Tag Archive | singapore girl

Raffles Medical bill rises 40%

Apropos my previous post concerning Ministry of Manpower’s snail mail to me — even a snail would have made it faster than 11 days IMHO — I managed to get Picky Siti off for her medical check up yesterday.

I was in for a minor shock when she presented me with the bill from Raffles Medical.

Hello, the check up which consisted of a blood and urine test and a brief examination by the doctor came to $37.45!

OK not an earth shattering amount going by what we have to pay doctors nowadays.

But when compared to what was paid for the same routine check up on July 13 this year, at the same Raffles Medical clinic, there has been an increase of gasp 40%!

No wonder Singapore is getting to be known more as a super expensive city than a fun one!

Inflation? More like hyperinflation to me! :cry:

MOM! 11 days to get letter to me?

Well, I never!

As someone who likes to cross Ts, dot I’s and close loops, the letter which arrived today from the Ministry of Manpower has put me in a tizzy.

Dated Dec 16, it gave me till Jan 9, 2014 to get my mum’s Picky Siti do her 6-monthly medical check up.

Hello, today is Dec 27.

So it’s taken the letter 11 days to arrive, leaving me just 13 days to take her for the check up.

Normally, it might not have mattered a lot. Even though if I am so free, I won’t need a helper to help me look after my physical and memory challenged mum.

But this is the year end, with plenty of other things to do. Plus, a public holiday in between. And we — mum, Picky and I plus several friends — are going away for 6 days from Jan 2.

I know MOM may have its hands full with those folks in Little India who burn police cars, beat up Singapore police officers and other Singaporeans and do other dastardly stuff such as drinking themselves into a parallel universe.

But is it asking too much to expect that some attention still be paid to law abiding citizens who come under MOM’s purview?

Can’t MOM ensure its serious and time-sensitive communications don’t take as long as 11 days to arrive? Even a person crawling from MOM’s Havelock Road office would have arrived faster at my home, I am sure.

And if MOM can’t ensure that its letters arrive in timely manner, then how about sending them two months earlier and following that with reminders to employers by email?

I would have liked to go on and on about how much of a spanner MOM’s untimely letter has thrown on my rather tight schedule over the next few days.

But better not fritter away my precious time, once I’ve got this off my chest. :roll:

Are they Singaporean?

Okay, I will probably be thought to be racist, xenophobic, what have you.

But I must get this off my chest, even as B once said, not at all in jest: Can you afford it?


Seriously too I wonder if Singapore had really ceased to be a Brit colony back in 1959 or 1963?

I wonder about this particularly tonight while I was watching the 10.30pm business news on Channel News Asia.

The anchor woman was a kwai poh or at least looked like one.

The main figure reciting the Singtel fire saga mea culpa — about a fire that disrupted services for 60,000 subscribers was due to shortcomings in the telco’s fire safety practices — was a kwai lo. And he the chairman of Singtel some more!

The next item on the CNA bulletin was about high yielding stocks on SGX. And the man from SGX extolling this great gift to investors was — you’ve guessed it! A kwai lo!

The anchor then interviewed an economist. Not surprisingly, he too was a kwai lo.

At this point, I gave up watching.

Nothing against this stream of non-Asians on the small screen.

Just made me think of T S Eliot and the Wasteland. “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

Oh, the futility of throwing off the colonial yoke when in the end we may be back to where we were before my parents shouted Merdeka along with the folks in white! :roll:

That Little India hooh-ha…

I was in Little India this afternoon around 2.30pm. Parked outside Muthu’s Curry and waited with mum in the car while her Picky Siti hopped off to inquire about the price of cheap phones at Narajan, famous for price-right mobiles.

I had planned to go to Little India since the week-end as part of our regular food and grocery shopping circuit that usually takes us to Bendemeer Road market and its environs and then City Square. Little India had been added to our itinerary because of the need to visit Narajan.

This morning, I woke up to the news of the so-called riots in Little India, that left 10 police officers hurt (none seriously) as well as the driver of the bus that was said to have run over and killed a foreign worker and triggered the unrest.

(Latest update now says:Total of 39 officers from police, SCDF & auxiliary police injured; 25 emergency vehicles damaged, 5 set on fire)

Normally, I would have changed today’s shopping route. Even though it’s highly unlikely for the burn-baby-burn drama to re-run.

But having spent four days in Bangkok last week, witnessing sporadic crowds demonstrating against the Thai government (our hotel was right next to the Bangkok Police HQ!), I have grown slightly more battle hardened.

Or more precisely, I feel more empowered to be responsible for my own safety more than usual. That being the case, I can’t and shouldn’t avoid places where unhappy things have happened. I should be careful — that’s all.

