workers Union, those China workers are not unionised. They are not members of the NTWU. In other words, the plight of the China workers culminating in the strike has got nothing to do with the union. It is between those PRC workers and the Management.

Obviously, those China workers must be very pissed off. They are now regretting coming over here to work when the terms and conditions presented to them were so tempting back home then. They felt cheated, unfairly treated and exploited for the same job. They acknowledged that they did not mind locals getting paid more. What they were dissatisfied about is the perceived unfairness and discrimination between them and Malaysian bus drivers. That is the crux of the matter.

Since they felt so bitter, they were prepared to stage a one day strike. Worst scenario, they just returned back to China. Do you think our authorities would use the law to arrest them? Do you think those PRCs will be locked up for staging an illegal strike in an essential industry? The law is clear. They have obviously committed an offence and they should be arrested. But we know very well that no arrest will be made, just like the other case where some Bangladeshi workers refused to go to work in a construction site at Tampines.

If the same were to happen to local workers, they may not be so lucky. We locals dare not go on strike especially if we work in an essential services industry. We have our HDB loan payments to consider, our children need money to go school, our parents need us to support them and so on. We can’t afford to be arrested and locked up for staging an illegal strike. Unlike those China nationals working here, we got no where to go. Where can we go? Whereas, those China nationals could always go back to their own country if they are not happy. In other words, they could cause havoc and just leave. It reminds us of Amy Cheong – FT Australian citizen who went back to Australia after she was sacked by NTUC for making racist remarks on her FB not too long ago. Now you see the difference between us and those foreign workers?

Since we are at the mercy of those powerful figures in the tripartite holy trinity, we can never go on strike at the risk of personal ruins and destruction. So even if we work 18 hours a day (essential services are exempted from over-clocking of OT and working hours), 7 days a week under poor working conditions with little welfare and no pay rise for more than 10 years, we still cannot protest. We are not like those PRCs or foreigners working here where they don’t have the kind of family obligations and commitments here.

Those PRC workers did not commit any crime or damage any public property. They were just pissed off with the perceived unfair treatment and injustice, so they refused to go to work. Straightaway, lots of police officers and police riot vehicles surrounded the dormitory and created such a scene as though they were terrorists or serious criminals? Is it not an act of intimidation to cow them into submission? You better stop your nonsense and get back to work soon or else … What an embarrassment. If it’s in other countries, no one would even bother to report this piece of news – one day strike by dissatisfied bus drivers. But here, it is different. We are a first world country with third world economy. We are the richest country in the whole world yet we treat our workers no better than those third world countries. We are uniquely Singapore.

Related article.

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Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

English and Chinese station announcements in trains sans Malay and Tamil

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Recently, SMRT has started making English and Chinese announcements in the trains. Before every station, English and Chinese (Mandarin) announcements are made. Other announcements like no eating in the trains, security alert etc are still made randomly in four official languages. Until recently, the station announcements used to be made in English only. Recently, Chinese (Mandarin) is added.

For more than 25 yrs since SMRT started operating train services, only English announcement is made for stations. Why the sudden addition of Mandarin? Is it due to the last December train disruptions where some passengers complained of no announcements made in Chinese? Is SMRT addressing that feedback? Is SMRT addressing the correct feedback? “No Chinese announcement” does not necessarily mean that all stations must be made in Chinese! It actually meant reporting the actual crisis situation, delay or train service disruptions in Chinese stupid!

This latest policy of making Chinese announcement has caused lots of controversy. It is creating lots of robust and emotional discussion in the cyberworld especially on facebook and public forums.

Click to read public discussion here.

Click to read another public discussion here.

There are already so many foreigners in our country especially most of them taking our public transport. Some feel that this policy of making Chinese (Mandarin) announcement is to cater to those PRCs working here. Except for those older folks, nearly all of Chinese Singaporeans could understand English. Try speaking in English to taxi drivers or hawkers if you are not convinced. Most of our places have either English, Malay or dialect names. In fact, the local Chinese are more familiar with the English, Malay or dialect names of places. Most local Chinese could understand Bugis, Joo Koon or Kembagan better than if they were to be pronounced in Mandarin. To translate into Chinese (Mandarin) sounds odd and alien. It’s jarring to the local Chinese ears. Of course those English, Malay or dialect place names do not ring a bell with those PRCs since they are not natives.

