Singapore, I salute thee!

July 14th, 2005, will forever be an unforgettable day. This is the day Singapore, for once (and probably for the first time), stood up as one and voice out to put an end to a grievous and outrageous injustice.

And July 14th, is Bastille Day in France. On July 14, 1789, a large number of French citizens gathered together and stormed the Bastille, a royal prison in which the French royalty often used to lock up the people that did not agree with their decisions. We now share in that tradition, in which people’s power brought down those who tramples on our feelings.

For once, your voice is heard and have made an impact, Singapore! And you have done it with less violent means than Bastille.

Relish and revel in your victory Singapore, for this is an achievement. We have achieved something peacefully, simply by coming as one and voicing out our desires collectively. Let this be a model on what we want to achieve in the future.

Let this be the example of the maturity of our society.

Let the ex-NKF board and Durai take the first step to restore confidence in the NKF by donating their bonus since 1997 back to the NKF. Lead by example and not empty words.

This is the one final act of good will they can do for an organization they have given so much to built.

Is that too much for Singapore to ask of them?

PS: And don’t forget to 24打 the number 0714 this weekend, ok?

国民英雄 [National Hero]

For standing up for the outraged and expressing it in a tangible form; and for laying down his own skin doing what others wouldn’t do, knowing that it is against the law, Darth BiRdYz salutes thee.

And I salute all Singaporeans for showing restraint. In Taiwan, they probably ‘蛋洗’ (pelt with eggs) NKF already.

Also check out another National Hero’s blog here


Complete Court transcript available here

Davinder Singh: So you set your perk at SIA business-class rate, use that money to go first class and sue people who say that they have seen you in first class?
T. T. Durai: At that point (of the 1998 lawsuits) I didn’t travel on first class. But in the past two years, the board has given me entitlement to travel business class on an SIA ticket. So I have taken the liberty to travel first class… That is what the board has decided. They know about this.

Comments:The NKF board, along with Durai, should resign.

Davinder Singh: Are you now going to do the right thing to go to the two persons you took money from (in the 1998 lawsuits) to return it to them and to apologise?
T. T. Durai: No. I want to explain because at that time I was not travelling using NKF’s money to buy a first-class ticket. I paid the difference and then travelled on first class. …

Comments:Would someone who has slapped someone else slap himself in return to make amends?

Davinder Singh: That is why you are not telling them the truth. Why hide the truth?
T. T. Durai: I am just like every other CEO entitled to benefits and rights. We run a business organisation with a turnover of $120 million.


Durai tried to explain that the NKF had used the worst-case scenario whereby none of its 2,000 patients could afford to co-pay their monthly dialysis costs of $2,600.

But Durai conceded: “Three years is an inaccuracy … but it’s for the people (of Singapore).”

“And your tap,” added Davinder Singh.

Comments:Ouch. And a $990 gold-plated tap at that. Plus, a $1100 toilet bowl. And 8 company cars complete with drivers.

Davinder Singh: In your affidavit, you liken yourself to CEOs of companies and ministers in government, right? Would you agree with me that like ministers in the government, you are being paid out of people’s money? Would you agree with me that ministers’ salaries are transparent?
T.T. Durai: Yes.

Davinder Singh: Would you agree with me that CEOs of listed companies have their salaries published in the newspapers?
T.T. Durai: Yes.

Davinder Singh: And you have likened yourself to CEOs of public companies. Why are you not publishing your own information?
T.T. Durai: I like my salary to remain private. My board members know that. My senior colleagues know that.

Comments:So other than the matters of his salary, his entitlements to his benefits and rights is like every other CEO. You what so special ar, Durai?

Davinder Singh: Mr Durai, can you tell this court what your salary and bonuses were for 2002?
T.T. Durai: I was earning a monthly salary of $25,000.

Davinder Singh: And your bonus?
T.T. Durai: Performance bonus was 10 months.

Davinder Singh: Ten months’ bonus! $250,000 bonus. This is for 2002.
T.T. Durai: I cannot recall the exact figure.

Davinder Singh: So, if it is $25,000 a month, multiply that by 12, your total package was $550,000 in 2002.
T.T. Durai: I believe so.

Davinder Singh: 2003, please?
T.T. Durai: You have the numbers. I don’t have the numbers offhand.

Davinder Singh: Tell us, please, so that we don’t waste time.
T.T. Durai: About the same I think. I cannot tell you offhand now.

