27 April 2005

The SAF Clown Show Continues

Clerk: When will you be coming down to collect your certificate?

Me: This Thursday or Friday.

Clerk: Our opening hours are 10 to 4. Friday's a half-day because of Labour Day.

Me: ????!!!

Okay. Monday = Public holiday, that much I can understand. How does that make Friday a half-day?! I'm not going to become shrill over this, but my civil service BS detector is going off.

The Japanese Do South Park

Kawaii ne? Ne?

21 April 2005

Habemus Papam!



Wail and gnash your teeth, ye liberals! Cardinal Ratzinger, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - in plain English, the Head of the Inquisition - is now Pope Benedict XVI! In fact, this is the first time in history that the Chief Inquisitor has been elected as Pope...

The Holy Father appears at the balcony. He speaks in Latin, but I'll translate:

NOBODY expects the German Inquisition!
Our chief weapon is surprise - surprise and fear!
Roma, Roma ├╝ber alles!

Benedict XVI is expected to order an inquisition against the liberals, using horrific instruments of torture such as the soft cushions and the COMFY CHAIR. Burning at the stake will reserved for the Mormons.

Liberals, feminists and gay rights people! BOW BEFORE THE POPE!!!
BOOOOOWWW NOOOWWWW!!!

(serious post is in the works - ETA 1 day or so. It will be on: Why are liberals so afraid of the new Pope? Dun scare scare lah!)

15 April 2005

Elected President Sweepstakes

SR Nathan hints that he prefers retirement.

Frankly, what's the difference? I've only seen him attend concerts and charity shows since 1999 - it's quite the serene retired life he leads anyway. Being non-activist, non-political, and generally staying out of real government, the jovial grandfather appears to have won the hearts of the people, if our Straits Times can be believed...

Who's the successor?

I predict, according to the rules of professional wrestling/entertainment, that the next president will be a political figure close to retirement, who has shown some 'independent thinking' to the point of perhaps disagreeing with some official policy recently. Disregarding that fact, he will still hail from the inner sanctum of the cabinet and has proven his loyalty to the regime.

My money's on Tony "I respectfully still feel the casino is wrong" Tan. He's been receiving too much press as a member of the semi-retired Old Guard.

14 April 2005

Teach

There was yet another article in the Straits Times yesterday about the beleagered profession, that manages to even further dilute and diminish the mindshare and general respect for MOE.

Teacher gets a loan from mum to break teaching bond to quit 6 months into teaching post because she couldn't control her unruly classes. This follows barely a month after ST's fantastic "Ex-teacher will take 20 years to pay off scholarship bond after failing teaching practicals".

What is the problem, exactly? Aside from blaming the failures, the quitters who serve out their 3 year bond, or the ministry? Here's my take.

On one hand, education is marketed in nauseatingly annoying and idealistic ads (The Teach series). On the other, the teaching environment in 99% of schools show that the advertisements are in complete contravention of reality.

Then, each prospective teacher feels - on the basis of the advertisements, their perception of the civil service, the reputation of the interviewers as ideological gatekeepers - that they have to give a sanitised Sound Of Music reason to the question "Why do you want to teach?" or "What do you think teaching is about?"

Add and stir. Major disaster!

MOE isn't reaching out to the teachers they really want to hire, because they are too scared to say what the x-factor they require in the teacher. And no, it has nothing to do with "wanting to help students"...

Groundwork for an alternative, more accurate ad campaign

Some call this the noblest profession - captains of industry, moulding the future of our nation...

Bonds have been broken
Ideals have been lost
Careers ended in an instant

Yes, this is education - but the hazards are real

11 April 2005

Errata

I found 4 Teresa Teng CDs ripped on my computer. I now know how they got there: a Japanese user on winmx p2p wanted to skip the queue and suggested a trade: he'll download my yuri and yaoi anime collections for something of his own... except he only had mp3 albums, mostly of Morning Musume.

After giving a go at Teresa Teng in Mandarin and Japanese, I've decided it's a good thing that Mandarin pop doesn't have a retro/revival movement.

There was an earthquake in Sumatra during the weekend. Our apartment flat felt two successions of tremors. It would've been fine except that I'm currently down with a middle ear infection - the second time within half a year, in fact.

It's apparently not enough that my head feels like it's been on a boat on a choppy sea since last Thursday... Have to have an actual earthquake, complete with swaying flats and creaking windows.

And oh yes.

Last Tuesday, Channelnewsasia ran a special TV documentary to commemorate the promotion of Vivian Balakrishnan to full minister status. A special feature on the stewardship of his ministry so far, to quote their programme writeup.

Err hello.

1. You cannot be both an elite (Presumption: To Rule) and a steward (Presumption: To Serve as a Trustee) at the same time.

2. CNA is not playing its role as a propagandist media tool! Come on, when the Prime Minister decrees that everyone must talk and yak ceaselessly about leadership in terms of Broad Elites, CNA comes up with this stewardship crap!

3. Why, it's probably reason enough to send good old Vivian down to CNA headquarters to grill the editors alive. After all, our good steward had been to ST headquarters before to rein in activist journalists who refused to toe the official line...

01 April 2005

Job of the Year: Early Predictions for 2005

Continuing a recurring topic of this blog...

Here are your predictions on the state of the job market of 2005!

Prognosis: The economy has improved. The economy sucks, but is less sucky than last year =D

Engineering and accountancy students will be heartened to hear that they are the first beneficiaries of the minor revival of the economy (subject to further setbacks in the next quarter by pharmaceutical and manufacturing output).

Insurance companies are now facing tremendous pressures as all right-thinking graduates give a career as a Sales Agent a miss. In fact, they're so desperate that they'll give out free movie tickets for Spanglish if you just turn up for their recruitment drive!

Other than that, if you're a fresh graduate in any other discipline, you're still screwed as openings on the job market consist of either jobs for those with 5-8 years of experience, or telemarketing/callcentre temp jobs at banks.

Incidentally, the surprise winner of the most popular job for underemployed graduates in 2004 was actually the telemarketing/callcentre stuff at banks. A little bird tells me that a sizeable number of NUS graduates are stuck there, earning SGD$6-8/hr.

But the job of 2005?

Well, it seems with the economy booming and all that, many job placement agencies are recruiting graduates en masse as Headhunters or job placement officers, with commission rates.

Errr. Let's run that through again. The economy is booming! Yes, graduates, you are employable! We need you, the economy needs you in the invaluable role of helping others find a job!

I don't get the logic, though.

Shorter version of this post:
The job market has gone postmodern! Jobs are now simulacra!