Archive for December, 2014

A Modern Caste

ftThe term “FT” is Singapore’s unique colloquialism. It means “Foreign Talent” and is the latest notorious entry into the local jargon. The mention of FT invokes sentiments of xenophobia. It is tragic. It shouldn’t be that way. Singaporeans of the first generation were generous and hardworking migrants. The young men, now with graying hair, were enlisted into compulsory conscription to serve the country as it emerged from the cocoon as a new nation. Barely 50 years have gone by since. The first 3 decades were tough years but most citizens cherish those moments. Suddenly, something sinister crept surreptitiously into the nation in the last decade. The cheerful spirit floated away. Today, “contempt” is being felt at the mention of FT.  The troubling question is WHY? Read the rest of this entry »

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Common Sense or Uncommon Sense?

commonsenseIn the tightly-controlled media in Singapore, blogging, and any other form of public expression is subject to great perils. Personal opinions and comments, once published and accessible by the public come under intense scrutiny by the guardian (aka government, i.e. the People’s Action Party). Every word is scanned for intent and perceived mischievous meanings. Writers who are not skilled in Queen’s English face possible legal challenges by the members of the guardian, if the published article falls short of literally excellence and unintentionally is being interpreted as libelous. Numerous people have thus been taken to task. The courts are unforgiving and the sentence meted out is often severe financially. Once a libel action has been initiated, the statistical win in favour of the guardian is astronomically high. Read the rest of this entry »

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MH370 Once More

1419817987707The joyous sounds of Christmas and year end parties are still ringing all around. Suddenly, the phantom of MH370 comes to roost again. Another Malaysian plane disappeared into thin air just like MH370.  This time it is an AirAsia Airbus 320 plane QZ8501 with 162 people on board, mainly Indonesians heading for Singapore from Surabaya, Indonesia. What misfortune has befallen Malaysia! Is Malaysia’s air industry jinx? Or is this sheer coincidence – to have 2 Malaysian planes vanishing into thin air and another shot down all within a year? Read the rest of this entry »

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Weekender: MUV-e Folding Scooter

The MUV-e folds up into a suitcase-sized trolley in around 3 seconds

The three-wheeled electric scooter has been designed to automatically fold up into a suitcase-sized trolley in around 3 seconds for roll-along, between ride transport. The new MUV-e tips the scales at 14 – 18 kg, depending on the version chosen, and features an aluminum and carbon fiber chassis, with carbon fiber covers. A cradle for a smartphone has also been included, where the ubiquitous mobile device can be used as a navigation aid and, with the help of a companion app, act as a speedometer, odometer and electrometer.

The developers have increased the range of a fully-charged MUV-e to 30 km (19 miles), depending on riding style and battery size (the vehicle will be available in 8 or 16 Ah Li-ion battery configurations). There are two 12.5-inch alloy wheels to the front and a 10-inch wheel and a 140 mm disc brake at the back, and its two-speed, 36 V brushless hub motor is reported capable of powering the personal mobility machine to a peak speed of 32 km/h (20 mph).

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One Language, One World

Is-This-The-Greatest-Invention-Since-The-Telephone-1728x800_cKing World NewsA world where there are no more language barriers might not be too far away – online, at least.
Skype has now released the beta version of its live translation tool, allowing people to speak to others in another language – even if they don’t know what they’re saying.
The tool translates speech instantly, providing both text and spoken translations.
You can sign up for the beta version of Skype Translator now on their website.
For now the public version is only able to translate between English and Spanish – and you need a Windows 8.1 device to use it.
But it will eventually have more than 40 languages available letting people of many countries speak to one another with ease.


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Christmas – What Christmas?

vaticanABC NewsPope Francis has urged people to have greater empathy towards family and friends with problems in his Christmas Eve mass, saying the world “needs tenderness” and warmth.

“Do we have the courage to welcome with tenderness the difficulties and problems of those who are near to us?” the pontiff asked in his traditional homily delivered in St Peter’s Basilica, filled with 5,000 worshippers.

“Or do we prefer impersonal solutions, perhaps effective but devoid of the warmth of the Gospel? How much the world needs tenderness today.”

The 78-year-old Pope entered the vast basilica in a solemn procession flanked by cardinals intoning the Kalenda, a Gregorian chant proclaiming the birth of Jesus Christ.

Francis then removed a cloth from a statuette of a smiling baby Jesus that two children, from Syria and Lebanon, had carried into the sanctuary, and kissed the figure.
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Misguided Technology

2015_volvo_xc90_overseas_21_1-0827-460x272The Motor Report – Three Swedish brands have teamed up to produce a concept which they claim is a world-first for cyclist safety: the ‘connected’ bike helmet.

Swedish carmaker Volvo is behind the initiative, together with sports gear manufacturer POC and technology company Ericsson.

The group hopes the helmet will become part of the growing vehicle2vehicle and vehicle2infrastructre (v2v, v2i) scene, enabling it to inform a cyclist of surrounding danger.

Using a smartphone app, the helmet can ‘talk’ to other vehicles in the immediate area via the Volvo cloud and display a warning light to the wearer if need be.

Drivers can also benefit from the technology, with a similar warning shown on the head-up display if the car detects a collision with a cyclist wearing the helmet (watch video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Iz8VE1L2S-4).
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Don’t Touch the Bear

543665.siRT News Russian President Vladimir Putin has replied to statements of Russia “having to pay for its position [over Crimea],” saying no country or leader has managed to “intimidate, suppress or isolate Russia,” and no one ever will. Speaking at a Kremlin gala celebrating Security Forces Day, Putin said that the country is constantly threatened to be paying a high price for its “independent position, for supporting its citizens, for Crimea and Sevastopol, and sometimes even for its mere existence.” Reminding of previous failed attempts to subdue Russia over the 20th century, the country’s leader pointed out the situation in the whole world is not stable, with some countries trying to control and interfere with others. Earlier this week, US President Barack Obama authorized sanctions against individuals and entities operating in Russia’s Crimean peninsula, following similar EU actions. Read the rest of this entry »

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One Way Trip to Heaven

IRAQ-UNREST-TIKRITNew Straits TimesMalaysians heading for Syria and Iraq to fight with the Islamic State have been taking out bank loans to fund their journey and life there.

Sources from Bukit Aman told the New Straits Times that investigation papers on at least five Malaysian fighters, who were stopped from going over, showed that they had not only disposed of most of their properties, but had also applied for loans, some up to more than RM100,000.
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Weekender: Helmet In A Briefcase

Stash Your Bike Helmet In A Briefcase

Biking to work has never been more convenient.

bike helmet

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