Davinder Singh: About the same, meaning $550,000 or slightly higher?
T.T. Durai: About that.

Davinder Singh: How many months’ bonus did you get in 2003?
T.T. Durai: Twelve months.

Davinder Singh: In 2004, what was the bonus?
T.T. Durai: Same bonus.

Davinder Singh: Twelve months at $25,000 a month.
T.T. Durai: Yes.

Davinder Singh: So for the past three years you have earned about $1.8 million from the NKF.
T.T. Durai: Yes.

Comments:This is when everyone is tightening their belts, asked to lower their pay expectations, taken a CPF cut; and when some gets no bonus whatsoever and even a pay cut. Durai, have you got NO shame? With what virtue and what talent do you (你何德何能) believe you deserve those bonus? In fact, members of the Fire Brigade is more deserving of that $25,000 a month. Not only are they also saving lives, they are even risking their own lives when doing so!

Davinder Singh: $1.8 million, I wonder what is wrong. $1.8 million. Should the man who takes $50 out of his pay packet of $1,000, leaving $950 for him, his wife and his children, with no savings, should he not know that some of that money is going or has gone into a $500,000 to $600,000 pay package for you?
T.T. Durai: Surely he knows.

Comments:In all honesty, Durai, I do not know. And I can say so for a whole lot of people out there. I would like you to personally go and tell my friend’s old mother, who actually quit taking medicine for her knee problem and suffered the pain, contributed almost half of her take home pay of $750 minus CPF (and no bonus!), and lived a barren existence for a month so that she can do her bit to help the kidney patients whom she felt is worse off than she is. And please look her in the eye when you tell her just how much you have taken from the NKF as your yearly bonus.

Davinder Singh: We now understand why you say the $990 tap is not expensive. Well, coming from you at $600,000 a year, we now know why you say it is not expensive. But tell us, for that man with $1,000/$2,000, is it expensive?
T.T. Durai: Yes, he may consider it expensive.

Davinder Singh: He may, or is it? Tell us the truth.
T.T. Durai: I cannot speak for him. It depends on the type of building, the use of the item.

Davinder Singh: The man in his HDB one-room, two-room, three-room flat, earning a salary of $1,000, $2,000, $3,000 – would he find that tap at $990 plus 10 per cent discount expensive?
T.T. Durai: He may consider it expensive, yes.

Davinder Singh: He may, or will he?
T.T. Durai: If he is an educated person, if he knows the use of the particular office, for what purpose, he may probably think it is something reasonable.

Comments:Thanks for implying that anyone who felt it is unreasonable to buy a $990 tap is actually un-educated. Thank you very much!

His own reputation was closely intertwined with that of the NKF, Durai said.

“It would be fair to say that I live and breathe the work of the NKF,” he said.

“As a consequence of my work, my name has become synonymous with the NKF’s efforts to help Singaporeans and accordingly, any attack on my integrity is an attack on the integrity of the NKF.”

Comments:You obviously overrated your self importance, Durai. The NKF will live on without you. But if it dies tomorrow, it is all YOUR fault.

Addressing the issue of the installation of the ‘gold-plated tap’, Mr Durai said he did not give any instructions on the type of bathroom fittings and had left it to the architects.

When he first saw the basin mixer and shower mixer – white with what appeared to be gold-coloured trim – he did not like them.

“Although I did not know what they would have cost, they were out of place and could convey a wrong impression that they were expensive,” he said.

This, he said, was not in keeping with his instructions to Mr Donald Jacob, then the NKF building manager, that the offices should appear simple and that the interior should not be too lavish.

He said he had the fittings removed and replaced, even though a colleague remarked that the taps looked ordinary and there was ‘no big deal’.

Mr Durai said he was not aware of who actually approved the fittings.

Comments:Then will you please find the genius who approved it? I will prepare the grill, and the hot coals.

Asked if Mr Durai’s annual salary and bonuses were ‘excessive’, Mrs Gold Chok Tong replied: “For a person who runs a million-dollar charitable organisation, $600,000 is peanuts as it has a few hundred millions in reserve.

Comments:Sure. The Thai prostitutes in Geylang, I was told, charged $40 a session. That will be 15,000 sessions. Tell them it’s peanuts, after you try 15 sessions a night. See video below on some Singaporean’s reaction to the entire event.

