HO MY GAWD. Is that a monkey’s finger?

If anything, the past weekend has definitely taught us that social media is no monkey business.

Ho Ching (yes that Ho Ching) caused a stir yesterday when she shared a photo of a monkey giving the middle finger.

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Now those who follow her closely will know that she shares everything. Everything. Single. Thing.

But the timing for this post in particular was quite unfortunate, given the public disagreement between her bae and sis-in-law.

In fact, she soon felt the need to delete and apologise for the monkey’s middle finger.

Walao, zhun bo?! What button did she press?!

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I also didn’t believe it at first, so I investigated.

Looking through her Facebook feed felt as though I’m going through Buzzfeed. But I’m inclined to believe her explanation.

Even though she has since deleted the monkey photo, her Facebook feed yesterday is chock-full of pictures without context. Exhibits A, B, C and so on.

Which made me ask the next question. She gets a $500 SkillsFuture credit also right? Maybe she should spend it on a social media course, and see what kind of monkey pictures she could share instead.

Or you know, save the monkeying around for her Snapchat.

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Budget buzzwords in simple English

Not sure if you’ve heard, but it’s the Budget season! This is the first time Heng Swee Keat is giving the Budget as our new Finance Minister, and just like past years most Singaporeans don’t give a crap.

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Unfortunately though, some of us have to face colleagues or friends who like to act as if they know current affairs. PAP this, SDP that. TPP here, Panama there.

So no choice – sometimes we have to engage these posers and act as though we know what they’re talking about.

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But don’t worry! We’ve prepared a list of buzzwords you can use, to appear knowledgeable about this year’s Budget.


Near-term concerns

Immediate problems; usually used in business context. So things like rental costs, manpower shortage or cashflow problems.

For example, forgetting your best friend’s birthday is a near-term concern because he’ll probably be annoyed for one day. But forgetting your girlfriend’s/wife’s birthday is a long-term problem because she’ll bring it up. Every single time you argue, for the rest of your miserable life.

Productivity

The ability or intelligence to make more with less. Somewhat like efficiency, but slightly different.

For example, some people can gain weight just by breathing in air. That’s called being productive. Others lose weight just by farting. That’s being efficient.

Trade Associations and Chambers

These are groups of (mostly) old men who seemingly gather for no other purpose than to eat catered food together. But instead of calling it “dinner”, they like to call such gatherings “annual general meetings”.

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So they’re somewhat like the groups in Mean Girls, except hairier.

Subsidies/grants/vouchers/election goodies

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Community networks

Help older Singaporeans stay active, be it physically or mentally. So like Facebook Groups, but for old people. And also in real life. Probably in void decks.

Resilience

The thick skin to tahan difficulties, and to try and solve them.

So for example, when your girlfriend/wife remind you that you forgot her birthday x years ago, being resilient means you bow and apologise again. Despite the fact that you have already apologised for the past x years.

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If the above cheat-sheet doesn’t help you impress your poser friends, you can always go with these tried and tested lines that can describe every single Budget in the past, present and future:

This year’s Budget is a prudent one.

On one hand, the Budget introduced many measures to help alleviate many short-term concerns that many Singaporeans have. On the other hand, the Budget will also help to navigate many long-term problems the economy may bring.

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I Also Want to be a Town Council Managing Agent

MND yesterday revealed that FMSS, AHPETC’s former managing agent, made a profit of more than $2 million in 2013/2014. Including the directors’ fees and secretariat fees, the four owners of FMSS were apparently paid about $800k each in a single year.

Bloody hell! These people are better paid than PAPpies like Sim Ann, Maliki Osman and Teo Ser Luck! No wonder Maliki had to moonlight as a dancer.

According to the benchmark at Salary.sg, $800k a year means that the FMSS owners earn more than 99.3% of people in Singapore.

That’s a lot of money that the WeePies are giving to FMSS, and the WeePies believe that such payments are completely aboveboard and legit. For some reason though, FMSS no longer manages the WeePies’ towns – despite the fact that they’re so well-paid and that the WeePies are happy to pay such sums.

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And this is why I’ve decided that I want to be a managing agent for the WeePies. Think about it – the WeePies need a managing agent, and I need a lot of money. We’re perfect for each other!

