Thursday, November 27, 2008

Crank SMS Phone Call

This morning at around 6am plus, I received a phone call which was a message read out from an SMS sent from a handphone.

The message read out by the SingTel server was in Chinese (I didn’t know their server was capable of reading Chinese SMSes).

It was both a crank and prank SMS phone call.

The message was talking about a meeting to be held later in the day concerning how to get laid and all that crap.

Many years ago, I received a phone call from another bugger at around 5am in the morning. Disrupted my sleep early in the morning for nothing. It turned out to be a case of wrong number as the caller spoke in Malay and asked for a Malay lady. My phone number was a recycled one. Back then I had caller ID. So I took revenge by calling the same bugger at 5am the following morning and hung up on him.

Too bad this morning I didn’t take down the handphone number of the bugger who SMS-phoned me the lewd message. Otherwise I would have sent him an SMS with the 4-letter word to give him a piece of my mind.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Problem With Manual Cars

Actually, I don’t mind driving a manual car. In fact, I do prefer manual cars to auto cars because of their stronger pick-up power and better fuel-efficiency.

One of the prolems with a manual car is when the gear is put to neutral, the car tends to roll backwards if it has stopped on a road that is sloping upwards, even if it’s slightly. It is also very tiring to drive a manual car in a place like Singapore where there are so many traffic lights. It’s a good thing that new cabs on the roads now all come with automatic transmission.

On several occasions, when I stop behind a manual car at a red light, usually a Toyota Crown taxi, I have had to horn at the driver to prevent his car which is rolling backwards from hitting my car.

Just this morning, I had to horn at the driver of an old Nissan March as his car was rolling backwards and about to hit mine. When he heard my horn, I saw his body jerking upwards. I think I must have given him a shock. He quickly jammed his brakes and inched his car forward. He even had the courtesy to wave me an apology.

When I drive a manual car, I usually pull up the handbrake after shifting the gear to neutral while waiting for the red light to turn green. This is less tiring than having to step on the brakes to prevent the car from rolling backwards.

On an auto car though, we would step on the brakes all the way while waiting for the red light to turn green. Some drivers shift their gear to neutral. Some even to P. Car experts advise us to keep the gear of our auto cars at D while waiting for the red light to turn green. This actually helps to cool down the gear box. It also reduces wear and tear on the gear.

Lots of drivers have been driving auto cars for so long they have forgotten how to handle a manual one. Just hand a manual car to a driver who has been driving an auto car for over 10 years, from the day that he got his driving license, and he would be struggling with the clutch and chaging of the gear shift manually. Chances are, he would stall the car before moving off from standstill.

Somehow, the demand for manual cars will never completely die down even though only 1 out of every 10 new cars that is sold is a manual one. When oil prices are high, more people would opt to buy a manual car over an auto one to save on petrol bills. As at 24 November 2008, oil price is hovering at around US$54 per barrel.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Category A COE Drops To Just $2!

COEs for Category A have fallen to a historical low of just $2!

Some showroom visitors were unaware that the $2 COEs were only meant for buyers involved in the previous bidding. Those who bought cars over the weekend would likely have missed out on the $2 COEs and would have to make fresh bids, which some predict would see COEs for cars below 1,600cc bounce back to $8,000 to $10,000 levels.

The last 2 times a freak COE like this happened was way back in 1997 and 2001. 1st was the $50 COE for cars with SCR plate in December 1997. And 2nd was the $101 COE for cars with SDK plate in 2001. Just when we thought freak COEs like these are not possible anymore after the bidding process had been changed from a closed one to an open one, a $2 COE pops up. It goes to show how drastically demand has fallen.

A lot of people are hesitant about commiting to a new car purchase because they are doubtful of being able to repay the monthly instalments.

With the credit crunch affecting consumers worldwide, the last thing that anyone wants is to be saddled deep with car loan debts and be unable to pay them off especially if he gets retrenched at work.

Even after the car has been re-possessed, the car buyer would still have to pay off the outstanding car loan. It’s an extremely crappy situation that no one in his right mind would want to get caught in. This is also the reason why lately, car salesmen had a very hard time persuading customers at the showroom to sign on the dotted line.

