I was reading the news on the relationship workshop conducted by the “Focus on the Family”, and it drawn me on the cognitive distortion* that was propagated.

Looking at the booklet, on the page “She says”, I have changed the column “She says…” to “What was said.”, and “She really means” to “What you think was said.”

What was said. What you think was said. *Cognitive distortion. What you can do.
I need. I want. Magnification (Catastrophizing) or minimization. You discredit a justified concern (a need, a necessity) to a negative frivolous demand (a want, an optional non-necessity). Listen to what is the need.
I need another five minutes to get ready. Give me another half an hour. Jumping to conclusion. The Fortune Teller Error. You anticipated that time will not be kept, and is convinced that your prediction is an already-established fact. Check if the speaker is ready in five minutes. At the same time, it would be good to understand whether the speaker needs more help, such as a clock in the room, in order for the speaker to be able to know how much time has passed. Some of us do not have an internal clock that can actually judge how much time has passed. Yes, amazingly some people are relatively accurate in judging how much time has passed without a clock/watch.
Come on, it is about time keeping. It is a mixture of personality, habits and culture.For MBTI personality, a perceiver (P) person tends to have difficulty in keeping time, while a judger (J) person finds it easy to keep time. In a modern society, we are expected to form the habit of time keeping, as social interactions require people to meet at the correct time. In culture where each is expected to show respect by keeping time, and where one cannot get away from not keeping time, people are forced to practice time keeping.
You are so manly. You need to shave and you sweat a lot! Disqualifying the positive. You reject positive experiences by insisting they “don’t count” for some reason or other. In this way you can maintain a negative belief that is contradicted by your everyday experiences.You disqualify the positive complement.Jumping to conclusion. Mind reading. You arbitrarily conclude that someone is reaction negatively to you, and you don’t bother to check this out. In delusion, you chose the closest unspoken insecurity to assume. Thank the speaker and enjoy the complement.
We need to talk. I need to complain. Magnification (Catastrophizing) or minimization. You discredit a justified concern (a need to talk, to communicate) to a negative frivolous activity (a complain, a one-way dialog). Communicate. Speak what is mean. Listen without distortion. Clarify. Rephrase what is understood. Stick to the issue discussed.
I’m not upset.[Speaker is really not upset] Of course I’m upset! Jumping to conclusion. The Fortune Teller Error. In delusion, you choose to see negativity when there isn’t. Accept it.
Communication is not about just verbal. It includes non-verbal, such as body language. In this case, it is the verbalizing of an emotion.  The ability to read the emotion displayed correctly is important. [A social skill which not everyone get it right.]If emotion had been correctly read, and is in conflict with the verbalized, then we need to enlighten the speaker of the discrepancy, and probe further.For the speaker, remember, communication is about saying what you mean. For the listener, remember, communication is about listening without distorting what is said. Do not jump to conclusion. Clarify.

* The cognitive distortions are extracted from table 3-1 of the book, Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns, M.D.


I am deeply saddened by NLB’s decision to destroy the following 3 children’s books for not being “pro-family”:

1) And Tango Makes Tree
(Recounts real life-inspired story about 2 male penguins raising a baby chick at New York’s Central Park Zoo)
2) The White Swan Express: A Story About Adoption
(Features a lesbian couple)
3) Who’s In My Family: All About Our Families
(Describes single and same sex couples family set-ups)

I always remember our National Pledge on tolerance,
to “pledge ourselves as one united people,
regardless of race, language or religion,
to build a democratic society
based on justice and equality”

Why are we, as a nation, moving towards intolerance, where the dividing line is whether we accept some of the people that exist around us? Single families and same sex couples are part of our society. Such an act is a blatant message that they should not exist. This led us down the slippery road of intolerant and bully, fragmenting the society.

In view of such act, this blog has removed all articles regarding NLB for a period of time. I apologised to all those who are looking for the remembrance articles regarding Library@Orchard, which features pictures and 360 degree views of the Library@Orchard.


I noticed that many people tend to express frustrations but yet continue to reward the bad behavior. We seem to be penny wise and pound foolish. We tend to pass the bucket of responsibility, while lamenting the misfortune.

Would we pay a pound more for the same goods at the next shop who’s salesman does not sneer and chide us? What is the price of dignity?

Would we continue to purchase food from the hawker who smokes in front of our door, and let our children and parents breathe in the second-hand smoke? Would each and everyone exert commercial pressure to stop bad behavior that isn’t within the reach of law and regulations?

