Tag Archive | Hougang

Dumb-ass service!

Tan Hsueh Yun, the SPH go-to food girl, raved in a recent Sunday Times piece about a certain Japanese seasoning that’s available at the Meidi Ya supermarket at Liang Court. She gave a detailed description of where three brands of the seasoning could be found, adding that it’s no point asking the supmart staff  as no one knew where anything was 🙄

I don’t know about Meidi Ya but I just had an experience — two to be exact– at a Cold Storage outlet out in the heartlands of Hougang that was far from funny, though if it was part of a comedy script, it would be!

As I’m not familiar with the outlet and as I didn’t want to waste time exploring, I asked one staff where I could find the garlic. Would you believe it! The staffer actually directed me to where the ginger was kept in the chiller!

Now if I don’t read English and can’t tell ginger from garlic, I would have gone home with the wrong stuff.

That was not all.

Later, i was looking for tang hoon and again to save time, asked for direction from two staffers stacking stock at the noodles and pasta section.

One told me to go around the corner. I went around the corner but saw nothing that resembled tang hoon and went back to them who continued busily stacking.

The staff who directed me to where the tang hoon wasn’t gamely walked back with me around the corner and pointed to a solitary packet hanging at the bottom of the display frame.

“It’s not tang hoon,” I said, tartly. “It’s agar agar.”

Staffer took a closer look and might have contradicted me if not for the fact that the words Agar Agar were there on the packaging! 🙄

He siddled back to his colleague with me in determinded tow and after telling her what I was looking for, she looked at me non-plus.

Both might have then said that there was none in stock — if not for the fact that I suddenly saw the light.

We were standing in front of the pasta, noodles and beehoon stack. Tang hoon would surely be here?

I glanced quickly at the shelves and then stooped down to look at the more obscure items on the lower shelves. I found not just one packet of tang hoon but several packets — and in two brands to boot! 😆


When shall we three meet again?

B-D Trio

… in thunder, lightning or in rain…?

When the hurlyburly’s done,
 When the battle’s lost and won….

Well, the Hougang battle’s been lost by the PAP and won by the Workers Party. I don’t know when there will be a reprise of the May 26 joust. Perhaps the next general election?

But I know when we three B-D gals would meet again. Soon.

For our next birthday month of May, when our joint celebration is held again, there won’t be the background excitement of a rare Singapore experience — a by-election to add oomph and bite to our always delicious dinner cooked every year without fail by the delectable HWSNBN.

Last night’s dinner was therefore extra-special.

And if DPM Teo Chee Hean had been a fly on the wall of where we had our dinner, he won’t be so confident  in his words “the elections in Hougang is quite special, as Hougang is not representative of the whole of Singapore necessarily. Because each constituency is different, and Hougang has its own characteristics..

This is because of the 7 of us at our wine-dine-whine din-din, there was only one person rooting for the PAP.

OK, one of those present is a Hongkonger who dropped into SG for a quick visit. So he didn’t count.

The remaining six are all Singaporeans, all having the vote, provided where they live won’t have a walkover at the next GE. And I’m sure that walkovers are likely to be a thing of the past!

Three live in the East Coast, two in the Orchard Road area and one right in the City Centre — their votes would count in the Marine Parade, Tanjong Pagar and Moulmein-Kallang GRCs. Only one of these six were sad that the PAP lost on Saturday!

I’m not saying that the outlier is me or it’s not me.

What I would confess to is that I was dead wrong about the PAP’s prospects in Hougang. Which shows the strong pulling power of the WP, the strong turn off that has become the PAP or a combi of both.

Meanwhile, it was a delightful dinner, with two vintage white wines and a bottle of Moet & Chandon, which weren’t a lot split among 7 hearty eaters 😆

Palate refreshener: sorbet & jelly

Chikx galore! Stuffed with cheese n herbs

refreshing fruit-trio n veggie salad

Home-made siu-yoke, better than Wah Lok

Fruit flan from Fullerton Hotel

Poor Png, poor WP, you will lose…

…. Hougang. And on my birthday too :razz:!