If I have the money now, I would probably buy a Honda Fit with the $2 COE. It accelerates reasonably fast and is super fuel-efficient.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

McDonald's Mega Burgers

About a month ago, my colleague brought to my attention the mega burgers which Japan’s McDonald’s was selling. I looked at the burgers and was impressed by the size of the Sausage Egg McMuffin and Big Mac.

He asked why Singapore’s McDonald’s doesn’t serve the mega burgers as well.

So I forwarded the link of the Japan’s McDonald’s website of the mega burgers to Singapore McDonald’s on-line customer feedback and suggested that they serve the mega burgers here too. I explained that certain of their customers with bigger appetities are not filled and satisfied with the size of the regular burgers.

They replied they would look into my suggestion.

And wala, now we have the mega burgers in Singapore’s McDonald’s as well.

And Burger King has also joined McDonald's in offering mega burgers.

LJS stands for both Lao Jui Sai and Long John Silver. The latter has joined the mega burger craze as well, albeit later than its competitors. Hmm. Wonder when is KFC going to join this mega burger bandwagon.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Taking Money From The Children

It is a bad idea to use taxpayers’ money to pay for the bad debts which American financial institutions have incurred from lending money to people with bad credit history to purchase homes beyond their means.

This money is meant for the future generation. It’s akin to taking money from the next generation to pay for the mistakes made by the current generation.

It’s like a terminally-ill poor man who chalks up hundreds of thousands of dollars in hospitalisation bills and dies eventually. All these debts are left by him for his children to pay off. It’s bad enough a man has no inheritance to pass on to his children. It’s just overwhelmingly sucky for a man to pass burdensome and crippling debts down to his children to shoulder and pay off.

This is what’s good about the advanced medical directive. If one knows he’s terminally ill and chances of him recovering from treatment are doubtful and remote, he should choose not to be kept alive as a vegetable and be a burden to his children before and after his death. Especially if he and his children are not rich.

If a man has no financial wealth for his children to inherit upon his death, the least he could do is to avoid chalking up a mountain of hospitalisation debts for his poor children to bear.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bumbling Robber Fumbles At Heist

Yesterday at between 3:30pm and 4pm, a man disguised himself as a woman and attempted to rob a branch of United Overseas Bank at City Plaza.

His stubble gave him away as a man. Instead of joining the queue like everybody else did. He walked straight up to a counter and asked for money. He brought a parcel and claimed there was a bomb in it. He said if the teller didn’t give him the money, he would set off the bomb in the parcel with his handphone.

The security guard was already following right behind him when he entered the bank as he could tell that the robber was a man disguised as a woman. When the robber turned around to tell the guard not to interfere, the guard pounced on him and pinned him down with the help of the bank staff until the police arrived.

Bank robberies are rare in Singapore. But as the global recession deepens and its effects on Singapore become more evident and pronounced, would more people attempt to rob the bank?

Would they give in to the notion of “drastic times call for drastic measures?”

The crime rate of any given city in the world is always directly related to its unemployement rate. When unemployment rate is high, crime rate would be high too. When unemployment rate is low, police work is more often than not, a breeze.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Stormy Nights Are Bad Nights

Some people say they like it when it rains at night when they are sleeping as it’s cooler. My dad even said the sound of raindrops comforts him when he sleeps. But I hate it whenever it rains, especially if it’s a thunderstorm with strong winds.

Here’s why:

Firstly, I have to get up in the middle of the night to close the windows to prevent the rainwater from getting into the apartment.

Secondly, after all the windows are closed, the room gets very stuffy and uncomfortable.

Thirdly, how the hell am I supposed to sleep in peace with all the bright flashes and thundering din going on in the heavens?

So each time there is a thunderstorm in the middle of the night, I would be cursing and swearing agaisnt the CB rain.

Just this past Sunday morning, there was a thunderstorm in the wee hours of the morning. It didn’t happen once but twice. After the first wet and windy downpour, the rain stopped for a while. I opened the windows for ventilation. But I noticed the storm clouds were still hanging heavily in the sky. After a while, my fear came to pass as it poured a second time and I had to repeat the process of shutting all the windows.

As it was stuffy after the windows are closed, my wife kept the fan on throughout the night and that caused me to wake up with a flu.

People get a good night’s rest on Saturday nights. But a restful sleep always seems to elude me one way or the other especially on a Saturday night.


