Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Maiden Visit to the Parliament Gallery

25 February 2008

During my National Service, I had been to the Parliament House for security duties. Each time I was there, I was mesmerised by the majestic and supreme aura of the entity. Since then, I always wanted to visit the Parliament Gallery to listen to debates. Today I fulfilled my desire.

After the first security check, I exchanged my identity card with the security pass. Then, another round of security check and I placed my belongings with mobile phone with the counter and proceeded to the 3rd floor. Prior to entering the Gallery, there was yet another round of security check.

I was accompanied by a staff who asked if it was my first time here. She was helpful and brought me into the Gallery, bowing with me to the Speaker Mr Abdullah Tarmugi, before taking my seat. The seat armrest had a compartment for the earphones used when there is a need for translation.

The Gallery was filled with students, Government officials, Parliament staff and the Police Security Command personnels. That said, there were only a handful of members of the public. There were flat-screen Sharp Aquos televisions that show a close-up of the MP giving the speech.

Most of the Cabinet members were present. Managed to see MM Lee, SM Goh, PM Lee, DPM Prof Jayakumar, DPM Wong, Leader of the House Mah Bow Tan, Whip Lim Swee Say, Dr Yaacob, BG George Yeo.

The Nominated MPs presented their points well in the debate.

During the recess, I met Hafiz who had signed on with the Singapore Police Force. Getting married in June, Sgt Hafiz and I had a long chat before I returned to the Gallery.

I was intrigued by the ceremonial procedures when the Leader of the House proposed to the Speaker for adjournment of the debate. Members of the House then replied to the Speaker's question by a "nye" or a "no".

Later, went to dine with Jerry and friends. Was surprised, yet thrilled to receive a call from Ruth. Then went into the cinema to watch L - Change the World.

...You alone cannot change the world...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

We Care Charity Dinner @ Aljunied GRC (Eunos)

Tuesday 19th February 2008

Attended We Care Charity Dinner @ Aljunied GRC (Eunos), Bliss Garden Restaurant, Singapore Expo at 7.30pm. The event was organised by Eunos Citizens' Consultative Committee.
Of all the Chinese New Year Dinners, this one would rank the best in terms of food. The emcee for the event was an actress. "Alamak" Hui Ge also humoured the crowd with his impromptu Malay translation of the Chinese song "Xiao Wei".
Mayor Zainul took almost the whole night to finish toasting everyone by stopping at every single table (more than 100). The finale was a group singing by the VIPs of the song "赢爱拼才会", a song which Mayor just sang one night ago at the Eunos Zone 3 RC Chinese New Year function.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Motorcyclist using SAF helmet

If you looked carefully enough, the lady is actually wearing a Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) helmet. How dangerous...

Chinese New Year Dinners

17 February 2008

Today the Istana was open to all Grassroots leaders for a Chinese New Year Garden Party in conjunction with Chinese New Year (of course). Faizah's Father gave us a ride to the Istana, since we both live in the same block.

Traffic police lined the road leading to the Istana. We were fortunate to be allowed to drop off there since it's double-zigzagged yellow lined road. We came early as we had a RC dinner later in the evening. However, we were not allowed entry since our MPs wouldn't be here yet. Anyhow, we went to Plaza Singapura for a cup of Mocha Frappucino at Starbucks.

We chatted for a while with most part talking about her life teaching in Bedok North Secondary School. When time came, we queued up at Istana for security clearance and then boarded the shuttle bus.

A symphonic Chinese Orchestra was performing for the crowd. Chinese Calligraphic Society members were writing for free. Other cultural groups were offering their services as well. Food was laid buffet style and waitresses were serving drinks to the crowd.

Ministers and MPs were scattered around and mingled with the crowd. Most were tied up with people wanting to take photographs with them. Managed to get a shot of Madam Ho Ching, wife of PM Lee.

Me in front of Istana Building with a messy hair.

Assoc. Prof Jayakumar!

After wishing our Mayor Zainul, we went back in Mr Yap's car to rush back for our RC event.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Forum Theatre Presentation on Singapore Politics Tutorial

Chinese New Year indeed contributed to the inertia of getting back into school work. Hence only on the eve of the tutorial presentation itself did the three of us met online for discussion. The topic was

"The highly regulated political system largely explains why the PAP has been winning General Elections easily all these years". Do you agree?

We then confirmed that we would be presenting in the setting of a kopitiam chit-chat session among three friends, one being pro-PAP government; one pro-Opposition; and one neutral party. Later, I would learn that it is a forum theatre form of presentation whereby the audience becomes part of the show and they can contribute at any part of the presentation. Sadly, this form of expression is restricted by the Ministry of Information and the Arts in cultural performances.

