Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Recycling Plastic Bags

ST Nov 29, 2006

Charge for plastic bags? NEA prefers education

I REFER to the letter, 'Start charging for plastic bags' (ST, Nov 23).

Last year, the National Environment Agency worked with the major supermarkets and the Singapore Environment Council on possible measures to curb the excessive use of plastic shopping bags.

It was agreed that we should first adopt an educational approach to encourage the public to cut down on their use, before considering more drastic measures like charging for plastic bags.

Hence, the 'Why waste plastic bags? Use reusable bags!' campaign was launched in February, to persuade shoppers to use reusable bags so as to avoid collecting more plastic bags than needed.

We acknowledge that this is a long-term process and have been organising follow-up activities, including the 'Spot the green shoppers' contest over the weekend of Nov 18 and 19, to reinforce the message of resource conservation.

If the campaign succeeds in convincing Singaporeans to switch to reusable bags, it would then not be necessary to consider imposing a charge for the use of plastic bags.

Vincent Teo
Chief Engineer
Resource Conservation Dept
National Environment Agency

I don’t see the point of encouraging people using reusable bags for their shopping. I agreed with Vincent that education is the way to go.

Personally I NEED these plastic bags to hold my trash at home.

If the supermarkets stop providing plastic bags, then I will need to buy my own trash bags. Isn’t this being more non-environmental friendly?

My Blog being linked!

Back in 17 Aug 2006, Mr Wang put an article on his website introducing this site.

Singapore Surf : Life in the City.

If offer a link to all new articles on posts related to Singapore's issue with a good mix of Personal Blogs and Mass Medias articles.

This is a site that I will visit everyday to get a good summary on Singapore's issue.

Guess what?

Yours truely article on MRT is being linked on 28 Tuesday November 2006 under opinion.

: )

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

How to prevent SMRT’s train from being overcrowded

  1. Put a man who had too much onions and potatoes in every carriage.
  2. Reduce the cost of COE.
  3. Install TV mobile on the trains.
  4. Turn off the air condition.
  5. Trains to skip alternate stations.
  6. Declare SARS are being spread on MRT.
  7. Have exam for students on 365days a year.
  8. Raise cost of ticket to $100. (So ppl take cabs)
  9. Put an unidentified bag in every carriage.

And finally.........................

10. Cancelled all train service. No train = No overcrowded train = No bad publicity.

NUS Student?

A student from National University of Singapore, NUS is know as....

A.N.U.S Student.....


MRT Rambling

ST Nov 27, 2006

Jam-packed trains here? It's worse in other major cities

I refer to the article 'Complaints about overcrowded trains', (Sunday Times, Nov 19).

When it comes to public transportation, Singaporeans have it good here. The trains in Singapore are far less packed during peak hours when compared to other cities around the world.

In my travels in London, Paris and Rome last year, some trains were so congested that security personnel were placed at every gate to ensure that passengers did not get trampled on or pushed onto the open tracks.

There were many signs that warn people of pickpockets.

The commuters overseas do not have the luxury of personal space as we Singaporeans have.
Yet, some of us show our selfishness in ways that I cannot comprehend.

Why block the exit of alighting passengers? Why stand on the right side of the escalator and block another person's way? If a busy city like London can do it, why not us? Overcrowded trains here? I doubt it. But a little consideration would be nice.

Siti Aisha Mostafa (Ms)

Singapore's train system is neither the best nor the worst in the world. However I got to say that there are lots of improvements needed.

Ms Siti obviously did not travel well enough. I can only say she happened to be in places where the train system just happened to be worst then Singapore’s.

I personally had been to London, Paris and Rome and I find that they are not too bad after all.

Yes they are dirtier but at least their trains run on time and I didn’t see the congestion as suggested by Ms Siti.

Well it all depends on what time and which station you are in too. But again I hope Ms Siti don’t forget that the London Tube started operation in 1863, Paris Metro in the 1900s and Rome Metro in 1955 and our dear SMRT begin operation in Nov 1987, a good 32years behind Rome.

So what’s wrong with signs warning people of pickpockets? There are similar signs in Singapore's shopping centres too. And our trains these days do have signs and public announcements warning people of suspicious character with unidentified bags which threatens to bomb our SMRT.

How about the efficiency of Hong Kong's MTR? Tokyo's and Osaka's train systems? Seoul's underground? Bangkok's Skytrain? Christchurch's Tram? Manchester’s Tram system? Etc etc…… There are so many public transport systems that are better run then our small Mass Transit system. I do hope Ms Siti increase her sampling size before commenting.

