Thursday, April 26, 2018

If vehicles are to be banned for pollution, shouldn't all vehicles be tested and those who fail emissions standard banned?

Since around July 2015, the motorcycle COE prices has been around $6,000, as a result, many poorly maintained motorcycle would be scrapped and off the roads after 10 years.

Many of the smaller bikes with high mileage would be scrapped off due to the high COE. Owners knowing that they will scrap their motorcycles as they will not renew may spend money on maintenance on their motorcycle as they know it will be scrapped, which can result in more pollution.

I own a BMW 1999 K1200LT is a fuel injection motorcycle which gets me 20km/l and it has a closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter, compliant with EU3 emission standard, which I meticulously maintain as I occasionally travel to Malaysia and need to make sure it is road worthy.

Even though the motorcycle is almost 20 years old, it runs like new and it has less than 60,000 km on it. I usually ride it on nights and weekends. Like me, there are many big bike owners use their bikes for touring and most of them have relatively low mileage on them. The owners would own other vehicles or take the bus for daily transportation needs. How can we be considered to pollute if we don’t use it much?

The incentive seems to benefit people for something which they are already doing -- not renewing their COE, and for the underused well maintained motorcycles, the ban is a death sentence for our beloved underused motorcycles.

I feel that motorcyclists are targeted with this measure, and yet 15 year or older vehicles are exempted. Even when my seldom used fuel injected motorcycle pollute less, it is subjected to a ban while some od vehicles are allowed to be on the roads every day.

I don't understand why a blanket ban by NEA is needed, when clearly LTA does inspections on the motorcycles yearly to ensure we do not pollute, and if any vehicles, that cannot meet the standards, should they all be banned if NEA truly wants to control pollution and not just target motorcyclists?

If the vehicles are to be banned, shouldn't it be done by LTA. The arbitrary ban a specific group of vehicles because of the age of the vehicle seems rather discriminatory, just like the recent tax hike on motorcycles which did not reduce COE prices, and just cause motorcycle prices to increase, while luxury car drivers who own supercars are not affected. 

-- Ironbowl

My 1999 K1200LT is compliant with EU3 Emissions Standard.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Competitive Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go, a kids game is played by many old people in Singapore.

Like many things in Singapore, you get lots of players who seem to be playing the game to "WIN" whatever that is.

There are also many tips and tricks that everyone use.

Granted that there are some professional players who have lost their jobs and now carry multiple phones to catch Pokemons and sell their accounts, however, many of the players are simply too competitive, and they will constantly bring down gyms and hog them.

There are the usual suspects. Getting into multiple gyms with their multiple accounts, then defending them past 8 hours till no end. Leaving many others no chance to put their pokemons in the gyms.

There are also many other players who hack their GPS on their phones just to "fly" around to get Pokemons. That does not really bother me that much, but when you fight down a gym, these people come and fill up the gyms with their pokemons quickly.

It is ridiculous that even the gyms inside Bukit Brown are active at night. Perhaps, they can receive 4G LTE and people burn them cellphones...

Behaviors that pisses me off:

1) Please be gracious. If you are in a 2 gyms, and have stayed for more than 4 hours in each, please allow others to come in.

2) "Shaving" -- This is ridiculuous. When I have taken over a gym, spending time and hardwork to defeat a gym, I don't think anyone should come and "Shave" me off, minutes after I've put my pokemon inside. However, this is very common in neighbourhood areas in Singapore. Many aunties and uncles have multiple accounts and will shave you before you off can even a single coin in the gym. They will use their kids account from the other teams, and take out the first pokemon, then insert their own.

3) "Flying in to insert yourself into a gym." Yes, I know you spoof your GPS and can fly to anywhere to catch a pokemon, however, it is ridiculous that in the middle of MacRitchie Reservoir, someone can come and fill up a gym within seconds after the gym has been defeated. Most of the time, "No one is there" just a fly by to drop some pokemons. "REALLY REALLY ANNOYING" Please, if there are people who win the gym in some remote area, please give them a minute before the "airforce" slot in. I've had the app hang, and not able to put in anyone on several occasions.

There are many legit ways of playing the game, simply make friends, walk and enjoy the game. Don't spoil the fun for others with your unsocial behavior. Its just a game.

-- Ironbowl

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Some religious followers are impatient and have are not civic minded.

It is a New Years Tradition to go to the temple during Chinese New Year, and as I live relatively close to one, I could walk to the temple with my mom and she can go there and pray.

The temple is usually crowded and it is never a surprise that during weekends and holidays, many people in this densely populated country lose their civility.

While the temple and part of its grounds are tranquil and nice, where there is a crowd, there is always chaos. I've witnessed today that everyone seems to want to drive directly to the temple with limited parking space, and everyone is impatient.

When older passengers are getting out of their cars slowly, the driver seemed to want to park in a position where they block as many other cars as possible, and the car behind could not seem to wait a minute for the senior passenger to get out, and horns start blaring.

In the temple, some of the religious people seem to have a large amount of incense, and light it on fire and walking around the large crowd creating a huge cloud of smoke behind them. (The usual amount is about 15 sticks of incense, one for each urn) I've witnessed several people with more than 50 sticks and some even with 100 sticks of incense.

