#261 singapore idol 2009

The Singapore Idol gives the wanabes the experience of a journey and gain insights to what it means to becoming a celebrity star. Many celebrity stars in the US actually have to work very hard to get to where they are.

The late Michael Jackson is an example in point. He would perfect his art and one can actually feel his passion in that he did and his hard work evident from his live performances.

This year’s Singapore Idol saw a crop of some most talented wannabees. Thus far, the media have not produced good standard celebrities.

Singapore Idol is not about having talent but there must be likeable or connectedness factor with the audience. This was evident in the 22-year-old winner, Sezairi Sezali, awaiting national service who actually put the judges’ critique into his final performance. He was a better performer overall and he has that connectedness with the audience which I thought Sylvia lacked though vocally, she was better.

Ken Lim, one of the three judges (Florence Lian and Dick Lee), remarked to Sylvia Ratonel (whose father is a Filipino and a hotel secretary) that she is a winner but did not say she would be the Singapore Idol at the final!

If the finalists were Tabitha and Sylvia, I believe Tabitha might have won, simply she is a more candid performer. This, we shall never know.

What I didn’t understand or appreciate why the media decided to hype Sylvia’s background. Glad that didn’t garner sympathetic votes though.

This season is not a battle of the sexes either.

It is about what it means to be a celebrity. Celebrity stars are not just about talent but that X-factor which is not describable or one can actually fake or work hard at. It is either you’ve got it or not!

It is interesting that for the 3 seasons of Singapore Idol, the winners — Taufik Batisah (2004), Hady Mirza (2006) and Sezairi Sezali (2009) — are Malays. Evidently the winners had the support of their community which is a good reflection. More importantly, the winners are candid performers!

What I had observed in this season of Singapore Idol is our NEXT generation of population has broken the Singapore image of being traditional and stiff to one of being less inhibited and less self-conscious. The screams in the audience were quite pleasing to the ear! 

So I look forward to greater competition in the next round of the Singapore Idol.

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#260 s.e.a. games

Congratulations to the Singaporean contingent to the 25th SEA Games held in Vientiane for 10 days — December 9-19, 2009. Singapore won most of her medals from the aquatic sports.  

James Wong, the 40-year-old veteran, won gold for the discus event, which is his 8th gold medal for the nation. Will he be honored the best sportsman of the year?

The next SEA Games will be held in Indonesia in 2011. Will a younger discus thrower represent Singapore? Will there be more born-and-bred Singaporeans take up the challenge to future games and sport events in the regional or international scenes?

#241 food poisoning

The hygiene rating for local food centers is questionable.

Previously under the HDB, complaints lodged that the food centers were not as clean and rats found visiting certain areas at dark but there was no case of death reported.

However, recently two elderly died after eating rojak (a local salad) and many had food poisoning at Geylang Serai food center. Two days ago, people had food poisoning from eating steamboat. (Steamboat is diners cooking uncooked food — meat and vegetables — over boiling hot soup under gas flame laid on the table.)

Rats were caught at night– around 70?

Today, foods sold in the wet markets or supermarkets are generally fresh.

Has the level of environment cleanliness dropped?

In the past, when locals were employed to do such menial tasks, there were no cases of emergencies reported except complaints. Today, are we depending too much on foreign workers? Mind you their level of cleanliness differs that of our locals. Who is to blame then?

#238 offering directions when asked

I had an interesting encounter this morning during my morning walks.

A Chinese China gentleman asked in Chinese language, “Do you know where the school for safety first is?”

My first thought was the driving school nearby…I asked, “Safety first…what do you mean? I don’t know of such school.”

He continued to ask, “A school?”

“I know of many schools around here,” I replied without understanding what he was asking. He persisted and I gave him direction to the nearest school.

He walked on and I was heading for that direction. After a short distance, he turned around and we met again. I asked, “Is that not the place that you’re looking for?”

He said, “No, I’m looking for a school that teaches safety-first to foreign workers in building and construction work.”

