Rants and raves about stuff happening in and around my life in Singapore

Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Three Laws of Politics

Time and time again we have seen situations across the globe in countries that follow a democratic process where decisions that are made often surprise the casual observer who may very well have had a different expectation with respect to the outcome.

Or, conversely those expectations are meet because those observers had already assumed the outcome correctly, basing that assumption on the track record of similar decisions by members of the same ruling party.

But what if you had a way to assess each and every political decision faced by the ruling party and predict the outcome of that decision more accurately based on three simple laws?

Taking the robotic laws, a set of three laws devised by science fiction author Isaac Asimov that govern how robots would interact with humans and each other in a futuristic society, and tweaking them into a political context I give you "The Three Laws of Politics".

The Three Laws of Politics
First Law: A politician may not injury the reputation of their party or though inaction allow the reputation of their party to come to harm

Second Law: A politician must put the benefit to the country above the will of the people unless such action would conflict with the first law

Third Law: A politician must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the first or second law

The simple application of these three laws will provide you with a better way to assess the potential outcome of any political decision faced by the ruling party.

Of course there will always be those that don't follow these laws, so what then? Well simply put, politicians that don't follow these laws are putting their party at risk and you will find them side-benched by that same party in short order, something we have seen time and time again.

There are many examples to draw from in the last year of where these laws have been seen in action. The impeachment of Donald Trump for example, violation of the first law so it was never going to happen. And more recently we have seen support for Donald Trump within his own party wavier because he himself is in violation of the third law.

Time and time again we have see politicians who have become embroiled in one scandal or another resign rather than risk violating the third law.

Of course thats something that politicians from those parties not in power often use to advance their own parties agenda. Indeed, if the reputation of the ruling party is damaged enough, directly or indirectly, it will often lead to a change in power as a result. Again, something we have seen play out globally time and time again.

So, there you have it, my take on The Three Laws of Politics and a tool to help you navigate and assess the outcome of political decisions. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 26, 2020

What's the Skinny

What is it with pants and trousers these days. Super skinny, ultra skinny, super ultra skinny. I mean half the time I can't even get my foot in the damn things let alone the rest of my leg. Whatever happened to regular sizing? And speaking of sizing, why is it that sizing’s are different from manufacturer to manufacturer.

A 30 inch waist is a 30 inch waist (ok clearly not referring to me there but you get the point). Why label something as a certain size but then inform your customer you need to buy a size up or even two sizes up because the sizing is "on the small side". I mean what the hell does that even mean? Aren't all tape measures equal? isn't an inch or a centimetre the same the world over?

Some of us are graced with muscular thighs, we can't wear skinny or ultra-ultra skinny simply because our legs won't fit into the damn things. Or when we do manage to eventually squeeze into a pair we either end up with a severe case of camel toe or look like we are advertising for a screen test in a porno movie. I mean some trousers leave nothing to the imagination and I am certainly not going to do a drag queen tuck to fit into a pair.

Which of course begs the question for those that do wear them, either they're a total exhibitionist or ...... and trail off there leaving the rest of that statement to your imagination. But seriously, trying on a pair at times is almost like a full body work out. In fact throw that gym membership away and simply go trouser shopping, you might never fit into a pair but after a couple of months trying you'll certainly reap the rewards, and it's free!

But seriously, now that these ridiculous sizing’s have more or less become the norm, shopping for something that actually fits is a challenge. Don't get me wrong, these trousers look good on some people, on others they look like their legs are made of matchsticks and leave you wondering how the hell they can even walk without suffering a serious injury. And don't get me started on visible panty lines again because on some people the effect is well, quite frankly, disturbing to say the least.

They are simply not for me, apart from the struggle to even get into a pair, I actually don't want to wear a pair of trousers that look like they have been spray painted on, with pockets that are more for visual effect rather than functionality because there's simply not a chance in hell you will ever get your hand into some of them. But they are every where now and seem to be the "only" style available which of course is bad news for people like me who have been blessed with big bones, muscular thighs, not to mention some of God's other gifts. It's simply not me, personal taste and all that.

