13/6/2014(Fri) – Dinner at Old Lai Huat Seafood Restaurant

Last Friday – 13/6/14 some members of The Fellowship hosted a sumptuous dinner for our much respected elder Uncle Bodo at the famous Old Lai Huat Seafood Restaurant. More than 10 of us turned up. Some of them like Alec Ee and Rob could not come cuz they were overseas.

OLD LAI HUAT SEAFOOD
223 Rangoon Road
Singapore 218460 (just off the CTE Rangoon Road turn-off)
Tel: +65 6292 7375
Email: old.lai.huat@gmail.com

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The dinner started at about 7pm. It ended about two hours later after 9.15pm. Lohcifer hosted the dinner and Freddie bought along a bottle of Macallan single malt scotch whisky. Lohcifer also contributed a bottle of Glenlivet 18 year old single malt.

There were so many local dishes such as chilli crabs, mee goreng, fried black pepper crayfish, yam ring, drunken prawns and their famous crispy tofu, not forgeting their signature dish sambal belacan pomfret amongst other dishes. Obviously Uncle Bodo from Munich, Germany was in a state of euphoric mood over those yummy local delights!

With such good delicious food paired with that prized Macallan and Glenlivet single malt set the perfect ambience for the ideal mood in the evening where everyone was catching up with each other. For instance, our long time member Mauro is now back to Singapore for the long term instead. Canadian Edward is also setting up his base camp here. Uncle Bodo as usual kept us updated on the latest briar and pipes in the industry. He gave us much insight into what is happening in the China briar pipe market. He is here for about three weeks and leaving at the end of the month.

Another highlight for the evening is the announcement of Avril’s latest book she just published – “”Conversation with the Maestro””. The book was passed around. I quickly browsed through it. I was certainly glad to see my “idol” on the front cover!

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After Uncle Bodo’s visit, we are looking forward to Uncle Heinz and his lovely charming wife in Nov 2014. They are planning for a cruise in Asia with a brief stop in Singapore. It will be a pleasure to meet up and catch up with them again. In the meantime, we will just have to wait till that day.

Let us all come together again on 28/6/14 where Uncle Bodo will be smoking with us at our usual place before leaving for home.

PS: We miss Alec Ee who was not there to take photos. Photos from the related article below.

Related article.

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Happy Dumpling Festival – 端午节 快乐!

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This year’s Dumpling Festival or 端午节 falls on 2nd June 2014(Mon). It is always on the 5th day of the 5th Lunar month. 2 yrs ago, I blogged about this festival when some of my German frens came over for a visit. They were curious about this festival. Click on the link to read. I then decided to do a write up on this traditional Chinese festival celebrated throughout the Chinese world. It is observed not only in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore but in most Chinese communities around the world. It is also celebrated as a sporting event in the form of The Dragon Boat Festival.

This Dumpling Festival or 端午节 快乐 brings back many nostalgic memories for me. I remember as a teenager living in the kampung, myself and my brother were tasked to hunt for discarded furniture for pieces of wood as fuel to boil those dumplings my mother painstakingly wrapped on pieces of leaf. We would just place few pieces of bricks outside our zinc home compound to boil those dumplings in a big aluminum tin. Whilst my mother was busy wrapping those dumplings, we would take turns to attend to the fire with topping up of pieces of wood and stir those dumplings inside the big container tin. My non-Chinese neighbors such as Ah Yaw (Indian), Meka (Sikh) and others would also rally around us to help out in the cooking knowing full well that they would be rewarded with some dumplings at the end of the day. There was no Cultural Appreciation Day then. It was unnecessary. Those memories still etched vividly on my mind whenever 端午节 (Duan Wu Jie) is around the corner.

My fren Red Bull from EM bought 5 pieces of dumplings at $5 each the other day for us. I refused to eat. I don’t eat dumplings except those made by my mother. When I told my mother earlier today that it’s selling at $4 or $5 per dumpling, she was outraged. Words like unhygenic preparation, lacking in ingredients or inferior ingredients, oily etc sprout forth from her mouth. Yup, I know all these cuz she uses to drum it into our heads since young. That is why I refused to touch Red Bull’s dumplings bought by him.

