Goodbye!!! See you over at the other side!!! Blogger has been the most wonderful platform for my rantings and ravings since 2001. As I pack up my e-bay and relocate to Wordpress, I can't help but feel a sense of sadness. It's like leaving behind a pack mule, one that has work tirelessly and loyally since the journey started. Like all journeys, this one must end too. As I bid farewell to Blogger, I look forward to my new journey in Wordpress. I hope to see all of you, you know who, over there. Here's my new address for The Fieldmarshal at Wordpress. Do visit.

Change Life is a journey of change. The thing is, we should always change for the better. Just like Hem and Haw, the 2 mice in Who Moved My Cheese, we should always be ready for change. I smell change in the air... actually, more like the smell of new cheese.

Been some time since I last wrote. My last post after kena "Tomorrowed" got me lots of hits, hehe, and lots of interesting comments. Pardon my ignorance, but I didn't know that I kena flamed also until Mydaemon told me so. For me, I am ok with the comments from others as everyone is entitled to their opinions. Anyway, I have been busy, busy, busy. Reading the comments made me realised that what I thought, how naive of me, was right, was so wrong with many people. Granted, perhaps I should have "taped" the woman's eyes with black photoshop tape. But I am appalled by the comments. While I cannot say if the people I wrote about in the previous blog was trying to get a free ride, the comments, or the main theme I gathered, stating that it is ok for commuters to hop on the bus since the "important thing is to get people home, and not be so particular about whether they pay their fares." This is RIDICULOUS!!! Since when are we taught that it is ok to steal when one is tired after a hard day's work. Did our teachers taught us to steal food when we are hungry after a hard day's work? Or even to ride a cab and just skip off home without paying after a hard day's work. Whether it's $1 for a bus ride or $10 for a cab ride, not paying for either = stealing. Unless MOE introduced a new dictionary with a flexibility understanding of the words "theft" and "steal", these words should be understood across board, young or old, black, white or yellow. I can only come to the conclusion that society is evolving into a me, me, ME-centric environment. Values such as honesty is no longer value. What's there to value these lofty ideals when I have "me" to value. I am tired, so I choose to go up the bus via the rear "entrance" while others who are just as tired are trying to board from the front. In the end people are just selfish, by getting up the bus "first" from the rear, they are assured of a place while those still trying to get up from the front would be deprived of the chance of getting up since standing commuters have not space to move behind anymore. Still somewhat flabbergasted and disgusted by many of the comments, I have come to the conclusion that the relentless push towards materialism and indivdualism has shaped the nation into a selfish society, one which no longer is able to tell what is right or wrong. Call me a fundamentalist, purist, whatever, to me, there a black and white. No two ways about it. And don't quote me the shade of grey statement. That's what PR or marketing people use to get things done.

Ugly Singaporeans Sometimes I wonder if I am living in a 1st world cosmpolitan city-state or a third world country. I have come to realise that it's both. Singapore is a country with first world infrastructure, but a citizenry with third world mindset. While it may be unfiar to broadbrush all responsible citizens out there, I have to admit that soft skills is one thing sorely lacking in our society. On top of this list would be social grace. Was going home on Bus no. 124 last Friday after a night out with Mydaemon. The bus was jam packed. But we still took it since it was already 9pm plus and that's the only bus home for us from Plaza Singapura. Anyway, as the bus stopped at the bus-stop across People's Park Complex, 2 women, 1 old, 1 young, rushed up the bus from the exit even though the bus was packed. I was totally digusted with such behaviour since the only time I witnessed such behaviour was in Shanghai. Even then, the public buses had a conductor. The 2 women put up a show of tapping their cards on the reader, to no avail since the readers are for exit only. What peeved me was not only these people had no social grace to board up the bus properly, they was mot prbably free-riders too. Guess the worst thing to this was the fact that they are native Singaporeans, not some PRC citizen. Brandishing my handphone, I snapped a picture of the aunite who pulled the stunt. The vigilante in me just can't help doing it. Wanted to capture the other woman, but the bus was too shaky. I have decided that I will do my part in exposing the ugliness of Singaporeans. More Singaporeans will become a mini celebrity here. Just watch this space.
In the meantime, here's a mugshot of the auntie who boarded the bus. Sure does have a "kiam pah" face.

