Tuesday, August 23, 2005

a mixed bag

the Economist's City Briefing on Singapore plonked in my (e)mailbox this afternoon, and there are some absolute gems you should all read (possibly sans snarky commentary from one J., but as eun pointed out a week or so ago, i've gotten snarkier with age. so the odds are low that post will be snark-free.). before that, however, i must tell everyone about my spectacular morning.

(by the way, i'm listening to Corrinne May's album, Fly Away, which my dear alex bought for me. she's not bad, not bad at all. lyrics perhaps could do with some work. but the voice -- not bad at all. :) and an RGS girl to boot! do we all sound like Kit Chan, do you think? -plaintive sigh-)

so i had an interview with PSD this morning at 11, at the Treasury. we leave my place a little early to avoid the impending rain (i had the last minute sense to stick an umbrella in the bag) and get to city hall mrt to find that (a) i'm half an hour early and (b) it's freaking POURING with rain out. so what else could we do but wander along to Ya Kun and have breakfast, right? only when the time comes for me to leave for the Treasury, it's still pouring out. monsoon-rain-type pouring. now those of you who don't live in the tropics, and more importantly, in Singapore, are sitting there wondering what the big deal is -it's just some rain over a walk approximately five minutes in duration. well - within the first thirty seconds -ie the time it took me to walk from the door of the shopping mall to the first pedestrian crossing- my snazzy pants were soaked to the knee, and water was rapidly dripping down the back of my jacket. -grin- forget the shoes.

i was late, of course. but once they saw my chicken-caught-out-in-the-rain look -very chic, i know- all the HR people very kindly fussed and insisted i go dry myself off and catch my breath -they packed the panellists off on a break while i did all i could to make myself presentable again. however, after all this big fuss and hoohah, my interview was seriously ten minutes long, possibly less. -sigh- then it was back out into the cold rainy world, having gotten into my snazzy togs less than two hours before.

hitting the road again, i knew something was wrong. but it wasn't until i had walked the same five minute walk back to the shopping mall and stopped inside after nearly killing myself falling several times that i realised i'd lost the sole of one of my (newly resoled) heels. (not the toe part, but the tiny little rubber part attached to the bottom of the narrow almost-stiletto heel...), and had been walking, essentially, on the point of a nail. how's that for fantastic balance?

so what could i do but throw up my hands and buy a new pair of sandals? (for seven bucks, so i don't feel so bad. i needed something heeled, for the pants would be too long for the three-dollar flipflops...)

ok. interview, so-so; morning, fraught with disaster. on to the Economist briefing:

No Contest

Singapore’s president, S.R. Nathan, said last month that he would welcome opponents in the election on August 27th, having been the sole candidate in 1999’s “race”. But though three men did apply to run for the presidency—a ceremonial but influential post—a government-appointed committee deemed each of them “ineligible” on August 13th. None met Singapore’s strict qualifications, which require a candidate to have been the chief executive of a large company or have held a senior government post.

Mr Nathan’s most serious opponent would have been Andrew Kuan, a former finance executive for a state-run industrial real-estate company. Mr Kuan had promised to make the presidency more transparent, claiming that his candidacy would test Singapore’s commitment to democratic principles. But the election committee quashed his bid after the state-linked media carried reports that were critical of his employment record. The committee’s rejection of all three contenders ensures that government-endorsed Mr Nathan, a former intelligence chief and diplomat, will serve a second six-year term.
how many times did the Economist manage to use the word 'government' in a two-paragraph long snippet? and how did i never notice before?

Troublesome Foursome

Singapore authorities like to keep a tight rein on public protests—unauthorised gatherings of more than four people have long been banned. But officials faced an unusual challenge on August 11th, when four protesters collected outside the offices of the Central Provident Fund (CPF), the state’s compulsory pension scheme. The quartet, which included the sister of Chee Soon Juan, a prominent opposition figure, bore T-shirts and a placard calling for greater transparency at the CPF and other state agencies. Mr Chee stood nearby but did not join the group, contenting himself with selling copies of his book.

The gathering in the heart of the business district soon attracted police, some of whom arrived in riot gear. They ordered the four to disperse or face arrest, saying they were causing a “public nuisance”. (The law forbidding such a “nuisance” is a wide-ranging statute to maintain public order.) The protesters complied, giving up their T-shirts and placard.
what the Economist failed to point out is that FORTY armed policemen arrived to disperse this little protest. that's ten policemen to each protester. -grin- i don't even have to try to be snarky! i'm sure you're ALL thinking what i would have said anyway --


At 9:29 PM, August 23, 2005, Blogger wandering.girl said...

I especially like "Mr Lee also stressed the dangers of terrorism, calling on Singaporeans to “remain vigilant against threats to our security.” The next day, he joined other ministers at a glitzy parade to show off the city-state’s military muscle."

Especially the "glitzy parade" bit. How does the economist manage to be so snide while being so polite. *grin*

At 11:54 PM, August 23, 2005, Blogger J. said...

-grin- i knew there was a reason i really really adore the Economist.

At 11:04 PM, August 24, 2005, Blogger Tym said...

Thanks for the review of the Economist report. Will look for it online the next time I have time...

When besieged by the monsoon, just give in and buy an umbrella already. It's better than being that soaked. All the umbrellas I've bought in the last five years were 'emergency' umbrellas purchased under such circumstances.

At 8:16 AM, August 25, 2005, Blogger Tym said...

I just had to come back and add that the same fate befell my sandals this morning: I lost one of the rubber heel tips on my way to work and am now clacking around the office like a one-legged robot. Worse still, the nail makes this awful squeaking sound against the concrete! Sigh...

At 10:03 AM, August 25, 2005, Blogger J. said...

ah, but i already HAD an umbrella, and was soaked nonetheless. gotta love these monsoon-y rains. :)

and one-legged robot is a good description of the way we are forced to walk when disaster befalls one of a pair of shoes, no? i felt like i had a peg leg. :p

-sigh- gotta get those shoes fixed...otherwise they are unwearable, and quite a favourite pair to boot!

At 11:48 AM, August 25, 2005, Blogger Packrat said...

Lurve Corrinne May.


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