Gilbert Goh's xenophobic post

I have read the Gilbert Goh article since it has gone viral and simply do not see what the big hoo-haa is about. No I'm not going to add the link to it, it easy enough to find if you really want to read it. Let it be warned that it is really nothing sensational although it has smeared the otherwise good name of the protest at Hong Lim Park. It seemed like an ill conceived, tongue-in-cheek gone wrong. But hey,  that points more to his lousy command of the English language and inapt writing skills when it comes to such articles rather than his supposed maliciousness towards foreigners.

Do I find it racist? Yes, possibly. Do I think he realised  he was being racist? Probably not. Racism is so ingrained in Singapore society, people don't even realise they are being racist sometimes. Even before the influx of foreigners, Singaporeans have always been cautioned to walk the straight and narrow on the topic of race since we started school. We are told to keep the topic of race  from polite public conversations.  Somehow this lack of freedom to talk about race openly have made us obsessed with it. Just look at our local stand up comedians, take a sampling, most of the jokes are about race. In fact, many Singaporeans enjoy these racist jokes. Ever went to a Kumar show? However, being able to enjoy a good joke rarely mean that we can tell one in a tasteful or funny way. We enjoy them but often do not have the skills to add humour to a topic which  have been repeatedly drilled into the public  mind that it is not PC to mention. Now we have the PRC, Filipinos, Vietnamese, Burmese to add into the mix. Singaporeans can now pretend (or at least put aside difference for a while) we are united as one amongst Chinese, Malay and Indian in the face of the common enemy, all other foreigners. 

Some have said that what Gilbert Goh wrote was just public sentiment of the men on the street. Frankly if you ask me, sentiments on the street are much worse than anything Gilbert Goh wrote. The mob has been activated though and Gilbert Goh's name has been scandalised because of his article and bringing along Hong Lim Park Protest in the tarnished reputation. What an untimely scandal to break. In a bid to rescue the event, many speakers have repeatedly spoken out that is event is not xenophobic in nature and the protest is not against foreigners. Even then, out ingrained racism reared it's ugly head.

In a brilliant face palm moment, the emcee of the event tried to dispel notions that the event is xenophobic by making it much worse.  He said he had many Malay friends when he was young and he EVEN had an Indian friend as if the very idea of a Chinese having an Indian as a friend is so unthinkable. Personally, I found this statement so much more racist than anything Gilbert Goh wrote in that article. And remember, this emcee said this in an attempt to distance himself and the event from Gilbert Goh's scandal that broke and dragged the event through the mud with it.  It just goes to show how much more education is needed on the topic of racism in Singapore is when people say such thing in an effort to prove  that they are not racist. 

So no, I don't think that the article Gilbert Goh wrote came from a place of hatred towards foreigners.  It is stereotyping, bad stereotyping at that if you've read the article but that is not xenophobia. In a tongue- in-cheeks way that many have come to embraced, Singaporeans are typically described/stereotyped as Kiasu, Kiasi & materialistic as well. We are fine with it and I have heard people refer to this stereotype about Singaporeans rather endearingly. It seemed Gilbert's article was trying to do they same to some of our larger groups of foreigners. In fact maybe we can go as far to say he was trying to sooth feelings towards foreigners with his attempt at humour. Due to his writing style, or lack thereof, we don't really know what he's trying to convey. I think he's trying for humour and not hatred but who can tell.

 To me, the biggest faux pas in this incident is that the organiser of such a prominent and possibly landmark event does not have they ability to convey his thoughts clearly. Now that is sad and embarrassing.

Here we are again.. thanks to a slap in the face from blogger recovery

I have been known to write randomly, on paper or in my head. I have random verses and thoughts here and there. Recently, I have decided to consolidate what little of my past scribblings I could find. That's what the past few post have been about. Scrapes I've gathered.

If you have been observant enough to notice the time stamp (I believe most will not notice and here I am bringing attention to an otherwise unnoticeable detail), you will see that everything has been posted today. That's right! Because this is not my first attempt at consolidation. I am not sure if I were drunk when I made my previous blog but I can't remember my gmail account that goes with it and thus I'm effectively locked out. I've exhausted all avenues and have decided to just make another blog.

