Thursday, October 31, 2013

From Cruise Ship To Sampan

Koh Buck Song's choice of a metaphor was pretty neat. The cruise ship is just a floating version of Hotel Singapura, where foreigners are perennially welcomed to enjoy themselves on short stays while the locals struggle to maintain the vessel ship shape for the long haul. Heck, young men are mandated to sacrifice two best years of their lives to bear arms and defend the premises so the high rollers can live it up at the casinos, F-1 races and what not.

One reason Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong got his knickers in a twist over the commentary ("Sink the old sampan, S'pore now a cruise ship", ST 28 Oct 2013) could be the reference to the inequality of life that has come about. You can book a table for fine dining, or join the buffet line - we're talking hawker center, food court or restaurant here. The elites have $10 XO sauce chye tow kuay, the minions have $3 two meat and one vegetable fare. Moreover, like the voyage aboard the Titanic, when survival is at stake, first class passengers have priority over the cattle class.  The analogy of limited life-boats brings to mind there's no shortage of Sentosa Cove type developments, while public housing is always in short supply.

Then there's the rude reminder that "cruising is a well-oiled business with precise planning and untiring hard work behind the scene." The fact that trains break down with embarrassing frequency, roofs collapse at shopping malls and floods continue to disrupt daily living confirm that the people who are supposed to keep the system well-oiled are not as hard working, or as bright, as the first generation political leaders. It all makes sense only if they pay themselves sampan wages.

If the country is not yet a cruise ship, it must be more like a Roman galley. With the citizens chained to the oars, while the party is going on at upper decks. Each time some big shot drops in to make an inspirational speech to spur the rowers on, one is reminded of the joke:
"I have some good news and some bad news," the galley master told the rowing slaves, toiling at the oars. "The good news is that today's gruel ration will be doubled. The bad news is that the captain wants to go water skiing."

28 comments:

  1. Lol, classy Tattler!
    The captain has been water skiing pretty much everyday in the last decade. The previous captain was just cruising on auto pilot. To call us a sampan is like saying we are all still driving a horse and buggy while the elites are denying they have fast cars fit for F1 racers.

    United we stand. Together we bury our heads in the sand.

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    Replies
    1. Enjoyed this piece and of course, the parting shot of the Captain going for his water skiing !

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    2. Lol.

      Sometimes water skiers do crash and break their legs, one of my ex-colleagues unfortunately lost his life water boarding.

      Folks who work near CPF building carpark would have noticed the number of directors' lots filled with E and even 1 S class. Like their superiors, these E and S class drivers' jobs depend on them not understanding what is the decent thing to do as civil servants. Therein lies our problem. Look at the incentives folks, and Ngiam gets the nod. The problem started in 2007 when Teo went to parliament to bulldoze thru his million dollar salary act for civil servants.

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  2. Dear Pinky,

    Thanks for telling us ordinary Singaporeans that we're on a sampan; rest assured we knew it for the longest time.

    By the way, how's the food and view from YOUR luxury liner?

    Plebian Singaporean

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  3. Dear Plebian Singaporean
    More importantly is where are you going to put your tick in the polling booth.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Anonymous 10:36am,

      I have and always been ticking the box for the Hammer.

      Plebeian Singaporean, staying in Aljunied GRC

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    2. Go Hammer!
      Today Aljunied GRC.
      Tomorrow Tampines GRC!

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    3. Down East Coast first, leave Tampines & Marine Parade to the Oranges. All oppies must cooperate, if possible form a loose coalition of united Oppies Front to overturn or sink the white cruise liner.

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    4. I think we need to sink this cruise ship. Better that everyone in water than some at the boiler room some at the stateroom. We are all in this together right?

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  4. One minute we are 1st world, next minute we are sampan. Our captain is really lost, wonder whether the cruise ship is on auto pilot or slowly cruising in the mist towards the waterfall.

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  5. A 2 meat & 1 veggie meal costs definitely more than $3 nowadays even @our hawker centres with our greediest & largest landlord pushing rentals to a all-time high.

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    Replies
    1. But who is our largest and greediest landlord?
      You tell me lah!
      ANSWER
      ---------------
      It's HDB.
      You pay 99 years worth of rent for your HDB 99 year leases in advance.
      And some more.
      You don't own your HDB flat.
      But still have to pay for your lift upgrading.

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    2. You pay for your HDB season parking.
      But does that guarantee you a parking space?
      The HDB season parking space is not specially put aside for you.
      And HDB can "sell" that parking space again to an hourly parking driver.

      If this is not greedy.
      I don't know what is.

