Friday, July 30, 2010

Healthy Concoction for Breakfast!


A colorful dish of sweet purple potatoes, oats, ginger and black sesame seed

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Ever since my eldest sister Lee Lee shared with me about the wonders of eating Quaker Oats for breakfast. I had tried taking oats, and after two weeks, my blood pressure has been reduced considerably to 122/75 !! I hope that when my blood pressure stablises, I will be able to resume donating blood liked I used to donate at the Blood Bank.

I also read about the wonders of sweet potatoes and it is advisable to take the sweet potatoes before 12 noon. It is best to take them early in the morning. Hence I decided to combine the two and came up with the following tasty and colorful
recipe. I would like to call my breakfast preparation the "Dance of Life".

Dance of Life


1 medium sized purple or orange sweet potato

4 tablespoons of Quaker oats

A few slices of ginger

1 teaspoon of black sesame seeds or
1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds


Peel the potato and cut into small pieces. Cut a few slices of ginger
and add water in a small pot and put to boil.

When potatoes are cooked, add 4 tablespoons of Quaker oats, and after
2 minutes, cover the pot and leave for about 5 minutes. Ready to serve.

Sprinkle one teaspoon of black or white sesame seeds or one tablespoon
of pumpkin seeds.

As one potato is used, it is not very sweet but I like it as it is. However, for those who like it sweeter, add one teaspoon of honey.

You can be as creative as you want to, and cook the oats in different ways. You may also fry the oats and add them to your yogurt with slices of grapes, apples, honey dew, etc.

Try the above colorful concoction, and when you take it regularly, you will soon be dancing for joy, for it makes you feel healthy and energetic! Remember your life is as colorful as you wish to paint it! Remember Choo's Dance of Life!! Bon appetit!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

There Should Be No Retirement Age !


Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew with his brilliant and inspiring speech

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By Channel NewsAsia, Updated: 28/07/2010

There should be no retirement age: MM Lee

"SINGAPORE: Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has said that there should be no retirement age for workers.

He made the point at a dialogue session with over 900 senior managers, government officials and unionists on Wednesday.

The session was held in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF).

Minister Mentor Lee got the audience in stitches when he made the bold suggestion — no retirement age for Singapore.

He said: "You work as long as you can work and you will be healthier and happier for it. If you ask me to stop working all of a sudden, I think I’ll just shrivel up, face the wall and just that."

The 86—year—old said old people should be more productive.

Mr Lee was responding to a question on challenges Singapore may face with an aging population.

He said that at his age, he may have aches and pains but he can keep going.

He said: "Many of our workers have a preferred retirement, and then they die early! It won’t be long before the message sinks home that if you keep doing what you’re doing for almost the whole of your life, the chances are you will stay interested and engaged in life, there’s something to do tomorrow and you keep going. If you start saying,’oh! I’m old!’ And you start reading novels and playing golf or playing chess, well, you’re on the way down."

From 2012, employers in Singapore will have to offer workers re—employment when they hit the retirement age of 62.

Mr Lee said older workers will need to come to terms with the psychological switch — that is, working for less pay and very likely for a younger boss.

He said: "That’s life! You know American Generals — they don’t do well, they get fired and they give them a medal, they send a new general! I think we have to develop that approach to life. (When) you have reached the maximum you can do at your age in that position, you move sideways and you take less pay and you move gradually, (getting) less and less pay because you are moving slower and slower, especially when you’re doing physical work."

Mr Lee stressed the need to continue learning even as one gets older, adding "I’m still learning."

Attracting talents was another hot topic at the dialogue session. Mr Lee said foreign talents come to Singapore because of the opportunities it offers.

Their numbers will add to what Mr Lee called a growing "intellectual class".

Mr Lee said: "We are going to have an intellectual class, about maybe three times as big as what you have now and that will give us the dynamism, the powerful engine to carry us forward faster."

Mr Lee added that Singapore’s attraction as a liveable, safe city with good infrastructure will support its push to enhance productivity.