Free-rider from Chinatown

Bullying. But Where's the Corporal Punishment? This must be the season for explosing bullies. After reading about the 'Happy Slapping' incident, the floodgates are now open. Bullies beware! If you have bullied someone in the last 14 days, chances are you will become a mini celebrity overnight thanks to our zealous reporters at Straits Times. I do not now what's more depressing. To read about the bullies that roam our streets. Or to be concerned that the most exciting piece of local news is about bullies. While the saying goes that "no news, is good news", I must say that such news are wearing our gray matter down. My mind hungers for insights and ideas that help the nation to grow. Perhaps the agenda at ST is really to help the nation grow by wedding out the bullies? Going back to the issue proper, I read with horror, in reality more like mild boredom, that another kid being bullied story is published in today's ST. Titled "Pupil hurt 3rd time by school bully", the most notable part of the story is the actions taken by the school - Zhangde Primary. Here's an extract, or most of the article, which I found mildly interesting. The school responded by making the boys apologise to each other and writing a detailed report of what happened, but Zhijie's parents feel that this was insufficient punishment. 'All we got was a mumbled apology after the vice-principal asked him to say sorry,' said Mr Chia, a retiree. He wants the bully to get a harsher punishment - caning, or counselling at least. But the vice-principal of Zhangde Primary School, Mr Chong Chin Hong, feels that making the boy reflect on his actions will help him learn. I have to agree the somewhat aged dad of the kid being bullied. Call me an ageist, but I can't help but wonder what's a 68 year old guy have a 12 year old kid. Boggles my mind. That's another red herring, but perhaps the baby bonus is finally paying off. Going back, I totally agree with Daddy Chia that the bully of his boy should have gotten harsher punishment. The school, more correctly, the school's vice-principle, has not heard of the old adage, "spare the rod, spoil the kid". Hope I got that right. This wave of a softer touch, a la western ideals, disciplinary mindset sweeping across asia is doing our young ones more harm than good. Look where softer touches have gotten US and Europe. Stabbing and gun violence are norms in the school environment. It's so bad that schools actually put up signs to 'discourage' kids from bringing weapons to school. Thankfully, our firearms laws in Singapore are pretty stringent. Bring a weapon, especially a firearm, and see what the authorities will do to the kid. Western countries should take a leave or two out of our penal code. Here's another interesting extract. 'It was a scuffle between two boys. One was punched, the other scratched,' said Mr Chong. 'Writing a report will enable them to reflect, then react positively to similar situations in the future. If we are able to achieve that with reflection, it is definitely favourable to meting out heavier punishment.' Would writing a report release the anger and pent up frustration in the kid who eventually blew up by whacking Chia Jr? If writing reports are so effective, why hasn't the Singapore Prisons implemented it as a rehabilitative therapy for our violent criminals? Why is the rotan still use with tender loving care on the butts of criminals? There must be a reason why coporal punishment is still utilised in our prisons. It either means that it is effective, or that our prison officers are sadistic. I choose to believe in the former. I can imagine reading the following in the kids' reports. Sir, I am sorry for hitting Ah Kow on the head. I shouldn't have done done that. But Ah Kow is such an asshole. Always refusing to let me copy his homework. Ah Kow is also such a show-off. Everyone knows he has an IPOD, but no need to show it to me, a Creative Zen user, everyday mah. Bloody hell. The more I think about it, the more I think Ah Kow deserves it. I think I will give him another wallop tomorrow. Make sure he doesn't show me his stupid shiny apple again. Oops. Can I apologise for tomorrow's corrective action for Ah Kow. Signed Your humble student, Ah Buai Song Jokes aside, I can still remember that as a kid, if I did something wrong, or simply stupid, up come the magin wand in my parent's hands. With a hiss the wand lands on the most exposed parts of my bodies. The arms and legs mind you. The red welts apart from teaching me that a particular action is wrong, also serve notice to my friends that I just kena from my parents. Pain and shame became part of growing up and learning the right things in life. Blessed are those kids who learn without the cane. Hope I get one like that in the future. But I believe caning was a norm during my adoloscent and teenage years. As parents got more educated, they think everything can be rationalised by counselling the kids. Look where rationalising has gotten parents in the UK, if you have watched Super Nanny. Nowhere. Parents get abused, physically and emotionally. Or kids just feign contriteness and go back to their good old ways again. I dare propose to the world that the time has come. It's time to dust off the cane's from our storerooms. The reign of the shrinks is over. It's time for a new age. The age of the rod!!! Despite all this tough talk, I, as a potential future parent, will only utilise the rod only as the last resort. I am not going to be a rod-toting parent caning my kid from morning till night. I am no sadist. I am just asking for a more balanced approach to the disciplinary regime. Counselling and caning should go hand in hand. Here's my advice to parents, or wannabe parents. Cane first. Rationalise later. No pain, no gain.