I think I am going to have to search for a decent tailor who can make a simple regular fit trouser, with a slightly tapered leg that don't give me a hernia when I sit down or bend over, and one made using a normal tape measure when it comes to it. In the meantime, I'll simply pray to God that this trend of tight fitting (or ill-fitting in some cases) trousers gives way to something more sensible. Although having said that I have visions (or nightmares) that the next trend will be the complete opposite and baggy will be back in, although thankfully we seem to have passed through the "show off your underway" phase already so there is hope, slim as it may be (and yes pun intended).

Saturday, December 05, 2020

Celebrating Christmas

Christmas is almost upon us and the countdown has begun. The Christmas tree, the decorations, the yule log, mistletoe, the Christmas wreath on the door, holly and berries all symbols that many people will recognise for this celebrated Christian festival.

But Christmas has its roots far deeper than Christianity, and all of the symbols used to celebrate it are rooted in Paganism, and in celebrating the Winter Solstice or Yule.

The celebration of Yule was so ingrained in culture that Christianity's attempts to stamp out Paganism led to it usurping the festival of Yule to celebrate the birth of Christ, and Christmas (or Christ Mass) was born. In fact nearly every major Christian festival has its roots in Pagan tradition or directly usurps a Pagan festival for this reason.

So, as you put up and decorate your Christmas tree did you know that the tree was an important symbol in pagan yuletide tradition. Originally, it represented the Tree of Life and was decorated with gifts people wanted to receive from the gods. It was adorned with natural ornaments such as pinecones, berries and other fruit, as well as symbols sacred to the gods and goddess.

And mistletoe which represents the female element (hence the act of kissing under the mistletoe), also holds much importance in pagan yuletide tradition. It was used by Druid priests in special ceremonies during yuletide who believed that its green leaves represented the fertility of the Mother Goddess, and its white berries, the seed of the Forest God or Oak King.

Holly, which represents the masculine element, was often used to decorate doors, windows and fireplaces. Because of its prickliness it was thought to capture or ward off evil spirits before they could enter a home and cause harm. The holly leaves, symbolic of the Holly King, represent hope, and the red berries represent potency.

Many people will burn candles, or place a light candle in their window. Candles were another way to have an eternal flame within the home. They symbolised the light and warmth of the sun and were used to chase away evils and lure back the returning sun/son. They were also an invitation to a stranger that the house would welcome and feed them during the festival period.

Bells, another symbol often hung on Christmas trees are another part of the Pagan yuletide tradition. They were often rung during the Winter Solstice to drive away demons that surfaced during the dark time of the year.

Carolling was also another popular Yule tradition when young children honoured the Winter Solstice with song. They would go through the villages, singing door to door. The villagers, in return, would reward them with tokens and sweets and small gifts which symbolised the food and prosperity given by the Mother Goddess to all her Earthly children.

Even the predominant colours of Christmas, Red, Green, White, Silver and Gold are the colours used in abundance during pagan celebrations of Yule. Red represents the waning Holly King. Green represents the waxing Oak King. White represents the purity and hope of new Light. Silver represents the Moon. Gold represents the Sun/Son.

Today many devout christians still follow all of these traditions, keeping the spirit of paganism alive, unaware of the rich history it has or the true meanings behind the symbols themselves. Thank you.

Monday, November 02, 2020

The US Election

When Donald Trump entered the race to become the president of the United States, the world looked on and laughed. No one expected him to win, no one took him seriously. And when he did win many like me thought what the hell is wrong with America. 

He has not disappointed either. His term in office will be looked back on as probably one of the worst presidents in the Americans history. There are so many things you could say about the man, about his continual bending of the truth or simply out right misrepresentation of the facts. He is so unqualified to hold the office its simply boggles the mind.

And now he is running for a second term, and make no mistake the people who voted for him last time will continue to do so despite his terrible handling of the Covid-19 situation there, or his pandering to the white supremacists and more. And the sad fact of the matter is, if he doesn't win (which is highly unlikely in my view) he is already on record that he will not accept the results. This fact alone is enough to disqualify him for the very office he is looking desperately to cling onto, after all the shame that goes with a one term president is something that he clearly wants to avoid.

And of course, when he is no longer protected by the office he now holds everything will come out of the woodwork, something clearly that must also be on his mind.