Although at some parts, the presentation did not go smoothly, but on the whole it "set a high bar for the other presenters" as commented by the tutor.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Lucky start to an Auspicious New Year

Day 3 of Chinese New Year

Went to pray at 托塔院 (tuo ta yuan), a temple situated at Geylang. While waiting for my turn to pray to 太岁爷 for blessings, some droplets of red ink sprinkled upon me. 2 drops, each landed on my elbow, with an additional drop on my offerings. Apparently the priest, while stoking the brush in my direction, caused it to happen. The strange thing is no one got it, and when it was my turn to go to the front to listen to the chanting, no red ink either. Could this be good luck (Red = luck)? The fortune cookie that I ate at the temple revealed a message predicting good fortune in investing in blue-chip stocks this year. Cool!

My Family later went to Loyang Tua Bek Gong Temple where upon entering, the staff handed to us free copies of newspapers, featuring but of course the sensationalised scandal of Edison Chen.

After the prayers, visited Gordan house. Since everyone was playing BlackJack, I caved in to please them. Beginner's Luck is awesome. At my peak, my ROI was 100% (S$20 from S$10). At the last round, I decked in all of my earnings since I do not wish to keep money earnt from gambling. Well, lady luck was on my side. BlackJack.

For the later part of the night, my friends and I went watching Kungfu Dunk. Never thought the game could pay for my movie ticket plus tidbits.

Day 4 of Chinese New Year

Andrew gave some of us a ride to Mr. Jia Yuan's place in his BMW. Mr. Jia Yuan had recently just procured his own 5-storey apartment which came with an underground basement carpark for his BMW Z4 Cabriolet. He gave red packets in a rather unique fashion. All the guests were gathered to the living room where he then asked everyone to "lucky draw" the red packets. In them were minimum S$2. S$10, S$50, S$100 and S$1000. Well, I find myself lucky to be a recipient of S$100. Seems like this year is going to be a good year ahead for me!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Chinese New Year Eve 2008

Heralding towards a new year on the lunar calendar...

Early morning climbed out of bed and instantly felt the atmosphere refreshing. After reading some course materials, I left for school. The usual crowds and buzz were not in NUS today. Had a very easy time (as well as good spot) to park the vehicle.

A lecture must be worth attending to warrant my travelling from the East to the West on a Chinese New Year's Eve. And indeed it is. Prof Hussin Mutalib never failed to entertain the students with his 1)unique poshy accent; 2)self-glorifying professions; 3)lame rhetorics. For someone who had taught the subject for more than 2 decades, he must have some substance. Singapore politics, while it already is intriguing, has become even more exciting and interesting.

I was glad to receive an invitation card to the Istana for Chinese New Year Dinner. The card was personally signed by PM Lee Hsien Loong, SM Goh Chok Tong, MM Lee Kuan Yew and other Cabinet Ministers. Wonderful.

Had a little gathering with some relatives for a mini-reunion dinner. Grandma seemed to be in a good mood, with an occasional smile. She used to like Chinese New Year a lot, especially it was a chance to see all her descendants as well as give blessings to us. I remember that on every Chinese New Year at 12 am, my Brother and I would surprise her with our oranges and words of blessings.

Inflation of New Year items and daily necessities became the focus at the gathering.

After the dinner, I attempted to drive my family to a very special place, where most Singaporeans wouldn't have seen it before, but did not get my directions right and ended up wasting time going in circles and ovals.

This year's countdown was anamoly to previous years. Played Tower Defence with some friends over the Internet and baboom! Chinese New Year. So now as I "guard the night", a tradition that I would always embrace, I would like to wish all readers a happy Chinese New Year!

*"guard the night" -- The Chinese believes that if a son stays up late into the night, the parents would live longer.

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Wan Soon Lee Business

Having read a couple of books on the Singapore politics, it excited me when I knew that my Uncle was once with the Workers' Party. I admire the spirit of WP ex-Secretary General Joshua Benjamin Jeyaratnam, with his immense belief that nothing can quash the "indomitable spirit".

JBJ: "I have taken the view always, that nothing outside the person can destroy the person. That no force outside can destroy a person. That the human spirit is indomitable."

My Uncle had been to most of his political rallies and had also helped out in the Anson by-election which saw JBJ into Parliament. My Uncle had also spoken to JBJ in person. Wow, how cool! One of the significant moments in Singapore politics. It must have been great memory.

It was also my first time today that I set foot in my 4th Uncle's industrial building. Incidentally, I found out that both Uncles used "Wan Soon Lee" in their business' names.

Wan Soon Lee Furniture & Construction
17 Sungei Kadut Street 6 Singapore 728862
[Call 63685841 if you want to renovate your place]

Wan Soon Lee Auto Service
[Call 97113260 for any repair services for your automobile]

Lately, I've been receiving quite a lot of comments on my blog entry on "QSTR Business Opportunity". Would like to express my gratitude to those who shared more information about it which had in one way or another helped others decide on joining it.