here we go again

Posting LJ always seemed to be something I did when I was studying, then life got kinda repetitive and boring, just another variation on a familiar theme. Haha I guess for me life has come full circle once again. Time to start chronicling the madness :)

love and government

Shakespeare wrote “but love is blind and lovers cannot see the pretty follies that themselves commit”

And I say thank God for that. Love requires some suspension of rationality cause we are all flawed creatures, prone to all the insecurities, selfishness and mercenary instincts that come from being human. So it’s a good thing that love shuts our eyes to all these cause it wouldn’t exist otherwise.

On the other hand being blinded by lust is a different matter. Haha those follies are in a different category all together and usually a lot less pretty.

On a different note, I read with some interest the excerpts from MM dialogue session at St James. Quite an unlikely setting, I have this bizarre image in my head of him dancing topless, amidst the flashing lights and bursting confetti while shaking his hips as the DJ plays “one night only” … hmmm gross.

Haha but yeah, I must say that the PAP old guard had spunk, and the willingness to change and adapt… led by secular logic that while not the most forgiving and occasionally misguided, took a fair amount of guts and was generally rational. The early days of independence, was a great winnowing process that saw real leaders emerge. The new candidates seem to be incapable of much more than formulaic opinions… feel the need to endear themselves by cracking Bad singlish jokes and are sadly rather conservative. High pay may be able to buy good administrators but leaders and visionaries are cut from a different cloth.
  • Current Music
    jason mraz - absolutely zero

When sick and incapable of sleeping ... post lj ...

It’s rather interesting to see the gut reaction of people to the increase in civil service salaries… shock horror dismay, a bunch of well written letters of complaint ( and many others less well thought out). Haha while it’s rare that I attempt to defend the government. I think in general, the reaction is overblown, a knee jerk reaction to people making lots of money, paid for by taxes.

A quick run through of how the bench mark is calculated

“To obtain MR4 for any given year, the government refers to the annual incomes of the top 8 persons in 6 fields (law, accounting, banking, multinational corporations, local manufacturing and engineering). These 48 individuals' incomes are then laid out on a linear scale and the mean is computed. The mean would be the midpoint between the income of the 24th and 25th persons in the range. The MR4 benchmark is two-thirds of the mean.”

The figure quoted is around 2.2 million. While this may seems terribly high, The way the sample is taken, excludes a whole bunch of business owners, entrepreneurs, untaxed capital gains from investment vehicles, off-shore income etc. Taking the mean also excludes the top range of outliers in their respective fields, and since the benchmark is two-thirds of the mean, it should, in principle adequately compensate for fluctuations in the upcoming years of top-earners salary. The result is fair compensation if you believe that ministers and perm-sec’s are highly capable individuals that would have been getting similar or more compensation in the private sector. (I’ve met a few of them in my previous job and yes they do seem competent and generally as intelligent as MD’s of multinational corporations. The same however is not true of the AO’s vs their private sector counterparts …)

I believe that the key problem is not the dollar value of their compensation but that compensation should be pegged to some measure of performance. If you want private sector pay you need to institute a private-sector style systems of ensuring that the biggest rewards go to those that actually perform. One suggestion would be to end load ministers and perm-sec’s pay package. With a smaller baseline of standard pay but a big bonus at the end of a 3-5 term, should they fulfill targets (specific to each ministry and a weighted average of all ministries for the DPM PM ). Rewards should come after the fact… not in anticipation of performance...

( A simple comparison to put things into perspective. I’ve taken this example simply because it’s top of mind, in the asia pac region and the data is easy to find. On profits of $823million, the top seven people in Macquarie bank were paid $89.3 million (mostly in bonuses and share options) haha that kinda makes 2.2 million SGD sound somewhat more acceptable doesn’t it ? … )
  • Current Music
    fred le grand - hands up for detriot

A.M ravings of an occasional insomniac

So I’ve finally been able to take a bit of a breather after the last few crazy weeks… Bought a massive amount of books and magazines, curled up in bed and read a few good books. There are few things that make me as consistently happy as being totally absorbed in a story, watching it unfold in my head in full Technicolor as I flip the pages, each sentence adding layer upon layer of detail…..

This lull is not going to last though. Might restart work on Monday… it’s going to be agonizing even though it’s a short project, but I guess it’s something to plug a gap while I figure out what to do with the rest of my life.

Anyway …awhile back I read with some concern about the letter from National Council of Churches of Singapore to the government praising them for their retention of section 337A PC (which criminalizes same-gender sex) in the legal code, and recommending that they criminalize lesbian acts. Without commenting specifically on the law in question, the practice of churches pressuring the government to enforce their view of morality by law is troubling…

There are two basic lines of argument against practices like these

The first is simple, by pushing the government to enact laws based on the moral requirements of one religion; you open the possibility that any other religion has the equal capacity to do the same. One cannot expect that an equitable society will give one religion preference over the other and the system breaks down when conflicting laws stemming from different views on morality clash with each other. Only by ensuring that the state remains secular can different religions co-exist peacefully in the same nation.