*UPDATE 8th November*

So now that the saga of the American election is over and Biden becomes the 46th President, American holds its collective breath and waits for #45 to give his concession speech. The question remains if he will show any level of graciousness in the last moments of his shameful single term in office or try to hold onto power by any means necessary plunging the country into even more chaos. If I was to answer that question myself I would say based on his character alone it's going to be a bumpy few months indeed!

Sunday, November 01, 2020

Hong Kong Travel Bubble

With the first travel bubble opening between Singapore and Hongkong on November the 6th, without need for quarantine at either destination. But travellers will have to undergo mutually recognised testing for Covid-19 that show they are negative possibly on departure and arrival at both destinations although that is still unclear.

They will also have to take dedicated flights that do not accept transit passengers and the number of these flights can be raised or lowered, depending on the pandemic situation in both cities. Air travel bubbles will be for general travellers and they have no requirements for a controlled itinerary (as is the case with some of the current green lane travel options), which is good news!

Of course, as is typical given the demand the cost of air tickets between Singapore and Hong Kong increased over night since the announcement and no doubt as demand increases, given that many people have felt trapped on this island of Singapore since the Covid-19 pandemic, we can expect the fare to continue to increase too. 

But on the plus side, it's a start of returning to normal and shows what the future of travel has in store for us. Until such time as a vaccine becomes widely available we can expect Covid-19 tests to become the new norm as more of these travel bubbles become available. And you can expect to pay a premium price for those travel options too. 

Let's keep fingers crossed that more and more countries manage to successfully control the spread of Covid-19 domestically, and that more and more people take personal responsibility for doing the same. There has been too much loss of life already with this virus. 

Sunday, May 31, 2020

After Covid-19

So, it's been a messed-up year. Covid-19 has basically stopped the world in its tracks. The number of people who have lost their lives to this disease is a tragedy that in some cases could have been avoided. Countries have responded in different ways, some faster than others. Emergency laws have been enacted to keep people safe, laws that for just reasons have restricted peoples right of movement with penalties in place for those that feel the laws don't apply to them, and borders have been closed globally.

Countries have reached into their coffers to help support their citizens as businesses shut down and people had their income reduced or in some cases lost their jobs entirely. Indeed, the impact of Covid-19 will be felt for a long time to come even as the world rushes to produce a vaccine that will ultimately stop Covid-19 in its tracks. But what will the world look like after Covid-19?

The world as we knew it has ceased to exist that much is clear.  The globalisation that we took for granted has highlighted just how quickly a virus like Covid-19 can spread and no country is going to want to take chances of this happening again.

The emergency laws on people's movement will stay on the books ready to be enacted at the first sign of any outbreak. Those businesses that survived with staff working from home will no doubt implement work from home policies as the new norm so that they are always ready. And those businesses that can't will look to other ways to protect themselves such as investing in automation as much as possible.

The hospitality industry, perhaps the hardest hit, will need to up its game. Initially we can expect cheap flights and accommodation as attempts are made to woe travellers back, but it will only be partially successful. Sanitation, disinfection, even sterilisation of guest rooms will drive up prices but will give guests the level of comfort they will now demand. Governments, if they are smart, will implement laws banning Airbnb or home sharing especially where those controls can't be mandated or effectively monitored.

Airlines will need to think differently too. The squeeze as many people on a plane to maximise profits will need a rethink, as will the use of recycled air on long haul flights. And just as we can expect an increase in hotel prices, prices for flights will also increase. I can almost imagine the new airline adverts, when you travel with us we provide you with your very own disposable hazmat suit.

Indeed, staycations will probably become the new norm given people will be reluctant to travel initially, a new booming industry in the making for those that play their cards right. Everything that we took for granted is gone, I wouldn't be surprised if public places such as supermarkets end up implementing one-way systems for our own protection (something they haven't done yet during the crisis which is surprising). Social distancing, masks in public and so on are with us for a lot longer than people may think, at the very least until a vaccine has been developed and widely distributed.

And we have yet to see the real fall-out form Covid-19. Companies that have or will be forced into bankruptcy, defaults on mortgage payments leading to repossession and/or eviction. That global tsunami is gathering force and its impact has yet to truly felt.

