This ‘President Emeritus’ Says: “Visit this website”

I have just read the news update on the City Harvest case that another church leader, Serina Wee, the former finance chief of City Harvest Church, was charged with 10 criminal charges. I have a feeling that the dragnet will increase in size and that more people will be implicated in this case.

However, what really caught my attention was that Kong Hee is represented by ruling party PAP Member of Parliament Edwin Tong. MP Tong is also a partner at the law firm Allen & Gledhill. For those not in the known, a MP is considered a part-time job in Singapore. Majority of the Singaporean MPs are not really involved in policy-making and usually stick to the party line (read: PAP). Policy-making is usually left to the political bigwigs (Prime Minister, cabinet ministers, and the permanent secretaries). Hence, the reason why MP Tong can take the time to represent Kong Hee in the City Harvest case.

The other five church leaders have employed Senior Counsels. As Straits Times succinctly states, “A Senior Counsel is a lawyer considered as an elite among the profession”. So the other five are not doing too badly on the legal front either. But I wonder why Kong Hee gets the best of the best: a legal bigwig and a politician.

That being said, this is going to be a very interesting case, especially with a team of legal heavyweights representing Kong Hee and the other five church leaders. I wonder who the prosecutor for this case is. That poor shmuck.

Unfortunately, I am not able to keep up to date with the case as my laptop is being repaired. So my only means of accessing the Internet will be through my very small Blackberry screen (which makes it hard for me to browse comfortably) or through the computers at university (where most labs are not open 24/7). However, I will try my best to update my blog on the City Harvest case.

You must, by now, be wondering about that weird title I have for this post. All in good time, all in good time.

Throughout the past 2 years or so, I have mentioned Unimates a couple of times in this blog (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here). Unimates is the international student society at University of Sydney. Basically, Unimates assist International students in settling down while organizing events and trips around Sydney, and sometimes outside the New South Wales state. Unimates also aim to foster closer multicultural ties between International and local students. After all, Unimates do get a lot of nationalities from all over the world.

I was formerly the President of Unimates.

Before I left my position at the end of May this year, I overhauled the entire Unimates constitution. In the process, I added a new position called President Emeritus (or Emerita for a female). The title of President Emeritus/Emerita is conferred upon the Immediate Past President of Unimates and allows perks such as discounts, chauffeured cars, housing allowance, wining and dining allowance, and heavily discounted flight tickets (Singapore Airlines, economy class).

Pretty sweet, eh? Unfortunately the benefits are not true. If I really put that in the Constitution, the Clubs and Societies Office, and the University of Sydney Union (USU) board will have my head.

The President Emeritus/Emerita does get one benefit though. Waived membership fee. That’s all. And to get the title of President Emeritus/Emerita, one must serve out their full term. And the title is only applicable to the Immediate Past President.

The President Emeritus/Emerita is purely a ceremonial and adviserial role. So basically, I do jackshit. When I included this role into the Constitution, one of my friends told me I should name it President Mentor, modelled after Lee Kuan Yew’s former Minster Mentor role, so that I can retain vast powers within the Unimates Committee.

“Nah,” I said, “not going to do that.”

I mean, it’s fun to be President. But a lot of people seem to forget that with great powers come great responsibilities. I was burned out after a while. So it was a relief for me to finish my term and hand over all Presidential powers to Patrick. My ‘job’ now is to just give out some advice when needed and just basically let the new Committee do their job. So basically, I went from the driver’s seat to the back of the bus. I’m just in for the ride. Heh.

I was talking to a friend last night at the university’s Sydney Welcome Party (organized by the International Student Lounge, Unimates’ close partner in crime). He asked me how I felt, now that I was no longer President.

“Happy,” I said.

“Happy?”

“Yeah, it was a lot of work being President. There was a lot of stuff to do. Now I’m just going to take it easy for my last semester and prepare myself for the working world.”

Even my ceremonial role as President Emeritus is not established, hence the quotation marks around them in the title. The Clubs and Societies Office have approved the new Constitution, so that’s one hurdle cleared. But the USU Board will only ratify the Constitution in a month’s time. So nothing’s official yet.

That being said, the new Committee is doing a fantastic job, thanks to the boundless enthusiasm of the new President, Patrick, and from the other committee members. In the past (and during my term), Unimates’ website operated from a WordPress blog. However, the current IT Officer, Kevin, has  recently created a new Unimates website at http://usydunimates.org.au/. Go take a look at the new website, send an email to Unimates if you have any suggestion for improvement, and if you are coming to Sydney Uni as an International Student or Exchange Student, you know which society to join.

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Rally Video for SBA 2011

This will be my last post on asking readers to vote for me in the Best What-The-Hell category in the Singapore Blog Awards 2011.