Which is a pity after WP leader Mr Low Thia Khiang had held the ward and SG enthralled for 20 years

I think the success in grabbing the Aljunied GRC and unseating not one but two ministers — plus retaining Hougang, despite Mr Low not being there — might have proven too much for the Workers Party to digest.

Here are the nettles that indicate WP has evolved into something that Mr Low couldn’t grasp:

  • Mr Eric Tan not being given the NCMP seat, despite his far longer service to WP than Mr Gerald Giam. What price loyalty? Are all the WP CEC members equal? Is a party without hierarchy what we want to run SG?
  • The tenuous explanation given concerning Mr Chen Show Mao’s parliamentary speech. (According to Cynical Investor it’s Mr Pritam Singh). Copy and paste may be common practice nowadays but is it OK to do it for a speech to be delivered in the highest place in our country?t
  • The mysterious ousting of Mr Yaw Shin Leong. OK, the official line is that he was a serial philanderer so his “personal indiscretions” weren’t mysterious. But as I’ve stated elsewhere in this blog, I simply don’t buy that as the last straw. Even if it was, where’s the party’s loyalty to him, hey? At least, he’s got enough bigness of heart to send a message to SGreans calling them to support the WP. If I were him, I would say “over my XXXX XXXX!”
  • The equally mysterious antics of long time WP stalwart Poh Lee Guan on nomination day. So, was he on standby or simply nutty?
  • The NCMP taunt to Mr Png Eng Huat. Was it no big deal what he “incorrectly” said? If the minutes weren’t surreptiously released by whatever mole there is/was in WP, would Mr Png have clarified? Still, the use of surreptiously obtained material don’t do the PAP proud either, in my books, even if the text shows at minimum that the Hougang hopeful couldn’t articulate to save himself.  As too Wongs don’t make a White, I wish DPM Teo Chee Hean would give over hectoring Mr Png and the WP on this issue. At minimum, the DPM would inadvertently help WP and Mr Png garner some sympathy votes.

As I dine and wine at the home of HWSNBN this Saturday, I will surreptiously look at my mobile for that text that either confirms or denies my reading of WP’s Hougang chances 😆

Ni ban shi, wo fang xin?

Of course not! But PAP candidate Mr Desmond Choo’s kindly trade-mark way of greeting people — including his Workers Party opponent Mr Png Eng Huat at the May 26 by-election — could give one the wrong impression that his body language was saying just that!

*No prizes for any Hougang resident who guesses correctly the historic giant alleged to have said “Ni ban shi, wo fang xin” to his short-lived succesor!

Hougang: bye-bye WP or bye-bye again PAP?

When I asked a political insider friend if an upcoming overseas holiday would have to be cancelled seeing that Nomination Day for the much-talked about Hougang by-election falls on May 16 and said holiday begins on May 18, said political insider friend texted this reply:

“No lah. Still going. It’s only one tiny ward n outcome is foregone.”

OK, I’m no political insider and not very astute in most things I do or think about.

But I think the outcome for Hougang needn’t and shouldn’t be foregone.

After all, if I were a Workers Party diehard and a resident of Hougang, I would still be feeling sore over what happened to my ex-MP Yaw Shin Leong. And my discomfort, no anger, would be directed at the Workers Party.

I’m not in the least bit fussed about what Mr Yaw is alleged to have done in his private life, as that’s between him and his wife, so long as he didn’t beat her up — and nothing like that has surfaced in the myriad rumours that have circulated since Hougant “blew up”.

Another caveat is so long as none of his alleged paramours benefited unfairly or illegally through his position as MP for Hougang — as I had stated earlier in this post

And, no, I’m not fussed that WP seemed to have dithered over what to do about his alleged affairs. Yup, the WP first kept totally quiet and then supported him. Perhaps because comradeship means something, especially when the man is under pressure. So far, so good.

What I found and still find inexplicable is that the WP suddenly expelled him from the party. IMHO, the WP had let Mr Yaw down and in that way all those who voted for him.