If you can’t view it, click to download from here

The staff at the NKF gave chief executive T.T. Durai a standing ovation after he gave a short address to a packed auditorium at NKF headquarters. As he returned to work, staff and the NKF board rallied around their embattled CEO.

Comments:Well, what’s their bonus like? 6 months? 8 months? Give me that kind of bonus every year for the next few years, and I will also ‘掩住我的良心’ (suppress my conscience) and give him a standing ovation.

The NKF falsely inflated the number of patients it treats and understated how long its financial reserves would last, Durai conceded. Durai admitted in court that if NKF’s reserves of $262 million were used simply to treat dialysis patients, they would last 30 to 40 years, not three years, as the foundation has long claimed. He also admitted that the NKF had made ‘a few errors’ over the years in telling the public how many patients it treats.

Comments:How is it that they didn’t mistaken his 12 months bonus as 1.2 months?

While he worked full-time as chief executive of the NKF, Durai was also a director of a number of other companies. And he was paid sums of up to $25,000 a year by them, over and above his NKF remuneration package. But he never told the NKF board, and did not list these directorships in his curriculum vitae.

Comments:So Durai, please set a good example by donating your bonus taken from the NKF back to the NKF.

Mr Singh said Mr Durai had tried to give the impression in his affidavit that he was being thoughtful when he agreed to come on board as CEO in 1992 for just $12,000 a month even though he had been offered $20,000. The truth, counsel said, was that Mr Durai had agreed to the lower pay in exchange for freedom to earn extra income outside the NKF. When Mr Singh produced Mr Durai’s CV and asked if it was complete, Mr Durai answered: “Not exactly.”

Comments:So no NKF CEO job you also can survive. Why then, are we waiting for your resignation, huh?.

When asked if he will resign, Durai said, “No, unless people want me to. I will continue to serve as I have done nothing wrong.’

Comments:And by people, do you mean the general public, or the NKF Board of Directors? We need to be clear so we won’t take you to task in error.

The NKF has a fleet of eight cars with company drivers and chief executive T.T. Durai is one of six officers who can make use of them at any time. He also has his own Mercedes-Benz 200 car for his personal and family use, and his wife also drives it. But the NKF pays the car’s road tax and picks up the bills for maintenance and repairs.

Comments:What about the COE? The next CEO of NKF should negotiate a car for his dad, his mum, and his maid too. And what about getting NKF to pay for his pets medical checkups?

A letter to the NKF CEO

Davinder Singh in ‘The Man with the Golden Tap’.

Excerpts from the Straits Times:

Davinder Singh: We now understand why you say the $990 tap is not expensive. Well, coming from you at $600,000 a year, we now know why you say it is not expensive. But tell us, for that man with $1,000/$2,000, is it expensive?
T.T. Durai: Yes, he may consider it expensive.

Davinder Singh: He may, or is it? Tell us the truth.
T.T. Durai: I cannot speak for him. It depends on the type of building, the use of the item.

Davinder Singh: The man in his HDB one-room, two-room, three-room flat, earning a salary of $1,000, $2,000, $3,000 – would he find that tap at $990 plus 10 per cent discount expensive?
T.T. Durai: He may consider it expensive, yes.

Davinder Singh: He may, or will he?
T.T. Durai: If he is an educated person, if he knows the use of the particular office, for what purpose, he may probably think it is something reasonable.

A letter to the NKF CEO:

Dear sir,

I have the honour of being one of the ‘un-educated’ people because I could hardly find the installation of a $990 tap reasonable, regardless of the use and particular purpose of your office. In fact, I don’t even understand why you even need an office in the first place.

Being exceptionally ‘un-educated’, it is my considered opinion that they should have made you work from home, and all expenses paid out of your own pocket since it costs so much lesser to subscribe to broadband at home. Perhaps, they can then even cut your travelling expenses, and also your pay, so that they can relocate that cost for you to have more first-class flights.

Sadly, being ‘un-educated’ as I am, I couldn’t yet find the appropriate swear words in Hokkien to send my best wishes and regards. But considering the fate of a particular PSC scholar and some other bloggers, I wouldn’t do so even when I do find some for you.

Here’s a friendly advice for you, sir. Have the moral courage to resign if you do not yet have the courage to go down to that particular shop in Suntec City to purchase a katana and a wakazishi for the noble purpose of slitting your own belly.