The 45—minute dialogue was engaging and peppered with personal anecdotes. For example, Mr Lee shared how many of his ideas were gleaned from his travels.

He noted how a lot of policies in Singapore were the result of his experiences overseas. For example, deciding on having an underground train system over a network of tunnels for buses."

Yahoo! I love the above article! MM Lee has said it, and because he has said it,
I am extremely sure that people will endorse it. MM Lee is a classic example of what he preaches, and people who have pondered will want to emulate him.

When my niece and nephew-in-law were recently visiting Singapore, I shared with them about my being invited to teach English to a group of Army Personnel from a neighbouring country. It only takes up three hours in the morning three times a week, and will not interfere with my real estate work, for I have done this a number of times in the past. For me, when I get busier, somehow I become even more productive!

Recently my best friend Soh Wah gave me a newspaper advertisement that she had cut out from the Straits Times and encouraged me to participate. Soh Wah thought I could be a good travel writer as I have travelled extensively and have written a number of articles on my various visits to different countries. Not a bad idea, as this would be only on ad hoc basis.

I was quite touched when I met an ex-customer who used to patronise the restaurant, Rialto, which I was operating. "My family and I miss your food, Choo!" She asked if I could be the chef and cook make some pasta dishes, Caesar Salad, Bruschetta, Panacotta and Tiramisu for her party of 60 guests in her home."

MM Lee is also right when he said that we should never stop learning. I have been "playing the drum", by using some bowls, pots and chopsticks. Once I start to play Grade 5 pieces with my violin, I will enrol in a school for drums. I have always loved the violin and drums since I was young.

Due to my love for dogs, I occasionally dog-sit for owners who travel overseas for a few weeks. It is so wonderful to look after my favourite animals - dogs - and it also "forces" me to exercise when I walk the dogs. Above all, it is so nice to be paid for what I enjoy doing!

Yes, I am undergoing physiotherapy for aches in my backbones, but the aches and pain
will not deter me from learning new things and keeping active until I go six feet under. Work is never work when we enjoy what we are doing. There are still so many things to learn and to discover.!

I love it as our MM Lee is such a positive person. We must always look at the bright side of things. Remember old is gold. I always love to learn from people older than me. I will be going with my eldest sister to Phuket for a little retreat and for 3 days, I will just switch off my handphone and listen to her sharing and expounding of the Bible. She is an excellent Bible teacher, and I am always mesmerised by her sharing.

Just to end my article on a lighter note and to share something I came across in the internet. A little reminder to youths:

"REMEMBER to be kind to old folks, for they are worth a fortune. They have silver in their hair, gold in their teeth, stones in their kidneys, lead in their feet and gas in their stomachs." Wow!

Gan Cao

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Much Ado About Escalators and Travellators


"Please Stand on the Right" sign prominently displayed along the escalators
in London Tube Stations.

Standing in one straight row not only implies orderliness, but safety as well.

It has been some 13 years since our MRT system was set up in 1997, and yet until today, commuters still do not stand on one straight row either completely to the left or to the right. All these years, I have been saying, "Excuse me, excuse me", especially when I am in a rush to reach a destination. It is basic common sense for commuters to stand on one row if they are not climbing the escalators so that those who wish to ascend faster can have the leeway to do so. This will also enhance safety for all concerned.

I hope the Land Transport Authority will put up signs to remind people to stand on the left or right like the way it is being done in London Tube Stations. Some of the escalators are so long and steep that it is frightening to think what would happen if someone should fall. It may cause a chain reaction like a pack of falling cards!

Worse, some commuters are so careless and chit chat with their backs turned so that when they reach the end of the escalators, they are slow to move, causing risks of injuries to the commuters behind when they fall. Once I fell at the end of the travellator at Dhoby Ghaut MRT station because a group of friends were chit chatting and took their own sweet time to get off the escalator. I was right behind and fell because there was not enough space for me to come off safely from the travellator. My eldest sister who was with me was annoyed and chided the group. Luckily I only sprained my left leg.