And on the global stage conflicts are brewing. The exchange of words between America and China has gotten increasingly heated and we haven't seen the end of it yet. China has implemented new laws in Hong Kong and threatened Taiwan as it continues to flex its muscle while America faces its own internal challenges lead by president who has taken to implement laws to restrict social media after he was called out for his own misleading tweets.

Anyone who expects to go back to normal once this crisis is over is going to be in for a rude awakening. The world has changed and we have yet to really understand just how much.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Thum and Operation Coldstore

Probably the hottest bouncing ball in Singapore right now is the ongoing back and forth with respect to Thum Ping Tjin's paper on Operation Coldstore which he claims was politically motivated contradicting the Singapore governments position that claims it was to prevent a communist plan to mount an armed struggle against the state and as such the arrests where in the interest of state security.

In a twist of irony, it was the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods that brought out the debate of Operation Coldstore. Thum Ping Tjin submission to the committee accused the government of being the arbitrator of fake news itself, specifically referencing Operation Coldstore. His appearance at the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods resulted in what has been discribed by some as a six hour grilling of Thum Ping Tjin's original research paper.

That was shortly followed by an open letter addressed to the chairman of the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods in the defence of Dr Thum Ping Tjin and academic freedom with 284 signatories worldwide. The reaction to this open letter was to accuse them of being foreign actors attempting to “influence and subvert Singapore’s parliamentary processes”. Indeed Thum himself has been suspected of engineering academic support for himself. Since then Thum has maintained that his arguments on Operation Coldstore remain substantially unchallenged while yet others have stated that claims of attempting to influence or subvert parliamentary process are clearly preposterous.

Soooooo ......... why all the kerfuffle?

Well Operation Coldstore was a turning point in Singapore's history ultimately leading to, for first time, a fully-elected government led by Lee Kuan Yew, whose People’s Action Party (PAP) was voted into power with a strong majority. Lee Kuan Yew has been described as the father of Singapore and is effectively responsible for the position that Singapore as a country currently enjoys. And while there is no doubt of the many great things he accomplished for Singapore, this ongoing debate on Operation Coldstore effectively undermines the foundation on which his government was established.

Needless to say, it has polarised Singapore net-citizens from those who support Thum's position, those that do not, and those who are on the fence saying it is impossible to decide who is right unless more information is released into the public domain. And as more information becomes available with respect to the arrests made under the then PPSO (now ISA) act, such as "Evidence showing Lim Chin Siong’s detention was wrongful emerges", it seems that more questions than answers are appearing.

So, to give this whole debate some context, in a country where even a single individual can be charged with unlawful public assembly this bouncing ball is riveting stuff!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Singapore Presidential Election

As we move forward to the next presidential elections here in Singapore I can't help but feel less than enthusiastic about the prospect.

When I became a Singapore citizen, among the many things I had to learn was the Singapore pledge. For me it had meaning, a promise and a commitment not only of myself but of all Singaporeans that was something to aspire towards. However, recently that very same pledge, those aspirations spoken by millions of Singaporeans through the years, has in my opinion been undermined.

The Singapore government has recently announced what it is calling a "reserved" presidential election. What this means is that the election for the office of the President will be reserved for a certain community (i.e. Chinese, Malay or Indian and other minority communities) if no person belonging to that community has held the office of the President for any of the last 5 terms of office, in an attempt to ensure multi-racial representation in the office of the Presidency.

On the surface, it's an understandable goal and some newspapers here have printed articles that the move "affirms values of multiracialism & meritocracy", but in implementing this change it in effect limits the candidates for election to a single race. I fail to see how that makes Singapore more democratic. In my opinion it is the very definition of racism since it denies candidates of other races the opportunity to run for that office, and as such I fail to see how it supports the political philosophy that power should be vested in individuals almost exclusively based on ability and talent?

One could argue that it is fair because the criteria for candidates for the office of president remains the same regardless of race, or that it will rotate between races if no one of that race has held the office in the last five years. But fair and democratic are two separate words. If, as a voter, i am forced into a position where I am required to vote for a candidate based solely on the race of that candidate as the first and foremost criteria of eligibility, while their ability to hold that office takes on a supporting role, how does that support meritocracy?