Best Regards,

Darth ‘The Un-educated’ BiRdYz

TGIF – The World This Week (Til Jul 1)

The World The Past Fortnight

– that the ACLU charged that the Bush Regime is placing science under siege by overzealously tightening restrictions on information, individuals and technology in the name of homeland security. The regime ‘has sought to impose growing restrictions on the free flow of scientific information, unreasonable barriers on the use of scientific materials and increased monitoring of and restrictions on foreign university students’, the ACLU said. (Is that any different from the ACLU’s excuses used against the practice of the Christian religion?)

– that Donald Rumsfool has defended the Guantanamo prison against critics who want it closed by saying U.S. taxpayers have a big financial stake in it and no other facility could replace it. (So does Rumsfool and the U.S. now understand why countries with ‘bad human rights records’ sometimes are unwilling to replace their gulags and concentration camps?)

– that Donald Rumsfool faces grilling over Iraq when he appears in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee to testify about the situation in Iraq. (Will they be using the real thing? I’ll provide the charcoal and the fire.)

– that Warmonger Bush said that he would keep working with Britain, France and Germany to send Iran the message that getting a nuclear weapon or the means to acquire one was ‘unacceptable’. (How is it that America’s nuclear arsenal is acceptable then?)

– that German soldiers will be allowed to sport mullets and ponytails after a court ruled army hair regulations were unconstitutional. The ruling came after an 18-year-old soldier was locked up in a cell and fined £100 when he refused to chop off his 10-inch ponytail. The teenaged recruit only agreed to let army barbers cut his hair when faced with three weeks in solitary confinement, but made a formal complaint at the same time. The military court in Munich ruled in favour of the soldier and argued the varying rules for male and female recruits were ‘unconstitutional’ and ‘incomprehensible’. It said forcing male soldiers to cut their long hair went against their rights as individuals. (What about square moustaches?)

– that Britain’s royal family, often criticized for excessive spending, costs each taxpayer 61 pence (US$1.12) a year, about the same as a loaf of bread, according to Buckingham Palace. The Royal Public Finances annual report, which details public spending on the monarchy’s property and travel, said Queen Elizabeth’s household cost the taxpayer £36.7 million ($67 million) in 2004-5, a £100,000 saving from the previous year. (What’s the big deal when Singapore mini$ter$ costs us one plate of cha-kway-teow a year, or so they claimed?)

– that police in Ecuador say they have broken up an international drugs ring which was raising money for the terrorist group, Hezbollah. The authorities have declined to give details of the gang’s alleged links with the group, but say it was sending Hezbollah up to 70% of its profits. (They sure it’s not ‘humtam-bollah’ they are sending all their profits to?)

– that Ethiopian police say three lions rescued a 12-year-old girl kidnapped by men who wanted to force her into marriage, chasing off her abductors and guarding her until police and relatives tracked her down in a remote corner of Ethiopia. The men had held the girl for seven days, repeatedly beating her, before the lions chased them away and guarded her for half a day before her family and police found her, Sgt. Wondimu Wedajo said by telephone from the provincial capital of Bita Genet, some 560 kilometers (348 miles) west of the capital, Addis Ababa. (The modern day Daniel. Wow.)

– that a cobbler suspected of sorcery was attacked and nearly lynched by outraged villagers in central Kenya after being caught having sex with a female sheep, witnesses and officials said. “I was sent by the devil to do that,” the 36 yrear-old culprit, Joshua Kiplagat, told the angry crowd which included several people who accused him of being a warlock and one disgusted woman who claimed to have seen him engaging in sex acts with a dog. (The Devil ask you to go and die you go and die or not?)

– that Saddam Hussein loves Doritos, hates Froot Loops, admires President Reagan, thinks Clinton was ‘OK’ and considers both Warmonger Bush and his father ‘no good’. He talks a lot, worries about germs and insists he is still president of Iraq. (Someone pinch Saddam and wake him up from this dream.)

– that Condom-leezza Rice has made a strong appeal for democratic reforms in the Middle East, urging Arab lea-duhs not to stifle greater freedom of choice. “We are supporting the democratic aspirations of all people,” Condom said in a speech at the American University in Cairo. “Throughout the Middle East, the fear of free choices can no longer justify the denial of liberty. It is time to abandon the excuses that are made to avoid the hard work of democracy.” (Especially when those democratic aspirations continues to ensure American hegemony and promotes an American agenda. Condom, shove this crap up the place where the sun doesn’t shine, alright?)