Last year, one of my friends, Christine, from England, asked me, "Don't people here stand on one straight line when they are riding the escalators?" I can understand my
friend's exasperation.

I guess commuters don't take heed unless the Authorities put up a signboard to remind commuters to stand on one straight row. If again, commuters don't take heed, there is no alternative but to put up the "FINE" sign again. Sigh!....
Sometimes common sense is not very common, and some people only become cooperative when their pockets are involved.! Perhaps something will only be done only when some kind of serious accidents take place? By then, it will be too late.

For now, I could only make use of my common sense to stand on the left and at least three steps behind the passenger before me. I definitely have to keep my eyes open and be extremely alert at the end of the escalator and travellator. It is also imperative for me to give myself extra travelling time so that I do not feel exasperated with having to call out, "Excuse me, excuse me."

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Peace, Blessed Peace.....

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What a picture of peace!

I am sure most of my readers must have seen the above picture taken of a Chinese boy sleeping soundly on a floating sofa during the floods in China.

I like the picture because it spells of peace, real peace! Very often when we are asked to depict a picture with the subject of peace, most of us will draw beautiful green pastures with sheep or some scenery which shows quiet and calm.

Once, when I was shopping at a book store, I saw an interesting photo of a wild bird
dozing off in a crevice of a rock, and there were huge waves lapping against the rocks. But the bird appeared to be in deep slumber, oblivious to the possible danger of being drowned by the powerful waves! What a picture of peace!

When I was still a student, I enjoyed going shopping with my eldest sister because it meant I would get a treat of some nice food or desserts. I remember once I was so exhausted while shopping with my eldest sister that I just could not help but fell asleep in the shop. I found myself a chair and slept soundly in the midst of all the activities of shoppers coming in and going out. I slept soundly for about an hour while sister was selecting her shoes. The shop attendants were amused and sister explained that I am one lucky girl who could sleep anywhere and everywhere.

In a world full of turmoil, violence and natural disasters, peace is a wonderful state of mind. For me, peace comes from knowing that I need not worry for if God can take care of the wild birds and flowers, surely He will take care of His homo sapiens, the highest form of His creation.

I am constantly reminded of my two favourite verses in Philippians 4:6-7, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving,
let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all
understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

Friday, July 23, 2010

Corporations,Organisations and Businesses to help conserve.....

One of my good friends, Jane, told me that she dislikes the extremely cold airconditioning in her office. "I often feel like it is winter because of my thick jacket." She had informed the building authority about the excessive coldness, but nothing has been done till now. "While I can keep my body warm, my hands are cold, and it would look funny to wear gloves...I wouldn't be able to type on the computer!"

Sad to say, it is not only Jane who is complaining. Three other friends working in various establishments also complain about the cold. Hotel restaurants and rooms that are used for seminars are also prone to being too cold for many customers and participants. Could the authorities of all corporate offices and hotels do something to make it less cold for their staff and patrons? This will also help to reduce electrical consumption.

I sometimes wonder why hotels use such thick blankets even they are located in the tropics. By doing this, hotels are only encouraging their patrons to turn on the aircondition to low levels because of the thick blankets.!

Perhaps there should also be auto switch off of electricity for the ceiling lights in offices. Say by midnight, all ceiling lights would be automatically switched off, and if any staff need to work longer than the cut off time, he can arrange with the security to allow special extension of time. Hence, if any forgets to switch off the lights when he works late and goes off before 12 a.m., there is always that standby to switch off the lights, thus saving energy.

Until today, I notice that the ceiling lights at the entrance of mrt stations are still on even during the day. The lighting is redundant as the day is bright. Although my letter has been published in the New Paper, nothing has been done. Perhaps I should write directly to LTA or SMRT to remind them again.

