Tag Archive | Zaobao

Active ageing: Youtube better than Ebixa

There has been a lot of chatter about active ageing and how the Government, led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, would do its best to see that as many of us as possible would age happily, gracefully — in short, well.

Let me share with you how my mum, aged 87 going on 88, is doing it.

Here she is eating lunch at Meez9. She’s having fish and couscous!

Mum having lunch at Mezza9 in Oct


Here she is showing off her rings: the jade one from my late father (it came from Lee Onn, I think); the other, not captured well in the picture but is a once popular Thai created-pattern ring– seven loops joined together and came from a late Thai businessman friend whom mum met when she was a teenager and the Japanese were at Singapore’s door.

Mum’s rings


And here is mum singing her Nanyin favourite! 😆 on Youtube. Family pix have been included as it insists on visuals and audio 🙄

Guess what?

After playing mum’s Youtube debut over and over again over one day for her to hear, she started asking about her Zaobao subscription! Something she hasn’t done since July when we let it laspe — because for more than a year, her newspapers arrived but she would just glance at the front page and then put the prestine copy aside, never to pick it up again.

So the family decided there’re better things to do with the subscription money than contribute to SPH’s coffers and stuff the the recycling bin with untouched newspapers every day!

After her Youtube epiphany, Mum repeatedly asked for her Zaobao till one issue was bought for her from the petrol kiosk next door. Next week we will definitely re-subscribe for her.

What I find quite instructive about this development is that unlike the memory pills for those firmly on the road to Dementia land, mum’s Youtube managed to revive her memory in something we thought had long been lost in the mists of a confused mind . An inexorable slide that her use over several years — starting from Arricept, then Exsalon and now Ebixa — failed to reverse! 😥


What’s more important: to know Chinese or

to be filial along the lines as defined by Confucian filial piety?

I reflected on this thanks to an eml CK sent me today about a certain vetenarian, who is a long-time acquaitance of mine: “yr friend was featured in zb sunday…odd that he is completely chinese illiterate when his parents were chinese school teachers”.

I know for a fact that the vet’s parents were Chinese school teachers but have never given a thought as to whether he is literate in Chinese language or not.

Now I know he is not, since he has said so to Zaobao. However, I know he sure speaks his Teochew with fluency and idiomatically too.

And what has always struck me about him in our long acquaintance is that he is a filial son. When he married, there was no question of living apart from his parents. He kept them with him, through thick and thin, till they passed away.

To me, that is the sort of filial piety as articulated by Confucius who set filial piety — xiao or 孝 — as the first of 100 possible virtues.

So what if the good vet can’t read a word of Chinese? He lives his life, where his parents were concerned, exemplifying the spirit of Chinese culture and philosophy.

That to me is far better than being able to read and write Chinese in the best tradition of the ancient Imperial scholars!

Poor news vendor takes the rap!

It pains me that it always ends up with the little people making the apologies whereas those representing Big Corps like SPH just snootily say, “OK, we will replace your copy”.

That’s exactly the reply I got from the Circulation people at SPH, when i called this morning to say, “hello, two days in a row is too much… the wrong paper has been delivered again. I’ve cancelled the Straits Times but have continued to subscribe to Zaobao but I got the ST again instead of Zaobao.”

The response was nonchalant. “You want us to let the vendor know?”

Perhaps I was brusque when Circulation finally answered my call. Blame it on the endless menu options and the fact that despite choosing the right option, I still had to wait my turn to say my piece.

Hence i stated baldly, “I want to make a complaint” when Circulation came on the line. Perhaps that started us on a wrong footing, tho I would have thought the Straits Times’ innumerable articles on service courtesy should have at least found fertile ground at home.

Hence when after hearing my complaint and getting a question “”You want us to let the vendor know?”, my irritation gauge rose further and I said, “No, I want you to sort things out and to drive home the message, i want the Zaobao delivered today.”

To which the person at the other end of the line said: “”OK, we will replace your copy” and that riled me further.

“You are not replacing a copy. You haven’t sent me a copy this morning. So it’s not a replacement.”

If not for the fact my mother must have her Zaobao with her breakfast every morning, I would have there and then cancelled the subscription.

It was only after I put down the phone that I felt like kicking myself. Why nit-pick on a factual accuracy, especially when the recipient probably won’t be any wiser about my meaning?

I felt even worse when around 10.30am, the bell rang and a frightened old vendor was at the door, asking me which of the two papers was the one missing: Straits Times or Zaobao. He had a copy in each hand.

I told him and stressed again, no more Straits Times, just Zaobao, OK. And sori for the trouble uncle. I felt really bad. So much trouble for just $3 a month!

Yet, objectively speaking, isn’t this the fault of SPH, rather than the vendors? Why can’t SPH get its act together and ensure that subscription changes are handled seamlessly? Why doesn’t its circulation department do follow-ups and QC, whenever there are changes?

But guess when you have 370,000 subscribers, who cares about the perhaps handful of mistakes a day? Like it or lump it!

And guess I will most likely lump it the next time since it takes up so much of my time and energy to point out a mistake and get it rectified!

Help! Straits Times is sooooo sticky…

That was my first thought when I got up this morning and found the Sunday Times (ie the Sunday edition of the Straits Times) on the dining room table.

Tsk, I thought! Trying to make it difficult for me to give up the papers, izzit? And I thought the non-appearance of the ST yesterday showed that the message got thru. I donch want the ST for 2010, OK!

Seems not have done so.

Will have to call their circulation people tomorrow, sigh, and make it quite clear, for fear I’d be billed.

Then I noticed that mum’s Zaobao was nowhere to be seen. Penny dropped.  The newsvendor or his kaki must have got things mixed up. No Straits Times, got Zaobao was interpreted as No Zaobao, got Straits Times.

Annoying! Mum’s maid was sent high tailing to the petrol station next door to pick up a Zaobao be4 mum got up and there’s no paper for her to read.

Doubly annoying is the fact that I’ve still to call circulation tomorrow to straighten things out.

Whatever happened to straight through processing at such a large company as SPH which makes a cool $1/2 billion a year!