Last post, promise.

Anyway, about two weeks back, I received an email from omy.sg, the media company organizing the SBA 2011. I was asked to send a video to them for two purposes:

  1. Advertise my blog in the SBA 2011 to raise my blog’s profile.
  2. Rally votes from readers.

In the video, I had to prepare a two minutes rally speech, describing myself, my passion for blogging and last but not least, why people should vote for me.

Pretty simple, right?

The only problem is that I know I don’t have the looks, charm and deep, gravelly voice to convey my sincerity to the people watching my video.

So I decided to do a stop motion film.

I did the stop motion film over two days and sent it to omy.sg. So far, they have not put up my video yet. So I decided to go ahead and put it up on YouTube.

The result is this:

 

 

 

 

I know the film looks pretty crappy, it was the first time I did a stop motion film.

I think I took slightly more than a thousand pictures just for a 2 minutes film. I now have a lot of respect for people who churn out quality stop motion film. Doing one takes a lot of patience, perseverance and more patience. I almost gave up halfway until my housemate took some time-off from her studying and helped me out with the second part.

So now you’ve seen the video, you know my plight. I’m starving (attention-seeking) blogger who needs more food (attention). You can donate more food (votes) by clicking on the big, blue Vote for me here! on the right column.

If you’re not directed to the page when you click the link, then go here. Click on Best What-The-Hell category on the left column, and look for Mr. Toilet Seat. I’m the 4th contestant on the list.

Do the right thing, vote for me and spread the word. Vote for me daily until 3rd July and you’ll get a chance to win prizes. It’s a win-win situation.

 

P.S. I did not steal the bathtub. And yes, that’s the same bathtub in the header picture.

Top 10 Finalist in Best What-The-Hell Blog Category

I have located the Blogfather’s accommodation in Sydney. Using a twitpic posted by the Blogfather himself, my housemates and I used Google maps to confirmed his current place of residence in Sydney. Thus the status of the mission is upgraded to ongoing:



Debriefing on identifying mrbrown’s locations in Sydney, NSW

Selected point man: Zareth Lim

Target: mrbrown

Target’s last known location: Planking at SPARC 2011, somewhere around Sydney CBD (Circular Quay)

Mission goal: To locate mrbrown in Sydney and get a photo together with him and his autograph

Current status: Ongoing

Method: Twitter updates, Google mapping and good old fashion leg work.



Soon, soon I will meet with the Blogfather. It’s only a matter of patience and perseverance. The 2 powerful Ps, I call them.



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That aside, I just want to let you know that I am one of the top 10 finalists in the Best What-The-Hell blog category! This is exciting, I’ve never been in any major competition before and to have my barely two-years-old blog as one of the finalist is nothing sort of awesome, especially in a competition like the Singapore Blog Awards 2011.

First, I would like to thank Alvin for nominating my blog. I’ve blogged about my nomination, where I did a bit of sleuthing to verify if this competition was…ahem…legit. Turned out it was and I registered my blog in the competition. So thanks, Alvin!

I would also like to thank the judges who have the foresight to choose my blog as one of the top 10 finalists or else I’ll go all private detecting on their asses. Nah, kidding, I don’t have a lot of free time now. I’m suppose to be studying for my last two papers actually. But thanks, judges!

However, the game is not over yet. You see, the overall winner for each category will be determined 70% by a panel of professional judges. I’ve passed that hurdle. The other 30% will be determined by the public. 

So yes, this is a shameless plug from me. I need your votes. You can vote for me once a day, every day from 6 June 2011 to 3 July 2011. Tell your family, friends, relatives, SO, even your superiors, because together, we can keep the rants flowing. Together, we can forge a brighter and greater future for this blog. Together, you and I.

So spread the word!

Plug end.

“But how do I vote?”

Excellent question, I have provided links for easy access. The links are here and here. All you need to do is to click on the “VOTE NOW!” button:





Unfortunately, the voting is only open to Singaporeans and Singapore PRs. Not my rules, sorry.

So that’s all, people. Remember to vote for me! I’ve just broke my Twitter virginity about 24 hours ago (due to the Blogfather’s unexpected arrival in Sydney), so you can follow me on Twitter. Just click on the Twitter button on the right.

Good night, and good luck.



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This is how I feel right now. I know I shouldn’t be elated when it’s not over yet but I can’t help it:


Nominated for omy Singapore Blog Awards 2011

I was going through my email when I decided to check my Junk folder yesterday.

I hadn’t checked my Junk folder in dunno-how-many-months and made the decision to check it since I haven’t heard back from my presentation group regarding our group meeting.