Once when I was in the hair saloon which I patronise quite regularly for hair treatment, I noticed that the staff who was washing my hair, had left the tap running even when she was not using the water. I could hear the gushing of water while she was massaging my head. I asked her why she did not want to turn off the tap, for the water wasted could easily amount to about 1 to 2 litres. She told me that it would be difficult to get the same temperature of water if she were to turn off the tap. Point taken. Perhaps hair saloons could come up with a device that could immediately regulate the water temperature so that it would be less tedious for their staff and hence reduce water wastage. How many hundred litres of water could be saved each day. I am glad that now many establishments are using auto taps as well as auto lighting for their toilets.

In places where is low usage, escalators should be made to move only when a passenger steps on it. This will also help to save on consumption.

While on the subject of water, I also notice that it is quite difficult to adjust the right temperature for the taps in the showers of some hotels and clubs. It takes a while by trial and error. Imagine how much water has been wasted before the right temperature is obtained. Hence I was very happy when I saw that there were markings of temperature on the taps in the bathrooms of Novotel London Paddington. It makes it easier for patrons to chose their comfortable level of temperature instead of wasting much water by trial and error.

From the windows of my bedroom, I have a lovely view of the city. Sometimes I like to switch off all the lights and look out from the windows especially when I have my quiet time. Very often I see lights still on in some office buildings even past midnight. I wonder if people are still working so late at night, or has the staff who is the last one to leave the office forgotten to switch off the lights. Perhaps companies can look into having individual table lamps for their staff instead of huge, powerful ceiling lights. It makes sense for someone to turn on his table lamp especially when he is working alone after office hours.

Parents should help to inculcate good habits in their children. I remember one of my tenants had this habit of leaving the taps on while he was brushing his teeth. I reminded him to turn off the tap and it was only when I told him I had to increase another $50 for his water wastage, did he make any effort to improve! I was quite shocked to hear him say that he had been leaving taps to run while brushing his teeth since he was in kindergarten! It takes only half a second to turn off the tap when we are brushing our teeth or sponging the plates with soap!

So many of us have taken electricity and water for granted. Only when there is power failure or water rationing during drought seasons, do we realise how dependant we are on them. Everyone of us should remember to help save water even in public buildings. When we see water leaking, we should inform the relevant authorities so that pipes do not leak longer than necessary. If we treat public buildings like as if we own them, there would be less renovation, maintenance and overhauls needed. Then corporations like SMRT, hotels etc, could keep costs low for their patrons!

I do not have a "scientific mind". If someone could come up with ways to reduce
wastage please contribute your ideas.

United we conserve - by reusing, recycling and recreating!

Gan Cao

Ways to Save on Water and Electricity......


After my two tenants left my apartment, I challenged myself to see whether I could minimise the utility bills. I did it with the bill showing a total charge of $14.95 - my lowest.!
Now with increased charges, the bills hover around $20 - $27 and about $33 to $45 when I have guests.

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Yesterday, I invited my colleague, Jack and my friend, Paul for lunch at the popular Banana Leaf Restaurant near my home. After lunch, we proceeded back to my apartment as Jack was going to help me set up my iphone with the computer, while Paul was going to render me some assistance with cleaning the ceiling fans, windows and airconditioners.

Both my friends were surprised by the breeziness when they came to my apartment. It was so breezy that I did not even have to turn on the fan. I shared with my friends that it is breezy most of the times, and this probably accounts for the low consumption of electricity.

I guess there are also other contributing factors. I dislike to shower with warm water...hence I hardly use the instant heater; I dislike ironing clothes and have not been ironing for years! I opt for clothes that do not need to be ironed as this saves time and electricity usage. As my apartment is right in the heart of the city,
it is quite bright even with my lights off. Hence, I can find my way around the rooms even with the lights off if I should wake up in the middle of the night! I boil my water with gas, as I learn from my friends that electrical kettles consume a lot of energy.

A year and a half ago, I learnt that it helped to save power when we switch off not only the buttons on the gadgets but the power point connection as well. I did that and to my surprise, it lowered the electrical charges quite substantially every month. It takes effort, but when I think of the shy koalas coming down from the trees just to beg for water, it makes me determined to play my part to conserve energy.