The second stems from the fundamental principles of Christianity itself. If you distill the better part of the New Testament, the basic premise is this – people who have FREE choice CHOOSE to believe and receive eternal salvation (along with all the other caveats of moral living that accompany believing). Choosing to believe (for all the reasons espoused) is the cornerstone of Christianity, and the freedom to choose is a prerequisite of being able to make a choice. You can only truly believe in something if you are free to choose the alternatives. To dictate morality and codify it into law, thereby forcing people to accept, is contrary to the most basic principle of Christianity. Therefore however good intentioned the church is in pressuring the government to enact laws to safeguard their morality, such action demonstrates a perversion of what Christianity is about. I would go so far as to say it is heretical and the people who push such an agenda are akin to the Pharisees that drew such biting criticism from Jesus in the bible.
  • Current Music
    jack johnson - holes to heaven

Racing to the finish

Shit this must be one of the most stressful periods of my life, everything seems to be happening at once and there's a limit to how many balls you can juggle in the air before it all comes crashing down. Days have dragged out into one big blur but I still remain optimistic as usual that everything will work out in the end.

Oh well on a different topic, a friend of mine sent me this pic. haha apparently someone had a massive telephoto lens that day, snapped a pic and posted it on the web. Turn two, second gear, full throttle... with nothing else on my mind except the next apex :) Temporary cure for ADD

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

battling the dopamanergic pathway one neuro at a time

It’s been 7 days and I feel like someone has taken a shotgun to my head and blown half my brain away. Ok Ok fine so I cheated a little and had a couple of sticks on Saturday, but driving a few hours to Sepang, on 3 hours of sleep and in withdrawal is a surefire recipe for crashing into a tree at 200km/h, dashing your brain to bits as you watch your friends fly through the windscreen… so yes for health and safety’s sake ….

Had supper with K at FooLum Fishport, some fish soup place at aliwal street. That’s just a fucking warped name. It must be pretty hard to fit FooLum Fish Port Trading Pte Ltd on a check We are going to set up a disco at a back alley somewhere and call it FooLum Danceport.

So yes the lyrics of the hip hop song of the moment

In the day
In the night
Say it all
Say it right
You either got it
Or you don't
You either stand or you fall
When your will is broken

Now that’s REALLY pretty spastic in text. But hey it sounds good when she sings it haha.
  • Current Music
    nelly - say it right

Sorry nerd humor

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

So it's first March and i've promised myself that I would stop working. I picked the date cause I had every intention of stopping work, finding a nice place to chill and detox by the beach. but ofcourse things never go as planned and yes although i've stopped official work, the rest of my life has gone a little mad and it's now more freaking stressful than ever. I know that if I move the stop date, i'll never freaking stop so whatever i'm going to give it a good shot .. at the quantity i'm smoking it's a fucking gross habit. So excuse me if i'm fucking grouchy and irritable over the next two weeks !

(no subject)

I was reading kt’s book by the beach and there was some blurp about how the stewardess does not stand up and exclaim at the beginning of the flight “ we are now flying over a cloud” . Which if you think about it is pretty fucking amazing. It would have made all the scientist of old weak in the keens at the prospect and reduced kings and emperors to excitedly babbling children. But I guess it’s a human survival mechanism, this desensitization. If not we would be babbling at every technological advancement and the whole world would ground to a halt.

Actually it works for everything… repetition is capable of desensitizes an emotional response to anything. Kinda scary if you extend it to ideals of love etc… especially nowadays when the throughput of experience we pack into a day is increasing. The time consumed by basic necessities keeps decreasing in tandem with the increasing ability to manage information ( well in the first world anyway ) leaving us free to consume a finite stock of new experiences.

Ok whatever I’m rambling ..

roger rabbit

There is always this moment, in the transition between 2D and 3D, where you sit back, bite your nails and wonder. Then a whole chunk of people descend on the project and you become a spectator with your fingers crossed. But whatever .. life is one big expanding fractal, fundamentally the same just differing in scope and scale

But yeah 2007 is one of those years, where I’ll go and do things I wouldn’t normally do, before they become so entrenched in habit that I’m never going to be able to break out of them… and at the risk of sounding contrived one of those “dance like no one’s watching moments” haha which really haven’t quite mastered yet.

Haha maybe I like you cause you seem to be everything that I’m not. Hmmm I wonder if that makes sense at all.
  • Current Music
    telepopmusik - mathematics

random musings

I was driving along the SLE and the overhead road msg screen said “have a pleasant day” which I must say is a nice change from the usual “ traffic police ops” “accident on lane 3” “speeding kills” type msgs that usually stare accusingly down at you from above.

Tracy Chapman currently plays on the computer. Heart wrenching lyrics of “The promise” spilling out from the speakers

“If youll be waiting
If you dream of me like I dream of you
In a place thats warm and dark
In a place where I can feel the beating of your heart

It would feel so good to be
In your arms
Where all my journeys end
If you can make a promise if its one that you can keep, I vow to come for you
If you wait for me and say youll hold
A place for me in your heart.”

Haha old school music, silky smooth and guaranteed to reduce you to an emotional wreck in 5.28 mins… a feat techno or deep house seems quite incapable of doing.. although I suppose they are good for other things.

It’s funny, I haven’t met anyone recently who could tell me in any concrete manner what they wanted to be doing in 5yrs time. A whole generation of superbly educated, relatively affluent people… bumbling along from one moment to the next, agitators for change, watching the world changing around them, friction in the space between.

I miss this… the unfettered expanse of morning stretching out towards dawn, unhindered by the subconscious reminder that the alarm clock is going to ring at 8:30, but I think I’ve forgotten what it really means to be free.
  • Current Music
    Tracy Chapman- the promise