Monday, November 25, 2013

Not A Good Omen

The quip is definitely more surreal than the mee-siam-mai-hum gaffe. While lecturing citizens about what not to say online, Lee Hsien Loong had to finish off with: "My recent post about a barn owl which flew into the Istana garnered 500,000 views within a day!" You would think that with the battalions of minions at his beck and call, someone would bother to inform the boss man that a daylight visitation from the nocturnal owl is an ominous harbinger of bad tidings and doom.

The hooting sound of an owl sounds like “digging” in the Chinese language (搰: hu). It is considered major bad luck if an owl visits a house wherein lives a gravely ill or wounded person. When it makes the hu sounds, it's as good as telling the family to dig a grave-hole as preparation for a burial.

Thousands with access to an uncompromised Google search bar went to town researching the myths & culture of the barn owl from around the world, and the results were mostly dark and dismal. In the Middle East, folks actually believe that the owl represents the souls of people who have died un-avenged. Some compiled a compendium of owlish humour. Some will doubtless construe it as instance of cyber bullying. Like an Auschwitz survivor picking on Adolf Hitler. You get the drift. But even the most bitter of betrayed baby-boomers will be mollified when the subject of derision writes like this:
"With every passing day I am physically less energetic and less active. If you ask me to go out in the heat of the sun at two o'clock to meet people, shake hands and kiss babies, I will not be able to do it. I could do it 20, 30 years ago, but not anymore. You take life as it comes, with your physical capabilities declining over the years.
Sometimes my secretary would see me resting in my office and would ask me whether they should cancel the next meeting. Sometimes, I would say: "No, let's get on with it." I need 15 minutes for a shut-eye, so that my mind can concentrate after that. But if I cannot, I would say: "Yes, put it off. Let me have a nap."
You cannot predict what your physical condition will be like. However rigorous and disciplined I am, it will still be a downhill slide."
("One Man's View of the World", page 300)

Before you reach for the box of Kleenex - cue the string instruments here - he still shares the sentiments commonly attributed to Marie Antoinette when she was told the peasants had no bread, "Let them eat cake". In the Q & A format of the book, he is asked about the reality of cashing out on property:
Q: But you can only unload if you already own property. The local new homeowners have no such option.
A: For Singaporeans who do not yet own property, they can buy HDB flats at subsidised prices, if they meet HDB's eligibility criteria.

Your blood pressure starts to go up when he says that, being out of office and not attending Cabinet meetings, he seldom expresses a contrary opinion, except when the government was looking to reintroduce Chinese dialect programmes on free-to-air-channels. He had antagonised an entire generation of Chinese, who found their favourite dialect programmes cut off, and he was not about to repent.
Q: So you have no unfinished business that you wanted to ...
A: No, I have done what I had wanted to do. I gave up my duties as prime minister to Goh Chok Tong. I helped him. He passed them on to Lee Hsien Loong. It is a different generation now. So my contributions are less meaningful - except when they want to go back on dialects.

The jury is still out on whether tears or jeers will dominate the day when the final moment of reckoning arrives. The big question on everybody's lips is, should we give a hoot?


  1. My champagne is ready to pop...

  2. Regardless what anyone's personal feelings about the old man are, a superstition is a superstition. Don't believe in such bs.

  3. he deserves a margaret thatcher

    1. He deserves to end up like Mubarak, Suharto, which is the least. Nevertheless, either luck is still with him or the best is saved for last...staying barely alive to see his useless son booted out and all the skeletons falling out of the famiLee cupboard

  4. Barn owls are supposed to be wise. Sadly this visitation may not bring the much needed wisdom to the occupant. Malays call the owl burung hantu, or ghost bird. It certainly knew where to find and keep the other ghost at the Istana company, so hoot hoot, and good riddance to the old coot.

  5. Do not think the Owl is powderful enuff to take on the Syrong Man and his Buddy at the Istana.

    It will be double celebrations if it does happen.

    Maybe, it was there to let the PM knows the Land is ay stake with him at the helm. He is heading nowhere.

  6. "The subject of derision" as you put it, now resides at the Istana. Does anyone give a hoot what he thinks now?

  7. ..those 500,000 people who visited him on line are such unhappy people, going by PM's assertion.

  8. maybe he mobilised the NSF men to visit his facebook...What do you think.

  9. To non-supporter: Bad omen
    To supporter: Good omen
    To nature lover: One-bird protest
    To the owl: I smell rats

    1. Hougang voters say 'Huat ah!"
      Owl say 'Hoot ah!"

  10. By that kind of admission, doesn't it sound like words coming out from an emperor on his dying bed but still hanging on to his job by eating snake, chiak chua, or buta gaji ?

    This kind of welfare our PAP ministers never bother to question what they type of meals to expect whether hawker, foodcourt or restaurant ?

    1. Yes, but he is rich.
      So he is human.
      We are not rich.
      So we are not human.
      Better we just jump and die like the 95 year old woman.

  11. One must admit the familee is, like all Chinese dynasties, superstitious. From the father's less than secret consultations with suharto's mystics to the early days of empat mata with the Buddhist abbot, they never leave anything to chance. And now the revelations of wonderful omens that Chinese astrologers often used to predict wonderful new emperor's arrival, backed by the agreement of 10% of the population! Why he did not order up to his 60% quota, no one quite get it. But at least we now see pinkie's true colours, his eagerness to get rid of the super emperor knows no boundaries, no wonder we are seeing more crows in singapore, if owls can't get the job done, some ravenous crows would soon visit the drooler's home.

  12. Singapore notes,
    your explanation is exactly why the imbecile pinky want to go online to blog about his owl encounter.

    Pinky said
    "Satisfied people don't have time to go onto the Internet. Unhappy people often go there,"

    Pinky must have been very unhappy to know that owl is the messenger/harbinger of death, and pinky been out of touch for a long time, must have realized that and been very unhappy to blog about that. Never see such a great fool in my life.

    1. The Owl: Hoot Hoot.
      Old Lee to The Owl: Over my dead body!
      PM Lee to The Owl: I am flame-proof.

    2. Owl to the elderly gentleman; " not long to go now".

    3. elderly scumbag masquerading as gentleman in the eyes of the owl. lol