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Alvin Phoon takes us through some of the main issues this year.

Lessons from 2009

Alvin Phoon

As 2009 draws to a close, it’s time to look back at the lessons the year has offered us. Lessons we should all learn by heart, lessons that will be helpful to us all in every aspect of life. It has been one hell of a year. With all that’s happened, it has been rather difficult to decide which to include. So after much deliberation, I present to you the Top Ten Lessons Of 2009.

Lesson Number 1 – We are a really cool nat… coun… city.

The number one ranking (in terms of silliness) Minister in Singapore, our very own Law guy Mr. Shanmugam. In an attempt to convince those in attendance at the New York State Bar Association Dialogue that Singapore’s governance is fine and dandy, the good minister renounces us as a country, referring to us instead as a “city”.

“This is where most people make a mistake...I have tried to explain that we are different. We are a city. We are not a country,”

Be proud, Singaporeans. Singapore, a mere city, gets to play in the World Cup qualifiers while New York, THE city, doesn’t. How rad are we? Very, very, apparently.

It is also quite an honour that we are being mentioned and ranked on the indexes of FIFA, RWB, WFPI, API, the UN and countless other associations and organizations, which have recognized that even as a city, we’re awesome enough to be ranked alongside real countries. I mean, come on. You have to be proud now.

Lesson Number 2 – Keep our streets safe. Support the death penalty.

We’ve all talked about how the mainstream media in Singapore sometimes do not cover certain stories they feel will cause public unrest. One such example is the story of convicted drug trafficker Yong Vui Kong. The boy, a 19 year old Malaysian, was found guilty of trafficking 47 g of heroin and sentenced to death. Long story short, his lawyer, M Ravi, has somehow managed to obtain a time extension for Vui Kong to appeal his sentence.

The government appears extremely reluctant to deliver a lighter sentence to Yong despite him being a first time offender. What possible reason could they have for wanting to end the life of a boy who, by the looks of it, made a few bad decisions? Could it be because he’s Malaysian? Could it be because he’s not as good looking as our ministers? It seems like he is being made an example of, to prove that Singapore has a no-tolerance policy for drug traffickers. It works, doesn’t it? Just look at how vandalism and road sign thefts have completely screeched to a halt after the caning of Michael Fay.

Lesson Number 3 – Can’t afford a home? Don’t complain, your country’s on the right track!

“If they have confidence in the country and support the Government, then prices ‘must go up’ as they have every year since 1965”. Those are the words of Mr MM, while addressing the prices of HDB flats, which have hit an all time high this year. He also says something about the “country going up or down, economy going down, income going down, unemployment going up, and property values going down”. You forgot to mention intelligence quotients, sir. IQ is also going way, way down.

First, we had “Get married if you want to buy a flat”. Then came “Racial Ratio (try saying that real quickly) in every block”. Now we have “HDB flats are very affordable”. I have absolutely no doubt at all that these are words from extremely wise men.

The way things are going, by the year 2050, Singaporeans will all be married by 21, living in HDB flats with no furniture, no food and no utilities (still able to afford the flat itself, just not the additional, redundant stuff like beds, lights and water), BUT at least they’ll have lots of friends of different races.

Lesson Number 4 – Money can buy you everything. Everything but brains.

The name “Ris Low” will be remembered for generations to come. After all, she is Miss Community Ambassadress, Miss Lumiere Ambassadress, Miss Best Dressed, Miss Dazzling Eyes, Miss Photogenic, Miss Crowning Glory, and Miss Best in Catwalk of 2009. Impressive isn’t it. One thing I don’t understand is how she hadn’t been discovered prior to the pageant. I mean, the girl’s obviously talented. She’s an accomplished shop-lifter, loves “leopard-preens”, looks incredibad on camera, and my lord can she speak. In fact, her trademark phrase “Boomz” has been so popular, it has elevated her to almost cult-hero status. Not since Sylvester Sim have we had such an influential role model to look up to. Even Sly wasn’t in CNN’s top 25 list.

We had her as our Miss Singapore World 2009 for a mere 2 months, and I’m sure we were all upset to see her give up her crown. But fret not, come 2010, the brilliant judges at the pageant will be sure to replace her with an almost similar, if not better contestant. She’ll have Ris’ wits, looks, linguistic capabilities and even her “dazzling eyes”, but she’ll not have enough money to buy her more than 8 titles!

Lesson Number 5 – You are either here, or not here.