Plus, I have the qualifications that WeePies require:

As you can see, I possess the exact same qualifications that inspired the WeePies to hire FMSS back in 2011. Heck, I’d even offer a discount – I don’t need $3 million, pay me $2.5 million can already!

So WeePies, don’t wait already. Email me at zhunbosg@gmail.com after you win your GRC okay?

I’ll be checking my email on 12 September.

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Top 7 quotable quotes from PM Lee’s National Day Rally

Today was the SG50 NDR, and PM Lee sounded like he had something for everyone. Help with housing for low- and middle-income families, more baby bonuses and even raising the retirement age.

Doesn’t matter whether you’re young or old, poor or not so poor – there’s probably something in there for you. Even if you fly PM’s aeroplane like the WeePies you may also qualify something.

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Anyway, this year’s NDR was a landmark speech. It is the NDR for the special SG50 year, and we are not surprised that PM Lee paid tribute to our pioneers and painted a bright SG100 in our future.

Here are 7 quotable quotes from this year’s SG50 NDR:

1. On water

Every now and again, when issues arose with Malaysia, some crazy politician would threaten to “turn off the tap” to get us in line. But we were not cowed.

2. On the government

We do right by Singaporeans.

3. On foreign workers

Every option has a downside.

4. On his responsibilities

I believe that I am doing what Singapore needs and what best safeguards your interest. If I did not believe that, I would not be doing it.

5. On the Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s funeral

I was deeply moved to see the crowds stand their ground, paying their last respects to Mr Lee. Teardrops and raindrops fell together.

6. On Singapore’s future

Those people who feel daunted and think Singapore’s best days are behind us – They are wrong! Our best days will always be ahead of us.

7. On the coming elections

You will be deciding who governs Singapore for the next five years.

There were many quotable quotes from PM Lee, but I think the best of the night came from the late Lee Kuan Yew.

When asked if there will be a Singapore 50 years from now, Mr Lee said ‘Of course there will be. Even better!’

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Ng Chee Meng is a Camel: 5 Interesting Facts About the Outgoing CDF

So the cat is out of the bag.

Outgoing Defence Chief, Lieutenant-General Ng Chee Meng,  has announced his intention to enter politics. Nobody knows where he will be contesting in, but given his background as a fighter pilot we expect a lot of parachute jokes when his next battleground is confirmed.

In the meantime, here are 5 little-known facts that may interest you about the latest high profile PAPpie:

1) His pilot call sign is ‘Camel’

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According to Wikipedia, a callsign is a nickname usually given to military pilots. These nicknames often play on the pilot’s surname, personalities, references to historical figures or past exploits.

None of the above reasons seem to apply to LG Ng. So why is he the camel?

Perhaps he could fly for long hours without drinking any water? Maybe because he ‘carries’ a lot of responsibilities for the SAF?

There are many possible reasons, but we like to think that it is a reference to LG Ng’s humps.

2) He commandeered the 144 Squadron at RSAF

LG Ng started his career as a fighter pilot with the 144 Squadron before rising to command the squadron. Based out of the Paya Lebar Air Base, the 144 Squadron is considered to be the best fighter squadron in the RSAF and handpicks top pilot graduates to join their ranks.

3) His family is full of stars

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LG Ng’s oldest brother, Ng Chee Khern, was previously a two star general with the RSAF. His younger brother, Ng Chee Peng, also wore two stars on his epaulets as the Chief of Navy.

Combined with the three stars that LG Ng has, the Ng family has a total of 7 stars within the family.

Curiously enough, LG Ng Chee Meng is the only one out of the three brothers to not receive the President’s Scholarship, yet is the one who rose the highest in his military career.

4) One of his past jobs was Military Private Secretary to the Defence Minister

He was the Military Private Secretary to the Defence Minister back in 1995/1996. The Defence Minister back then? Current President Tony Tan.

We can’t seem to find any information on what a Military Private Secretary actually does, but we came across this article where another Navy guy described his experience. He didn’t say much, except that the experience gave him a glimpse of the vast scope of important responsibilities our Cabinet Ministers hold.

Okayyyyyy.

5) His current children will not need to serve NS

Keep your tinfoil hats, conspiracy theorists.

The reason why LG Ng’s children would not need to serve NS is not because their father was the head honcho of the SAF. Both his kids would not need to serve NS simply because they’re both girls – Sara Ng and Elisabeth Ng.