When will we stand together instead of passing the bucket to the politician? Would we be too selfish to stand together, and rather spend a penny lesser searching for the next available N95 mask?


The haze has many effects; Cough, shortness of breath, itchy throat, disappearing masks and this blog post. We even have Agung Laksono, the minister who is coordinating Indonesia’s response to the haze crisis saying “Singapore should not be behaving like a child and making all this noise.”[1] Hmm. It set me wondering whether we are justified to be “making all this noise”.

First, on the most selfish personal basis; how does the haze affects each and everyone within the zone of haze? Let’s focus on the PM2.5 particles. The 4pm reading for 24hr PM2.5 on 20th Jun is between 247-304 µg/m³. While the WHO last revised values for PM2.5 in 2005 are:
-10 µg/m³ for the annual average
-25 µg/m³ for the 24-hour mean (not to be exceeded for more than 3 days/year) [2]

What!? We are experiencing particles that far exceeded the limits. Why would the WHO set such a standard? Is there any evidence that the PM2.5 causes health damage?

“Health effect caused by short-term exposure to fine particles (PM2.5), which is based on a daily standard, include:
-Premature death, especially death related to heart and lung diseases
-Increased hospital admissions and emergency department visits for cardiovascular effects, such as non-fatal heart attacks and strokes.

Short-term PM2.5 exposures also are linked to increased hospital admissions and emergency department visits for respiratory effects, such as asthma attacks, as well as increased respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. In addition, short-term PM2.5 exposures are linked to reduced lung function, especially in children and people with lung diseases, such as asthma.” [3]

In addition, “Because of the tiny size of the ultrafine particles (UFP) [aka PM0.1], these can penetrate the lung epithelium and enter the bloodstream. From there, particles can be transferred to liver, bone marrow, brain and heart, leading to a systematic infection.” [4]

Let me upgrade my medical insurance before continuing the post…

[1] Indonesia Says Singapore Behaving Like a Child over Haze. http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/indonesia-says-singapore-behaving-like-a-child-over-haze/

[2] Health Effects of Particulate Matters (Final, English). http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/189051/Health-effects-of-particulate-matter-final-Eng.pdf

[3] The National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particle Pollution. http://www.epa.gov/pm/2012/fshealth.pdf

[4] M.M. Politis, C. Pilinis and T.D. Lekkas, Ultrafine Particles (UFP) and Health Effects Dangerous. Like No Other PM? Review and Analysis, Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Environmental Science and Technology, Kos Island, 5-7 September 2007. http://www.gnest.org/journal/Vol10_No3/439-452_579_POLITIS_10-3.pdf

For those interested to read more:
Environment: Newly found health effects of air pollution call for stronger EU air policies. http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-72_en.htm


The notion of a talent is someone who is more capable in specific skill-set than the average. Whereas worker is a general term which does not differentiate the skill-set of the worker; therefore encompassing both talent and uhm-hmm the rest.

In any economic that is driven by cutting edge research or evidently superior management that provides eye-popping profit, the hunt for the exceptional talent can be relentless.

However, there is a limited number of talents. Nationality does not determines whether one is a talent or not. A proper benchmarking of skill does.

Moreover, extrapolating such a need to the mass economy is dangerous. Not all sectors requires Noble Prize winners. The vanilla flavored service engineer does not need to be a talent; we need a worker who follows the procedures and not a creative personnel who thinks out of the box and put the cart before the horse.

If the justification that someone is employed because he or she is a talent and the position truly requires one, no one will cry and puff…. But perhaps some still will :D


Calls after calls.
Calls that are not “traceable” to originator.

With the few calls that get through, the telemarketers were promoting “Body Contour”.
Calling someone around 10 times per day to promote your company’s service is definitely NOT going to get you any customer.


Today (13th Nov 2011), one of my relative took AirAsia to Kuala Lumpur in the morning. Usually, the immigration white card will be offered in the plane. However, this morning, despite personally requesting for a copy of immigration white card (Arrival/Departure Card (Imm.26) ), my relative was told that there is not a single piece of immigration white card in the plane. My relative was asked to get the immigration white card at the low cost terminal (LCCT) on arrival.

Now, the next turn of event that happened was that there was not a single piece of immigration white card at the arrival hall of the low cost terminal! All the booths where the immigration white cards were usually placed at, were empty. Instead, my relative, like the at least hundreds of other passengers who arrived this morning at LCCT, was directly shepherd by an immigration officer to the immigration counters. This shepherding immigration officer told my relative and all the arriving passengers that “No white card is required”.

My relative, seeing that the passengers in the queue to the immigration counters were going through the immigration passport check without the immigration white card, followed accordingly.