One of the wisest pieces of knowledge passed down to us this year came from our Home Affairs Minister, Wong Kan Seng. Almost a year after Mas Selamat Kastari somehow managed to escape from a high security prison, Wong, with all the makings of a zen master, declared that MSK was either still in Singapore, or had already left.

This one speaks for itself I think. Ohm…

Lesson Number 6 - Temasek Holdings will help you get rid of those pesky dollar bills anytime.

In what is probably one of the biggest stories of the year, Temasek Holdings announced a loss in the value of its assets of more than S$40 billion. I don’t hear anyone saying “peanuts” so it must be quite an astounding amount. Ka CHING.

Boy am I glad my Prime Minister’s wife is in charge of the company that’s owned by our Ministry of Finance but “do not manage Singapore Citizen’s earnings”. Man, am I happy about losing over S$40 billion of our country’s money, while still paying our ministers their deserved salary. Did I mention how proud I was to have all 30 highest paid politicians in the world come from my country? That’s right. Obama who?

Anybody who doesn’t understand how one person can lose so much money in one year, here’s the secret. Substitute her current last name with her husband’s last name, then get rid of the spacing. Voila! It all makes sense now! Let’s see how much she’ll lose this time. Well, as long as she has “no regrets”.

Lesson Number 7 – Need an organ? Visit the prisons.

C K Tang. I remember walking in there as a child, experiencing the magic that was pretty saleswomen and the aroma of cosmetics in the air, and thinking, “One day I’m going to sell my kidney to the boss”. Some guys apparently beat me to it. Like everything else, there are rules to organ transplant procedures. One important rule is that if the patient is suffering from any sort of ailment that would hinder his recovery or reduce his life expectancy, a la diabetes, he will not qualify for a transplant. Somehow, Mr Tang Wee Sung managed to convince, first an Indonesian villager, then a Cyclops dragon to part with their precious organs.

In the end, Sulaiman Damanik was sentenced to two weeks in jail while Tang served two… hours. The committed offence warrants a fine and a 12 month prison term. Tang also had the last laugh as he reportedly snagged the Dragon’s kidney.

Singaporeans can learn a few sub lessons from this saga.

  • Number one, earn lots of money. Lots of money = lots of influence = lots of power = lots of illegal activity gone unnoticed.
  • Number two, transplant lists are for monkeys. Be cool, support the black market.
  • Number three, if you’re going to buy a kidney, get one from a dragon. That way, you can piss fire when authorities come knocking at your door.

Lesson Number 8 – You just got to… cool off

Relax. Calm down. Chill. Cool off. It all means the same thing. Come the eve of our next polling day, no mass rallies, door to door visits or public display of party symbols will be allowed. Unless of course you’re rooting for the right side.

It’s such a great idea, but why stop there? We deserve a complete cool off. I suggest we make that day a national holiday. Mediacorp can shut down their stations for that day, SPH can halt production of all their publications, we can switch off all our lights, lock our gates and stay at home for the day. Just imagine. No TV, newspapers, noise, or lights for the entire day. Just a calm, cool, relaxing 24 hours of “reflection”.

Lesson Number 9 – When you’re out alone, don’t make any noise.

The next time you’re out alone and you see something that doesn’t please you, don’t start yelling. You could be arrested under the newly amended Public Order Act which states that you need a permit to be a part of any “cause-related” activity, regardless of the number of people involved.

That means if you visit a butcher and decide to scream at him for advocating the murder of innocent animals, you could be arrested for inciting social unrest by conducting a cause-related solo protest.

What an ingenious idea. Who cares if it completely violates Article 14 of our Constitution? We’re keeping the noise levels down and our government’s mood up.

Lesson Number 10 – Never won a debate in your life? Challenge the YPAP and win by default.

A late story, and a long one, but a very good one nonetheless. Local engineer Alex Tan has been involved in a spat with the YPAP lately, which ended with him challenging the YPAP to a public debate. Yet, it doesn’t seem to be very well-covered by the mainstream media.

The YPAP have not RSVPed on the challenge yet, and it should be safe to assume that the debate won’t be happening. Which is a real shame. I’m pretty sure it would’ve been much better than “New Moon”. Still, the war of words goes on, this time involving netizens and a grassroots leader from Eunos. Has the YPAP messed up beyond redemption now? Or will PAP(a) arrive to save the day? It’s going to be an interesting end to the year.

Happy New Year!

Cheers!

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