For some stupid reason I can no longer remember (I can only blame myself) I decided to set up a new email address just for the blog. Of course the address I wanted was not available and they gave me some alternative. I picked one and promptly forgot all about it. I remember the password though, but what good is a key when you can't find the lock to slot it into. So here I was staring at my blogger log in screen where I had to enter my username and password, username being the email address I used to sign up for the account.Crap!

I thought, "never mind, there are recover options". Boy, was I wrong. 

I clicked on "Can't access your account?" tab which brought me to

So I typed in the my blog url and clicked lookup. I got,

It used to be that they will actually hint you your linked account but now (apparently due to hacking issues) you get the hint of " Email was sent to your gmail.com account. I mean the security is definitely improved but it now offers no more options for people who only remember their password (the key) and not their email address (the lock). It's like saying let me give you a hint, it a lock somewhere in Singapore as opposed to somewhere in the world. The hint definitely narrowed the parameters but they might as well not have bothered. It used to say email has been sent to xzy @ gamil . com which is really helpful for people who forgot their linked email addresses.

I tried everything, including all other recovery methods, only to go on a wild goose chase. I tried blogs, I tried forums, I tried help centre. The conclusion was that it was my own responsibility to keep control of my blog. I totally concede to that, but the recovery method available that wasn't actually a recovery method was like a slap in the face. Like a nee-nee-ne-poo-poo, you lost your linked email, to bad for you! Agrr.

Anyway, I decided it was just must faster to start anew since I have very little content in the previous. Sorry I tried to save a bit of data bandwidth for blogger/google. I mean without access to the previous blog, I can't even delete it. It's just wasting space and a url but who am I to question the great google and it's SOPs. There is also no way to email someone or provide feedback it seems so it is what it is and time for me to move it.

Wonders of the HDB enbloc scheme

My parents’ flat has been selected for the HDB enbloc scheme. This is a scheme where HDB (Housing Development Board) buys over your existing flat in return for a new flat at a newly developed estate. HDB flats, where 80% of Singapore’s population lives, are 99yrs leasehold properties. The enbloc scheme ensure that the government can take back older HDB flats before the flats get so old their value dips to almost zero.
The HDB public flats were started in the 1970s as a way of efficient land use in land scarce Singapore. Most people back them stayed in settlements called kampongs.  So the oldest HDB flats by now are around 40+ years old. As most would know, properties on 99yrs leasehold drops in value as the lease decreases, exponentially in the later years eventually until the market value of that property is 0 when the lease is up and the government takes back the property.  So a HDB flat that is more than say 60yrs old, it will not logically be very sort after if you are young enough to outlive your property and want to take a mortgage on your flat. Banks in Singapore will stop giving loans to property older than 60yrs if it is on 99yrs leasehold. 
Current estate
Now my parents were pretty happy being selected for the scheme at first. They get a new flat and have heard that you usually will get some payout in cash. Because the buys back your flat at market price (usually much higher) and offer you the new flat at HDB new flat subsidized price (supposedly much lower price). The cash difference (CD) is usually used for the renovation purpose of the new flats. Those selected for enbloc will get a new flat with the 99yrs counter back at 0, while the government keeps things in a fine balance. All good.
Here is where the irony begins. HDB has full decision rights on which estate to enbloc. Doesn’t that make the HDB flat more like a rental than a property you actually own if the HDB can uproot you anytime? Thought public housing, HDB flats are anything but cheap and a few hundred thousands for pre-paid rental doesn’t seem like such a great deal.  Bought your flat to last your lifetime? Too bad! Done expensive designer renovation? Too bad again! Though HDB will pay you market rate so the renovation will be taken into account when evaluating compensation. Love you neighbourhood and conveniences of your matured township? Too bad as well! With the HDB enbloc and 99yrs leasehold scheme, you have no say on your property especially on the subject of uprooting you from said property.
However, the reason the residents of my parent’s estate are up in arms is none of those above.  It is because most of them will have to TOP UP cash if they want a new flat of the same size.  Because according to the HDB, the new estate they are moving these residents to is so valuable that even after the subsidies, it is more expensive then their current flat. Event with the sky-high open market resale price (my parents current flat is worth almost half a million in the market), the HDB feel the new flat should be even more expensive than that. What will most probably happen at my parents’ current estate is the HDB will tear the old flat, build new ones and sell at an even higher price than the news one my parents are moving to. Because the plot of land my parents’ flat sit on is so much better than the new one they will get. Already there are private developers mentioning how much they are willing to bid for that land to build DBSS flats.  Can’t the HDB just offer the residents of my parents’ estate at least a one to one flat since it is going to be at a lousier location? The HDB’s answer to an old neighbour who said she could not afford to top up any more cash? : Down grade to smaller flat. My parents stay in a mature estate and many of the residents are retirees. Most will have to dig into their retirement funds if they wish to live at the current standard of living in the new estate.  Now without the cash difference from HDB, they have to further dig into their retirement fund for renovation. Renovations are necessary for new HDB flats as they are bare. Meaning no electrical cabling, tiles, doors, basically everything.  So if they do not have much saving in cash, the will just have to make do with rather barren renovations
HDB will not engage or try to help these people but continues to publish articles showing the shining side of the enbloc scheme and telling everyone it is only in very rare instances where people are unhappy with it. Well try doing a survey at my parent’s estate. I’d really like to see how often the “really rare instance” shows up. HDB has no answer or compromised for the situation except to downgrade to a smaller flat. They compassionately told the old neighbour the new estate has really small flats especially catered for the elderly. Auntie replied,” So my children and grandchildren won’t even have a place for a proper weekend family gathering anymore. “
All these while, the HDB maintains incidences of unhappiness are rare. When the resident committee approached the HDB for help they were told that their case will be reviewed after the general elections. What’s that to mean? Don’t vote PAP and you will be left to die or what? Anyway, PAP won in the end. But the issue remains in limbo. The residents there will just have to suck it up and pay more a flat of the same size in a lousier plot of land because they are suay to kena chosen for this particular enbloc scheme. Or they can downgrade to a smaller flat and lousier quality of life. HDB won’t care about this one particular enbloc project in trouble; the majority of projects are alright. Did the government say everyone matter and no one left behind? Well residents at my parents’ estate aren’t feeling the love.