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    3. I ate 1 meat plus 2 veggies = $5 ( incl 1 kopi ) for 1 lunch daily.

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  6. Where is our Swiss standard.After 40plus we still travel in sampan.the captain said upgrade sampan.Million dollars ministers achievement .Time to change captain

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    Replies
    1. To be fair, the Mr peanut was using "we" when he said "we will have swiss standard of livng" in the Queen E sense. "We" means "I". Even a seat warmer like him today enjoys far higher than the average swiss, so he did not lie.

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  7. Just one simple question for the Clown Prince joker to answer:

    If we are a sampan, then why are you demanding a "cruise liner" wages for you & your cronies? Is that not the same as a cheat submitting a forged degree to cheat on his / her employer?

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  8. Costa Concordia ran aground with the captain being one of the first few to bail, would be surprised if the captain on cruise singapura.

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  9. The clever and educated leave Singapore to become FTs in other countries. But to be fair, its amazing how much free stuff the government gives Singaporeans - can't think of another country that offers so much subsidized living to its citizens - from housing to transport to healthcare... Btw, RE foreigners, how many work for foreign companies or want a foreign education - don't be so petty.

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    1. wah, so heavy susidy for HDB land price meh? Wah, so heavy subsidy for $8 heart bypass in class VVIP ward meh? Wah, so heavy subsidy for the $6 ERP meh? I long chong ai ah! You must be from the new public library initiative, SURE or not? Which page on SURE show HDB subsidy ha? I aso want to know the truth leh! Show the truth la, or by the way, where unca tony declare his personal wealth ha? I heard Straits Trading Chew and him are car cheng, maybe she is managing his money hor? Where in SURE they declare their GCBs ha? Donlt like dat leh, share share la, you aso civil servant wat, share some tips la!

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  10. Wasn't Singapore founded by British FT? Aren't we mainly the relatives of economic migrants from China? Our high and mighty attitudes about ourselves are arguably costing us happiness and the future.

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    1. "founded" or colonised by brute force? I never heard that chap was a "talent" - he was a mercenary working for the east india company, the biggest drug lord in India. Are the so called FT from PRC willing to serve NS and work hard like my grandfather? Or are they on transit to Australia or Toronto? Do you know? Last I know, large number of PRs leave within 5 years, you got statistics to show or not?

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  11. After 50 years of stewardship, we are still stuck with this sampan???

    And they dare to pay themselves millions of hard-earned tax-payers' money every year???

    Where is the shame? Where is the sense of proportion?

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  12. Be prepared to throw off from your chair by moron Pinky's definition of quality of life. totally shocking hilarious retarded answer from the world's most expensive politician mollycoddled by the world's most expensive government which did everything to appease his old fart .

    "…very well patronised by the residents. Lots of residents, lots of dogs. All kinds. In fact there is a special signboard showing all the different kinds of dogs which needs to be muzzled. And there were about twenty. I didn’t meet any of them but I saw the signboard. So, it means people are using it, people are enjoying it—their quality of life is there! And we can create that quality of life for all our Singaporeans. We will do that."

    from http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2013/02/white-paper-walk-park-connector

    With this type of intelligence , you wonder how he graduated from Cambridge. Maybe graduated from cambridge mental hospital . of course, we know university can get political and give award for diplomacy reason.

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  13. There is no need for even a 'taikong'(chief boatman) for a sampan(small/little boat). Why a captain?
    Stupid Sinkies have bought into the brainwashing for 5 decades and they are STILL reminiescing and and harping on how good the Past Leaders were.
    Sinkies deserve the Captains they carried and carry happily all the time though they are in a sampan(tiny pheesai).
    Soon the sampan will sink, however, rest assured that the captain has a life jacket and has a life boat all for himself and his senior officers.
    You sink and die, your business.

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  14. If you ask for social services, Singapore is a sampan.
    If it's time to determine PAP Ministers' salary, Singapore is a cruise liner.

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    1. The PM that we get is definitely not fit to be a captain onboard a sampan, not with his sense of direction and no sense of overloading. Despite 20 years of guidance and mentoring, I reckon he belongs in his bathtub playing with a toy boat.

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  15. We're a fast-sinking sampan trying to be a cruise ship.

    I really wish they'd make up their mind and decide on the picture they want to sell. Every sales talk pitch a different product. I'm not confused; I'm fed-up.

    Which part of "We think we have a leak" does this Captain not yet understand.

    And it's probably a good idea to be on deck when addressing the crew, and not via proxy from some supertanker half the world away.

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