Whenever, I wash my dishes or foodstuffs like fish, vegetables or fruits, I will save the water to water my plants. For soapy water, it will be used to flush the toilet. Whenever it rains heavily, the rain would also come into the corridor along
my apartment. I would put a pail to collect the rain water. It would be even easier for those living in landed properties to collect rain water. It requires effort, but when I think of the sun-dried, parched grounds in some countries during the drought season, I become even more determined to save water.

Whenever I travel alone, I will put a note for the chambermaid not to give me fresh towels or change the bedsheets until I leave the hotel after a week's stay. After all, at home, I only wash my towels once a week, and the bedsheets once every two weeks.

When I have open house, I try not to turn on the airconditioners until it is almost time to do so. After each viewing, I would go round the house at least twice to ensure that all electrical gadgets (except the refrigerator) are switched off.

One of my friends was puzzled by my low utility bills because the electrical charges for his fridge alone already amounts to about $23 a month! I asked him why he would need such a huge fridge when he is living alone. When my tenants left, I gave away my big fridge and bought a smaller one, as refrigerators consume a lot of power.

Another friend suggested that my low consumption could be due to the fact that I am hardly at home. In fact, I work from home, and would only go to the office for meetings or some paper work or when I have viewing of my clients' properties. I only put up curtains for the bedroom, but there are no curtains in the living room and study. Why put up curtains when there is no blockage and danger of people peering in.? I would also not have put up curtains in the bedroom but my tenants requested for them and I also think curtains make the room cozy. Nevertheless, it means that I could practise my violin and piano without having to turn on the lights when no curtains are drawn.

I hope to continue keeping the bills low but one person can only do a little. However, if everyone plays a part, we will have a concerted effort to save the earth, and help preserve the earth for our future generation! If my readers have any other unique ideas to save water and electricity, please share so that we can learn from one another. United we conserve - by reusing, recycling and recreating!

Gan Cao

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What Has Happened to Mother Earth?


Aquario Municipal de Peruibe
In this photo released by Aquario Municipal de Peruibe, a dead penguin sits on the sand at Peruibe beach in Sao Paulo state, Brazil, July 17, 2010. Hundreds of penguins that apparently starved to death are washing up on the beaches of Brazil, worrying scientists who are still investigating what's causing them to die.

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"Hundreds of penguins that apparently starved to death are washing up on the beaches of Brazil, worrying scientists who are still investigating what's causing them to die.

About 500 of the black-and-white birds have been found just in the last 10 days on Peruibe, Praia Grande and Itanhaem beaches in Sao Paulo state, said Thiago do Nascimento, a biologist at the Peruibe Aquarium.
Most were Magellan penguins migrating north from Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands in search of food in warmer waters.
Many are not finding it: Autopsies done on several birds revealed their stomachs were entirely empty - indicating they likely starved to death, Nascimento said.
Scientists are investigating whether strong currents and colder-than-normal waters have hurt populations of the species that make up the penguins' diet, or whether human activity may be playing a role.
"Overfishing may have made the fish and squid scarcer," Nascimento said.
Nascimento said it's common for penguins to swim north this time of year. Inevitably, some get lost along the way or die from hunger or exhaustion, and end up on the Brazilian coast far from home.
But not in such numbers - Nascimento said about 100 to 150 live penguins show up on the beach in an average year, and only 10 or so are dead.
"What worries us this year," he said, "is the absurdly high number of penguins that have appeared dead in a short period of time."

My friend, Melinda, an animal lover, sent me the above photos. Let us all make a
concerted effort to play our little part to help save the earth.