I suggest Ms Siti to visit Raffles Place or City Hall during the morning and evening rush hours and she will be in no doubt that overcrowded trains DO EXIST in dear Singapore.

Finally what I am trying to say is we must first accept the problem before we could even solve it.

If the authority keep denying that there is a problem with overcrowded train, saying Singaporeans are just spolit, then this problem will never go away.

PS : How many people in the cabinet commute by public transport daily? I will be surprised if there is any.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Just came back from a week of in-camp.

Every year we all took this opportunity to catch up with each other. This year there had been some re-organizing going on in my reservist Battalion so got to see some old faces for the first time since we ORD.

Looking back, we all had ORDed for about 11years already. Most of these army pals had started they own families and working each in very different fields to earn a living.
Most of us are married and with Kids, some like me don’t think it is wise to bring up a kid in Singapore.

Its great fun talking about the good old days where we suffer together during NSF time.

I also must comment that the army boys have it easy these days. The cookhouse food is much better then what it used to be. I still remember the rubber band Mee Sotos, the yam cake with ice inside and not to forget the dreaded fish during dinner’s time. YUCK.

Also it never fail to amazed me is the rush to wait, wait to rush symptom still exist in the SAF after so many years. Haha…. It is quite amazing how we could stretch 1 hour worth of work to 8 hours.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Price of HDB flats

Here an article from ST Forum.

Nov 6, 2006

Income ceiling for HDB flats may be too high

I REFER to the HDB's reply, 'Smaller flats for the lower-income' (ST, Oct 23) to Ms Phang Geak Lean's letter, '$3,000 ceiling stands in way of smaller flat' (ST, Oct 12).
It states: 'The household income ceiling is $2,000 for new two-room flats and $3,000 for new three-room flats... Households with incomes of more than $3,000 can consider buying new four-room or larger flats within their affordability.'
The HDB seems to be making the assumption that those who earn more than $3,000 can afford a four-room flat.

According to the HDB's July 2006 fact sheet, the price of four-room flats is from $131,000 to $182,000. Its latest offer of four-room flats costs $230,000 to $292,000 ('450 new flats in Geylang for sale'; ST, Oct 27).

Even if we assume one is able to buy the cheapest at $131,000, the monthly repayment on a 30-year HDB subsidised loan after paying the 10 per cent downpayment is $472.

This leaves a net 'after mortgage payment' monthly disposable income of $2,528.
This amount is reduced to about $2,250 after paying service and conservancy fee, utilities, television licence fee, telephone, CPF Dependents Protection Scheme, Home Protection Scheme and home insurance premiums.

Deduct $100 for school fees and pocket money for two children, and we are left with $2,150. Based on a family of six (couple with two children living with parents), the balance per capita disposable income is $358. If we assume food at $9 and transport at $4 per person per day, total food and transport will come up to $390 per person per month.

This means the family's monthly deficit is $192 ($390 - $358 x 6), assuming they don't spend any money at all on entertainment, holidays, learning activities, insurance, maintenance and repairs, and so on.

Those who are self-employed, and do not have employer's CPF contribution for workers, may have an even higher monthly deficit.

I suggest the HDB review its income ceiling eligibility for flats, because my example clearly demonstrates that some Singaporeans who earn more than $3,000 may not be able to afford four-room flats.

Denying them the purchase of a smaller three-room flat may lead to financial stress and very little CPF when they retire.

Leong Sze Hian

A good summary by Mr Leong.

I always wonder, why the gahment are limiting people on the choice of the size of their HDB flats? Even when I earn lots of money, doesn’t it meant I cannot choose to stay in a 3 rooms HDB flat?

Well the gahment argument is that HDB flat are “Subsidized” and are for poor people and those of you who earn lots of money can go get yourself a private properties.

I find there are several weaknesses in this argument.

Firstly, the in-come ceiling formula is incorrect. Look at Mr Leong case.

He is being “forced” to get a 4 room flats and he is barely surviving after paying the monthly loans and families expenses.

Secondly, I find that the cost of HDB flats are also grossly inflated. $131,000 to $182,000 for a four room flats? And remember HDB flats are meant to provide cheap housing for poor peasants.

The reason the gahment inflated the price of the HDB flats is to drained your CPF saving so they don’t have to pay you cash when your reach 55.

The consequent?

Well you need flat when u get married and you have to take care of your parents. (NO CHOICE).

So how can one survive?

Take the children out of the formula.

NO KIDS and Mr Leong is instantly $816 richer per month and he can save $624 per month far better then the $192 deficit now. That’s $7488 at the end of the year and he can even take his parent for a well deserved short holiday.

Maybe our leader can first look into the cost of HDB flats if they really are worry about the declining birth rates.