Some of my Malay and Indian friends are clearly unhappy over this matter. In fact, most of them feel that Malay and Indian languages are sidelined. Mandarin has suddenly come into prominence. They are wondering if they are trying to promote Mandarin? What’s the agenda? If it is only English, then there is no issue as English is a neutral language. But if Chinese (Mandarin) is included in station announcements, then they feel that Malay and Indian (Tamil) should also be added.

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Some of the stations are quite close. If all the four official languages are included in station announcements, there may not be enough time. Before the 4th language could be announced, the train has already arrived at the next station. Sometimes in between stations, there are also announcements on security, safety alert or other messages like train delay etc. As such, air time of few minutes in-between stations need to take into account of those messages when including all four langauges in station announcements. There may not be enough time to make all the necessary announcements.

Our constitution clearly accords equal weight to all our four official languages. By highlighting only two of the four i.e. English and Chinese (Mandarin), the Malays and Indians feel sidelined and threatened. It is not a healthy sign. It is very divisive and unpopular with the non-Chinese of course. Like I say, most local Chinese even up to 55 yrs – 60 yrs age group could understand English since it is only names of places which all local Chinese are familiar with, why then the station announcement in Chinese? Only those local Chinese above 65 yrs may not understand English. But I’m sure if it is only names of places, they should have no problem understanding. My illiterate 70 yrs old mother also got no problem understanding the English station announcement. One just can’t help wondering if the new policy is to cater to the tons of PRCs here? Why should we do that at the expense of offending our locals?

I personally feel that it is either English station announcement only or four official languages. Either way, there is no uneasy feeling from the public. If it is English and Chinese station announcements, there bound to be controversy. Those non-Chinese are not going to accept it quietly.

Any idiot, retard or nincompoop knows this simple basic fact. Why do our leaders not sensitive to other races’ feelings? Why made it so divisive? If such thing were to happen in other countries, there will be mass protests and demonstrations or even riots citing constitutional rights and language discrimination etc. Here, you can’t or you will be arrested for voicing your concerns as a non-Chinese citizen of this country! Those non-Chinese citizens could only rant amongst themselves. Must the rumblings and rants slowly build up to a crescendo before some powerful figure reverses this policy of making two of the four official languages in our station announcements on all our trains? We will see where this Chinese “wayang” leading to?

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Why can’t we also have free medical treatment?

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“Look at how much I was asked to pay for my medicine. For $299, the pharmacist charged C$0.01!!! – One cent! When I had my stroke in May 2012, the three weeks hospital stay at Vancouver General Hospital, specialist treatment and three months of therapy sessions cost me nothing – zero!”

Sq Quitters

Ex-Singaporean Wing, having spent his entire economically active life here, has migrated to Canada enjoying his retirement there. He had a stroke recently and was warded in a government hospital in Canada. He claimed that he did not pay a single cent for his week long hospital stay and total treatment costs. He only paid one cent for his medicine. Not only was he shocked, so are we! It’s just simply incredible. But then, he got the receipts and invoices to prove that he is not lying through his teeth. Remember someone said he only paid $8 for his heart by-pass? Is he referring to himself only or the general public? Was he telling the whole truth?

Well, I do not know about the $8 heart by-pass anecdote. But I did come across the shocking truth about our medical system. Let me relate my mother’s recent case.

My mother complained of breathlessness recently. A heart specialist namely Dr Goh YS from Changi Hospital was recommended to her by a relative (mother’s younger brother). She was charged consultation fee more than S$400 in cash! It’s under private treatment – non-subsidy even though it’s a govt hospital cuz she requested for this specialist (recommended by her brother). It’s only less than half an hour of consultation with no medicine prescription.

According to my mother, the nice elderly Dr Goh after examining her and looked through her past medical records and reports which she paid for from Tampines Polyclinic, referred her to more cardiac tests in the same hospital on her next appointment.

When she received the bill, she nearly collapsed of “heart attack!” She was told that if she did not request for any specific doctor, then the consultation fee is usually less than S$100 after govt’s “massive subsidy”!

If you are sick and not feeling well in the middle of the night, you go to any A&E govt hospital, you will be charged a minimum of S$95! The govt polyclinics only operate office hours. The govt says that this is to prevent abuse of A&E in govt hospitals where they cater to more urgent life threatening medical cases. But if you are sick and not feeling well in the middle of the night, where do you go if you don’t go to the A&E? Private clinic or private hospital? Could we afford?