– that six months later after billions of dollars of aid was pledged after the tsunami lashed the Asian shorelines, most of it have yet to reach survivors due to corruption, politics and reneging by donor countries, officials say. (Mankind has no equals in existence when coming to prolonging mass uffering and misery of its own kind.)

– that 16 years ago, a Teng Xingshan was sentenced to death for killing an 18-year-old waitress. He was executed two years later, but his alleged victim is still alive. This is the second case in two months in which a ‘murder victim’ has been found alive after police allegedly tortured and forced suspects to confess to murders. (It’s time to put those police officers and the judge on the defendant stand.)

– that Chinese hackers have defaced the website of a police-run security company leading a new effort to strengthen gover-min control over the Internet. The attack against the website of Beijing General Security Service came amid its drive to recruit a corps of 4,000 ‘Internet security guards’ to monitor the online activities of people in Beijing. (Swatting flies on the head of the tiger is a really bad idea.)

– that a group of Taiwanese seeking to remove the names of their ancestors from a controversial Tokyo war shrine were forced to cancel their protest yesterday when Japanese police blocked them outside the shrine gate. The protesters, dressed in traditional tribal garb and chanting ‘Return the souls of our ancestors’, waited in two buses some 300 metres from the Yasukuni Shrine as police stood between them and flag-waving Japanese nationalists. The group members said they wanted their ancestors’ names removed from memorial plaques at Yasukuni Shrine because it also honours convicted Japanese war criminals. (A particular Arab hiding somewhere in the Afghan mountains maybe able to help with removing this pesky little shrine.)

– that Donald Tsang’s plans to take up residence at Gover-min House, left vacant since Chris Patten left in 1997, could be delayed as the mansion has been found to be bugged. The eavesdropping devices were discovered during recent renovations, an aide to the Chief Executive-designate said. It is not known who planted the bugs and when, or if any of the devices still work. (Maybe they should just pull the whole damned thing down, build a new one and bill it to Beijing.)

– that Junk-ichiro Konkz-umi vowed that Japan would never again go to war as he attended a World War II memorial service on the Pacific island of Iwo Jima. Japanese media reports quoted him as saying: “We will actively contribute to eternal world peace by preventing the lessons of the cruel war from being eroded.” (Active contributions like praying at that blasted shrine. Who are you trying to kid?)

– that Condom-leezza Rice may not attend a key ASEAN meeting in Laos next month. And this is likely to be interpreted as a snub by many in the region, analysts say. The U.S. State Department will not confirm or deny that Condom will miss the ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Vientiane late next month. (It would probably be the last few times the U.S. can show an attitude to the world. So let it.)

– that Gloria Arroyo faced escalating calls to quit after she owned up to improperly calling an election commissioner, but analysts said any attempt to impeach her was likely to fail. Ending weeks of silence, Arroyo apologized to the nation late Monday for a ‘lapse of judgment’ in calling an unidentified election official in what she described as a clumsy bid to protect her vote amid a slow count. (So they think it would be better if the actor who died not long after the elections would be a better person to lead the country? It’s high time these bozos stop politicking and fix the country. And no, don’t give me that crap about democraZy.)

– that Gloria Arroyo announced that her husband was being sent into exile, amid growing pressure on her lea-duhship. She did not say how long Jose Miguel Arroyo would remain abroad or where he was going. (It is a small price to pay so that she doesn’t have to go into exile herself.)

– that a trickle of protests from top Malaysian students who have been denied gover-min scholarships has become a flood. Many are now demanding to know how recipients of the much-coveted awards for study overseas are selected. The Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) alone has received more than 400 complaints Not all qualify for the scholarships, but at least 135 had a good case for appeal as they had straight As in 10 to 13 subjects, MCA Youth education chairman Wee Ka Siong said. (Maybe it’s simply just a matter of having the wrong dad. And reading ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ won’t help them because they can’t ‘change’ their father for a richer and more influential one.)

– that one of the top men in Malaysia’s ruling dUMNO party has been questioned over allegations of money politics. This is the first time the dUMNO disciplinary board has investigated senior party lea-duhs, and even though the probe is taking place behind closed doors, Malaysians are watching the proceedings very closely. dUMNO Vice-President Mohd Isa Abdul Samad is the first of the ruling party big guns to face the Disciplinary Board. (And this is worth more than all the tears Mama-thir can shed in a lifetime.)

