Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Confused Beauty

Do we have another air-head in the making? I don't know, but I am beginning to have grave doubts about the girls that were crowned first and second (and third and ....?) in the Miss Singapore World 2009 contest.

It is all well and good for friends to stick together and speak up for each other. But when the first runner-up, Ms Lee, a graduate of NTU's aerospace engineering, insisted that Ris Low should still represent Singapore in Africa even after Ms Low has bowed out, you have second thoughts about the quality of the person who came in second. Let's separate personal loyalty and national duty. One can, and should be, loyal to one's friends, but when that loyalty concerns the nation, then you should put aside personal feelings. Ris knows she has become a liability in the competition in Africa. She knows that she can potentially shame Singapore and give it a bad name. She knows she cannot be an effective ambassador and spokesperson for Singapore, much less win the title But it would appear that Ms Lee doesn't get the point when she insisted that Ris proceed to Africa.

If Ms Lee is now chosen as the replacement, I will cringe at the thought of Singapore's name being dragged through the mud of Africa. It'll be no different sending Ris.

Where did they get these 'beauties' from, anyway? Perhaps all those years of studying aerospace has gotten to her head, She should land and show us some maturity, not blind loyalty. One would have thought that she hasn't been reading the newspapers and blogs of late. Or if she had, she hasn't been applying her mind.

P.S. Its tough to be a beauty in Singapore.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cheating beauty

Given the revelation of this year's Ms Singapore World, Ms Ris Low's conviction for credit card fraud, cheating and criminal misappropriation, numbering no less than 60 charges, and given that she did not reveal this to the organisers until after she had secured the crown, demonstrating her dishonesty and hypocrisy (I can only imagine the 'honest-to-God' answers she gave during the competition proper on her way to her now tainted crown), how can she represent the whole of Singapore on foreign soil? She can represent herself, she can represent the organisation that anointed her, but can she claim to represent the women of Singapore? If I were a women, I would cringe, though as a Singaporean, I still will cringe. Hey world, this girl doesn't show off the best of our girls - heck most of them are honest and hardworking, never mind that they may not have the perfect physical features and proportions. And many of them may have a problem or two with some physical or mental condition, but they don't steal credit cards and dine dishonestly at posh-posh restaurants.

Some talk of second chances and all. Well, yes, that is desirable. But to use Ms Singapore World to redeem yourself ultimately cheapens the Ms Singapore World title and brand. Actually, I don't care very much for Beauty contests, but if Singapore's name and reputation are at stake, that's when a line needs to be drawn. One may be compassionate and forgiving, but in the dog-eat-dog world out there in South Africa, any pretender will be mauled if she even has a spot of blemish. So the best thing for Ms Low is to give up her crown gracefully instead of hanging on to it so doggedly. I think she has already proven something. No point exposing herself to ridicule in South Africa. She will jeopardise the chances of all future Ms Singapore World at these competitions. The world will look at Singapore women with a different eye. It'll be a steeper slope for all future Ms Singapore World to climb on the world stage.

You don't want to be that selfish, do you?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Home on the net

This posting is not about life in Singapore. Its about life not in Singapore and the contrasts that it brought, at least as far as accessing the internet is concerned. You see, I have been away for slightly less than 2 weeks in Shanghai, and had thought that I could be connected to the internet and blogging and all, just like what I do in Singapore. I had been to Shanghai 2 years ago, and know for a fact that most hotels provide free broadband internet access. What's more, there is my spanking new netbook that will make the whole thing effortless, especially when it comes to lugging it around in my carry-on luggage.

So, yes, I was connected. All I had to do was to plug in the network cable into my computer and wallah, I am connected, or so I thought. The problem with China, even now, with its liberal capitalist approach in big cities such as Shanghai, is that it censors internet access to websites with a heavy hand. Popular websites such as Facebook and Blogspot cannot be accessed at all in China, or at least using the hotel broadbands in both hotels that I stayed in. Yes, I could not access any of my blogspot blogs!

Mercifully, though, I could access e-mail websites such as Yahoo, Gmail and Microsoft's Otherwise, I would have been cut off from the rest of the world while in China, which had been the case before the 1980s, before Deng Xiaoping instituted his Black-cat-White-cat brand of pragmatism that has propelled its economy in leaps and bounds over the last 30 years. On the other hand, any website with the .cn country domain name (i.e. China for those of you who are clueless), such as, loaded extremely fast, with zero or near zero latency. Talk about favouritism!

So here I was, missing all the blogs and blogging and thus cut off from life in Singaore. My schedule was busy, and I didn't have ready access to printed news of Singapore, except perhaps to, Today's online newspaper, which I had delivered to my e-mail account. Curiously though, I never opened it up to read. I was more interested in chatting with people back home and then hitting the sack, so tired I was after a day's activities.

Happily though, I experienced no withdrawal symptoms with the limited access to many internet websites I frequent back in Singapore. And so I had a semi-voluntary news blackout for this period. Now that I am back in Singapore, the latest news appears to be Ms Singapore World, and yes, the F1 too. But the former makes for more interesting reading, though.

Glad to be back in Singapore.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Cult of religion

On the whole, Singapore takes a balanced approach towards people's beliefs, and their freedom to practice those beliefs. This was one of the major themes in the PM's National Day rally speech this year. And for the most part, this is something to be happy about. There will, of course, be some who think otherwise, when their 'religion' is frowned upon as they propagate values that are alien to a conservative society's, as is Singapore's. Amazingly, this atmosphere prevails when the government openly favours the Muslims in putting aside land for them to build their Mosques. Less so for Christian, who often have had to resort to gathering in house-churches, or abandoned cinemas or even huge conventions centres like those in Suntec City, paying an arm and a leg, to practice their religion every week. But we all live and let live. Religion is not about equality on earth. It is the afterlife, after all, that matters, isn't it? But some religions somehow miss this point.

Thus it is puzzling that peoples in other countries practice their religion in such as literal and earthly manner. This calls to mind whether they are following the letter of the law, and blindly at that, but have lost the spirit of these religous injunctions. For example, we hear of 2 Muslim women sentenced to caning for doing nothing more than drinking beer and wearing pants! Maybe in these places, such barbaric practices are the norm, that women-folk are accepted as the constant object of abuse in the name of religion, if not society at large - even by the women themselves. In the case of the women sentenced to canning, she perversely asked that she be caned. I often wonder if women like her have a sado-masochistic streak or are they plainly longsuffering in the name of religion? Whichever the case, it is probably no wonder that that section of society finds the whole thing quite civilised, proper, and (gasp), holy(istic).

Which reminds me. Today is 911 - the day of infamy when, 8 years ago, a few religious Muslim fanatics found it the height of their obligations to Allah, their God, to first hijack a plane, and then ram them straight into 2 towering buildings in New York City, thus attaining their ultimate religious state at the expense of thousands of poor innocent people. As I am reminded today, these people who perished were fathers, they were mothers, they were sons and daughters, husbands and wives, grandchildren and grandmothers....How can any religion find it right in its teachings that killing innocent people is the way to release? Yet as recent events have shown, in Jakarta for example, these religious fanatics have persisted in their perverse views. They will glady kill again in the name of their religion.

May such thinking and the people who continue to propagate them, face their just deserts when they see their God. Those who have already gone before would have been shocked to discover that they have died for a lie.

In memoriam, to the victims of 911
and terrorism the world over
May you rest in peace