The other striking thought about this special festival is about Qu Yuan. Read the following short write-up here.

Living in the latter part of the Warring States Period (476 BC – 221 BC), Qu Yuan was the earliest great patriotic poet as well as a great statesman, ideologist, diplomat and reformer in ancient China. He has the reputation of being one of the world four great cultural celebrities. The traditional Chinese Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated to commemorate him. His patriotic influence has left its mark on many subsequent generations in China and beyond.

Political Career

The Warring States Period covers a period during which the seven individual kingdoms, Qi, Chu, Yan, Han, Zhao, Wei and Qin – contended with each other for hegemony. Qu Yuan, who lived in the Chu State, was trusted by King Huai and did much to assist the King in governing the state. Following reformation in the Qin state, the Qin gained in strength and invaded the other six states. he suggested an alliance with Qi in order to resist Qin. However, this was rejected by some of the ministers as they could see that they would lose some of their power and privileges. They made false accusations against him that were believed by King Huai. The misguided monarch became alienated from his valued advisor and sent him into exile as a consequence.

In the years that followed, Huai, lacking the wise counsel of Qu Yuan, was deceived by the Qin into thinking that they could live together in peace. However, King Huai was subsequently detained by the Qin State for years until his eventual death. King Huai was succeeded to the throne by his son who was even more fatuous than his father. He disregarded Qu Yuan’s advice not to surrender to the Qin. Qu Yuan was exiled to an even further away than before.

In 278 BC, upon learning that the Chu State had been defeated by the Qin, Qu Yuan, in great despair and distress, ended his life by drowning in the Miluo River in the northeastern part of Hunan Province.

As a Poet

Not only was he a true patriot, he is famed for leaving many immortal poems for us. During the days of his exile, Qu Yuan wrote many famous poems. In them, his love for his country and its people are revealed naturally. Among his greatest works are Li Sao (The Lament), Tian Wen (Asking Questions of Heaven), Jiu Ge (Nine Songs), and Huai Sha (Embracing the Sand).

Of these, Li Sao was the representative work of Qu Yuan and the longest lyric of romanticism concerning politics in the history of ancient Chinese literature. Tian Wen is characterized by 172 questions put to heaven. The questions concern aspects of astronomy, geography, literature, philosophy and other fields.

Reputation

Qu Yuan was respected not only by the people during his own time but also after, and not only by people in China but also in the wider world. On March, 5th, 1953, great commemorative activities were held in China in honor of him. In September, the World Peace Council held a meeting to remember him and urged people around the world learn from him. He was also listed as one of the world’s four literary celebrities for that year.

Nowadays, the Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month annually to commemorate Qu Yuan. And other countries like Korea, Japan, Burma, Vietnam, and Malaysia etc. now celebrate this festival. HIs masterpiece Li Sao has been translated into many languages and his portrait displayed in libraries in many countries.

Source

This great man lived more than more than 2,000 years ago, yet he is still remembered till this day throughout the Chinese world. He is immortalized in 端午节. He lives on. His patriotism and love for his country and people are worshipped by countless generations. Some older folks literally pray to him. My mother will offer those dumplings to him and our ancestors in tomorrow’s prayers. Of course, the young generations don’t pray to him anymore. The young sportsmen regardless of race or creed worship him figuratively through the Dragon Boat sporting event.

In our tiny red dot here, do we have the likes of Qu Yuan amongst our leaders? The late Ong TC, Goh KS, Toh CC and much earlier pioneers like Tan Tock Seng etc are some of our local sons I could think of. Let us hope that more such patriots will surface as we mature as a society. I take this opportunity to wish all a “Happy Dumpling Festival – 端午节 快乐!”

