Okay, I promised a post on the Woodlands Blood Bank and donation experience, so here it is! I visited the newly opened blood bank (second in Singapore besides the one in Health Sciences Authority at Singapore General Hospital compound, Outram Park) with some friends. It’s much smaller than the HSA branch, but much more welcoming in terms of location and decor. Yes, I’m truly biased on the location as I stay in the North, but more blood banks are always a good thing, right? Anyway, check out some pictures below.The entrance. Was initially a bit difficult to find as it was nestled in a corner surrounded by tuition centres.
The form-filling area cum waiting area. I like the posters as they create a warm presence and reaffirm your decision to give blood. The doctors’ rooms are along the left wall, so everything is contained within that area, unlike HSA where much more walking is needed. The downside is probably Woodlands BB cannot handle large crowds of blood donators.This is the actual donation area. Its very bright and open, with a large window that overlooks the field area by the MRT. The lights are also warm lights, not bright fluorescent ones.The staff there are extremely friendly. Sister Soh (if I remember her name correctly) helped me take this photo. She also made fun of Joel who was donating blood for the first time. Haha.
All in all, a very pleasant experience. Due to its nearer location and smaller crowd, donation here was much more breezy and pleasant. The Woodlands BB also has free photo-printing! So we actually printed many pictures as souvenirs. And I also received two coin plaques to commemorate, retroactively, my 5th and 10th donations! Sweeeeeet.
ohhh i am so sad… as the 15 days of lunar new year have ended, McDonald’s has also discontinued its seasonal item, twister fries. This is hands-down, my all-time favourite item from McDonald’s. Besides twister fries, their McFlurry and Apple Pies are not bad too. But all the other items are so-so.
That is also why I am still waiting for A&W to come back to Singapore. They had perennial curly fries! Can you imagine that? Curly fries ALL YEAR ROUND! Heavenly! Too bad they pulled out of Singapore in the 1990’s. I only carry dim recollections of Coney dogs, root beer floats, and of course, curly fries. How I miss A&W curly fries..
Happy CNY, everyone! Today is the 4th day of the Lunar New Year, so I’m kinda late, but anyway! This year is the year of the dragon, so many Chinese are frantically trying to make babies 🙂 Based on the Chinese zodiac, those born in the year of the dragon are supposedly driven, ambitious, clever and honest. Or something along those lines. Having a male dragon heir would be the icing on top of the cake.
I was actually born the year preceding the dragons, so I’m a rabbit! Quite disparate, eh? But it’s actually a blessing, because the dragon crop of babies is always larger. Hence, there is much more competition, especially in schools. I remember in the rabbit year, there were about 40,000+ babies born, but in the next year, the dragon year, there were 60,000+ babies born! So even though Singapore seems like such a forward, secular nation, some superstitions still hold sway. Haha.
I’ve been following the unfolding of the revaluing of Ministers’ pay in Singapore with mild interest. But yesterday, after chatting with some ex-colleagues over lunch about this topic, I felt more interested. As of now, there has been a proposed change to the formula for ministerial pay including a 65% fixed and 35% variable components (article: here). I’m rather confused by all these numbers, but what I zoomed in on was the removal of the pension system and a reworking of the bonus system, to be pegged not just on GDP, but other measures too. Overall, I think the pay cuts are quite substantial – especially the 51% cut proposed for the President. This was more than I initially expected. I’m also quite happy that bonuses will be tied with measures like performance of the bottom 20% of society – as ministers will then be even more motivated to achieve equitable progress for all, not just GDP and other figures. More human, la.
My colleagues were not so forgiving, though. One said she was not satisfied with the cuts, and wanted more, while the other noted that dissatisfaction and a general air of complaint have been festering too long, for months in fact, all the way from GE2011. I think this can be seen also from the backlash Grace Fu received after she posted a comment on her facebook page (article: here). I just checked at there were over a thousand replies!
I understand how her comment might irk some, because she mentions an unwillingness for her standard of living to drop, and there is a perceived discrepancy between her standard and the majority’s standard. This can lead to outrage as the majority cannot imagine her standard. But you must see where both sides are coming from. And I do agree with her in that for private sector individuals who are earning much more, stepping into politics would not be attractive because of the factors she mentioned, like loss of privacy, and earning less.
On the other hand, others have also commented that ministers should be motivated by more than just money, perhaps an altruistic commitment to better society and help people? Ultimately, I agree that a minister pay cut would discourage some of the real top echelon from switching; but I think that there are others to fill this void, some who are motivated by more than just pay – perhaps a real desire to effect changes that improve the lives of Singaporeans.