I, for one, feel OK that there was trouble in Little India last night. Better 400 men running amok than 4,000, to shake up both Singaporeans and the folks charged to protect us. As a sort of dress rehearsal, so that we aren’t all at sixes and sevens should worse things happen. :roll:

This is because too many of us Singaporeans have, due to over 40 years of calm and orderliness, become somewhat like Bobos in Paradise. We always look to the Government to do things for us.

We send for ambulances at the drop of a hat. And we dial 999 even when a cat gets up a tree and is unable to come down. Or when our child is locked in our car. Worse, our law and order protectors too respond to such events as if they were real catastrophes, like what I detailed here after witnessing the child-locked-in-a-car incident.

Anyway, after we got the mobile prices, I decided to live a bit more dangerously  and go home via the junction of Race Course and Hampshire Roads, which the media had reported was the hot spot last night.

Not a speck of what was captured in print and on Youtube was to be seen, although Picky Siti excitedly pointed out that there were two photographers and another two setting up tripods at the road corner.

“Pemberita!” she declared.

Be that as it may.

We turned from Race Course Road into Hampshire Road and discovered to my horror that the LTA Academy was on my left and straight ahead was the KK Women and Children’s Hospital.

I shudder to think what might have happened had our law and order boys to deal with a far bigger crowd and the trouble makers were crazed enough to attack these two brand-name facilities!

I don’t enjoy/want civil or uncivil unrest any more than the average person who enjoys her life. But the occasional fracas is likely to do more to beef up our defence than 40 years of untrammeled paradise.

So I am ready to live with more such untidiness as unavoidable collateral damage, if it toughens self reliance as well as law and order response capabilities. :cry:


Where are the SG girls?

One curious fact stands out. Almost all the folks arrested and charged, arrested but not yet charged and others merely helping police with investigations relating to a recent spate of high profile web-hacking, vandalism and illegal assembly are MEN and BOYS.

Where are the Singapore girls, women, aunties, grandmas and xiao meis? Why isn’t AWARE jumping all over the place for this under-representation of the female race?

Are we women so law-abiding that we are never ever tempted to do wrong? Or if we are tempted, do we quickly show temptation the door?

Actually this auntie here could have made up for the shortfall if I were at all gutsy. But I was and am not, when it comes to entangling with the law.

That’s why one recent Monday afternoon, in the HDB car park next to the Clementi Mall, I acceded to one police sergeant’s request to delete pictures taken on my pohone’s Instagram.

Not only that. Not satisfied, he insisted, ever soooo politely, on going thru the “gallery” of my mobile to delete any residual images as well.

Thorough job that and I felt as helpless as I was when I was robbed at gun point in a hair salon in Katong Shopping Centre, several decades ago.

Sure, I didn’t fear for my life in the latest epiosde but I didn’t relish spending time at the police station should I say “no” to Sgt Calvin/Kelvin.

What was my crime?

I don’t know if I had committed any.

I took a distant pix of the good sergeant and his two colleagues, their police car and the SCDF’s Red Rhino, with four men in their distinctive “combat” gear.

What’s the reason they were there?

Because a woman found her son had fallen asleep inside the car and she was unable to open the car doors to get in.

That’s what i understood from a fellow passer by.

What I couldn’t understand was why the police didn’t advise the woman to get a locksmith from the Mall downstairs or from the HDB shops next door.

I could and still can sympathise with the mum’s panic but not the Home Team’s men, who surrounded the car as if someone had died inside, while the woman pounded on the windows calling “Wake up, wake up”. At one point, there was even a civil defence ambulance hanging around. :roll:

I went to return my trolley to Fairprice Finest downstairs and on my return, all was well. The boy had woken up and the woman drove off, leaving the officers.

That’s when i decided to take a pix to remind me of the encounter which begs the question of what our Home Team would have done, had we been hit by a tornado, not just a locked car door?

Alas, I wasn’t allowed to keep my souvenir, with the good sergeant having the last word after he swiped the last offending pix from my camera: We have a serious life saving situation here!! :roll: :roll:

JFK: fifty years already?

This Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F Kennedy and every other media, including the BBC, is featuring stuff like “what were you doing when JFK was shot?”

While I may have forgotten many things in my life, the night that President Kennedy died remains sharply clear in my overloaded memory.

I was then 18, newly enrolled at the brand new University of York, Yorkshire, England.

I was staying in “digs” rather than college as the new university was still in the process of building its colleges known as “halls”.

My address was 51 Penyghent Avenue and my landlady was a very kind, newly divorced woman — Mrs Katherine Wainwright — with two young kids.

The university’s first term was barely into its 6th week but young folks like me made friends quickly. This boy called Colin Baker who was reading political history persuaded me to go watch From Russia with Love with him. Films have never been my preferred date outings but since it was a Friday night and it was the first time he asked, I went along.