Now, the nightmare happened when my relative tried to leave Malaysia. My relative was blocked from leaving at the Malaysia immigration, as my relative did not have the immigration white card slip. Cash was “requested” from my relative by the immigration officer.

I do wonder what can be done? I am sure many of the at least hundreds of passengers who arrived at LCCT on 13th Nov 2011 morning and are still in Malaysia, will have not only a holiday, but also a nightmare when there try to leave Malaysia.


I mourn for true democracy. Legally right, ethically wrong. A 40+% of votes to opposition translated to <7% of seats in parliament due to gerrymandering.

I mourn for the blind conviction of those who blindly bestowed the majority seats to a single party, allowing the single party free rein of making and amending our legal system.

Voting is the citizen’s privilege to decide on MP(s) who make and amend the legal framework of Singapore, and its cascading effect on our daily life, yet few voted with this understanding.


I hear many comments saying that the Alternative Parties have no concrete plans. That even if they are voted into the parliament, things will stay the same.

I will like to start with posing a question. If a certain Party has the majority seats in parliament, and decided to reward the selected ministers with say $1 trillion dollars, what will be needed? They will need the votes of the members of parliament to approve the bill. Do I get your attention?

In short, the voting power of the members of parliament is the crux to any concrete plans. Be it to pay the ministers say $1 trillion dollars, be it to approve or amend the bills regarding Retirement Age Bill, Income Tax Bill, Central Provident Fund Bill, Rapid Transit Systems Bill, Goods and Services Tax Bill, or Housing and Development Bill [1].

Every PAP MP has to toe the PAP party whip, and votes according to the party whip. (Do note that PAP MP’s can request on a case-by-case basis for the party whip to be lifted. [2]) This means that any party having the majority in the parliament has the power to pass any bills to perform whatever concrete plans.

In short, no majority in parliamentary, all “noise” (aka feedback, debates) in parliament, but no plans are possible.

[1] Bills Introduced, Parliament of Singapore, URL http://www.parliament.gov.sg/publications/Bills-Introduced
[2] PAP whip to be lifted for all MPs at times, The Business Times Singapore, March 21, 2002


There is a very interesting point being put across that the opening of abc company brings xyz jobs for the “local workforce”. Sometimes, instead the word “singapore resident” is used. Do you know what “local workforce” means under our Ministry of Manpower definition?

Refering to the definition in the “Calculation of Foreign Worker Quotas” provided by Ministry of Manpower,

Quoting MOM’s website  (as on 23 Apr 2011) :
‘Local workforce’ refers to those full-time employees (Singapore citizens or permanent residents) who have worked for a full month, and are receiving prompt monthly salary/CPF contributions which are similar to the industry norm[1].

Singapore depends on the market forces to decide whether the companies wish to employ Permanent Residents OR Singapore citizens as their local workforce. In the view of productivity, employment of Permanent Residents is very attractive, as Permanent Residents who are males, do not need to serve reservist, and Permanent Residents who are females, are not entitled to the last eight weeks (9th to 16th week) of maternity leave[2].

Back to the title, local workforce refers to Singapore Citizens OR Permanent Residents. It does not refers to only Singaporean.


[1] Calculation of Foreign Worker Quotas, Ministry of Manpower, http://www.mom.gov.sg/foreign-manpower/foreign-worker-levies/Pages/calculation-of-foreign-worker-quotas.aspx

[2] Calculation of Foreign Worker Quotas, Ministry of Manpower, http://www.mom.gov.sg/foreign-manpower/foreign-worker-levies/Pages/calculation-of-foreign-worker-quotas.aspx

Quoting MOM’s website (as on 23 Apr 2011) 

Maternity leave for a foreigner or PR working in Singapore
The employee is entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave if she is covered under the Employment Act, regardless of her nationality. She will be paid by her employer for the first eight weeks of maternity leave if she has fewer than two living children (excluding the newborn), and she has served her employer for at least 90 days before the birth of the child. Beyond the first eight weeks, maternity payment from the employer is voluntary and the employer is not entitled to claim any reimbursement from the government.

Under the Children Development Co-Savings Act, an employee is entitled to maternity leave benefits if:
i.The child is a Singapore Citizen;
ii.The child’s parents are lawfully married; and
iii.The employee has served her employer for at least 90 days before the child’s birth.

Entitlement under Children Development Co-Savings Act
An eligible employee is entitled to absent herself from work four weeks immediately before and 12 weeks immediately after delivery, totalling 16 weeks.

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