Singapore The Past Fortnight

– that George Yeo will visit Aceh to co-officiate a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a pier in Meulaboh. The 175-metre-long concrete pier, costing S$6.4 million, is part of Singapore gover-min’s $16.54m assistance package for reconstruction efforts in tsunami-affected countries. (Don’t see them using even a fraction of that $16.54m to get that expressway above Pasir Panjang Road completed for starters. Maybe Typo Gangster Chee should run after George and scream “Where’s the money, George?” in the next elections.)

– that Lim Bodok Heng is concerned about the lowest 40% of Singapore households who need help to manage their lifestyles and enjoy a rising standard of living. The main thing now is to help this group of people to earn more and continue to raise their standard of living, he said in a statement. (It would be great help when these clowns stop raising certain costs already.)

– that Lim Bodok Heng said that as Singapore is plugged into the global economy, it cannot avoid having its income gap widen. Competition for jobs among millions of lower-skilled workers worldwide will tend to push their wages down, he said. In contrast, highly sought-after top talent will get paid more and more, he added. What the country can do, however, is to help raise the salaries of less-skilled workers by making them more productive, and help more find a job. (This needs to be said or else it would get even harder for them to justify their next impending pay raise.)

– that the Finance Ministry took between three and 31 months from the date on the invoices to pay $42 million to suppliers. The taxman was also tardy. About $28.1 million of excess tax had not been refunded for more than three years by the Inland Revenue Authority. Two ministries were chided especially for their ‘lapses’: the Finance Ministry (MOF) and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). As ‘central agencies’ that issue directives to other ministries, both must set good examples of sound financial control, said the PAC, which is made up of MPs headed by Leong Horn Kee. (It is common knowledge that the gover-min is very fast at taking your money but takes forever in returning or giving you money.)

– that when a 92-year-old man walked into a Tanjong Pagar doctor’s clinic one night to seek treatment for a common cold and fever, the visit cost him $64. Citing this example, his son-in-law, a well-heeled doctorate holder, complained to the ‘Khaw-Beh’ Wang that medical costs were getting ‘too unaffordable’, especially for people well beyond the insurable age like his father-in-law. ‘Khaw-Beh’ responded: ‘His insurance is that he has a good son-in-law’. (Our insurance certainly won’t be in the person of ‘Khaw-Beh’ – pronounced ‘Cow Bey’.)

– that SIA has expressed little interest in a proposed merger with Qantas which the Australian gover-min has floated, saying it would not happen ‘any time soon’. (Perhaps the Australian labour unions are more ‘powderful’, erm… powerful.)

– that this year’s President’s Challenge has already hit its $8m target, though there is one more month to go before it comes to an end. But S R Nathan called on Singaporeans, especially the young, to keep up the spirit of giving and volunteerism. (The men-in-white earning their millions bucks per annum should be reminded of the spirit of giving even more.)

– that the LTA announced toll hikes of between 10 cents to $2.10 for motorists using the link. From July 1, car owners will pay $3.70 for each way â€â€? a spike of 50 cents. Drivers of vans and small lorries will have to fork out an extra $1.00 to pay the revised $8.30 toll. Companies like Ban Hong that use big lorries to transport goods between Singapore and Malaysia are perhaps the hardest hit. They have to pay $16.60, a rise of $2.10. Singapore’s tolls for the Causeway remain unchanged. Explaining the hike, the LTA said it was a result of a similar hike introduced by Malaysian authorities last month. “Singapore’s toll rates are pegged to those set by Malaysia for the use of the Causeway and Second Link,” it said in a statement. (Right. Blame the Malaysians. If one day they ‘jia sai’ [eat shit], will you eat shit or not har, LTA?)

– that a NICHOLAS TAN WEN-YU when a small fire that broke out at Plaza Singapura one night, the staff of Swensen’s blocked the way and insisted the customers pay before leaving. The manager told us they were given 15 minutes to collect payment before allowing us to leave. Nicholas is disgusted at this ridiculous prioritising of money over life and he hope something can be done to prevent such irresponsible acts from occurring again. (All restaurants should adopt the Cafe Cartel model – ‘Pay first, we’ll serve your orders later’. Makes life alot easier, doesn’t it?)