Of course, both of them can always volunteer after the Committee of NS (which LG Ng led) suggested the addition of the SAF Volunteer Corps…

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Tharman, Sylvia Lim, and a metaphorical house

DPM Tharman had a feisty exchange with the WeePies MPs in Parliament today over their financial (mis)management in AHPETC.

A video of this exchange can be seen here.

It is quite a lengthy video, so its forgivable if you decide against watching it. Basically, WeePie/AHPETC chairwoman Sylvia Lim proclaims that the AHPETC‘s latest financial report only has 3 unresolved problems, as opposed to the 13 problems highlighted in the previous year’s report.

Just 3 problems, no big deal here! Because you know, 13 problems is okay, 3 problems is excellent, and 0 problem is simply a pipe dream.

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Of course, someone with a mind as sharp as DPM Tharman’s would disagree with that logic.

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Describing AHPETC as a structurally unsound house, DPM Tharman ask that the WeePies put in the hard work needed to fix the problems, and not to simply whitewash everything. He added that the problems at AHPETC are fundamental and basic issues that need to be looked at, and said that the WeePies have had a long time to fix these issues.

Oh, and DPM Tharman revealed that the problems at AHPETC are so bad that even MND’s $7 million grant would not be enough to solve the issues.

Ouch.

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The WeePies have not responded to this latest salvo, but we expect that any statement from AHPETC would simply say that they would be submitting their financial report in due course.

If we’re lucky, the AHPETC or WeePies would once again lament the life as an opposition town council, chide DPM Tharman for politicising the issue, and complain that MND is withholding the grants.

Because, you know, complaining about problems is much easier than actually fixing them.

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Looking into Sylvia’s oyster omelette

From PM Lee’s infamous gaffe with his ‘mee siam mai hum, to uproar over Baey Yam Keng’s $2.50 nasi padangand the recent interest over Vivian’s relationship with fishballs – food and politics seem to always find each other in Singapore.

And now WeePie Sylvia Lim seems to have taken a leaf out of the PAPpies playbook – her first Instagram post featured the WeePies chairwoman enjoying a plate of orh lua (oyster omelette) at the Fengshan hawker centre.

The taste of Fengshan – heavenly! #reasonstowin

A post shared by Sylvia Lim (@sylvialim65) on

 

Our local media, ever so hungry for every morsel of election-speculative news, dug in with much relish.

Both The Straits Times and TODAY ran stories speculating that Sylvia Lim might be leaving her Aljunied GRC, and branching out into the new Fengshan SMC. This suspicion, according to both papers, was supported by Sylvia Lim’s cryptic hashtag ‘#reasonstowin’.

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Calm down, people.

First, the WeePies have already committed to running in Fengshan SMC. And since her party has already committed to that SMC, shouldn’t Sylvia head over and lend their candidate some support? She’s one of the most recognisable opposition politicians in Singapore afterall.

In any case, she is still the chairman of the AHPETC. Sylvia Lim’s face was the one that represented AHPETC throughout their entire exchange with the government over AHPETC’s financial situation, and it be irresponsible of her if she were to leave her colleagues in the lurch.

Lastly, this is just someone going out to enjoy a plate of orh lua. Perhaps we shouldn’t read too much into it, and let her enjoy her dinner.

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In Lui Tuck Yew’s defence

Sigh, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew has announced that he is stepping down after the coming election. No reasons given, but it sounded like the transport portfolio has finally taken its toll on the man.

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The reaction online were mixed – many acknowledged his effort and contributions towards solving the transport problems, while some people online were of course glad to see the back of Lui.

Ministers and MPs – from both the PAPpies and WeePies camp – also spoke up and paid tribute to Lui. While most of them shared their different experiences and encounters with Lui, one common theme seem to emerge – that Lui is an honest, earnest and determined man who tried his hardest to solve difficult transport problems.

Yes, there were breakdowns, but should we really pin all the blame on one man? Oh, and make fun of his name in the process?

I’m not too sure about that.

Afterall, this is a guy who identified two big issues with our public transport back in 2011 – overcrowding and old infrastructure – and set about fixing them.

On overcrowding, Lui pushed the government to invest more than $1 billion in buying buses for the public. He also imported more trains for the MRT system, while breaking the ground for entire new lines like the Downtown Line and Thomson Line. The Downtown Line even overcame the bankruptcy of a major contractor to open in time later this year.