FM 好介绍!!! This is a new segment, if I may call that, in my blog. Thr FM 好介绍 segment basically introduces the good makan that I have tried. To kick it off, I will start by introducing one of my favourite noodle stalls - 阿南 特制面, or loosely translated, Ah Lam's Noodle House.

Located within a coffeeshop at Blk 712, Clementi West St 2, Ah Lam's has been packing the crowds in since I started eating there some 1-2 years back. I should thank Mydaemon's parents since it was them who introduced me to such a wonderful makan place. Ah Lam is famous for 2 types of noodles. The first is the abalone noodles. Going for $6 per bowl, the noodles are simply delicious. Not sure where they get their noodles from, but there are really 'springy', or as the Taiwanese would say, very the "Q". The six bucks is well spend especially when you see the slices of real abalone adorning the already mouth watering bowl of noodles. Not sure where he got the lobang for cheap abalones, but they taste great! Apart from the nice noodle texture and generous helpings of abalone, Ah Lam has also perfected the art of making mouth watering soup. Cooked with pork, pig's bones, fruits, yes, I mean fruits like pears, apples etc, the soup is simply heavenly. I can just gulp down a bowl for a meal. It's your loss not to drink the soup. Lastly, I belive what makes a noodle dish great is the sauce that the noodles is mixed in. The sauce is the thing that makes or breaks the dish. Ah Lam doesn't disappoint with his splendid sauce. My inexperienced tongue can't really tell what went into the sauce, except to know that it tastes great! To top it off, you also get pig's liver, minced pork, shredded mushrooms and some fried lard, yummy, in the noodles. Having said all that, the other noodle Ah Lam is famous for is the minced pork noodles. At $3 a bowl, it is simply the hottest selling noodles there. Everyone just can't get enough of it. The only difference between this and the abalone noodles is that the formers is simply san abalone. That's about it. So if you are in the mood to splurge, fork out that $6. It's worth it! But the queue's a bummer though.

Is Technology to Blame for Happy Slapping? It disturbs me to read in today's papers - Let's Talk About Happy Slapping, that there's a 'happy slapping' video, locally produced, that is doing its rounds on the internet. The victim, I have yet to see the video myself, is allegedly a teenage girl being assaulted by a group of girls. I was aware of happy slapping quite sometime back and I am actually surprised, quite pleasantly, that it took such a long time to reach our shores given the tech-savviness of our teenagers. The lag between the first report happy slapping incident in UK and the recent local case gives some small hope that Singapore's moral fabric is still more or less intact. Having been an owner of a camera handphone for the last 2 years, I know the potential of how such a phone can be abused. For me, the phone is simply a gadget for capturing moments which I would like to remember. These can be places I visited, loving moments with Mydaemon, great food I ate and the company I had. But I am aware the such phones have been used for far more undesirable acitivities. One is the purported voyeuristic streak that seems to plague our society today. Peeping toms seem to be on the prowl everywhere. If outraging of a person's modesty is not enough, we are now witnessing the start, hopefully not, of a happy slapping trend in Singapore. Physical abuse is now added to the psychological abuse suffered by the victims of those who abuse their handphones. While bullying is part and parcel of growing up, being bullied and having a video clip of the bullying session circulating around the internet is going a bit far. Fact #1, bullying is a part and parcel of life. I would like to state that despite my size, garguantan since my primary school days, I was never a bully. Actually, I suffered under bullies who laughed at my girth etc. Kids do have a nasty streak in them when they have the protection of a peer group, i.e. the bullying group. I seriously believe that there's a dark side in many of us, one which will surface when we are allowed to indulge in less socially acceptable behaviour, especially in the anaonymous setting of a big group. Bullies draw their 'strength' and courage to carry out their dastardly acts when they know they have kakis backing them. I will never forget who bullied me, but I have more or less made my peace with them, for they know not what they are doing. Enough of my past. Anyway, I believe technology, as with all things, is a double-edged sword. When put to its correct use, a camera handphone, like I mentioned earlier, captures moments of tender love, beauty, basically happy moments. On the flip side, a minority of users give it a bad name. Instead of capturing the beauty surrounding us, the camera now becomes an accomplice to pain, shame, and downright cowardly behaviours. It's a shame that something so wonderful can at the same time be so terrible. It's time society take a more active role in imparting the right values to the younger generation. Families is the first place to start. Parents should spend less time chasing after the next dollar. Spending quality time is never the same as spending quantity time. Have you heard of spending quality time in office? It's time for our materialistic nation to look inward and truly realise what's important. Don't blame technology, or for the fact UK, for what has happened to the poor girl. If anyone's to blame, blame the parents for not imparting the right values to the bullies.

