Outrageous to legalize online gambling in Singapore

I’m outraged and I’m disgusted.

I came home from work today and read the news that the Singapore government had allowed Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club to operate online betting services.

Just like that.

No Parliamentary debate. No call for public feedback or consultation. No protests from any PAP minister or member of Parliament. No squeak from the National Council on Problem Gambling.

Maybe I missed all of that, let me know if I’ve not been keeping up with the news.

(Update: A reader shared the 2014 Parliamentary debate on this matter, thank you! This obviously flew under most of our noses. Here’s the brief 2014 Straits Times story covering it, and I thank MPs Denise Phua, Png Eng Huat, Pritam Singh and NCMP Yee Jenn Jong for trying to prevent today’s tragic situation.)

When do we really have a say?

People like to call Singapore a nanny state. Honestly, I do not mind living in a nanny state if the nanny appears to know what it is doing for the people’s well-being.

Sometimes, this nanny state insists it wants to have a conversation with its citizens to solicit your precious feedback. Other times, you do not know best, so let their experts decide.

Continue reading Outrageous to legalize online gambling in Singapore

Why do you do what you do?

Do you know what’s the saddest thing I find about the conclusion of the City Harvest trial?

No, not that the convicted would continue to claim that their actions were right in their eyes (or God’s), or that their followers would continue to support the church leaders. These were all predictable outcomes of this long-drawn trial given the track record of all parties mentioned.

What I found sad was the lack of forthrightness of some Christian critics and the lack of a robust, intellectual defence from CHC supporters.

Continue reading Why do you do what you do?

Changes and More Changes: The tenth anniversary blog post

So just like that, ten years have passed since I began this blog site.

In one way, it hasn’t really changed from being a place to pen my thoughts, and to share my passions or ideas.

In another way, it has sort of chronicled the major changes in my career, my family and my understanding of myself.

Continue reading Changes and More Changes: The tenth anniversary blog post

The Age Of Decluttering

An odd thing happened over the past year as I cleaned up my diet and changed my taste palate – I started to declutter the rest of my life too.

To most people, decluttering is a matter of throwing out old junk from the house. I did just that over the past few months as I finally got around to renovating my HDB flat for the first time since 2003, and fixing many of the things I implemented but didn’t know better back then.

For example, I custom-built a TV cabinet that was designed to hold an extremely heavy CRT TV and store as many DVDs and CDs as possible.

Who would know that over the next decade, TVs would become a fraction of the weight with LCD technology and that physical media would become obsolete?

Books, for me, have become a thing of the past as I moved to ebooks, freeing up an incredible amount of storage space. People say they miss the feel of paper under their fingertips. I say I don’t miss that yellowing piece of tree bark at all.

Another thing I learned over the past decade was that the more storage space I had, the more I would fill it with junk. So in 2014, I no longer have big cabinets or coffee tables in the living room. I have enough storage space to store the essential things, but every few weeks I’m going into my tiny storeroom to see what else I can throw out.

So one key trick in decluttering is preventing future clutter.

The next thing that I started to declutter was my social media life.

Continue reading The Age Of Decluttering

Higher aspirations, higher cost of living?

The 11 May 2014 article from Today newspaper
The 11 May 2014 article from Today newspaper

In recent years, I’ve been hearing this line “Control what you can control” more and more often. I think it’s a very useful line for time management and job prioritization but it is increasingly used when people are handed a lousy situation not of their own doing, and asked to “just deal with it”.

That thought came to mind when I read this news story in Today where our Defence Minister insists our cost of living here has become more expensive because of our personal aspirations in life:

SINGAPORE — Having higher aspirations in life is a reason why Singaporeans find the cost of living here expensive, despite real wages having gone up, said Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen yesterday (May 10).

But Singapore has to ensure that opportunities to get out of poverty must not be priced out and remain abundant to fulfil the dreams of younger Singaporeans, said Dr Ng.

The Defence Minister was speaking at a Singapore Medical Association dinner and responding to a question from the audience concerned over the rising cost of living in Singapore.“If you look at household goods, per household, what people have – handphone, TV – has actually gone up,” said Dr Ng. Unlike the past, mobile phones are almost an essential item for children, he added.

That Singaporeans find costs of living expensive due to higher aspirations is a reason that will not please people, including himself, said Dr Ng, as the reason is “objective” and does not address “issues of the heart.”

Dr Ng added that while the Government makes sure that nobody should have their potential stunted just because their family cannot afford it, this is “difficult argument” to sell as some parents pay large sums of money to provide tuition for their children.

Before writing this post, I’ve actually spent the past three days mulling frequently on the story and on my personal situation.

I’ve asked myself – so is this true? Have my aspirations led to the increasing costs that we’re all experiencing around us? I’ve always respected Minister Ng (hey, he’s an old ACS boy, so he can’t be that clueless right?) so I kept asking myself if it was me and not him. Continue reading Higher aspirations, higher cost of living?