Just for example, perhaps, it is time that restaurants in hotels rethink of the way they have been discarding freshly cooked left over food, for the simple reason that they "do not want to take any responsibility in the even of food poisoning". I recently went to a hotel for a dinner buffet, and my client, Geok Sim and I were wondering how much food would be discarded as there were very few customers and the reason was obvious....the food was not fantastic for the price the restaurant was charging. Perhaps restaurants could allow their staff to take the food home which could be distributed to their neighbours, etc. .....any arrangement so long as good food is not thrown down the drain, and causing more strain to Mother Earth. Or arrangements could be made to distribute the food to homes like the way leftover bread is being distributed. If buffets are not doing well, restaurants should perhaps change it to ala carte buffet, meaning that food is cooked upon order only. This will minimise wastage.

Autopsies revealed that the stomachs of the dead penguins were empty. The penguins had died of starvation.! Do we really have to overfish, overkill, and in the process over deplete our resources.? Yet, we end up just discarding food, demolishing buildings that are still in very good condition, just to make way for higher and bigger buildings? How much sand, stone, bricks, wood, and other materials are just wasted when buildings are razed to the ground?

Hear Melinda's plea, "This report alarmed me :-o, every single one of us have to do our part to save our planet otherwise 2012 will really happen!!!!!
Sea creatures are the most sensitive,so something is really wrong when so many of them end up dead :-(

Will you play a little part to help save the earth?

Gan Cao

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Little Help Goes a Long Way.....


My luggage outside the lift at Little India MRT station.

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When Soh Wah and I arrived at Heathrow Airport, we looked out for placards with our names. The tour agent had booked a private car transfer for us from the Airport to the Hotel.

I decided to purchase a local phone card so that I could use it in London and Europe.
After waiting for a few minutes, we decided to call the Holiday Inn Hotel. To our surprise, we were told that there was no such arrangement by the hotel, and that the hotel only has regular pick up of their guests from the Brent Cross Tube station.
My friend and I were stumped. When we found out that it would cost about 60 pounds by London cab, we decided to take the challenge of taking the tube to the hotel.

It dawned upon us that when we had to transfer in between our journey, there was that
formidable task of carrying our luggage up the many flights of steps when there was no escalator! To our pleasant surprise, the people in London were so friendly...
they immediately helped us to carry up our luggage without even being asked! I kept thanking these kind souls profusely, grateful for the much needed assistance.

Soh Wah and I reached Brent Cross Station in the nick of time at 11.30p.m. and phoned the hotel. The private car came to pick us up. After midnight, there would be
no more pick up till six o'clock.

Hence, when we returned to Singapore, I decided to see whether I could manage to carry my luggage and take the mrt instead of the taxi, and to find out if the people in our little red dot are as spontaneously helpful as the ones we met in London.
When I transferred at Tanah Merah Mrt station, a helpful Indian gentleman asked if he
could help me with my luggage. I found out that he is a foreign student from Mumbai, and he is presently studying in the National University of Singapore. When
I transferred my train at City Hall, he helped me to carry one luggage to the other train and then ran back to catch the same train to continue his journey towards his campus in the west.

When I reached the Little India MRT station, I met some of my neighbours and they helped me to carry my luggage.

A little help goes a long way to a weary traveller and makes the journey even more pleasant and beautiful.

Gan Cao

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Nuts about Nuts .....(3)


A cashew nut at the bottom of the fruit!

Lovely and shapely cashew nuts!

The cashew nut drops off from the fruit!

I like cashews the me, it is the king of nuts!

I remember when I was in primary school, I visited one of my distant relatives. They grew a cashew nut tree, and once she gave me a cashew fruit, with instructions not to discard the nut away. The fruit quite tasty, but the nuts are even more

The nuts were collected and later fried in the wok. I guess, that there are not too many cashew nut trees in Penang....hence cashews are never an export of Penang. Instead, Penang is famous for her nutmegs.

What is your favourite nut?

Gan Cao
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Nuts about nuts......(2)



The Chinese also use the chestnuts for their cooking and health drinks.

A cluster of pistachios!

I love pistachios!
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Nuts About Nuts.....(1)


The hazel nuts are still young and green....

Hazel nuts now ripening and ready for consumption

Healthy walnuts - they remind us of our human brains....

Almonds - less glamorous looking but just as delicious and healthy....

