You may like to know that our annual bash is on 04Nov10 Thu at Orchid Country Club. While we plan for 45 tables, we have flexibility to scale up to 70 tables. I am told by the organizing committee that it will be an exciting evening. Eight ex-HP ladies will step onto fashion runway; parade $1 million worth of Peranakan jewelry. Some of these will be on sale that evening. So mark your calendar, bring your cheque book.
To celebrate HP’s 40th anniversary in Singapore, we are all invited to HP Family Day 2010 at Universal Studios Singapore on 18Sep10 Sat. Special ticket prices. By popular demand, HP Alumni will be organizing our 3rd Charity Ride on 13Nov10 Sat. While we welcome family members, riders must be at least 12 years old. Riding helmet and hand gloves apply.
HP Family Day 2010 at Universal Studios Singapore
This year’s family day will be held on September 18th 2010 at a very exciting venue, Universal Studios Singapore. Tickets to this event can be purchased at special rate of $66 (Adult) and $47 (Child). Normal tickets are priced at $72 and $52 respectively. There will be free shuttle service provided from Seah Im’s carpark into Resorts World Sentosa.
This offer is extended only to immediate family members. Interested parties may write to firstname.lastname@example.org Please understand that this scheme is on pre-paid basis.
3th Charity Bicycle Ride
Our 1st Charity ride in 2008 was modest. We arrived, rode and went home! Thanks to a corporate sponsor, we upgraded our 2nd charity ride to breakfast last year. Sixty enthusiastic cyclists covered 25km and we raised $38,000. Our past rides had always been on NParks “sheltered park connectors” to stay alive! 150 km of park connectors will be completed by this year. In addition, Woodlands Waterfront Phase 2 will be completed as well. There is a plan to have a big-do at Woodlands Waterfront and my idea is to leverage off this big-bang.
By dove-tailing our ride into this big-bang, we get to enjoy the festivities, buzz and fun. In addition, we can garner free support, ground resource and accommodate more riders. We are targeting to raise $50,000 from this ride.
I need commitment from every single HPA member to make this annual tradition possible. Your participation will be a great encouragement and please donate generously. Our average, donation per head is $300/- and the highest at $2,000. Shortly, I will go round, cap in hand, to seek your support for we should rejoice in giving.
Yǒu huà, zìjǐ shuō
As creatures of comfort in Singapore, we take good public services for granted. Through ongoing improvements in the last 30 years, we come to expect government of the day to have answers to all public matters and to anticipate everything. It’s unrealistic. With an increasing middle class, aspirations and expectations grow; complexity increases. So I would argue that next phase on this tiny red dot would be better off if there is higher participation from the people sector.
At the recent PS21 award ceremony, I chanced upon a publication “Challenge May/Jun 2010” by the public service. 3 gems stood out on this related matter and I quote:
1) When I size up our young officers these days, one quality I look for is tenacity. If you are convinced of something, you should not give up after the first “No”. Regroup, refresh and re-emerge to fight another day. Extracted from Peter Ho, Head of Civil Service.
2) DPM Teo recollected a story with then Minister for Defence Yeo Ning Hong. Latter told him: “Look, if you feel you have a good idea and in the end it doesn’t get implemented, it’s your fault too. Either you did not feel strongly enough about it, or you were not able to make a sufficiently good argument why this proposal that you have was such a good idea.” So if this is home and you are passionate about how things are run, take the cue from a local Chinese radio program 95.8 called Yǒu huà, zìjǐ shuō.
Roughly translated: “if you have an opinion, speak up”, be heard. Otherwise, we will all be like lemmings, smelling the ass of the one in front, even if the lead lemming strays off the cliff!
I like to share one grinding episode with LTA 3 years back to prove my point. Before entry into underground expressway (eg CTE), there are gantries with horizontal metal bars suspended by a chain on either side. This acts as a “height limit check”. Any vehicle exceeding this height would hit the bar (with force, its meant to give way) and hopefully the driver is alerted before potentially creating more havoc one in the tunnel.
On 2 chains, if either side gives way, we have a disaster in the making having a metal pole come whipping down onto cars traveling at high speed. For safety reason, I recommended LTA to add a 3rd chain in the middle to fail soft. Their wise engineer tells me they inspect and maintain these gantries regularly. After much twist and turn, they dismissed my suggestion. I came to closure by reminding them that I will keep past correspondence, pray nothing happens in the future and that I will come to haunt them should an accident occurs. Looking back, I should have escalated. But then again, a wise HPA member reminds me of the difference between passion, obsession and addiction. I decided to stay passionately level-headed instead.
Not that long ago, I was pleasantly surprise because they quietly improve on my idea by having 4 chains instead; 2 on each end of the pole doubling safety factor. I am quite sure the public officer who implemented must be medaled. For me, I finally had the satisfaction to know public safety is enhanced. Moving forward, I worry and share the same sentiments as Dr Kenneth Paul Tan and I quote from the same publication.
3) On meritocracy, Dr Kenneth Paul Tan (of the Lee Kuan Yew school of public policy) argues that a system of meritocracy as practiced in Singapore is unequal because the “winners” define “merit” and this in turn breeds elitism. He thinks that the idea of meritocracy is unsustainable for the long term because the elite class will become “increasingly narrow, exclusive, and dismissive towards others” …… He concludes that our meritocratic system is starting to show signs of becoming a victim of its own success: Speech delivered by PSC Chairman Eddie Teo on “Is the Public Sector Leadership Ethos a Myth or Reality”.
With success, we risk breeding a bunch of “know-alls”, who seem to have answers to everything and displaying no tolerance for alternate views. http://www.spp.nus.edu.sg/Faculty_Kenneth_Paul_Tan.aspx
Who really founded Singapore?
There is a fascinating exhibition now on until end-Aug10. It’s on William Farquhar, Singapore first resident and commandant (1819 to 1823). I think history recorded it quite unfairly to Farquhar against Raffles. Latter may have founded Singapore, but it was Farquhar who built and nurtured the early settlement. He lived on Singapore close to 4 years and Raffles clocked no more than 350 days on the island. There are 30 odd landmarks in Singapore on Raffles, including 2 statues, but I believe only 1 mention of Farquhar.
His last days on Singapore were unhappy ones as Raffles sacked him following disputes on how to manage the settlement. His sent off ceremony was dramatic to say the least as he was well liked by European merchants and local population.
Thanks to a Singaporean, we can remember Farquhar in other ways. A Mr G K successfully bided for The William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings in 1993 and subsequently donated to our National Museum. They are the most beautiful natural drawings. Apparently, Raffles’ ship caught fire on his final journey home, most of his personal effects including his own collection of natural history drawings perished. So Farquhar is one up on this one.
Side note: The collection was a gift to the National Museum in 1996 from philanthropist Mr GK Goh. He had purchased the drawings, bequeathed to the Royal Asiatic Society by Farquhar, at a Sotheby’s auction in 1993. William Farquhar exhibition is at National Library Singapore.
Welcome On Board HPA Jun10
HPA-Ke Choon Lin
HPA-Koh Joo Beng
© 2010 (Han Jok Kwang)