In Wing’s case, if he’s treated in a govt hospital here instead of Vancouver General Hospital in Canada, his MediSave account in his CPF could be wiped out! After he has used up his MediSave, they will ask for his spouse’, children’s or siblings’ MediSave and so on until all their CPF accounts are depleted! If you want any subsidy or help, you will have to go thru so many means testing and jump over many more hurdles before they finally throw some subsidy at you.

We are the third richest country, some say the richest country in the world, yet the government hospital operates as public and private entitities in a brilliant dual system. If you pay, you will get the best treatment. If you don’t pay enough, you will get sidelined – only perfunctory checks are done! They are always asking how are you going to pay for the medical costs the moment you first step into the government hospital. Every citizen knows that. I ever experienced that when I brought my mother few years back for knee replacement surgery in Singapore General Hospital.

The common saying amongst Singaporeans is that “it is better to die than getting warded” in a hospital is not without it’s basis. But if follow Sg Quitter Wing who is living in Canada, that statement “it is better to die than getting warded” is unheard of there. I could imagine that Wing also got a benign heart attack of a gentle and compassionate kind – unlike my mother, when he was told that he need not pay a single cent for his week stay in hospital!

I wonder why Canada could treat her citizens at “zero” medical costs for a week stay in hospital due to a stroke when our medical costs keep going up – galloping higher and higher? Our medisave account in our CPF also keep on increasing every year when our pay has not gone up at all in more than 10 years – as in my case. We are constantly reminded that medical costs will be more and more expensive and that we need to buy more and more medical insurance premiums even though our medisave in our CPF account keep increasing! WTF!

In fact, I have to spend nearly $800 using CPF savings for my father’s NTUC medishield plus “rider” cash of more than $250 yearly. If include myself, my mother’s, son’s and my wife’s extra medishield yearly payments, it’s easily nearly $3,000 off my CPF savings when my annual total CPF total contributions is less than $15,000! Compared to Canada which is not richer than us, is it not illogical? If it is not madness, then pray tell me what is it?

Like most Singaporeans, we are not asking for free handouts. We are not expecting “zero” payment for medical costs. We believe in paying cuz nothing in this world is free. But we also do not expect medical costs to bankrupt us, wiping away all our life savings! My mother’s recent 20 mins of consultation costing more than $400 is an example of the kind of medical costs I’m referring to that will bankrupt us.

Do I have enough for the min sum? Is there any more cash left for me when I retire at age 55 yrs or 62 yrs? What with the HDB loan that I’m paying? Do we benefit from our country’s economic miracle? Ultimately who benefits from this obsessive GDP growth? As citizens, we are still left with nothing after working our entire productive lifespan here. Add to that, there is still this statement that it is better to die than to get warded in our government hospital when money gives you access to better medical treatment. Your citizenship status does not matter here. Unless, you are lucky enough to be like Wing who quits early and is now enjoying his golden years in a foreign land, we are really gone case. There is no hope or future for us here. We are doomed forever.

Yet, this govt is giving S$5 billion loan to IMF, S$30 million a year to foreign scholars, nearly S$400 million spent on Children’s games, S$10 million for new citizens integration programmes, S$2,200 foldable bicycles and few hundreds of dollars of Herman Miller office chairs costing tens of thousands of public money! Shouldn’t public money be used wisely? If only all these monies were diverted to medical spending, do we need to pay through our nose? It pains my heart. Do you feel the same way?

Another Bum Deal?

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Posted in Uncategorized | 25 Comments

When Visitors to your Blog are Retards

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Someone hiding behind the initials “KM” used the comment function of another blog to attack Lohcifer for something Lohcifer said in his October 3 post about taxis.

KM wrote:

Lohcifer wrote on his blog: “Well, ok, so Prof Lee hails from Taiwan, plus he’s an engineer and Taiwanese and engineers are not the most eloquent of people insofar as my own personal experiences with the Taiwanese and with engineers are concerned.”

I object to Lohcifer’s racist remarks about Taiwanese. He should try debating with them in Chinese and see who is more eloquent.

(Note: sorry to hijack Gintai’s blog, but the coward Lohcifer doesn’t dare to open his comments page, hence I’m responding to him in this blog.)