Oh well. I’ve seen Grace Fu in person, as she attended our church community outreach efforts, and I think she really makes the effort to know her constituency and help her residents, so I respect her for that. Sooo maybe we just need to take a step back and consider each others’ positions and justifications for saying certain things. Yeah, but Singaporeans love to complain. A while back, CNA found that Singaporeans’ top three hobbies are eating, shopping, and surfing the internet. (Article: here) Hahaha, how boring, right? It’s so true, though. Eating is one thing that really unites us. I have the impression that photography is the world’s top hobby, and fish-keeping is second, but I’m not too certain. Certainly, photography sounds more atas / refined than eating! I think we should add complaining to one of our top national hobbies too!
Random edit: found a nice reply by Dyaa to the question, “Why are eating and shopping national pastimes in Singapore?” (website: here)
If you’re a driver like me, I’m sure you’ve experienced something I shall call “the-sideways-road-rage-glare”. This happens when you happen to be occupying the outermost lane on a road or highway. Invariably (due to the Tailgater Law i.e. anytime one enters the fastest lane, a tailgater shall appear directly behind), another driver will come up behind you and begin to obnoxiously tailgate you. This may be accompanied by other symptoms like furiously high-beaming headlights, honks, or even rude hand signals. Cowed by such a blatant display of dissatisfaction, you change to the next lane, whereupon the driver behind zooms forward, and as he/she passes you, gives you the-sideways-road-rage-glare.
This glare, I suppose, is intended to cause further intimidation through strategic use of facial expressions like a furrowed brow, clenched teeth or scowl. I, for one, do not know the best response to this sideways-road-rage-glare. Sometimes, when I’m feeling defiant and slightly pissed off myself, I’ll return the glare with one of my own. But other times, I find a cool, feigned ignorance to be a better alternative. And sometimes when I’m super kuai lan, I’ll smile sweetly, or not even give way in the first place. But what is it about driving that brings out the worst in some? I’ve heard cases where road rage turned otherwise mild-mannered and pleasant individuals into murderous drivers. And I’ve experienced it myself too! My only available explanation is that perhaps subconsciously, you realise that the bad driving of those around you endangers your life, so anger is a defensive reaction to this threat on your safety.
Tangentially, I think Singaporean drivers also have the “Give Way and You WILL DIE” complex. Once someone signals and intention to change lanes, invariably the drivers in the next lane will accelerate to prevent this lane change (again often accompanied by high-beam, honking etc.) It’s kinda stupid – but it stems from our kiasu nature I guess. If we allow another driver to cut in front of us, this means that we have LOST, and then we DIE. In Taiwan and Hong Kong I find the drivers to be totally cool about lane changing, even during congestions. Different culture la.
Okay so I promised a post about the Singapore Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo 2010! I know it is really overdue, given that the Expo officially ended Oct 31, 2010! But anyway, here’s what Singapore presented at the World Expo!
The exterior was pretty impressive (and strangely reminiscent of our famous “Durian” buildings, haha!). It looked even better at night, because the plain white exterior would be lighted up with changing coloured lights. Apparently, the designers aimed for a “Musical Box” design, with the rectangular spokes representing the nobs which hit the notes in a conventional music box.
There were 3 main levels: The ground floor featured an exhibition of the unique aspects of Singapore, such as the different races, arts scene, and of course, F1 Night racing.
The national costumes for the Chinese, Malay, Peranakans and Indians respectively! They also had this section featuring “eclectic” fashion combining elements of different cultural dress. It was really really weird. LOL.
Take a look yourself! But A+ for effort! Anyway, on the second level, accessible by a sloped rampway, we were ushered into a amphitheater where we watched a 7min video about the development of Singapore. It included narration by none other than Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, with anecdotes including training Singaporeans not to pee in lifts (-_-).
Lastly, the third floor was a rooftop garden featuring tropical flora and fauna. Pretty nice in the day, but it was creepy and dark at night! (Here’s a photo of me with random Aunty)
So that’s about it for the Singapore pavilion! I really enjoyed visiting it, and I also appreciated the fact that upon presenting my Singapore passport at the queue, I could bring a friend and skip the queuing, which could be up to 4 hours! Yeah, the crowds there were frightful, possibly because it was the last month of the expo.
Oh Singapore! I’ll be back there soon! Back to my beloved CARROT CAKE!