In my opinion limiting eligibility for candidacy of the presidential office to a single race, regardless of how well intended the motives behind such a decision may be, is the very definition of racism and a move that is totally in contradiction to the words of the Singapore pledge that promises "as a united people", "regardless of race", "to build a democratic society"

It has to be said that my faith in the government of this country has reached new lows. The pledge that I firmly believe in seems to have been put to one side, and the words that have been spoken by millions of Singaporeans since it was first written in 1966 now ring empty and hollow.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Hidden Side of Pokemon GO

With the recent launch of Pokemon GO here in Singapore it seems everyone and his mother is out to catch them all and the term going to the gym has taking on a new meaning. I'm sure like me your facebook feed is littered with Pokemon updates, a trend one hopes will die off as quickly as it started when we get to the point of "Who the fuck cares". But is the game all that it seems?

Well it appears not. Of course if you are playing for the sheer fun of it then carry on and read no further. But if you are trying to evolve and grow your pokemon to be the best and battle it out in the gym or even get ready for the soon to be released Trainer Battles (yes Trainer Battles are coming) then read on.

You see not every Pokemon is created equal. Two players may have the same Pokemon with the same combat power and health and yet when it comes to actual combat they can produce totally different results. You see each type of Pokemon has a base set of attributes for Stamina, Attack and Defence and it is "born" with these "Individual Values" (or IV) which can never be changed. Of course the game doesn't tell you what these are and only the most hardened Pokemon player will even know they exist or how to use them. In fact you will have to use some external tools to calculate them before deciding on growing, evolving or simply waiting to catch a Pokemon with better IV's.

The fact that you have to resort to additional tools to really get the most out of the game means that Pokemon GO really does fall short for the serious player. These IV statistics could easily have been included and would have made it a much more interesting game with a little more strategy thrown in. So if you are just growing your pokemon with the best Combat Power take note that it could actually be the worst Pokemon in your arsenal at the end of the day.

Maybe the in-game information will improve as the much hyped and planned trainer battles and pokemon trading are implemented in future updates, but if you are attempting to build the best Pokemon collection you can then take note that currently you will need to resort to external tools to help you decide your strategy.

Also, if all the rumors are to be believed, even catching those once easy lower level Pokemon can take a lot more attempts or just as equally you will find your target tends to run away more often as your player levels up. So growing your Pokemon may get a little more frausting as a result. Don't say you weren't warned and make sure you have a good stock of Pokeballs!

Yes Pokemon GO is not all that it seems it appears when you dig a little deeper and still has a LOT of room for improvement. Until then those "Individual Values", what they really mean and how to make the most effective use of them will remain hidden to everyone expect the most experienced Pokemon player.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Meenah and Cheenah

Dream Academy presents Meenah and Cheenah. I was convinced by my friends to attend this show and at first I have to admit to doing so under duress. I have lived in Singapore for 18 years so I really do understand the culture but my sense of humour tends towards left of center and I have never found local productions funny as a result. In fact shows like "The Noose" serve only to irritate me rather than make me smile.

So as I sat down in my seat and girded myself for some very local entertainment I have to admit to being totally wrong in this case.

Meenah and Cheenah was hilarious. True it was very localised in terms of humour and you would have to be Singaporean to get many of the references, but I could not stop laughing at so many points throughout the entire show. Maybe that makes me more Singaporean than I give myself credit for.

This was a show with minimal sets and props that focused on the interplay between two people with almost perfect comic timing and delivery. Well structured, well balanced, and equally well delivered it did not disappoint and when it ended I found myself wishing it hadn’t as I really wanted to see more.

This was Singapore comedy at it's finest at least from my perspective. There were so many skits in such rapid succession that to be honest it is hard to pick a favourite. But if I had to pick one I would say the Ghost scene not only because of the amount of humour it had but also the subtle references it contained that had me and all of my local friends laughing so hard.

I loved it and would gladly watch it again.

For those that missed it, you really did miss out.

We Wear White (not)

Once again we reach that time of year when Pink Dot, a celebration of the freedom to love regardless of sexual orientation, gets ready to take off in Singapore. And once again self proclaimed evangelist pastor and part time magician Lawrence Khong takes exception and plans a We Wear White campaign to coincide on the same day.