From Li Sao:
I set out from the bay at early dawn,
And reach the town at eve.
Since I am upright, and my conscience clear,
Why should I grieve to leave?
I linger by the tributary stream,
And know not where to go.
The forest stretches deep and dark around,
Where apes swing to and fro.
The beetling cliffs loom high to shade the sun,
Mist shrouding every rift,
With sleet and rain as far as eye can see,
Where low the dense clouds drift.
Alas! all joy has vanished from my life,
Alone beside the hill.
Never to follow fashion will I stoop,
Then must live lonely still.
Refrain
Now, the phoenix dispossessed,
In the shrine crows make their nest.
Withered is the jasmine rare,
Fair is foul, and foul is fair,
Light is darkness, darkness day,
Sad at heart I haste away.

Source

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Is CPF really your money?

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The government has just announced that the minimum sum in the CPF be raised to $155,000. If you take into account the medisave in CPF, the total amount is nearly $200,000. If you do not have at least $200,000 in your CPF account today, you will not be able to withdraw any cash. The minimum sum and the amount in medisave will keep increasing each year making it more and more difficult for Singaporeans to withdraw their own savings in their CPF account.

Unless you belong to the high income earners, those lower income earners will never withdraw their own savings even if they work a lifetime. It is quite obvious to any thinking Singaporean that he will not be able to withdraw his life savings in his CPF account based on the following 3 factors.

a) Minimum Sum in CPF
This minimum sum will keep increasing through the years. They say it is adjusted to inflation so that you could get a decent monthly payout when you retire. The fact that our wages are not increasing as fast as the increase in minimum sum means that we can never keep up. But if you are high income earners earning more than $10,000 a month, then it’s no issue. Fact is that most of us don’t earn that kind of salary. As such, your own money in your own CPF account is beyond your reach in that sense. When you reach 55 years, you can’t withdraw your CPF money cuz of the high minimum sum arbitrarily decided by the government.

b) Medisave
This portion of your CPF can never be withdrawn in your lifetime. It is meant for medical expenses in the event you are hospitalized. The money will be transferred to your NOK when you expire. It is now more than $40,000. It is expected to be increased over time also.

c) HDB
We know that HDB prices will also keep increasing. With housing loan stretching up to 25 yrs, by the time you finish paying your housing loan, a big chunk of your CPF is gone. Just to give you an example, my parents bought their 4-room A model in 1994 at only $101,000. Today, a much smaller 4-room flat easily costs you much more than that. The government will tell you about grants and more grants, but how many really benefit? If you are earning a decent salary, you are expected to pay your own flat. Do not expect easy grants since HDB flats are “affordable” to you.

Due to the above 3 factors, a majority of Singaporeans will not be able to get their CPF when they retire at 55 yrs. That is why so many Singaporeans are very concerned about this CPF issue. It affects them directly especially those lower income wage earners.

To arbitrarily impose a minimum sum (currently is $148,000) across the board for all Singaporeans is illogical and unjust. Those earning $1,000 to those earning more than $10,000 also subject to the same minimum sum simply doesn’t make sense at all. It is not justifiable at all given the fact that it is our own money. If it belongs to us, then we should be given an option. But as it is, there is no option at all. The government decides and justifies it without even bothering to seek your consent. Is it your real money? If it is really your money and the money really belongs to you, then you should be able to decide for yourself. Not someone decides for you and still insists that it is your own money. What sort of logic is this?

There is so much frustration and anger when the government keeps increasing the minimum sum beyond the inflation rate until Singaporeans lost faith and trust. How to justify the increase in the minimum sum when it far outstrips inflation rate with stagnant wages due to the influx of cheap foreign labour? We know that our wages are so much lower than 1st world countries due to the influx of cheap foreign labour. I’m not going to expand on this area since I’m now talking about CPF.

Another flaw is that the minimum sum doesn’t take into account healthy and fit seniors working till their 70s. Just look around you and you could see that there are tons of old people cleaning tables, toilets or selling tissue paper. My parents in their 70s are still working. That is a fact. How about those children who could support their aged parents? I’m sure providing 3 meals a day and a roof over their heads should not be a problem. In the event that the children do not want to support their aged parents, there is the Parents Maintenance law to fall back on.