How can I as a resident — I’m not, but just pretend I am — trust a party whose leadership seems to be so cold and calculative with a comrade-in-arms who devoted some 10 years of his life to the cause of the WP and the Opposition? How would I know that the next WP man put up for the polls won’t after a few months also be found to have a titchy bit of marital infidelity and the cycle starts again?

So, I would give my vote to the PAP man or woman, never mind if many of those already in Parliament appear — in my eyes at least — to wear a self-satisfied look.

Unless of of course, miracle of miracles WP kisses and makes up with Mr Yaw and puts him up for the polls again? Or in the other highly improbable event – 🙄 — Mr Yaw stands as an independent candidate, puts $13,500 on the line and gives Singapore the chance to have a referendum by proxy on whether we are adult, sophisticated enough to say what a capable politician does in his spare time in his bedroom should really be his and his family business. And nobody else’s. Yes, even if that politican happens to be a Member of Parliament!

My conclusion: nothing should be discounted in Hougang, especially those who have given their heart to Mr Yaw at the command of Mr Low Thia Khiang. Once that command has been obeyed it may not be easy at all to undo it — especially since the successor wasn’t incapable in what he was elected to do.

Let the dissenting voices in Workers Party speak up and let all Singapore hear loud and clear why you didn’t want Mr Yaw to go? And then perhaps the only way to assuage his ouster is to give the PAP a chance after 20 years? 😥

Game, set, match? Checkmate?

If I wasn’t alone in my car, I would have laughed aloud yesterday on hearing the 93.8 radio report of the Prime Minister’s reply to an MP’s question on a by-election for Hougang, a Workers Party seat vacated when it sacked its erstwhile treasurer Mr Yaw Shin Leong for alleged personal misdemeanors.

However, I resisted laughing for fear drivers in nearby cars might think me mad 😆

After a good night’s sleep and waking refreshed to reflect a bit more on the matter, I can’t help laughing still.

As PM Lee said to Ms Sylvia Lim, WP chairman, who asked won’t Hougang residents be unde-represented in the interim while Mr Lee mulls when is a good time for the by-election: well, babe, who brought this on in the first place? Shouldn’t WP have considered such a possibility be4 taking the ultra drastic step that affects not only Mr Yaw but also some 25,000 Hougang residents, the majority of whom had supported WP?

But with friends like the WP, you don’t really need enemies as Mr Yaw has learned and as Hougang residents are learning now.

Add to that the friendly benevolence of high profile lawyer M Ravi. In one fell swoop by representing a part-time cleaner from Hougang to bring the by-election saga to the courts, he has ensured that Singaporeans in and outside of Parliament will be prevented from discussing the merits of the case till they have been decided by their lordships. To do otherwise would be sub judice, usually punishable by jail :(((((

The gods seem to be conspiring to favour the ruling party when every action taken by those opposed to it has turned out so far not to hurt the PAP but the Opposition!


Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will call for by-elections in Hougang (reproduced from Yahoo website)

This is PM Lee’s full reply in Parliament to PAP MP Christopher de Souza’s question on a by-election in Hougang:

The Hougang Single Member Constituency (SMC) seat is vacant after the Workers’ Party expelled Mr Yaw Shin Leong, following several weeks of media reports on Mr Yaw’s personal indiscretions. I intend to call a by-election in Hougang to fill this vacancy. However, I have not yet decided on the timing of the by-election. In deciding on the timing, I will take into account all relevant factors, including the well being of Hougang residents, issues on the national agenda, as well as the international backdrop which affects our prosperity and security.

As for the legal question of whether and when I must call a by-election, an application has been filed in court concerning this, so the matter is now sub judice, i.e. under the consideration of the court. While MPs enjoy parliamentary immunity in this House, our parliamentary convention is that we do not talk about matters which are sub judice, for good reason.

I can, however, remind Members that Parliament debated this issue extensively in 2008, when two NMPs moved a motion proposing to require the Prime Minister to call a by-election within three months of a seat falling vacant. I participated in that debate, and stated the Government’s position fully, after taking the advice of the Attorney-General. I consulted the present Attorney-General again to confirm his advice before answering today’s question. Let me summarise what I said in 2008 about the Constitutional position.