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My friend, Eddie, sent me the above pictures on my favourite food ....nuts! I am nuts about nuts! Since nuts are healthy but can be quite fattening, I try to consume them as a meal replacement rather than as a snack.

However, if I were on a vacation, or I am in a pub or restaurant, I cannot resist the nuts placed in a bowl on the table.

Thank God for His wonderful and delicious creation! I am nuts about nuts, and I must
be one of God's happiest and biggest nuts!! :-)

Gan Cao

Friday, July 16, 2010

Singapore is not such a "fine" city after all......


Fines of about S$315 to S$1698 for not using the proper toilet facilities!


Fines of about S$105 for commuters in London tubes who have no valid tickets!


Fines are not sufficient for compensation. It is a criminal offence for an owner to allow his dog to damage the trees in Hyde Park and all the parks in London.

I have always thought Singapore is about the most "fine" city in the world. Now, I realise my wrong assumption.

In Barcelona, as I was walking along the popular street of La Rambla, I noticed a sign which warned people against not using proper toilet facilities.

When taking the tube from Victoria Station to Paddington Station, I noticed a signboard warning against cheats without valid Oyster cards.

After our nice lunch of Roast Duck and dim sum at Kam Tong Restaurant in Bayswater, Soh Wah and I decided to take a walk along Hyde Park. I noticed a signboard which severely warned against allowing dogs to damage trees in the park via urination.

I guess human beings are almost the same everywhere. If some people can get off with bad habits and dishonesty, they will try their luck. So if some tourists say, "Wow! Singapore is such a fine city!" Smile and say, "Your city may be just as fine!?.... :-)

Gan Cao

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Clever Way to Fight Terrorism!




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While visiting Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, I noticed that I could not use my mobile phone. I was trying to call my niece, but just could not reach her.

I also noticed that mobiles could not be used in the London tubes or tube stations. Though it may be inconvenient, I think it is a clever way to fight terrorism. I always watch the video at our local mrt station whenever I am waiting for the train, and I see how the terrorist puts his black bag in the train; gets out after a few stops and cooly and calmly takes out his phone and presses a button! Boom! If only he does not have use of the mobile to activate the bomb in the train!

If mobiles could be automatically made dysfunctional in the concert halls of the Esplanade, likewise, why don't the authorities consider doing the same with mobile phones near important buildings like the Istana, Parliament House and MRT stations.?

Though there would be more inconveniences, nevertheless, it is a little to pay for the price of safety. Perhaps, this might even bring out the best in everyone where punctuality and organisation are concerned.

For example, yesterday evening, my good friend, Soh Wah invited me to the Esplande to watch the Singapore National Youth Orchestra with Darrell Ang as guest conductor.
Though I was still having jet lag, I wanted to watch Darrell, my ex-student from ACS, conduct and to support Soh Wah's son, Phoon Yi, who plays the violin. Soh Wah reminded me that she would not be able to phone me at the Esplanade, and hence it was imperative for me to meet her punctually at the main entrance. There I was, fifteen minutes ahead of time! See what I mean?

We cannot wholly depend on the alertness of every passenger in the train or security personnel. Just look at how some tired commuters would sleep even with their mouths wide open!! Some sitting on the priority seats had their eyes open yet, would be blind to a pregnant mother, let alone a potential terrorist! Hence, dysfunctioning the phones in the trains and stations would help to reinforce safety and protection.

Let us all cooperate and unite to protect our lovely little red dot and all our loved ones. Remember, this is only one of the many clever ways to fight terrorism. If any of my readers have good ideas, please contribute. Fighting terrorism is not only the concern of the government, but everyone's business if we want defend our country and loved ones.

Gan Cao


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In Singapore, we are always reminded that low crime does not mean no crime. Hence it was natural that I should be attracted to the above metallic poster near Buckingham Palace in London.

Perhaps our Singapore Police Force should emulate the Londoners...adopt a more active approach rather than a defensive approach. Potential thieves, pick-pocketers, and bad hats should be scared off by making them realise that eyes - both police and the public are on them!