So...recently the feeling of getting pulled under is getting stronger again and I try to push it away but have been slipping (for lack of a better word). Makes me angry, makes me guilty. All not examplary recipes for being a fun person to hang around with. I have told no one about myself so people who have the misfortune to witness me attitude (people closest to me) think I am in the midst of an extended PMS.

This is the result of my efforts to get above the fog. Frankly, life is looking up this year. It getting even better. I have a direction that I'm excited for the short to mid term future. Our new house will be ready in slightly more than a year. On the financial front, life is looking rosy as well. So why won't this sickness just go away. I have never actually gotten myself diagnosed medically and I realise that may be one of the reason to my non-total-recover. But I don't think this is something you ever recover from fully. Rather, it's something to be managed and I like to think I'm managing fine by myself. Writing has always made me feel lighter and this seem like to a good endevour to get the load off my chest.

Why have I not gone to get myself diagnosed? Well, growing up, it was not the norm in my community to get tested for such stuff. You suck it up when the going gets tough, you know? To top it off, my going wasn't exactly tough and it hit around the time I was 14. My parents just brushed it off of teenage agnst. It took my many years to realise otherwise. By that time I have learnt to manage my own condition while keeping it a secret from everyone and I guess a habit formed. I managed. And I'm sure that's how many with mile depression live. It's constantly there but not alarming enough for that individual and people around to seek professional help. For some reason I have been rather reclusive in regards to this part of my life. This is the first time I have written it down in plain language. Previous attempts have always be shrouded in inuedos. I have so far refused to open up the most intimate part of my mind to a stranger. A part of my mind that I have not opened up to even my closest friend or family. Then as I grew older, I realise I'm pretty sure I have mild depression and I really didn't want that on record for any future insurance I buy. I mean who want "loopy" (come on that still the impression people here get) on permanent record.

Be that as it may, it doesn't mean I want it on permanent record.

I have a friend who had headaches since she was in playschool. She went through all kinds of test till the ripe age of 18. Now for every insurance application form she has to declare this even though the diagnosis was an all clear. Sometimes she need to appeal to get the normal rate instead of the high risk rate. Look I'm not saying not to get yourself medical help. If you have headaches please go get yourself checked even if it may affect your insurance. Becuase if you miss something important for the sack of future insurance, that really shit. I'm glad my friend got check and has an all clear. She has horrid headaches till this day but at least we know it's not due to anything life-threatening. Just that in my case, if it was more than mild depression I many have gone over the edge since my parents weren't knowledgable about the area of mental area to get my help. Through reading I (very luckily) managed to get my head out of my own shit and if my depression had been more serious the lack of medical help might have really screwed me up. In my case, I got stronger in the way that I discovered how to see past the fog that clouds my mind sometime. I can see that it is the condition causing it and beyond that fog there really are flowers and rainbows in my life. I learnt to aknowledge it rather than push it aside because left in the subconsciuous, the fog only thickens. At this point in my life, I am pretty sure I have a mild chronic depression. It's keeps coming back but it's managable by myself so far and I'm so used to my condition and alert for it that I am confident if it gets to a point where there is a point for medical concern I will seek the help I need.