Article 49 of the Constitution states that when a seat falls vacant it shall be filled by election. In an SMC, a seat falls vacant when the MP vacates his office, for example when he is expelled from his political party, resigns his seat, or passes away. The timing of the by-election is at the discretion of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is not obliged to call a by-election within any fixed timeframe.

This absence of any stipulated time frame is the result of a deliberate decision by Parliament to confer on the Prime Minister the discretion to decide when to fill a Parliamentary vacancy. Then-Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew explained this when he moved the Constitutional amendment in December 1965:

“[This amendment] revokes a clause which was introduced into the State Constitution of Singapore when it entered Malaysia.

Members in this House will know that there was no such injunction of holding a by-election within three months in our previous Constitution. We resisted this particular condition being imposed upon the State Constitution at the time we entered Malaysia, but our representations were not accepted because Malaysia insisted on uniformity of our laws with the other States in the Federation and with the Federal Constitution itself.

Since we are no longer a part of the Federal whole, for reasons which we find valid and valuable as a result of our own experience of elections and of government in Singapore, we have decided that this limitation should no longer apply.”

The Constitution therefore reflects a political philosophy that emphasises stable government, and the view that in elections voters are primarily choosing between political parties to be given the mandate to govern the country, rather than between individual candidates to become MPs. We have kept the Constitutional provision because the considerations for enacting it in 1965 remain relevant today.

Uptight Workers Party’s fatal mistake

On my way home just now, I heard with disbelief on the radio  that Workers Party has expelled its ex-treasurer Yaw Shin Leong, thereby triggering a by-election at the single member seat of Hougang!

I came home and read WP chairman Sylvia Lim’s statement on Mr Yaw on the Internet.

Are the WP and Ms Lim for real? Is this the 19th century or the 21st century?

Yaw Shin Leong has been sacked because he has been “accused of several indiscretions in his private life”, he has continued to refuse “to account to the Party and the people, especially the residents of Hougang…  he has broken the faith, trust and expectations of the Party and People. ”

He was shown the door despite having “been a core member of the Party leadership for more than 10 years, and has made significant and unique contributions towards WP’s growth.   He has also served the residents of Hougang diligently.”

That’s the reward for serving WP and high-moral ground likes of Mr Low Thia Khiang and Ms Lim! 😥

The Cabal’s decision to expel wasn’t unanimous but was carried by a majority.

Perhaps the WP has taken this “drastic” (Ms Lim’s description) step to raise the stakes against the PAP? If the WP with a handful of MPs in Parliament has one who is promiscous, perhaps, just perhaps, there might be more in the PAP ranks with their overwhelming numbers in the House? Wishful thinking?

If this is the WP’s strategy or ploy, then I say shame on the whole party.

Mr Yaw doesn’t need to be sacrificed like this in an attempt to be cleaner than white.

In any case such a strategy is doomed to failure, because PAP chairman Khaw Boon Wan has already gone on the offensiver by questioning if the WP leadership knew about this side of Mr Yaw before he was fielded for the May General Election

If there’s no ploy or strategy, then all the more the WP seems to have lost its way, suggesting that it is unable to grow big without going to pieces over what in my view is a relatively minor indiscretion — provided the alleged paramour isn’t an underaged kid or had been dishonestly benefitting from the relationship with Mr Yaw at the expense of the party or Hougang Town Council .

Adultery is not a jailable offence in Singapore, the last time I checked; it’s not even an offence if the party most hurt by the betrayal forgives, and I don’t mean the Workers Party but the wife.

By cutting the political ground from under Mr Yaw in one swell swoop, the WP may be ensuring that his marital rift will not be healed.

Let that be on the conscience of all those in WP who think that their MPs in the SG Parliament have to be more chaste than Carmelite nuns 🙄

Let’s hope that Hougang residents will go for substance rather than hypocritical form and that in the by-election, they would vote in Mr Yaw again, whatever ticket he stands on or even if he stands as an independent.