As such, the government’s argument that they should not be supporting unproductive seniors in the event that they do not have monthly payouts does not really hold water here. Most Singaporeans are now wondering why is the government so persistent in holding back our CPF money by drastically increasing our CPF minimum sum year after year? Amongst us, there are many who do not have CPF savings such as self-employed hawkers, taxi drivers, odd job labourers etc. What about them? Will they perish when they grow old?

There is an old blog post written by me about 2 yrs ago relating a true story about my ex-colleague’s inability to use his CPF Special Account to pay off his outstanding housing loan and he’s struggling to live on his meagre income. It is his money and yet he can’t decide to use it to pay off his remaining housing loan. That post went viral recently with more than 5,000 hits in a day when that blogger got sued for defamation. Netizens goggle about CPF and found my old blog post. Link – Click here to read

It is no longer an issue between that blogger and the PM. The case has generated so much intense debate and discussion that even some ministers and MPs are coming out openly in concerted effort to explain their official position. That blogger has inadvertently kicked the hornets’ nest. It is not going to rest but the frustrations and anger will surely escalate. You can shut him down but you can’t shut off those heartlanders still talking in the coffee-shops. As it is, I’m sitting at EM coffee shop writing this blog, I could hear residents discussing about the CPF issue. I’m not going to repeat what they are saying cuz some of those comments are simply unpublishable here.

As far as I’m concerned, I do not care if the government uses my money to invest and make tons of money. After all, the government guarantees me 4% on my special account or 2.5% on my ordinary account. It’s just like borrowing money from the bank to invest. If I make lots of money, do I have to share with the bank? Even though in this case, I got no choice but let the government use my CPF to invest in whatever way they deem fit.

Do not forget that the government has no money by itself. The money comes from those living in the country. If the government is rich, it could do lots of things like investing heavily in infrastructure, defense, better schools and hospitals etc… But pls don’t squander our money on Children’s Games or building luxurious Club exclusively for the maids! Let the government make the money through our combined CPF savings but pls be more transparent and truthful. Return us our CPF when we reach 55 yrs. That’s what our late Dr Toh Chin Chye – ex-DPM said in parliament before. How I wish we got leaders like Dr Toh or Dr Goh in government today. Do not simply keep on increasing the minimum sum to deny us our own life savings. Give us an option whether to withdraw our CPF or leave it there for safekeeping to earn interest. If it is so attractive to keep our CPF with the government, I’m sure many will do it willingly. Denying us to our own life savings in our CPF will definitely ignite the time bomb. That is the crux of the matter.

To be fair to the PM, he has sued many bloggers before. But did he proceed to take full legal action against them? Many a time, the PM stopped short of taking them to court except in this case. Why make that blogger a martyr? There is nothing for him to lose and much more for the PM to lose. At most, the blogger is declared a bankrupt but he has just woken the masses. I believe the PM is in a dilemma. To go all out or to pull back? That’s the question? CPF is one of the pillars of our nation. It is now under attack. How is he going to handle it?

If I were the PM, I would try to open up and be more transparent. Most importantly, give Singaporeans a choice or an option. With that, there will be no more issue. Why go against the flow of the current or against the wind direction? Ours is a democracy where one man one vote will decide the government of the day? This government compared to many other countries in the world has done very well so far albeit imperfect in certain areas, should not let the CPF issue be it’s Waterloo. Remember the CPF issue affects every Singaporean. It is an issue closest to their hearts. It is a time bomb that need to be diffused as quickly as possible. As it is, damage control is in place with so many Ministers and MPs speaking out and making comments but they still fail to address the root cause of the CPF issue.

I’m merely stating my own opinion on the CPF issue. I believe as a true blue Singaporean, I’ve got the right to my own view on this controversial issue where every mother’s son is talking about. Let’s hope that the government will heed the comments, opinions and cries of Singaporeans. It is in their interests to do so.

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Coping with exorbitant medical costs ….

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Let me continue with our caveman story. I just met him only yesterday. He shared some of his very interesting real life stories with me. Encik was also present. I’ll try my best to recollect here.

