#276 volunteering and charity

I seem to be confronted with young men and women representing non-profit organisations to give. These individuals are apparently being paid to do the job.

There are the flag days where students are required to give their time to ask for donations for these non-profit organisations.

What is volunteering today? Does being a volunteer means giving one’s time and energies to help the less fortunate or those in need by asking for donations from those around?

It appears the non-profit organisations are creating jobs for individuals who are paid to ask for donations. Are they creating a glorified begging system?

Gone are the days when volunteers gave out of goodwill — their time, money and energies.

Today, people are being paid to volunteer. A classic example is the charity shows where celebrities are paid for their services. So it appears celebrities are doing good works but the truth is they receive an income in addition to their already well-paid celebrity status. Are these celebrities making a mockery of their fans?

Now street vendors asking for donations are themselves paid to do the job of charity!

#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.


I first heard ‘cultural genocide’ when Dalai Lama accused China on Tibet.

What is cultural genocide? That sounds intelligent but…?

I know of human genocide where a generation of humans or tribes were exterminated. I first understood this when the Khmer Rouge engaged teenagers to exterminate the elderly by using plastic bags to suffocate!

Today, our culture is one where enormous amounts of money, energy, and time were poured to constructing facades people believed were more acceptable by others. The standards used to determine a person’s value and worth generally include wealth, public acclaim, beauty, power and popularity…jobs and professions; location and kind of homes…

Take for instance, those women pose for fashion magazines and television commercials…top models paid exorbitant salaries; athletes are expected to perform like machines; and pop-star celebrities ‘primped and styled’ to an exact market-tested image! Perhaps the reason for indulgence in drugs and alcohol to anaesthetize one’s pain and inadequacy in order to reach perfection?

Then there is the throw-away culture and the must-have-latest technological gadgets!

How do we define these? Modernisation? Cultural decadence? Cultural genocide?


Is Olympic Games not an international event? Why are some calling for boycott? Boycott to what? To whom?

Why politicise the forthcoming Olympic Games in Beijing? What is the purpose of those who call for boycott? Is Spielberg heading this boycott? Are the star celebrities putting their butts in this?

What credibility do the star celebrities have? Their looks? Their personality? Woe! Their money? They are good at creating publicity stunts to feed their egos and suck those who are willing to pour money into their pockets!


Is the protest and unrest in Tibet an external instigation exploiting the discontented nationals?

Is this not folly of the nationals to fall prey to such designs of unrest or protest? Is this the only way to embrace or stimulate change? Every one loses when incited to anger and chaos. The Tibetans have been feeling the lack of ‘something’ — many are caught between tradition and modernity (changes)… I do not know enough of its politics but this certainly is no way to resolve some discontents and unhappiness! Surely there must be a more congenial solution.

Those human rights groups do not stand to lose — it’s the nationals who need to pick up the pieces aftermath!

Why loot and burn the Chinese shops when these are the ones who actually bring in some stimuli to the economy, in its miniscule!? By setting fires to buildings, are these nationals not incurring more losses at every turn?

Recently the Icelandic singer, Bjork, deliberately shout out ‘Tibet, Tibet’ during her concert held in Shanghai Gymnastic Center. Is she in cahoot with those Western star celebrities like Spielberg or Richard Gere (was accused of obscene public behavior in India when he hugged and kissed Shilpa Shetty but was dismissed as frivolity) in undermining and politicising the forthcoming Olympic Games in Beijing? Is there link to these events?!

I hope the leaders both in Beijing and Tibet will resolve this with wisdom and integrity — for the sake of peace and humanity.


So Prince Harry’s desire to live the ‘normal’ life has been cut short by this ningkampoop Matt Drudge. The Drudge report gave away where Harry was and what he was doing on the net.

Certainly Harry has matured since. He is better looking and is confident and poise in disposition. The public will always have something unkind to say. If he does or if he does not…whichever way, he is scrutinised…poor chap! Can he be left alone? On the other hand, if he was left out of the limelight, he might lament and long for those paparazzi days?! Will he?

Celebrities like Harry, born into the monarch family, must be tired of all these scrutiny and publicity while many ordinary folk yearn for some kind of attention or publicity!!!

People like Matt must have nothing to write about except those juicy gossips of celebrities. Anyway gossips are what people like reading. So there is a market.

Links: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/3763132.stm on Prince Harry’s profile