Like the 7th month. Burning more incense does not make your wishes come true more! When you burn more paper, it does not give you "BETTER LUCK" Please, there is a reasonable amount and many of you are OVERDOING IT!

Sadly, when there are crowds, there is also a lot of impatience and shoving. Its worse with children, elderly in an overcrowded temple with people carrying incense. Trust me, getting burnt with an incense is not fun.

I took a bus to the bus interchange and it was surprising to see more beggars out in Toa Payoh HDB Hub, more than usual, and I heard some of the people I've met in the temple say that many of these beggars were FAKE, and they own a 5 room flat, rented out and is begging for more money during the new year and can earn more than $100 a day. And I saw more people selling tissue paper again, and the going rate during Chinese New Year is 3 for $2, instead of 3 for $1.

When I go to the coffee shops, the price of Ice Milo is $2, from $1.50... Yup, Chinese New Year Surcharge. It is sad as it is also unclear that any of these surcharge actually benefit the employees and not the bosses.

Yup, and I've seen many people parking and leaving their vehicles causing jams outside temples. This is a common occurrence near the churches by my HDB flat in Toa Payoh as well, as many of them seem to park at handicapped lots, with no handicapped person, but some of the vehicles have the handicapped tags. Morally handicapped perhaps?

Please be civil, keep your cool and have a Happy Chinese New Year!

-- Ironbowl

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Smart Nation Cheap Labor Low Productivity.

I was talking to a friend about his situation and went to a job fair in Toa Payoh with him. He is in his 40's and had been laid off from work 4 times, each time taking longer to find a job. He is an engineering graduate from NTU and worked for several MNCs which have ceased production in Singapore and was retrenched. In between jobs, he drove a Taxi, taught tuition and even had various part time jobs to do stock taking.

He has not worked full time for almost 2 years and when we went to the job fair, it seems like all the jobs offered were blue collared jobs, like cooks, security guards and other hotel staff. It was quite disappointing, but speaking to some e2i people at the fair, they said that there are different fairs for different people, and this particular fair is for the unemployed uncles and aunties to join restaurants.

I talked to him about his situation and how his job application online is progressing. It seemed particularly bad as many new jobs seemed to be interested in younger people. When you are above 40 years old, jobs like "social media manager" which seemed to be quote common, never responded to him.

It seems like the job market is rather tough in Singapore. SMU, a university that boasts high paying jobs after graduation has uber driver graduates.

I still believe that there are a lot of cheap labor and displaced people in Singapore. There are a lot of talks about productivity, but I feel things are getting worse.

With all the PIC grants the government has dished out, how much productivity and use of tech is increased? When I see the ALL OF THE old automatic car wash at gas stations become "MANUAL" car wash with the use of plentiful Indian workers, it saddens me that we seemed to have gone backwards.

I've owned a construction company before and done some property development, and when I sub-con out some work to BIG construction companies, I seldom see mechanical tools. Most of the time to demolish a building, hordes of Chinese workers will wield sledge hammers and smash the walls. To remove tiles, they will just smash everything.

It is fascinating to see the use of diesel powered generators for events in town. Even at Marina Bay, Orchard Road, most outdoor events are still powered by diesel when solar systems with Lithium batteries are much more portable and "fumes free"

For logistics, delivery and transportation, most of the work is done with one staff -- the driver who is also the delivery guy, and without much trolley or other tools to help him move the goods. The loading and unloading bays are usually poorly designed, (because they did not spend $880k like the rubbish chute the government built) and the vans and trucks will jam up the area or the roads near by. Otherwise, they would also have to pay expensive parking to park far away and carry the heavy goods over a long distance.

For a Smart Nation, it seems that not all websites are 24 hours, and they are often shutdown for maintenance when you have time after work to use the sites. When I want to use the various smart payment methods, it seems to be unavailable or out of service (Or staff is untrained to use it)

With the current party still in power, it seems that their push to support more MNCs instead of growing local SMEs will continue and the situation will only worsen.

I guess I must send thoughts and prayers and hope that one day, Singaporeans will vote for their benefits and not for the few that rule over them.

-- Ironbowl

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Don't be that guy... Logan Paul (White Privilege?)

The stereotypical obnoxious American Tourist is clearly visible in this video. Where usually a white obnoxious tourist goes to another country to disrespect their culture, religion and people.

Travelers are ambassadors to their country whether they like it or not. Sadly through poor parenting, the rich kids / young adults who can afford to travel are creating a negative brand for their countries.

In Asia, Chinese Tourists are among the worse ambassadors for China. Many believe that since they are rich, they can do anything.

I feel this is like "White Privilege." When your race (caste, clan or whatever) control the government, you are rich, and laws in your country applies differently to you. People can be as obnoxious as they want and escape consequences. Sadly, when they go overseas, they expect the same treatment.

This is one of the reasons why many people hate the Americans, and how the China brand with Confucius and all that filial piety is making a whole world hate them when they visit.

Now Antartica, China has come to visit.