Monday, October 12, 2015

Recycling - Making sense and cents of saving the world

[I do recycle - glass, cans, plastic, paper, but I have been suspicious of it. Especially when taken to extreme and without regard for the circumstances of Singapore. 

Some recycling does not make sense to me. Like the so-called "eco-friendly" bio-degradable Corn ware - disposable plates made from corn also called Polylactic Acid or PLA "plastic". They are quite sturdy, but for them to biodegrade quickly, they need to be treated in a special oven, and be fed to microbes, not simply tossed into a landfill.

And in Singapore, where all our garbage are incinerated, PLA will probably take more energy to burn than a regular styrofoam packaging. And that's not helping.

As for products that are compostable (as opposed to biodegradable), in land scarce Singapore, that is not very helpful at all.

The problem arises when environmentalist take solutions from elsewhere and transplant them to Singapore. That is not very smart and not very environmentally intelligent.

So here are two critiques of recycling (actually just one from one writer) and a rear guard action from a passionate recycler.]

Saturday, October 10, 2015

GE2015 through HK eyes

Li Xueying

Hong Kong Correspondent

Oct 10, 2015,

Standing among a crowd of supporters in white at a People's Action Party (PAP) election rally in Tampines last month was an overseas visitor.

Mr Raymond Chan, a pro-democracy legislator from Hong Kong, listened intently as Tampines GRC candidate Baey Yam Keng spoke of how he would continue to push the Singapore Government towards freer use of dialects.

"He was advocating on the people's behalf and sounded like he was from the opposition instead of from the ruling party," recounts Mr Chan, who wore a yellow sleeveless T-shirt, the colour adopted by Hong Kong's Occupy activists last year. That, he argues, is something that Hong Kong's pro-establishment politicians should learn from - and "not just obey" directives from the top.

Mr Chan was in Singapore to observe its 17th General Election. He also attended rallies by the Workers' Party and Singapore Democratic Party and spoke to Hong Kongers living in Singapore.

What 18-year-olds tell us about Singapore's future

Eddie Teo

10 Oct 2015

As chairman of the Public Service Commission (PSC), Mr Eddie Teo interviews 350 young people vying for scholarships each year. In this excerpt of a speech at an Overseas Singaporean Unit event in Melbourne, Australia, on Sept 24, he outlines the strengths and weaknesses of these teenagers, as gleaned from their essays and interviews.

KL, Beijing need to play their part for bilateral ties

Teo Cheng Wee

China Correspondent

Oct 9, 2015

BEIJING • China's Ambassador to Malaysia donned a bright red batik shirt when he toured Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown for Mid-Autumn festivities, but the mood that followed his walkabout was anything but cheery.

Dr Huang Huikang's comments sparked a diplomatic spat which divided Malaysian politicians and the public, highlighting the clout that China wields in the country and the risks this could bring for Malaysia and the region.

To recap, Dr Huang visited Chinatown, or Petaling Street, on Sept 25, just over a week after a pro-Malay "red-shirt" rally rife with anti-Chinese rhetoric was held nearby. Another red-shirt demonstration was due the following day.

At the walkabout, the ambassador told journalists that China opposes "any form of discrimination against races and any form of extremism". While China pursues a policy of non-interference, it "would not stand idly by" when its citizens' interests or Malaysia-China relations are infringed.

Given China's increasing economic and military muscle, accompanied by shows of assertiveness in recent years, Dr Huang's blunt comments alarmed officials in Malaysia and the region, alerting them to potential Chinese interventionist notions.

The fallout was swift but convoluted, exposing divisions within Malaysia's government.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Sorry, America, but it looks like Joe Biden is your next president

Plus: Bloomberg, Kissinger and me; Hillary Clinton’s Peronist path to power

Niall Ferguson

10 October 2015

I have a sinking feeling that Joe Biden might be the next president of the United States. In a brilliant essay published by the American Spectator in 2010, Angelo Codevilla of Boston University foresaw a popular revolt against ‘America’s ruling class’. What he calls ‘the Country party’ repudiates the co-option of the mainstream Republican party by the bureaucratic behemoth that is Washington, DC.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Dingoes Ate My Baby

In Australia, do dingoes really eat babies?

September 22, 2000

Dear Cecil:

In her best Australian accent Elaine Benes in Seinfeld once suggested to a stranger, "Maybe a dingo ate your baby." Then, of course, Oz from Buffy the Vampire Slayer has a band called Dingoes Ate My Baby. It all seemed to me an innocent evocation of the classic Australian wild-dog infanticide motif, a folk archetype that has probably existed for centuries (or however long dingoes roamed the outback). Recently, however, I saw the movie A Cry in the Dark with Sam Neill and Meryl Streep, about the apparently famous mid-80s Australian case of a mother accused of murdering her baby, while she contended that dingoes carried her infant daughter off in the night and devoured her. The movie shows that in fact it was probably the dingoes who did it. Did this court case establish the idea of baby-eating dingoes, or has this horror story been around for a long time and the case merely brought it out of Australia?

— Mike Richichi, Green Brook, New Jersey

Becoming a ‘car-lite’ society

Much effort has already gone into enhancing the attractiveness of public transport. Commuters, especially car owners, need to be convinced that public transport can be a fast, reliable and comfortable alternative to private vehicles. 

October 6, 2015

Singapore has focused on liveability and sustainability way before these words became fashionable in urban planning. A key part of this is urban mobility.

The city-state’s overall urban development strategy has been guided by an integrated approach to transport and land-use planning. The 1971 Concept Plan provided a fundamental framework for physical development to cater to the needs of a population that was projected to reach 4 million by 1992.