Unfortunately, my group has not got back to me about our group meeting (our presentation is on FRIDAY). I can’t blame them though, since I’m also taking a very relaxed attitude to our presentation (10% of course marks? Meh).

Fortunately, something else better awaited for me in the Junk folder.

I saw an email from an Alvin informing me that I have been nominated for the omy Singapore Blog Awards 2011.

This was how I felt:


Special thanks to my friend who took this sibeh tulan photo of me.


At first, I was extremely skeptical. I mean, how often do people come up to you and say you’re nominated for the Singapore Blog Awards? Not very often.

Another reason why I was skeptical about the email is because I seldom update my blog and when I do, it’s usually filled with random ramblings and musings. But hey, it’s my blog after all.

Anyway, curiosity got the better of me and I opened the email. This was what I saw:


Click on screenshot to see a bigger screenshot.


Seems pretty legit.

But you can’t be too trusting these days. So I decided to do a bit of ‘detective work’.

First, I checked the email address of the sender. When I saw the email address, using my ‘amazing’ deductive skills, I went straight here.

Yep, it’s a blogger. A very well-known Singapore blogger.

But I was still slightly skeptical, so I went to the “About Me” page and searched for the email address. I found it in two seconds.

The email address in the blog corroborated with the email address of the sender.

But wait! What if some spammer got his email and was sending out some spammy emails to other people telling them that they have been nominated for the omy Singapore Blog Awards 2011? That’s just cruel. Imagine a blogger celebrating the nomination, thinking that his/her blog has finally gain some recognition, only to have their laptops/computers infected with malicious viruses after clicking on the link. Talk about crushing someone’s dreams.

So I decided to do another check. On his blog (the blogger who nominated me), I did a search for “Singapore Blog Awards 2011”. The search gave me this post.

Okay… so now I’m semi-convinced.

But being the semi-paranoid fuck that I am, I decided to sent an e-mail to the man himself and asked if he really nominated my blog for the awards:


Click on screenshot to see a bigger screenshot.


Now I’ll just have to wait for his reply. I set a deadline of 24 hours. If I didn’t hear back from him within 24 hours, I’ll just delete the email and continue with my university life. 

But I got an email from him within the hour:


Click on screenshot to see a bigger screenshot


I felt a bit paiseh (Hokkien for ’embarassed’).

But now I was pretty interested in the blog awards. So I clicked on the registration link and saw this:


Click on screenshot to see a bigger screenshot


I guess I’ve been blogging too much about toilet seats.

So what now?

I’ve decided to enter omy Singapore Blog Awards 2011. As Alvin said in the email, I can enter as many categories as I want to. I checked all the other categories and found only one more category relevant to my blog and that is Best Individual Blog

So this is it guys. I’m gunning for Best What-the-hell Blog (nominated by Alvin) and Best Individual Blog (nominated by myself). I don’t think I’m going to win both, but it’ll be an interesting experience.


BUT


Before I can do that, I’ll need your help, dear friends and readers, to choose three blog posts that captures the essence, or best represent my blog.

Or you can choose your top 3 favourite posts. 

So choose 3 posts and you can FB message me or send me an email. My email contact is in the “Contact” tab at the top. Don’t worry, I won’t go Sherlock Holmes on you.

You have up till 21 May 2011.

Mr. Toilet Seat wants to know your favourite posts:



Hurry! The Blog Awards nominations close on 22 May 2011!

Once I’ve register my blog for both categories, my blog will go through one round of judging by a panel of judges. This take place on 23 May to 5 June. The panel of judges will select 10 top entries from each categories. If I make it through this round, then I’ll enter the next round where the public will vote for their favourite bloggers. This takes place on 6 June to 3 July. The overall winner will be the one that get the most points (30% from voters and 70% from judges).

Exciting, eh?

To find out more about omy Singapore Blog Awards 2011, click on the bright, pink link on the right.

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So how did Alvin discover my blog? Well, I was blogging about the 2011 Singapore GE and linked his blog in the post. The rest is history. 

Once again, thanks Alvin, for nominating my blog!

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This is how I feel right now:


The Most Qualified Singaporean Taxi Driver

I’ve just realized that I’ve been blogging non-stop the past few days.

And I have yet to post those way overdue entries from November and December.

I’ll get to it, I promise.

But now, I’ll like to talk about this blogger that I’ve been a fan of the past few months.

This post is long and contains a few big, bombastic words (I’m analyzing a blog and a blog entry). So gore-fest loving people, no gross pictures for now.



He is a scientist. He holds a PhD. from the University of Stanford and migrated to Singapore (he was originally from China) to work in a top scientific institution.