I think the best time for a thunderstorm to happen is when I’m working inside my air-con office. Not any other time at all.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Straits Times Versus TODAY

On Saturday, 01st November, 2008, i read something amusing in the Voices section of TODAY (weekend’s edition).

In it, a VP from SPH by the name of Peter Khoo said SPH newspapers have bucked the trend of falling newspaper readership worldwide, and have managed to maintain a high level of readership in the face of competing demands of readers' time and attention by the Internet,
mobile and cable television.

In actual fact, Straits Times readership has fallen over the recent years. As more readers stop buying Shitty Times, I mean Straits Times, or terminate their subscription of it.

TODAY’s publisher rebutted Peter Khoo’s statement with the following:

“Looking back over the past 10 years, there is no getting away from the fact that The Straits Times’ share of readers has dropped from 46 per cent to the current 39 per cent (Nielsen Media Index 1998 to 2008). Also, The Straits Times’ circulation is at its 10-year low of 377,974 copies, against Today’s highest circulation ever of 300,000. I do not think this amounts to The Straits Times ‘bucking the trend’.”

I think Shitty Times is going the way of the dinosaur if it doesn’t dump its shitty broadsheet format to a tabloid format like TODAY’s. It’s virtually impossible to flip open a copy of the Shitty Times inside a packed train. Broadsheets are also more tiring to hold up than tabloid-sized newspapers.

I have observed another curious thing: Even though SPH has started wire-stitching My Paper (they have obviously been won over by the merits of doing so), they have yet to do the same for their New Paper.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Man Who Masterminded Gruesome Murder Acquitted

With Abdul Razak Baginda's acquittal and release, it just further entrenches the fact that Malaysia's political and justice system is bleak and full of darkness.

The message is obvious, as long as you have the right political connections, you can turn black into white and get away with murder, regardless of gruesome it may be.
Malaysian acquitted in Mongolian slaying trial

By EILEEN NG, Associated Press Writer AP

Friday, October 31, 2008

SHAH ALAM, Malaysia - A Malaysian court acquitted a prominent political analyst Friday of abetting the gruesome killing of a Mongolian woman in a case that has drawn intense public speculation about alleged links to top government figures.

Abdul Razak Baginda smiles following his release at the High Court in Shah Alam, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, Oct. 31, 2008. A Malaysian court has acquitted the prominent political analyst accused of abetting the gruesome killing in October 2006 of a Mongolian woman. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

Abdul Razak Baginda, a close associate of Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak, had been charged with abetting the slaying of Altantuya Shaariibuu, a Mongolian interpreter who was shot in October 2006. Two police officers have been on trial for allegedly carrying out the killing.

High Court Judge Mohamad Zaki Yasin ruled Friday that the prosecution failed to establish a case against Abdul Razak following a trial that began nearly two years ago. However, Mohamad Zaki ordered the two policemen to enter their defense.

"I just want to go home," Abdul Razak told reporters after hugging his family.

Abdul Razak, 48, would have faced the death penalty if convicted of abetting the killing of Shaariibuu, with whom he had an eight-month affair.

Opposition leaders had repeatedly tried to link Najib and his wife to Shaariibuu's death. Najib, who is expected to succeed Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in March, has insisted he never knew Shaariibuu and repeatedly denied any involvement in the case.

The case has not directly implicated the government, but Friday's court decision is likely to raise opposition accusations of political interference in the judiciary.

"Regardless of whether it is fair or not, (Abdul Razak's) acquittal will only go further to fuel rumors and speculation about the involvement" of Najib, The Malaysian Insider political news Web site said in a commentary.

The remains of Shaariibuu, who was shot and blown up with military-grade explosives, were found in a jungle clearing near Shah Alam, the capital of central Selangor state.

Abdul Razak has acknowledged having an affair with Shaariibuu. The prosecution had contended that he ordered her killing after she pestered him for money.

Government prosecutor Abdul Majid Hamzah said he would "consider appealing the case" against Abdul Razak's acquittal, stressing that "the fight is not over yet." The prosecution had closed its case in June after 151 days of testimony by 84 witnesses.

The slain woman's father, Shaariibuu Setev, denounced the court's decision, claiming it was a blow to the credibility of Malaysia's judicial system.

"I am not satisfied," he told reporters. "My daughter is dead and (Abdul Razak) is free."

The trial for the two policemen is scheduled to resume Nov. 10.

Associated Press writer Sean Yoong contributed to this report.