Caveman was beaming with joy when he told me that NEA has decided to issue him a warning instead. They have decided not to proceed a charge of breeding mosquitoes but they remain silent on the improvisation suggested by him. Pls refer to my previous blog on this subject to understand the issue. Link He also told me that ICA has also not decided to proceed a charge of harboring illegal immigrant against him. It seems that Caveman has the habit of getting into trouble with the law. I was curious of his latest case.

Caveman’s 94 year old father is a Malaysian. He is on long term visit pass. Caveman forgotten to renew his social visit pass. Caveman was called up by ICA and investigated. Initially they decided to prefer a charge of harboring illegal immigrant against him since his father is living with him without any valid document or rather expired social visit pass. As usual, he refused to admit to the charge when he was offered a compound fine of $500. Either he paid up or had to go to court to answer to the charge. He was prepared to go jail for that.

Caveman was furious and challenged them to haul him to court for the said charge. How could he harbor his own biological father as an illegal immigrant? Given the fact that his father is already 94 yrs old and still living with him, what kind of illegal immigrant they are talking about? Anyway, any charge ought to be sanctioned by AGC. Do you think AGC is so daft as to proceed with such ridiculous charge? After many visits to ICA with to-ing and fro-ing here and there, they finally decided to waive the charge. A written warning was issued to him instead when he refused to accept the compound fine. As usual, whenever Caveman was in trouble, Encik accompanied him throughout his ordeal. Caveman and Encik are secondary school friends for more than 40 years. They came from Penang here to join the RSAF. They belong to a group of Penang boys who helped built up our formidable air defense system.

Later in the night, Caveman related another interesting story about his 94 year old father. Caveman was drinking plain water throughout the evening and he was definitely sober. Even though Caveman and Encik have become citizens, his 94 year old father is still a Malaysian. As such, Caveman has to keep renewing his long term social visit pass. He had forgotten to renew only once and that got him into trouble with ICA. The problem is that ICA like any other govt agency just go by the rule book. They just don’t bother if the illegal immigrant is your own father or to pleas of reason. Anyway, the case is now over. He will have to be careful the next time.

I’m not worried about his brief skirmishes with the law. I am more concern about his next story he’s relating to me. Caveman told me that about 3 yrs ago, his 90 over year old father had a fall resulting in a broken hip. He then summoned Encik who is living nearby to assist him to haul his father to his car to be conveyed to TTSH. Encik was present when Caveman related this incident to me.

Having conveyed his father to TTSH, Caveman was told to pay a deposit of $2,000. When Caveman asked how much would be the ultimate costs of the hip surgery? There is no limit and they wouldn’t know. It could be 10K or even 20K depending on the nature of the case. Caveman was outraged. He refused treatment for his father. He and Encik had to struggle to haul back his father to his car despite warnings given by the doctors that his father needed immediate medical attention. Exasperated, Encik had to call on three young men in the area to assist to haul his nearly immobile father back to the car. On the same day, Caveman whiffed off his own father with Encik in tow to Tun Aminah Hospital in JB.

According to Caveman, it took only 30RM for admission fee. Another 800RM for the piece of metal to be used in the hip surgery which he had to pay immediately in the ward. Lastly, another 300RM for the operation, blood transfusion & tests and other miscellaneous items to be paid at the cashier. Total costs – 1,130RM. That was 3 years ago in a major government hospital in JB. It is simply incredible. I just could not believe him. He had Encik as a witness when he swore it to be the truth. Quite sometime ago, I was told a similar story. My ex-colleague who is a Malaysian working here sent his own father to a government hospital in KL for a stent operation. He only paid less than 1,500RM for the entire operation.

Caveman says that his own father is now as fit as a fiddle. The old man could even walk for about 600 metres from his house to Kovan despite the up gradient slope. Do we need such expensive medical treatment? – in Caveman’s own words.

The question is why our own Singapore being one of the richest countries in the world still charges her own citizens such high medical costs? Nearly every local Singaporean is complaining about the high medical costs despite massive government subsidies. Get warded for a major operation in our government hospital and your CPF will also be wiped out! Ask yourself and look around you to understand what I’m talking about.