There is an irony in this that is so laughable. I have put myslef on the route to a PHD in psychology. The person who doesn't want to open up to a shrink is on the path to become a shrink. We intend to one day migrate to California and the state of California require a PHD if you want to register as a psychologist and I've always wanted a doctorate. So it all seems in order.

Yes, this is what I want to do with my life

I have selected some things I've written in the past to start off my blog. Already I feel marginally better. As an added benefit, I hope anyone who reads all my rambling will get an insight to the mind of the slighty disturbed (or maybe after reading you might rule me HIGHLY disturbed). Since I will be opening up the most intimate part of my mind here, I highly doubt I will be posting any photos of myself or be too forthright about details of my personal life. Beside the nagging fog of melancholy I know I am happy with my life. So this will not be a depressing (pun intended) blog either. I have no wish to end my life nor do I feel alone, unloved or hopeless and helpless. I realise I am doing pretty well for my age, I look good and have a strong group of loved one.

I keep mentioning  the word fog because that's literally how I feel when I'm having an episode. Like life around me is passing by while I look on through a veil. Sometimes, it gets bad enough that I feel like I'm looking upon myslef even as a thrid person. I feel lethergic for days on end and suffer insomia not sfalling asleep till 5am in the morning and either going through the day with bloodshot eyes or sleeping the whole day and waking up feeling lousy that I have let another day go wasted. I truly believe in the notion of seizing the moment and so the guilt of a day wasted is two-folds. There are days when even getting up to eat leave my feeling gutted. There's this fog that wants me to just lay down and go to waste and the real me that struggles to break free and live my life. This internal fight leaves my with headaches so bad I feel nauseas. It's that kinda feelign you get when you're in a dream you can't wake up from. Your irritated but you just cant get out of the fog. All your motivations turn into pent up fustrations in your chest as you are mentally buried and pulled under.

Do you have a mental condition too? Is that how you feel as well?

Every Exception

One day you're gonna truly fall in love with someone
And she'll be your every exception, no obligations
I'm just not her, its simple and its plain
So why should I complain

2009-07-29 15:59

If anything, I am not one to settle. I never settle. Especially in love. I choose a lifetime of singlehood over companionship with a person that "will do". I'm happy to say it has worked out splendidly for me as shortly after writing this, I met the love of my life. We had a whirlwind courtship and were married three months later. We will be celebrating our 3yrs anniversary in a few days time. Serendipity indeed

commitment to risk

She wanted to follow all possible paths and so ended up following none. Even in love, she failed to commit herself. She feared pain, loss and separation. Thing inevitable on the path to love, and the only way of advoiding them was by deciding not to take that path at all. In order not to suffer, you had to renounce love. It was like putting out your own eyes in order no to see the bad things in life.
You had to take risk, following some paths and abandoning others. That was the law of life.
She remembered when she was about fourteen, and she was complaining about not being able to do a piece of homework, because every time she started, it went wrong.
 'Perhaps the times when it goes wrong are teaching you something,' said her father. But she was sure that she's taken the wrong path and that there was no way to put things right.
Her father took her by the hand and led her into the living room. There was a large antique grandfather clock, which had stopped years before because it could no longer be repaired.
"Nothing in the world is ever completely wrong, my dear,' said her father. 'Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.'
-Brida by Coelho


Emotions were like wild horses,  and reason could never entirely master them.
It isn't explanations that carry us forward,
It's our desire to go on

quoting her

nothing begins nothing ends for we're born in others' pain and buried in our own
2007-03-06 02:38


Why do you sigh? She answered, "Because my skies are still grey..."
2007-02-24 02:43


Radical change in perspectives Yet I went the total opposite way in terms of actions.. Its as if i sit around missing a former life While the present slowly slips away Unnoticed till its a former in itself
2007-01-25 05:19