Infrastructural problems are difficult to solve, and it seemed like these were the ones which caused the major breakdowns. Unlike other politicians overseas, Lui never seemed to shy from the trouble and always visited the affected stations to observe the situation.

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And he’s not just an observer. Have you heard the constant announcements that trains are moving slower now because of track renewal works? That’s his team trying to fix the infrastructure problems. Things take time, and he has started work on it a long time ago.

Unfortunately, personal abuse never stopped and we’ve now lost a full minister. Our impatience has a price tag – an honest, earnest and determined man who tried his best to solve a difficult problem.

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Infatuation with the West

What is up with the recent infatuation with the West?

No, this is not about the usual invasion of Hollywood movies or American television shows on our screens – this is about the sudden infatuation with the old Chinese legend Journey to the West.

Yes, that classic Chinese story about how a monkey god, a pig and a former heavenly general worked together with a monk, overcame many obstacles and traveled to the West to fetch scriptures.

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It is a very old tale from the 16th century, and remains extremely popular even today. I mean, most kids would immediately know what we’re talking about when ‘Journey to the West’ is brought up right?

Perhaps in an effort to ride on this five-hundred year coat-tail, the government roped in some getai singers, a marquee director in the form of Royston Tan, and a PR agency to produce this abomination of a video:

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Yes, that is just a screencap of the actress looking embarrassed, probably because the video is that bad.

Here’s a summary of the video, so you won’t have to watch it – an old lady portrayed by a getai singer has health problems and is worried about healthcare costs. Another getai singer appears to explain that she need not worry because there’s the Pioneer Generation card now, while performing fake somersaults amidst unnecessary tacky animated clouds.

The government is not alone in trying to steal concepts from this classic tale.

One of the newest political parties in Singapore, the obviously non-xenophobic Singaporeans First Party, described their election plans as a ‘journey to the West’ that starts from Tanjong Pagar GRC. Which is okay, because it is technically a journey to the West.

Then they surprised everyone today by putting up this article and saying how they’ve learnt to govern from this classic tale about a pilgrimage.

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Yep, they learned to govern from a tale about a team of four who went to the West, picked up some scriptures then went home.

That’s a really weird plan for politicians. Afterall, most people would want their MPs to stick around after getting elected!

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Did the PAPpies goof it up with the new boundaries?

The Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) released their report today, and there are a few major changes:

1) GRCs are now smaller with more 4-member GRCs around;

2) More SMCs, including Tin Pei Ling’s own Macpherson;

3) No more Joo Chiat, which was the most tightly-contested constituency in 2011; and

4) Two new GRCs – Jalan Besar (formed largely by the previous Moulmein-Kallang GRC) and Yew Tee-Marsiling.

electoral boundaries

So what do these changes mean? For all parties, PAPpies included, the changes mean that they would have to reshuffle their teams. For example, its unlikely for Lui Tuck Yew and Yaacob to continue co-leading the new Jalan Besar GRC. Same goes for opposition parties, with the WeePie Mr Yee Jenn Jong expressing his extreme sadness today in reaction to the report.

Such reshuffles are common though, and should come as no surprise.

What really surprised us was the odd re-drawing of boundaries. You see, people are always accusing the PAPpies of re-drawing boundaries to benefit themselves by either breaking up opposition strongholds, or drawing boundaries such that it is difficult for opposition parties to compete.

Today, they did neither.

Smaller GRCs and more SMCs mean that it would be easier for opposition parties to compete because they can now form smaller teams for the smaller GRCs or send one individual to fight in an SMC. One of these SMCs, Macpherson, is also likely to be contested by PAPpie Tin Pei Ling, who wasn’t very popular last time round. The opposition parties must surely clamor to compete in this new SMC.

Aljunied GRC, Hougang and Punggol-East were left completely untouched, giving WeePies the chance to stay there and consolidate their support. We wouldn’t be surprised if the senior WeePies like Mr Low Thia Khiang and Ms Sylvia Lim stay there, and send their now-experienced colleagues like Mr Chen Show Mao and Mr Pritam Singh to lead their own GRC teams.

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Yes, the new boundaries essentially mean that WeePies can strengthen their current constituencies while competing in new areas.

If the PAPpies were really trying to give themselves an advantage with the new boundaries, they may have goofed it up.

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