Gan Cao

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Much Ado About Mani....



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Despite having lived in Little India for the past four years, I first noticed Mani, the parakeet, some three months ago when I was waiting at the bus stop at Tekka Market. His owner, had put two parakeets in a cage which I felt was too small for the birds' comfort. As an animal lover, I like to see fishes in bigger tanks and birds in bigger cages. Mani's owner saw me looking at the parakeets, and beckoned me. I shook my head. Oh No! I was not going to let my fortune be dictated by the prediction of a creature no matter how accurate it was famed to be!! As a Christian, my trust and hope is in my wonderful Creator.

Hence, I was surprised by all the excitement that was going on when I came back from my two weeks vacation in London and Barcelona. Suddenly Mani has become a sensation and all because of the creativity of some journalists in Singapore. Mani has become the rival of Paul, the octopus!! And suddenly, Mani's owner, Mr. Muniyappan, became richer by some extra takings a day. Indeed Mani has endorsed his name of Manikam!
(Money come).

When I read that Mani had chosen Holland to win, I had no choice but to take sides with the little parakeet. I had not followed any match since the beginning and it only mattered to me that as a Singaporean I should give Mani my support. Frankly I would have preferred to support Spain, having just established some friendship with some Spaniards in Barcelona.

I woke up in time to watch the final between Spain and Holland. Gosh! From the way the game was played, I knew that Spain would win. The footballers were great in passing the ball to one another. Kudos to Holland too! It was a tough game, and I felt tired from watching the tedious match.

The articles in the New Paper on Monday caught my attention. As Singaporeans we learn to laugh and be stoical, and we, like Mr. Muniyappan, also resign ourselves to whatever outcome life has to offer us. Now our Mani-Kam has become Mani-No-Kam. (Money no come). Now Mr. Muniyappan has reverted to earning his usual takings of about $50 a day, instead of the $600 or more when Mani became a sensation for his earlier accurate prediction.

I hope that the small cage is only a working cage for Mani, and that when the parakeet is home, his owner would put it and the other parakeet, Munis, into bigger cages. Better still, to have a free run and flight of the apartment. After all the parakeets deserve royal treatment for all the money they have brought in for their owner all these years.

Gan Cao

Monday, July 12, 2010

Football Mania.....




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I had taken the above shots from my television screen some time ago, when it showed some penguins playing football! No, I am not exactly a football fan. In fact, till now I have not watched a single match. The last time that I was somewhat crazy about football was when my sister Ean Ean was in Singapore, and we watched the game together with her family members at a more earthly hour of around 9.00p.m.

Soh Wah and I could certainly feel the heat of the football craze when we were recently in Barcelona. Still, we both did not watch any game as we were more keen on shopping and it was quite amusing to see the sales staff trying to rush home to watch the game.

Here I am, writing this article, just 30 minutes before the final is played. I had gone to bed at 11p.m. and put my alarm at 1.30a.m. so that I could wake up and watch the final on television.

Earlier today, I was at the bus stop at Tekka Market, and I was looking out for Mani, the parakeet. Poor parrot. It must have gone into hiding after having made the wrong prediction that Germany would lose. I hope that Holland will win, for the sake of the poor parrot. But then, if Holland were to win, Paul the octopus will be in for a grilling!

Why must sports lose its real meaning? And how on earth did we get poor Paul and Mani involved? How on earth did football become a gambling event for some.? I don't know how one plays the game of betting, but I know that a person could even lose up to hundreds of thousands over football bets, like in the article about the teacher who had to sell his car and take up a bank loan to repay his football bets.

I remember that as a secondary school student, someone would urge, "Hey! Be sporting's only a game". The essence of sports is to just try our best, and to lose graciously and with dignity, and if we should win, to win with humility.

So wishing both Spain and Holland footballers all the very best. Whoever loses is still a winner - a runner up, and to be in the top three position is already a feat!

Gan Cao