And the Winner is (drumroll)....
SAMSUNG D820!!!!

Death of the Handphone Without a word, my handphone decided to call it quits on me 2 days back. Since then I have been more or less'uncontactable'. There was, of course, the initial panic attack - "Where's my phone!!! Oh, it's here. Why is it not working!!!! - cause I have become, in my inner-eye, oh-so-self-important that I worried that I might miss some important calls. As the panic attack subsided, I suffered from the 'handphoneless' withdrawal symptom. It feels weird to stuff my hand into my pants pocket only to feel the emptiness of it as my now departed Sony Ericsson K700i rests in peace somewhere in my bag. Further on, as the withdrawal symptom subsides, I am starting to wean myself off the reliance on being contactable 24/7 and vice versa. I find it hard to believe that I actually enjoy being free from holding a handphone right now. The only thing I miss is that I can't contact Mydaemon when we are on the move. That's the major drawback. Apart from that, I find life so much more quieter and peaceful. No more calls from bosses using the "private" numbers, no more spam smses and no more pesty insurance agent trying to sell me another policy. Guess the honeymoon, being a honeymoon that it is, will have to end soon. The death of my trusty, but oft-buggy K700i, has given me an excuse to scout around for a new handphone. Yup, Fieldmarshal is on the prowl for his new gadget! Sorry K700i, it's not that I didn't love you, but life has to go on. Rest in peace and go to handphone heaven. A place when you will no longer have to endure days when I had bad breath or when I accidentally dropped you onto the floor. Since my first handphone in 1995/6, Sony Ericsson, then Ericsson , and Nokia have been my staple brands for handphones. But I am pretty tired with their models. Ericsson models are so formulaic while there's a Nokia phone staring at me wherever I turn. I want to have a phone that is not so common, as in it is used only by 1 person in a 1,000. Guess that's hard to achieve unless I get myself a, oh so bloody expensive, Vertu handphone. Don't think breaking my piggybank for that type of handphone is an option for me. Anyway, who needs a sapphire scratch-proof screen or diamond studded buttons anyway? After scouring the net and a Hi! Singtel shop during lunch, I have zoomed in on 2 models. The first is the Samsung D820. The slimmest sliding phone around. Sexy and sleek. Only drawback is that the camera only comes in 1.3 megapixels. Since I intend to post more photos and videos in my blog, the1.3 mp camera is sort of a drawback. My other option is the Motorola RAZR V3X. Very sexy and slim for a clamshell model. The main pull here is the 2mp camera on the phone. But I have heard of the famed, more like infamous, Motorola interface.

Sexy. Slim. Sleek.Sharp.

Not so slim. Still sleek. 2mp camera! It's a RAZR. Decisions. Descisions. Decisions. Note: Post was published 2 days late due to the inability to insert photos of my targeted phones. I have already got myself a new phone. Guess what's the model? :)