Years ago, there was no budget airline. Air travel was never cheap. Very few could afford such luxury until recently when there is a sudden mushroom of budget airlines. For less than $100, one could travel in a plane to any neighboring countries. Even established airlines had to set up budget airlines to cater to this growing segment of consumers. No frills travel where travelers only interested in getting from point A to point B. The objective is the same as the more expensive airlines.

Could we also go along the same principle or business model like those budget airlines? No frills and basic medical attention – budget hospitals? Do we need such expensive and luxurious looking hospitals? We don’t need our government hospitals to look like hotels. Look at the high tech costly screening equipment and the extra guards deployed whenever we visit patients in hospitals. I remember those old hospitals in my younger days – the old Changi hospital, Toa Payoh hospital, TTSH etc. Simple and basic affordable health care where few complained so much about the exorbitant medical costs. Compared to today, we are so much richer than before with so much cash in our CPF, yet we find our present medical costs a huge burden. It’s quite logic defying right?

Common sense tells us that we cannot expect the same medical costs as them but then the gap is simply too huge. That’s the issue. Will it keep on rising to a breaking point?

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We need another 1,000 police officers?

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The Commissioner of Police (CP) Ng Joo Hee has made some very interesting comments at the on going Commission of Inquiry (COI). “1,000 more officers are needed to boost the force.” He also touches on the “powder keg” Geylang. There are far too many implications from the two comments. As responsible citizens, we ought to be concerned.

When CP says that we need an extra of 1,000 police officers to boost the police force, I wonder what sort of police officers he is referring to? Definitely not those auxiliary police officers outsourced to desperate cheap labourers from neighboring countries when they simply came here for the better wages and using the law as a pretext in its high handed approach to tekan locals. 1,000 new recruits in the Special Ops Command (SOC) or in the Land Divisions or simply just manning those police posts in HDB estates? What sort of extra 1,000 police officers? All with diplomas or university degrees and wearing the Sgt rank on the first day of police work? Veterans always opined that ranks have to be earned the hard way and never given freely losing its intrinsic value.

I still remember vividly what one Chinese gangster used to tell me years ago. According to him, there are 3 types of police officers in our SPF. The NS senior officers, “study” or scholar senior officers and the hardened rank and file senior officers. He feared the last category. He was not afraid of the first two types where according to him he could easily put them in his pocket! This is uniquely Singapore.

What sort of 1,000 extra police officers do we need? Paper pushers or those who could perform on their jobs? In short, it is the quality and not the quantity that counts. In his own admission, CP says, “Over the years, we have strived to keep our force small, while constantly creating new capabilities through deploying better technology, outsourcing and by co-creating with the community. Even though, we frequently rob Peter to pay Paul, as was the case when we kept reducing the size of our anti-riot troopers to fund other capabilities.” I read it with a tinge of sadness and dismay.

Knowing that we have got more than 2 million foreigners here, yet they have reduced the size of anti-riot troopers instead of expanding them? Prior to the Little India riot, one could observe the huge mass of humanity moving in countless waves in Little India – not to mention the Geylang or Beach Road Golden Mile areas where foreigners congregate during the weekends to while away their time. Common sense tells us that if there is trouble, it could be very ugly. Until that Little India incident with all revelations coming out in the open, then only the focus is shifted to this time bomb. CP seems to say that the Little India riot is not as serious as the powder keg explosive in Geylang. Is he seizing this opportunity to highlight the manpower issue he’s facing so that he could have more budget for more men to handle public order maintenance?

The next question to ask is whether we need an extra 1,000 troopers or street walking police officers? Who is performing the actual police job? The blue knight walking the beats or those highly paid police scholars sitting in their ivory towers putting up more power points slide presentations to impress the gods? That is the question.

When I joined the police force in1983 with full A level qualification, I had to start off as a police constable. After 7 years, I got my corporal rank. Another 3 years of hell in investigation before I was given the Sgt rank. Today, the ranks are given freely as if it’s lelong sale in a pasar malam. When I had my recent encounter with the young police Sgt and a corporal, I had a hard time telling them that I could write a better statement rather than him recording my statement. But they refused and accused me of interfering in their police investigation! What a langgar situation. My respect for those newly minted police officers is lost. Not sure and lacking in confidence in their job area. Didn’t ask penetrating questions. Just treated it another case to be filed away. Are we paying top dollar for such officer without any sense of passion in their job?