Mr. Khong is reported as stating that "there is a conservative majority in Singapore who will push back and will not allow them (LGBT) to promote their lifestyle and liberal ideologies that openly and out rightly contradict our laws, our Governments stated polices, our national core values, and the conservative majority's view on public morality, marriage and family".

I would love to know what the hell he means by that statement because for me it makes very little sense. I read it a couple of times and I'm still no wiser. So I decided to break it down to see if I missed anything.

"To promote their life style"
I have no idea what lifestyle he is referring to. I get up brush my teeth, shower, go to work, come home, eat dinner, catch up with friends. Weekends I might do some shopping. I support my family when they need me too, and the same for my friends. I have the same dreams and aspirations as anyone else, I look forward to holidays as I'm sure everyone does and yes I pay a mortgage and bills too. It's a normal mundane lifestyle with the same worries as everyone else.

"Liberal Ideologies"
Again I have no idea what he means here at all. I think like any person, I have similar politic views as many. I have my own views on religion (which incidentally have taken a bashing at the hands of Mr. Khong it has to be said). I respect and admire the many different cultures and religious beliefs that my friends here in Singapore hold, and I accept that my views and my friends may differ from time to time and even lead to heated debates on certain subjects. In fact it it wasn't for the Liberal Ideologies of the founding fathers of Singapore, Singapore would not be the country it is today.

"Openly and out rightly contradict our laws, our Governments stated polices"
I can only assume here he is referring to section 377A. Given that the Government is already on record as stating that what two people of the same sex do in the privacy of their own home is their own business, and that they will not enforce 377A, I am at a lose as to why he makes this statement. Singapore is also on record as stating the same to the International Human Rights committee. Clearly Mr. Khong is out of touch with reality and seeks to justify his campaign by such a sham alignment.

"our national core values"
The Singapore Pledge, something every person in Singapore has said many times in their lives reads as follows. "We, the citizens of Singapore, pledge ourselves as one united people, regardless of race, language or religion, to build a democratic society based on justice and equality so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation". This represents the core values of every Singaporean. If anything Mr. Khong's misguided We Wear White campaign is in direct volition of this pledge. Clearly his message is that equality for all citizens in the eyes of the law is irrelevant and that his religious views are the only ones that matter since clearly his arguments are based on them.

"the conservative majority's view on public morality"
While I can understand people being conservative, and even such a group being in the majority, I donĂ­t' really understand the public morality connection. I think he needs to explain what he means by that last part because I really don't get it at all. Even if section 377A was repealed there are plenty of other laws already in place to protect public morality. In fact it's one of the reasons that the Government is on record as not enforcing it and why many other countries have already repealed it.

Well, now we get to the juicy stuff. The core argument from Khong and his like is that should section 377A be repealed that gay people will want to be married next and that such a proposal runs contrary to all of his religious beliefs. Well I doubt he has much to worry about as I'm pretty certain no gay man of sane mind would actually propose to him. That said, in no country in the world has any religious organization EVER been forced to perform a same-sex marriage where it goes against the core set of that religions beliefs. NO WHERE. Yes there are many posts of people being sued for not doing so etc, but read up more on them, many are government related jobs where the person refuses to do their job and have been sued on that basis. Others are for stores/shops/public services etc that have openly practiced discrimination based on sexual orientation which was a criminal offence in those countries according to that countries constitution. If same sex couples want to marry in the eyes of the law, then it is the law that makes that decision and certainly not Mr. Khong or any religious organisation for that matter.

We all love our family, the ups the downs, the argument, the laughter. We don't judge each other, our love is unconditional. Regardless of the make up of that family or any individuals sexual orientation in it. In fact if anything Mr. Khong seeks to undermine that family unit by driving wedges between it's members simply because of an individuals sexual orientation within it. Through no fault of your own should you happen to be LGBT Mr. Khong would ensure that you remain less than equal in the eyes of the law. Such views can no longer be tolerated in a modern progressive society like Singapore. No Singaporean should ever believe that any fellow Singaporean should have less rights than they enjoy. Everyone should be equal in the eyes of the law.

