Thursday, March 29, 2007

Paying through the nose.

Just a quick question since everyone's talked about it to death already:

Lee Hsien Loong's basically said that ministerial pay has to go up because they're really scared of losing them ministers to other industries because they're lagging behind on payscale.

"How many ministers have we lost to private industries in the past 10 years?"

If it was a pandemic I would argue that there definitely is a need to really tag ministerial pay to top private CEOs etc. But seriously, since LKY, has anyone REALLY been spectacular enough for private companies to headhunt them away from the civil service? The way I see it, there's not one single minister that I would pay top dollar to whisk away from his/her governmental position.


The one key difference between Singapore and Melbourne? Not once did my pregnant wife have to stand while travelling on public transport in Melbourne. Seats were gladly abandoned for the obviously pregnant lady on trams and trains and offered graciously.

Melbourne: Most livable city in the world. Expensive. Climatic nightmare. Great people.
Singapore: Considerably less livable city. Relatively cheaper. Nice warm climes. Civil savages.

What really is a livable society? Is it one where taxes are lower? Is it one where we have our creature comforts? Our flat screen TVs? Our cheap cable? Broadband in every house? A stable economy? I don't think so. A livable city has to have a heart. And I think that Singapore sold its heart a long time ago for a pretty penny to invest in our future. We've made the cold, calculated gamble and we've won. Or have we? Do we live in the most livable city in the world? Far from it. We're living in the most technologically advanced cesspool in the world and we're drowning in its luxuries. And because we're all drowning, there really isn't too much thought for the people that you step on in order to stay on the top.

Satre said that hell is other people.

He must have been thinking of Singaporeans.

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Monday, March 26, 2007


I read the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Or TMNT for short) when I was in Primary 6. A friend brought in the black and white comic book and we crowded around to read it as he carefully turned the pages while supporting the spine in his other palm. (This was back when we thought that comic books were worth their collective weight in gold and we tried our best to keep them in "mint" condition.) I recall thinking how cool it was and without the articulation and the cultural studies baggage that came with university, I didn't think anything about the parody of (Orientalist) pop cultural references of the 1980s that was Eastman and Laird played off.

Almost 20 years down the road (has it been that long?) I watched the fully CGI-ed version of TMNT on the big screen. And has my opinion of the franchise changed with the aforementioned baggage?


It was AWESOME! I realise that I'm saying (writing) this knowing full well that a counter-cultural comic has become such a mainstream movie, but I really did walk out of the theater thinking how nicely my childhood memory of the Ninja Turtles showed up on the big screen.

Now, note that I'm not a fan of the turtles that became (chronologically) a cartoon series, a comic book by the publishers of Archie and 3 movies with actors in rubber suits. I'm a fan of the dark and gritty Ninja Turtles that bled black on the comic books and wore the uniform red headbands. Back when the Shredder was menacing and the threat of death and change were very real themes in the plots. (The turtles, in a plotline were chased out of New York city by The Foot) These were the Turtles that I remember.

The movie brought me back to it.

Labelled by the critics as a hollow reboot of the franchise, admittedly, the film is flashy and not very substantial in itself. The plot is relatively simplistic (beat bad guy, save the world) but I would argue that the plot really isn't the point. The theme of family and the coming together of said family is the real focus of this film while the plot itself is inconsequential. This is illustrated that the pivotal fight scene of the show is not the final fight between the forces of good and evil but the quarrel between two brothers that ends up as a rooftop fight that blew me away.
This was the continuation of the tension that was hinted at (and sometimes outrightly thrown in your face) between Leonardo, the level headed leader and Raphael, the hot headed idealist. This was the continuation of the comic franchise that I grew to love in the 1980s.

This was what TMNT was to me. Cool. Dark. Whole. Complete.

And not a rubber suit in sight.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

One month and a bit.

Apologies for my long absence.

It's been a month and the month has been hectic. It's been yet another start of the school year and that usually means that I'm not going to be the most happy person around. That said, let's play a little catch up.

In a month (not in chronological order), I have:

  1. Had my haircut miscommunication that's caused me to look like I'm fresh out of BMT. Reminder: The numbers are for the razors and not for the top of the head.
  2. Gotten an early reminder about why I really hate the bureaucracy of teaching.
  3. Returned to Melbourne.
  4. Returned home (as usual, disgruntled).
  5. Watched 3 movies.
  6. Failed to watch 300.
More details to come about the 6 points.