Like what CP says, he is more worried about our red light district in Geylang rather than the 500 over rioters in Little India. Cities all over the world do have their own versions of Geylang. In fact, they are even notorious than our Geylang. Remember, they carry firearms and consumed all kinds of drugs like nobody’s business! They can’t simply ban alcohol the very next day like we did! link and link Could those police officers with easily acquired ranks handle another riot in Geylang? If it ever happened in Geylang, it’s not going to be Indians only. Lots of locals and many other nationalities hang around there. The lure of the nectar coated hidden valley is simply irresistible. Look at the Little India riot, every police officer was waiting for instruction to act despite the fact there there was total loss of communication according to what is revealed. The walkie talkies were not functioning yet they were still waiting for further instructions. If everything is based on instructions from the top and higher ups, do we need very educated police officers with ranks to do a simple ground job of containing a riot situation? SOPs are clearly spelt for necessary action for that sort of scenario yet everybody waiting for somebody until nobody is doing anything at all.

Next, to outsource so many police functions to auxiliary police is a disaster. It is only a matter of time before another time bomb explodes. Those auxiliary police officers from neighboring countries are here to make a living. They are not here to serve with altruistic ideals or out of patriotism! As it is, it’s already happening at our Causeway Checkpoint with so many cases of slipping through the security barriers and officers right in front of their noses. Remember that guy who just walked across and subsequently came back to surrender where he was hang for murdering a small girl? What about our most wanted lipping terrorist able to just swim across the waterway divide? Invested so much money on the barriers but they did not work when needed? Failing to stop breeches of security as in the case of the mentally impaired lady driving her car into our country. Do I need to quote some more to prove my point? Yes, our borders and some vital installations are outsourced to auxiliary police officers to the detriment of our national security.

When the traffic offenses such as illegal parking are outsourced to them, they really use the powers given to them to the maximum terrorizing all those locals living in the neighborhoods. When I was visiting complaint file of illegal parking especially in front of coffee-shops, we switched on the blinkers to warn illegal parking motorists to move away their vehicles. Sometimes, we even used the siren to show them our presence. We used scare crow methods to chase them away. Until no choice, then only enforcement action against illegal parking is taken. Cuz as locals, we empathize with those motorists. Do those LTA enforcement officers or auxiliary officers ever give you any chance at all? I’m sure many readers got their horror stories to tell of their highhandedness and merrily issuing summons or snapping pictures of your vehicles like no tomorrow?

According to my experience, not many could become police officers. Stringent screening need to be done before he’s recruited. I still remember how as recruits, we were really treated like “dogs” in Police Academy. We were screamed at for the slightest mistakes and abused verbally for not able to march with perfection by our kwalan Drill Instructors ( they did not have any rank. Only police constable or PC). This is to train us to meet the ever demanding public after passing out as qualified police officers to perform our duty. Be prepared to be abused and shouted at by the public when you put on the blue uniform. When I was a new I.O., I was also made to type a simple memo more than 10 times all over and all over again by my C.I.O. (Chief Investigation Officer) after my 24 hour tour of duty just to get it perfect. In those days, there was no computer. We used a manual type writer which I still remember is the Adler brand supplied by the force. Only those stay behind and take the whatever shit thrown at them will emerge with a much stronger tenacious character. Today, my peers in that era have progressed to hold many senior positions within the force.

I strongly feel that there is a need to re-look at the entire police organization. There is a need to commission a task force to study and really examine into the force structure and its organization. The little India incident has blatantly demonstrated our current state of police force. Do we still ignore all those symptoms and allow them to fester? To just ignore those weaknesses will lead to even more powder kegs exploding in the near future. The force itself is a huge time bomb waiting only to explode if we do not take drastic decisive measures now. Expand the anti-riot troopers with better equipment and more focus training without the need for higher paper qualifications is the first step towards a more professional resilient force.

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