Lohcifer didn’t believe in dignifying this dumbass with a reply.

Someone already did. Isn’t it nice to have someone speak up for you? During a private discussion at a closed-door forum of bloggers, when the conversation was about retards like KM, an infuriated eyewitness – a prominent local blogger himself – who caught KM’s comments just before Gintai deleted it made the following remarks. Below is an edited transcript of what he said, which was taped:

Allow me to just say that judging from what was written it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to surmise that this person “KM” is either a depraved swallower of Taiwanese cum or a licker of louse-ridden Taiwanese cunts, with a low level of education, IQ same as his or her shoe size, and absolutely zero EQ.

First, he should get a dictionary to understand the definition of the word “racist.”

Secondly, he obviously thinks the world of this renegade province which became a enclave for quitters who fled the mainland, Mao’s forces hot on their heels, they ran away to this shitty island called Taiwan, led by a two-bit syphilis-infested botak of a warlord who stole away more than half of China’s national treasures.

He thinks Taiwanese Chinese is the lingua franca of the world? I wonder why everyone wants to be a comedian these days. Surely “KM” must be joking. Who the hell wants to waste time debating with the Taiwanese? And he should know that Lohcifer can easily debate him in several languages if he wants to; just pick one. He’ll floor you. When he was working for a multinational corporation from which he resigned a year ago after ten years of service, Lohcifer was known to be the only employee who has achieved a satisfaction index of 98.2% for public speaking, a feat never attained before by anyone else in the company globally, a “record” that remains unbroken till today. (The rating is based on participant feedback.)

KM hides behind a pseudonym, “hijacked” someone else’s blog and he calls Lohcifer a coward? Lohifer a coward? Lohcifer will eat him for lunch and spits out his bones. KM, you won’t even know what hit you.

The blogosphere is proliferated with scrotumless douche bags like that. They use anonymity to compensate for their social deficiency, they should thank their lucky stars stupidity or brainlessness doesn’t cause hurt, otherwise these poor bastards would be suffering pain 24×7!

These pathetic morons don’t have the intellectual firepower to pen their own blog, they just lurk around and make snide comments, they don’t understand what people write. They obviously fail to comprehend what Lohcifer says in a page on his blog entitled “Read This First: Raison D’être” and they obviously don’t have the brains to grasp what Lohcifer has written. Lohcifer has opined that his own experience with the Taiwanese and with engineers is that they are not eloquent. Lohcifer is correct for I have seen (among other mis-steps) a Taiwanese engineer misquoting an idiom by saying “pork calling the cattle black” instead of “pot calling the kettle black!” So I believe shitheads like “KM” probably can’t spell their own name for nuts and they miss the point. They don’t see the big picture. Lohcifer’s post was about taxis, for crying out loud. These trigger-happy, shoot-from-the-hip idiots overestimate their own intelligence, and they have zero guts to confront those they disagree with eyeball to eyeball, toenail to toenail, they have no life, so they visit blogs, crap without thinking, trawl, talk rubbish through their ass and generally stir shit. They should wash their mouth out with Clorox and blowtorch their tongue.

Gintai has the good sense to bar his comments. Those hiding behind anonymity, and spewing vitriol, to borrow the words of Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam, should be banned from making comments on blogs. Those who wish to comment should have the guts to be held accountable, to stand up for what they believe in and use to their real names. “KM” is a wuss of the worst kind; he has zero credibility. He is the real coward who has no guts to say the things he said face-to-face with anyone, hiding behind two alphabets gives him invisibility and a sense of invincibility, so he lowers his self-control and lashes out. Doesn’t he know that every comment made by anyone on any blog can be tracked back to the very computer from which the comment originated?

Indeed Lohcifer told me that every visitor to his site is being tracked. Whenever you visit, your IP address, your browser and version, your operating system, the time and date of your visit, the site from which you came, the country you reside in, even the name of your ISP, etc are all stored in a log file and/or database and used for analysis. How do you think we bloggers protect ourselves? Lohcifer has a string of post-graduate degrees and worked for some 30 years in high tech, cutting edge environments. You think he’s stupid?

It’s official: perverts and born losers like “KM” need help.

They need to be euthanized.

Read related blog post. “Cap the Cab Crap”

Posted in Unacceptable Behavior