But due to certain circumstances, he was retrenched (or fired, however you want to look at it) from his position and despite sending out resumes to universities and numerous institutions in Singapore, he was unable to find a job.

I’m not sure why he does not want to get a job overseas like the U.S or the U.K or Europe or China. I think part of the reason why he stay put in Singapore is because he became a citizen. He did explained it somewhere in his blog but I can’t find the post citing his reasons (i.e. not enough time, I’m going to be late for a dinner with friends).

I can’t remember how I stumbled across his blog (I think it was through The Temasek Review) but it was like finding a diamond when I did.

I read his whole blog in one sitting.

What I drew me to his blog was his nuance observations on human behaviours and characteristics. As a taxi driver, he has to opportunity to meet people from all walks of life and I think I can say I learned more about psychology from him than I did from my lectures.

As an aspiring writer, it is my aim to be more observant on human interactions and Mr. Taxi Driver got it down.

Actually, I think that is why most blogs written by waiters, bartenders or anyone working in the F&B, hospitality and service industries are extremely interesting. Because of their daily interactions with people day after day, they are able to understand or have a better understanding of the human psyche.

The other reason why I was attracted to his blog was because I find it rather curious that a PhD. holder from a top American university was unable to find a job in Singapore.

Singapore has a very liberal immigration policy and likes to attract the brightest minds (or what the Government call Foreign Talents) from all over the world (we have one of the lowest birth rates in the developed world). The fact that Mr. Taxi Driver is of Chinese ethnicity, a doctorate holder from Stanford and a scientist (none of that liberal artsy-fartsy character) should be a great catch for most government or private institutions in Singapore.

Yet, he couldn’t get a job.

I decided to read his blog to find out more about his situation. His first few posts describe the situation of his job loss, his inability to find a new one that result in him getting a job as a taxi driver.

In those posts, he also writes about the uncertainties he and his family have to go through since he does not have any stable income. In Singapore, not having any stable income is almost as good as being poor. With our increasing high cost of living standards and stagnant wages, getting by is getting increasingly harder.

Although he does harp about his misfortunes, you get the sense that he is really trying to make the best of his situation.

But the entries I like best are the ones he writes about his interaction with his customers, his company and other taxi drivers.

That is when you discover his powers of observation (he is a scientist after all).

The first few entries can be rather long-winded. But as he wrote more, the writing tightens up, the prose becomes more clear and in fact, sometimes the ending can be totally bizarre and unexpected. It’s like reading mini-short stories again and again.

The mark of a good writer, in my opinion, is someone who can convey a clear message to the readers in the tightest, cleanest, clearest prose possible.

One recent entries demonstrate this:

He was a local Chinese at least in his mid fifties. He was thin, of medium height, and carelessly dressed in a short sleeved shirt and long pants that looked like it had been worn continuously for days and smelled of garlic-marinated chicken barbecued by cigarette smoke. He had been holding the hand of the lady since I saw them.

The sentence that I highlighted, I just love it. Just by reading the sentence, Mr. Taxi Driver managed to emasculate the essence of a character (or in his case, a customer) in a single sentence. You get the idea that his customer is not a savoury character, but neither is the customer a bad person. In other words, he is just a very real human being with flaws.

You can find the whole post here.

There are two stories in that one post. The first one is mentioned above (it is about prostitution) and the second is about another customer (this time, gambling). The second story is short but is extremely well written and has an unexpected twist.

So go visit Mr. Taxi Driver’s blog and enjoy his tales about his interaction with people from Singapore or who came to visit Singapore. In fact, if you want to learn more about the culture of Singapore and the Singaporean psyche, you should read his blog. You will at least learn something from it.

My dream is to flag down a taxi and discover that the driver is none other than Mr. Taxi Driver.

What a happy day it will be for me.

Unfortunately, with me being constantly broke, I can only take cabs under certain circumstances (like when my parents are paying the fare).

One day, one day.

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A Singapore Taxi Driver’s Blog

P.S. I’m just a great fan of Mr. Taxi Driver. I am not promoting his site. He doesn’t needs any promotion. He already has hundreds of fans following his blog.

P.S.S In case you think this is a fake site set up by some writer, I believe Mr. Taxi Driver blogged about his taxi license. Beside, if he was fake, the Singapore blogosphere would have exposed him by now.

P.S.S.S Mr. Taxi Driver has a book out now. Visit his blog for more information:

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Music time again!

Remember the time I blogged about JamLegend?

Well, thanks to my obsessive playing the past few days, I came across another band called Kill The Alarm.

I can’t believe that I have never heard about this band. As an example of their awesome music:

And they sound good live too.

And another song of theirs:

So what are you waiting for? Get addicted to JamLegend!

And while you’re at it, get addicted to Kill The Alarm.