I have to say that when you pick apart Mr. Khong's points they don't really stack up. In my opinion this is really nothing more than his attempt to enflame passions among the people of Singapore and his own religious following. Why pick a date for the We Wear White campagin that clashes with Pink Dot if his motives are so pure and above board, in my opinion the answer is they are not and Mr. Khong is directly attacking Pink Dot wether he chooses to admit it or not. Unfortunately however, he is entitled to his own opinion of course, regardless of how misguided it may be, but the rest of the people in Singapore should take them with a pinch of salt.

In my opinion Mr. Khong is following his own agenda here and I say that because he clearly doesn't speak for me or anyone I know in the slightest. . Indeed, he seems to be shouting so loudly on LGBT related topics that given the recent scientific study's on people who are overly negatively vocal on LGBT related topics one has to wonder.

I think Margaret Cho summed it up perfectly with her opinion of Mr. Khong in her recent performance in Singapore, enough said.

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Art of Communication

I am tired of being misunderstood, of having to push through the layers of treacle that seem to surround conversations at times, of dealing with pedantic obstinate people who are incapable of changing their point of view because it’s the only one that matters. Of the tit-for-tat exchanges that perpetuate and escalate from a seemingly innocent statement into an all out war of words that oft times spiral out of control.

And yes, as much as I am guilty of all of the above myself, and freely admit it, I also know that I have the capacity to step back from such exchanges. Sometimes I even do, letting the inevitable verbal stream wash over me like icy-cold water while I internalize the screams of “fuck you” both at myself and my antagonist until the stream dries up and a sense of normality returns followed by the equally inevitable “water under the bridge” or “forget it” comments of closure the final twists of the dagger to be endured.

I am nothing special, I know that nearly every person could say the same and like me have been in many such situations with someone younger or older while their own inner voice screams “I have a point of view, listen to it”, the fuel our ego’s add to the fire by default in an effort to be heard and understand. Understanding, the elusive holy grail of conversation.

Conversation is often nothing more than an illusion at times as we fool ourselves into thinking we are listening when what we are listening for is the flaws, the tiniest of cracks, the minor discrepancies or that ultimate prize the opportunity to one-up the conversation because you did it better or worse or know a friend of a friend who did, the “beat that” factor.

It’s not a generation thing, it’s simply a human condition. Few people are able to step beyond it, many aren’t even aware of it their own ego’s already trained to drown out sensibility, while most (of which yet again I include myself) are stuck firmly in the middle swinging between the two extremes like a perpetual pendulum bashing our heads against the proverbial brick wall over and over again.

And as I strive to be one of the few, those that know when to stay silent and just simply nod in agreement sacrificing their own point of view in the process to avoid slamming into that brick wall face first (a life long journey I fear), I realize that I simply lack the patience to deal with idiots, especially those that delight in lauding the conversation with their inherently flawed knowledge.

Stupidity is just extremely difficult to ignore. I’m no saint, far from it, but I’m beginning to see where the expression “the patience of a saint” comes from because seriously, trying to have a normal conversation with some people is almost impossible.  I need to get better at switching off and faking that interested expression as I doubt the brutal honesty of “you’re talking shit and I have no wish to continue this inane conversation” is not particularly endearing as truthful as it may be at times.

And when that conversation turns to advice we enter into a verbal mine field, one without a safe path through it I might add. No-one listens to advice even if it is based on real life personal experience. There’s simply something about the human condition that treats any and all advice with dismissal and once it’s offered we seem to develop instant goldfish memory syndrome.

Worse again is if you are getting advice from someone you already struggle to converse with as then your conversation enters a whole new world of mental anguish. Yes, there are some people that just drone on as if they will never run out of steam with words gushing out of them in an unending torrent of incomprehensibility. Violence is alas never the answer even if the temptation to stem the flow is a quick backhand to the face.

So as much I as need to work on understanding others, I know that I also need to work on being understood in equal measure both tasks facing insurmountable odds of being accomplished in one life time I might add. Still, at least it’s something to work towards, and what is life but a series of challenges anyway so one more isn’t’ going to make that much of a difference in the scheme of things.

Yes, conversation is an art form, one we all need to pay a little more attention too.