Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Move progresses past another checkpoint

First appointment completed without a hitch. All HDB wanted to check was our eligibility to buy and their's to sell. So after a quick round of document verification and signature collecting, the relevant authority has approved the transaction... and we are another step closer to our big move north.

Big ticket expenses for today: paid off our agency for successfully brokering this deal, then made our downpayment for laminate flooring by Vohringer. We need the flooring to lay over the existing granite tile, which in itself is very nice but of a colour we are unable to work with 'cos it's just wrong -- too dark and too red for our taste.

Now attempting to balance between watching TV and putting a dent in my pile of essays. So far the TV's winning...

Friday, August 01, 2008

"Life was simpler when we had less money..."

In preparation for our first appointment at the HDB, I was running around like a mad thing trying to transfer the funds I cashed out of my CPF investments back into my Ordinary Account to be able to have a sufficient balance for the downpayment of our new digs. Nearly freaked out when the nice, young banker boy who attended to me warned that it would take three to four working days to clear the transaction. That's a wee bit too late, considering I needed the money like, let me see... tomorrow!

But no, I don't, actually. After some panicked clarifications, I realised that it was only during our second appointment (at which we collect our keys) that we need to make any significant payments, and not the first. So everything should be all in readiness when I require it, after all. Got myself all worked up for nothing. :p

Now working on collecting all the documents I need to bring tomorrow. Hope I've got everything...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

2 wakes in a week

Must be my week for attending wakes. Last Friday, it was for Aggie's mom; today for Cammy's granny. Both deceased had lived till quite a ripe old age, both enjoyed being well taken care of until the end. That, above everything else, is the most anyone can realistically ask for in this lifetime.

Sorry I couldn't join the guys for dinner but happy birthday, anyway, to Sha and Josh!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

TP would have been too easy

An art installation in my kitchen as performed by the cats
Artists: Kaiser, Maui

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Where do all the babies go?

There's a dearth of babies in S'pore, isn't there? That's the reason for the latest frenzy of mooting fresh incentives for married couples to bravely face the full consequences of their private activities without taking the necessary safety precautions.

Yet one institution seems to be doing its math and coming up with a different answer from our local census bureau. NY kindergarten will be opening its doors to 500+ pre-schoolers from next year. 700 others are on the waiting list.

Parents are willing to fork out close to $1K per three-month term to give their precious a headstart in Chinese language education. That'll nicely pay for all the lovely facilities Junior will be enjoying on campus, like the gym and the kitchen (aerobics instructors, master chefs and fire-safety officials don't come cheap).

The rock-climbing facility isn't for the students. It's for the teachers. Looking after 500+ screaming kids and the parents of 700 other kids still on the waiting list, that's the wall they'll be driven up before each day is over.

Um, what's a "singlethon"? Is that like the festival in which they catch singles, tie them to a stake and mercilessly goad them with biological clocks until they cough up a million bucks in donations? If there's money to be made, it's sure worth exploring...

Monday, July 28, 2008

*crickets chirping in the background

Staffroom looks quite empty today, at least my section of it. People have gone on course or are sick at home. It's quiet, but perhaps a little too quiet.

Could this be a preview of things to come?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

How blue is my S'porean II?

Perhaps it's my personal bias. I have a sense of pride when I encounter more than the usual ethnic demographic of people who are making a living here. To know that tiny us have made such an impact on the far-flung corners of the world, and that people there choose to relocate all the way here to share in what we have to offer. I'm proud that we have made this place more than the rock that it is, so much so that we CAN share it with others.

Immigration is a sore point though, for indigenous peoples. Lax Immigration policies practically wiped out native American culture, today's Europeans are antsy about their non-euro enclaves. The Bumis are worried about their Indian and Chinese neighbours.

As for us, we can't exactly say we are indigenous to this island. The majority of us ARE ourselves immigrants who have chosen this place as our home, much in the same way as new immigrants are choosing this place as home. No one's replacing anyone, it's just a continuation of the process that kick-started us into life in the first place.

We immigrant stock are nomadic in nature. We pick a place, we try to settle down and make a living; like it, we stay, don't like, we move on. We identify opportunities, we take opportunities, we make the best use of our opportunities. What more education do we need than that? That's us, our S'porean identity. We freeze, we die, plain and simple.

As for NS: in an actual conflict, we only fight for those we love and care for. We are not protecting anyone other than ourselves, so who cares about FTs who don't serve NS? In a fight, who's going to give them a gun? But in any case, I hope that in the spirit of true neighbourliness, we can still extend our protection to them anyway because they may yet be a generation short of becoming us.

And in any case, with so many different countries our FTs come from, which country could declare war on us and not declare war on their own people? The more people from more countries we can attract to live here and like it, the safer we are. FTs form a natural line of national defence, whether they actively serve NS or not.

Our success cannot be measured in economic terms but rather in the amount of people we can keep on attracting as partners, friends and eventually neighbours... possibly family? The smooth intermingling of our collective blood, sweat and tears is the fuel that makes us the powerhouse of our region. Our unique blend confounds our competing neighbouring nations -- they can never emulate our high-octane formula and that gives us our sole edge in this deadly game of political survival. Let's keep the fuel lines open, and not clog it up with bigotry and our sense of "born S'porean" entitlement as if that gave us some special privilege over everyone else here.

It's still a jungle where we live. It's good to keep sharp and stay wary of predators. We could get rid of all the predators (say via tightening up Immigration laws, etc.), but animals that live without fear of predation usually live on the farm where they are penned and fed till fat, then slaughtered to feed others. Dunno about you, I'll take my chances in the jungle any day.

Hey, RX, I've always enjoyed reading your GP essays. Glad to see NS hasn't dulled your edge. It's great to hear from you again!