It was a ho-hum date. But when I got home and was half way up the stairs to turn in for the night, the real excitement or horror of the night began. Mrs Wainwright, the landlady, called out from the living room.

“Have you heard that President Kennedy has been assassinated?”

Of course I haven’t. So we sat up a long time talking about it, joined by the other two who lodged in the same house: Rina, a Polish girl but naturalised Briton, and Eunice Fisher, my room mate who was from Doncaster.

The next morning, I rushed out and bought all the newspapers I could lay my hands on from the nearby newsagent. Telegraph, Daily Mail, The Guardian and The Times.

I sat on a nearby park bench devouring the various reports and commentary.

One phrase stuck with me: “yesterday he was president, today he belongs to the ages”.

I love the phrase for the concise way it described the temporal nature of life and power. And wish time and again, I had noted down the name of the newspaper and the reporter who penned that.

Today, I realise that I needn’t have bothered.

Googling the phrase, in the hope of striking pay dirt, I discovered the phrase “he belongs to the ages” isn’t original. It had been written first for President Lincoln who, like Kennedy, had been assassinated while in office.

Guess plagiarism and re-cycling are as old as mankind :lol: !!!

The poor are always with us…

says the Bible. At least in the Gospel according to St Mark. In that version, this was the reported advice given by Jesus to Martha when she complained that her sister Mary Magdalene was wasting money that could have been better spent on the poor, instead of anointing Jesus with expensive oil…..

The truth of the statement ascribed to Jesus is evident, even in Singapore which has gone from 3rd world to the 1st in about 1.5 generations.

This is reflected by the ongoing debate on how best the disadvantaged (PC euphemism for “poor”) in our country could be helped and could be savoured through the links to recent bloggers’ posts I’ve collated below on the topic.

One of my biggest disappointments with Singapore is that the poverty I witnessed in my childhood, youth and as a working adult is still very much with us today when I am already on the cusp of old age.

More incredulously, The Straits Times reported in recent days that the poor in SG are perceived to be invisible, with many young, educated and presumably working adults claiming not to have witnessed grinding poverty.

Oh sure, I’ve seen grinding poverty in old developed countries, more specifically in London, Washington, New York and San Francisco. As well as in Hongkong, Shanghai, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Penang. And one could hardly move more than a few feet in Laojie in Shenzhen without coming across most horrifyingly disfigured men and women begging for pittance in the sizzling heat or the miserable cold.

By comparison, the poor in my country is nothing as visible or clustered in as large numbers as those in Shenzhen.

But if we look harder, we can see for example, the trishaw rider outside the Victoria Theatre now under multi-million $ refurbishment. He has the unhealthy bloated look of someone eating bad food that fills the stomach but doesn’t nourish. He is shabbily dressed. His vehicle looks rickety and has plastic bags filled with inconsequential stuff (his worldly possessions?) on the floor of the trishaw. No wonder I’ve never seen him pick up a customer, every time I went to the Singapore Cricket Club.

So a couple of times, I made to effort to pass him some money (and more than the usual $2 I give the usual tissue sellers I come across all over Singapore, but especially on pedestrian malls, MRT stations and places of worship) not because he’s a beggar but because I think I should give him a treat and break the monotony of his painful long waits for probably non-existent customers.

It is gr8 therefore to discover that the online community can see our poor vividly and to pen articles such as Belmont Lay’s below which have views and practical advice on how to extend our helping hand ; good too to have taglines like “make poverty history” or whatever, but IMHO, giving out $2 to someone who looks in need will hit the spot right away.

I hope — and pray — in the next two months (at least) when we all swing into the “giving” mood, some of my friends and visitors to this site would make sure they have plenty $2 notes in their wallets to share with someone in need whom they come across.

Never seen anyone in need? Then please go to Blk 25 Bendemeer Road (near Boon Keng MRT exit) and you would be rewarded with at least a handful within 30 minutes. Or go to the environs of the Kwan Im Hood Cho Waterloo Street Temple, and you would have a much better harvest, tho most destitutes there try to avoid arrest (for public begging) by flogging tissue papers.

OK, some of these folks may be frauds. But for anyone with swollen face and/or limbs and weeping sores to crouch miserably in all weather, blistering sun or persistent rain, just for that few $ to come his way after several hours of suffering, then he must have some mental deficit at best. After all, his “fraudulent” haul is probably no larger than what he could get from going to see his MP with a good story. So I would rather be defrauded by him than by those who ask for a lot more just because they’ve got the Govt’s nod as a public charity!

In any case, I’d rather be defrauded by 99 fake needy-looking folks than accidentally overlook one genuine case, in dire need of one last grasp of what a meagre two bucks would buy in Singapore nowadays.

Views on Singapore’s poor