I still didn’t understand him but decided to ask an Indian elderly man passing by while interpreting for him. To my horror he was asking for direction to an institute that trains foreign workers on industrial safety-first.

I gave him the wrong direction…did that out of goodwill!!!

I reflected: For such matters, would it be prudent if he approached a man rather than a lady passerby for direction?

Would it be better had I said I didn’t understand him and walked away rather than giving wrong direction?!

If I had walked away, would I give the foreigner the impression that I was callous and unfriendly? If I gave him the wrong direction, this would exasperate him even more!

#237 earning power

Can one’s earning power reflect how capable a person is in management of a corporation? Is one’s earning the gauge of his capability in running for offices in politics?

Recently theonlinecitizen.com posted that the Singapore Prime Minister gets $2.7 million per annum, topping the list of being the highest paid politician in the world — the US President, a token sum of $400K and many of the Western counterparts get much less!

You see in the West, if one wants to run for the top job in politics, one needs to be a millionaire first but in the Singapore context — if one  wants to be a millionaire, then join the existing political party and of course after stringent scrutiny on qualifications to office.

The rationale to reward high salaries to the governing leaders in Singapore is to attract good and able people into governance and to prevent leaders from using illegal means and ways of accumulating one’s wealth!

Mind you, Singapore is a tiny state to govern by contrast to the US or UK or France!

#236 church pastor paid 500K per year?

Fancy that..I read that New Creation Church pays her leaders — pastor, Joseph Prince — an annual sum of 500K and 2 others for sums of 100K each for work done in the church!

Mind you, when the pastor marries a couple in church, he gets an angpaw; at funeral wakes he is given an offering or gift; as a matter of fact for any occasion, even speaking engagements — a pastor receives extras! On top of that, he is given housing allowances, children’s education and transport allowance. Wow! Half a million dollars of pocket money! Does the pastor have to pay income tax for that he receives? All those gifts he receives — are these accounted for or these go into his own pocket?

Furthermore, the New Creation has to pay the venue used for Sunday services at Suntec City and other overhead costs. Where does this money come from?

I believe the money comes from the sacrificial giving of believers. Do believers know how much their pastor and some staff-workers are paid?

I thought the church ministers receive a stipend!

Is this what the Lord Jesus Christ taught His people to tithe — 10% of the monthly income — for the salaries of the pastor and senior church staff-workers or administrator or accountant?

This is sacrilegious! Is there judgment of God on this at the end of world? Can these ‘servants of God’ be at peace with God?

In the Old Testament book of Leviticus, God gave word on sin offering in chapter 4…

The Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites: When anyone sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in the Lord’s command —

If the anointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people, he must bring…(v.3)

If the whole Israelite community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden though the community is unaware of the matter, they are guilty (v.13)…when some become aware of the sin they committed…

When a leader sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the commands of the Lord his God, he is guilty (v.22)…

If a member of the community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord’s command, he is guilty (v.27)…

Is the church pastor not aware this portion of scriptures? Or these are not applicable today?

#227 abusers at sports stadium

Generally Singaporeans are fortunate to enjoy sports stadium where the public could use the stadium for free.

Today, to my great disgust, there was animal pooh on the wood-chips track at the Gombak stadium. The wood-chips track is specially designed for those athletes to exercise while recovering from injuries.

Unfortunately some users not only bring their animals to accompany them at the stadium but abused by allowing their animals pooh along the track! Shame on whoever this person…!

Whoever had done that obviously did not care about the worker responsible in maintaining the stadium! If there were complaints, who got the firing line? The worker!

I believe many young budding athletes do not know facilities available. They do not take pride to care for the facilities available to them. They expect the sports councils to hire staff worker to take care of the facilities.

Musicians take care of their instruments yet…athletes take for granted or do not?!

On occasions especially during school holidays, I found children playing on the long-jump sandpit…these children would intelligently use their hands to sweep the white sand into the drain while the mother exercised away nearby!