Jan 26, 2005

Mating Lacoste

Originally uploaded by kphua.
Spotted by someone in a Yi-lan night market. Apparently the stall-keeper boasted that this was a super limited edition - all Lacostes are reproduced by this pair...

Jan 17, 2005

Innocents Abroad

Move over, state, and let Singapore's private firms take the lead

Extracted from AsiaWeek:

The only remaining virtue of Singapore's dilution of its equity stake this month from its flagship industrial park project in Suzhou is its Asian veneer. As a face-saving measure, Singapore will retain a small stake in the project that was once billed as its bold attempt to recreate the Singapore business experience in China. It did not work out. Instead it drained Singapore's resources, causing the republic huge embarrassment.

A large share of the blame must be borne by the Chinese, who went back on promises they had made to Singapore and allowed a cut-rate competitor to be built. But failure lay at Singapore's doorstep too, for its failure to grasp the mercantilist nature of China. This debacle reflects a deeper problem for Singapore: its model of state-driven capitalism. Few businesses would have taken the audacious gamble to invest in creating a Singapore-style township near Shanghai. But Singapore bureaucrats, invincible at home, believed they could replicate one overseas.

Unfortunately, Suzhou is not an isolated case. It is part of a growing list of Singapore's state-driven, high-profile overseas failures. These include Singapore Telecom's abortive forays in Hong Kong and Malaysia, Singapore Airlines' repeated attempts to acquire a stake in airlines in the region and, earlier, DBS Bank overpaying for some overseas assets.

To be sure, Singapore companies sometimes have been caught up in domestic political compulsions they cannot control. But savvy investors do not expect a handshake between ministers as a substitute for political strategy on the ground. Singapore's problem is expecting competent technocrats at home to operate as fire-in-the-belly entrepreneurs elsewhere in Asia without creating a political climate in Singapore that rewards free enterprise.

Since the early 1990s, Singapore's state-owned enterprises (known as government-linked companies, or GLCs) have made several attempts to expand overseas. They were relatively well-managed, had surplus cash, and the region, until 1997, was booming. But the results have not met the high expectations normally associated with Singapore. It's true that the partners sometimes changed the rules, or were reluctant to let a regional competitor take a strategic stake in the local economy. But the sheer variety of the industries involved, and the range of countries, shows that the GLCs found it difficult to operate beyond Singapore.

Jan 14, 2005

Patong's ladyboys struggle to cope in badly damaged tourist industry

First seen in Singabloodypore.
We pay to see their shows and take photographs with them, and nobody (the government especially) was complaining when their presence was raking in the tourist dollars. But look at how the Thai government is treating them after the tsunami disaster simply reeks of hypocrisy.

Even without the high heels and the giant blue plumes of her feathered headdress, Jana is a very tall girl. In fact, she normally towers over most of the customers at the Moulin Rose (sic) cabaret club, where she performs lip-synch renditions of The Power of Love. But tonight, she is slumped in a chair and feeling low.

For Jana is one of the hundreds of "lady-boys" on the red-light strip of Patong beach who survived the tsunami but are struggling to cope with its economic aftermath: the devastation of a large chunk of Thailand's tourist industry.

Like the prostitutes, masseurs, go-go dancers and kick-boxers who make a living in this hotbed of exoticism and sleaze, the transsexual population of Patong are struggling to make ends meet because the foreigners they rely on for business are being warned by their governments to stay away from the disaster zone.

They are too much of an embarrassment to the authorities to merit much support from the government, particularly at a time when the world's attention is focused on the search for foreign victims of the disaster.

But their plight - and the knock-on effect on their families - is as pitiful as the suffering of the thousands of diving instructors, tour guides and hotel operators who are also suddenly unable to make a living.

The Tau of taupok

Hilarious article on the perils of Taupok-ing. Had no idea the activity was called "Taupok" during our school days, but participated anyway and no-one was hurt, all part of growing up as a Singaporean guy (including being whacked between the legs at the flagpole).


So, pardon my middle-aged ignorance, but if it is an all-girl taupok, is it called a tauhuay?

And if it is a mixed taupok — God forbid — is it known as a taunee?

What if the guys taupok-ing are of an alternative persuasion? Taugay?

And if a Singapore Idol is taupok-ed, would we call it a Taufik?

Le low-cost Mac est arrive

So Steve Jobs has decided to join in the low-cost PC slugfest, and also try to bite a bigger piece of the Flash-MP3 player market to boot. Probably thanks to the dog-eat-dog price-cutting OEM manufacturers of Taiwan, we bring you the Mac mini and iPod Shuffle!

Already feeling like getting a white bento box on my desktop, should be a nice asthetically-pleasing change from so many years of Windoze...hmmm...maybe after we get back from vacation perhaps?

Jan 10, 2005

Why Singapore is a Pathetic Place

Interesting page that puts the facts very succinctly...good show.

Just play Jobim at my funeral

Vivo sonhando
I live dreaming
sonhando mil horas sem fim
dreaming a thousand hours without end
Tempo em que vou perguntando
Time that I go asking
se gostas de mim
if you like me

Tempo de falar em estrelas
Time of speaking of stars
falar de um mar de céu assim
speaking of an ocean and heavens as well

Falar do bem que se tem
Speaking of the good that is had
mas você não vem, não vem
but you don't come, don't come

Você não vindo
You aren't coming
não vindo a vida tem fim
aren't coming to life in the end

Gente sorrindo falando zombando de mim
People smiling speaking of me
e eu a falar em estrelas
and I to speak of stars
mar, amor, luar
sea, love, moonlight
Pobre de mim que só sei te amar
Poor me that I only know to love you