We need more good leaders

When I was in our school’s 24-man dragonboat team in 1994, I was seated on the first row out of 12 rows because I was one of the shorter guys.

My rowing partner Naveen and I were coached by the previous pair of front rowers (simply by paddling behind them for one entire year) on how to set the rowing pace of the boat according to different water conditions and how other rival boats were performing.

If the front two rowers couldn’t coordinate together, then the entire team would be unable to row in unison. The boat would simply slow down.

Continue reading “We need more good leaders”

Some thoughts on the diabetes issue in Singapore

We were discussing about food choices in the office and my colleague said to me “You’re lucky to have high metabolism.”

I said, “What? I don’t have a high metabolic rate. In fact, I gain weight easily.”

He looked surprised and I showed him a photo of what I used to look like five years ago.

It has been four and a half years since I cleaned up my diet, lost 10kg, and even wrote a simple e-book about how “Anyone Can Lose Weight“. I decided to lose weight largely out of vanity and frustration, but it was only later that I realized how beneficial it was to my health and preventing diabetes.

This month, our Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong spoke about the diabetes epidemic in Singapore during the National Day Rally. Singapore has the second highest rate of diabetes in the developed world, and it is a big problem. And from Channelnewsasia:

Today, diabetes affects one in nine Singaporeans and among those over 60, three in 10 have diabetes. The onset of diabetes is also getting younger with each generation – overweight teenagers can now succumb to what was previously termed “adult-onset” or Type 2 diabetes, the most common form.

Last year when the spotlight began to focus on the diabetes problem, I dropped an email to the minister in charge and offered to provide feedback and suggestions. He routed me to another team in the health ministry and they sent me a thank you email to close the conversation without any further action.

Oh well, I’m not a “professional” expert on the topic, nor am I a doctor, so to our civil servants, what good would I be to the fight against this disease in Singapore?

Nevertheless, I’d like to share some thoughts on how the country is currently dealing with diabetes and offer some pragmatic suggestions.

Continue reading “Some thoughts on the diabetes issue in Singapore”

Sunday Times column – Kids and smartphone usage

Here’s my second parenting column for the Sunday Times, this time on managing smartphone usage with the kids.

As parents, we both love and hate the smartphone.

On the one hand, it is the stuff of science fiction that we could only dream about in our youth.

On the other, it is a deadly glowing drug that we all struggle to stop looking at. We are always afraid that it will destroy our lives, as well as that of our children’s.

The risks are real and deadly.

Will our children fail their exams if they keep playing games? Are they surfing porn in the toilet? What are they chatting about in their many WhatsApp groups? Are strangers baiting them online? What malware is about to trap them into financial blackmail? Are they taking questionable videos?

Putting a smartphone into the hands of children is not something to be sniffed at.

The death of motorcycles in Singapore

People come to this blog daily to read about riding motorcycles in Singapore, or how to maintain their two wheelers. Thank you for being a reader, but I am afraid this may be my very last post on motorcycles.

You see, motorcycles are systematically being wiped out in Singapore by policymakers. Very soon, there will be little to write about the joy of motorcycling here.

From meager motorcycle quota allocations to $6,000 Certificate of Entitlements that cost more than small capacity motorcycles, SG riders have had to endure all sorts of transport policies that hint persistently that bikes are not really desired on our streets.

This week, the final nail in the coffin came when it was announced that there would be a new three-tier taxation regime imposed on motorcycles. Already, new large-capacity bike prices are increasing by up to an additional $27,000 (or the price of a brand new 1000cc Japanese sports naked)

Continue reading “The death of motorcycles in Singapore”

Thoughts at 40

It was weird how the day I turned 40 in August was the same day I became long-sighted.

Suddenly, I had to hold my smartphone further away to read the fine print, and the same goes for my Pebble 2 smartwatch which features tiny fonts thanks to its millennial designers.

How did my eyeballs know when to start degrading with clockwork precision?

Indeed, 40 is a strange age to be in. I’m not old enough to be a cranky elderly citizen, nor am I young enough to be considered a spring chicken.

Continue reading “Thoughts at 40”