– that the now infamous Sarong Party Girl has taken down the nude photograph of herself from her weblog – after her parents found out about it. Her action comes just a day after she told The Stooge Times that she had no qualms about posting nude photographs of herself online and was, in fact, intending to put up more erotic pictures. The self-confessed exhibitionist described herself as ‘a visually pleasing specimen of the female species’. Her weblog – www. – chronicles her life and numerous sexual escapades. It now has about 14,000 visitors daily, nearly five times the 3,000 she used to get. (‘Visually pleasing’? Nah. ‘Sex Sells’ lah! It won’t be surprising that even 如花’s site will be hot if she posed nude, and not show her face in the photos and talk about her sexual escapades.)

– that a NELSON QUAH suggests that the landlord of Singapore Expo should reduce the rental to make it possible for the kacang puteh vendor, whose trade is almost extinct, to earn a decent living. Quah argued that at $1 for a packet of peanuts, the vendor would have to sell 250 packets each day just to recover his rent! (Alternatively the vendor can go illegal and ‘zao deh goo’ (跑地牛) – aka run from Ministry of Environment Officers. It’s been a long since I last seen people do that when I was a kid.)

– that recalcitrant abusers of synthetic drugs such as Ecstasy, Ice, Ketamine and Erimin-5, may face the same punishment as heroin abusers. MHA is considering long-term imprisonment for those caught abusing such drugs three times or more, to punish those who persist and to deter potential abusers. It is simultaneously taking a more rehabilitative approach towards first- and second-time abusers. (Hang them, actually. Deal with the demand the same way the supply is dealt with.)

– that as a deterrent measure, since September 2002, the SCDF has installed cameras onboard our fire engines and ambulances. This allows the capturing the video footage of motorists who fail to give way when our emergency vehicles are on call. The tape of such offences would be sent to the Traffic Police for follow-up action to be taken. Motorists who wilfully fail to give way can be given four demerit points and fined up to $160. In other instances, the driver can, upon conviction by court, be fined up to $1,000 or jailed up to three months. Subsequent or repeat offenders may be fined up to $2,000 or jailed up to six months. The driving licence of the offender may also be suspended according to the severity of the situation. (Fines and jailing cannot offer that which public shaming and humiliation is capable of.)

Trivial, Jokes and Thought from Discussions

– that researchers have developed artificial arms that can be moved as it if they were real limbs, simply by thinking about making them move. (Can we also have them made to be able to lift half a ton of weight, and stop bullets, for example?)

– that the reigning Miss World, Peru’s Maria Julia Mantilla, is considering suing her plastic surgeon for stretching the truth about the work he did on her in several nip, tuck and tell media interviews. “I’m not the creation of a surgeon, he just did my bust and my nose. So I’m considering suing,” she said. (So she admit her beauty is not really natural?)

– that it pays to be fat if you’re a female celebrity, as you can probably land a plump endorsement deal with a slimming centre like Royal BodyPerfect, Expressions International etc. (Turning yourself into a stick insect is the current in-thing among ladies. But why bother wasting money with these slimming centres? Just live in a place with famine.)

– that Jerusalem officials said they will ban the annual homosexual parade set for next week, claiming the march would offend many of the holy city’s residents. Organizers of the parade appealed to Israel’s Supreme Court to repeal the ruling, saying the decision was a violation of the homosexual community’s freedom of expression. The city council, including the mayor, decided “it is not right to allow the march or other planned activities to take place in the streets of Jerusalem, fearing that it will create an uproar, offend a wide sector of city residents and out of fear of public disturbances,” Eitan Meir, director general of City Hall, said in a letter to organizers. (There would be no affront greater than allowing this to happen in the city bearing the name of God.)

– that Cameron Diaz was reportedly attacked by a model who punched her in the face, claiming the actress ruined her dress at a star-studded bash. Furious Coralie Eicholtz attacked Cameron at the Monte Carlo nightclub Jimmy’s after saying the actress stood on her gown, causing her to trip and fall. The model even threatened to take further revenge by stealing Cameron’s fiance, pop singer  Justin Timberlake. (That shouldn’t be hard. Diaz may have grown tired of him already.)

– that the American Psychiatric Association sharply criticized Tom Cruise for televised remarks in which he called psychiatry a ‘pseudo science’ and disputed the value of antidepressant drugs. “It is irresponsible for Mr. Cruise to use his movie publicity tour to promote his own ideological views and deter people with mental illness from getting the care they need,” APA President Dr. Steven Sharfstein said in a statement. (Would you like some chilli for your itchy mouth, Mr Cruise?)

– that just days after being acquitted on child sex charges, Michael Jackson is facing fresh legal woes: he is being sued by a woman who claims she was attacked by a dog that escaped from a home he owns. Ms Donna Kyman, 66, sued Jacko on June 7. She is claiming damages for her ‘great mental, emotional and physical pain and suffering’ after being bitten by a husky called ‘Flash’ that lived at Jackson’s family Los Angeles home. “The dog was possessed of vicious and dangerous propensities and was inclined to attack people and other animals without provocation,” states the suit, published on website. Ms Kyman is claiming damages of a sum to be determined as well as reimbursement for medical fees. (Maybe Jacko should start singing ‘Who let the dogs out?’ to make the money to pay off this lawsuit.)

– that photos of items for sale on eBay may have some wondering, as purported images of Jesus are being used as a marketing tool. “Shower Jesus has been freed from the wall!” exclaimed Jeff Rigo of Pittsburgh, who offered “a section of plaster wall bearing the apparent face of the Son of God. No other items, promises, tidings, or guarantees are included.” Rigo was able to sell the holy water stain this week for $1,999, purchased by Internet casino, the same company which cashed out $28,000 for a grilled cheese sandwich with an alleged image of the Virgin Mary. (It is a sad day when the Son of God becomes nothing more than a tool for the unscrupulous to pull a fast one.)

– that Princess Diana took cocaine and was worried it would kill her, according to new claims. Friend and confidante Simone Simmons makes the claim in her controversial book Diana: The Last Word, in which she also alleges the Princess had a relationship with John F Kennedy Jr. (How convenient. Both JFK Junior and the Princess are too dead to refute the allegations.)

– that the Italian newspaper ‘Corriere della Sera’ says Nazi dictator Hitler ordered production of the first inflatable sex dolls for S.S. soldiers in 1941. The doll would be 1.76m tall, blonde, with white skin, blue-eyes, large lips and breasts. According to the project, which was classified as ‘top secret’, soldiers would inflate up the doll when feeling the urge, and it would meet their sexual needs. The doll was went meant to serve the sexual needs of the German fighting man, who might otherwise go to brothels and contract a sexual transmitted disease or worse, have sex with non-Aryan women and thus ‘pollute’ the race. The officer directly responsible for the sex doll project was S.S. commander Heinrich Himmler. (Hitler’s ‘Aryans’ must be too stupid to even use their hands.)

– that Internet file-sharing services will be held responsible if they intend for their customers to use software primarily to swap songs and movies illegally, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, rejecting warnings that the lawsuits will stunt growth of cool tech gadgets such as the next iPod. The unanimous decision sends the case back to lower court, which had ruled in favor of file-sharing services Grokster Ltd. and StreamCast Networks Inc. on the grounds that the companies couldn’t be sued. The justices said there was enough evidence of unlawful intent for the case to go to trial. File-sharing services shouldn’t get a free pass on bad behavior, justices said. (Sure, go ahead and sue owners of IRC servers ‘harbouring’ channels that are set up for the purpose of file-sharing alone too.)

– that the South Korean conscript accused of killing eight soldiers near the border with North Korea was so engrossed in online war games that he could not distinguish between fantasy and reality, the South Korean Defence Ministry said. In a detailed report on the incident in which the soldier tossed a grenade among 25 sleeping barrack comrades and then fired 44 shots, the ministry said the 22-year-old private – officially identified as ‘Kim’ – had planned the crime for at least a week because of bullying. (Make him believe he is one of the non-player character [NPC] hostages and have him executed in a similar manner.)

– that a group of secondary students has Adolf Hitler as their idol and said that Hitler is handsome, good and decisive. (Freaking morons probably didn’t know Hitler considered us Chinese to be ‘untermenschen’. i.e. sub-humans or lowlives, which should be exterminated after he’s done with the Jews, the Slavs / Russians and the Gypsies.)

– that the Bat Mobile in the latest Batman movie is perhaps the first one that is really down to earth and built with functionality in mind instead of style without substance. (Maybe they should build a few of those and sent them to Iraq to replace the Humvees or have it replace all ambulances in Singapore so that we do not have to worry about recalcitrant drivers who never give way.)

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